Two months ago, we welcomed our fourth baby boy into the world. It was exhilarating as always, except for some complications with my body during delivery. I have usually been able to bounce back from birthing fairly quickly, but this time I was “not there” for about a week afterwards, as my husband kindly described to me later. I could manage to walk about two minutes at a time and spent most of my days in the bed, counting down the time until I could take more pain medicine. Thankfully, I had my mom for a week and The Fireman off for two weeks, as well as many friends and family offering to bring over meals.
The simple act of bringing a meal to a friend is a wonderful gesture.
It saves the mother the time of planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up, and also shows an interest and desire to lift a burden off someone else for a night. I love how bringing a meal has evolved from the typical Tupperware-filled goodness (which I am NOT dogging — I love a home cooked meal!) to so many different ways of helping out a friend.
I mentally noted a few ways in which friends helped us out and wanted to share them with you. Some people don’t have the time (or desire) to cook a meal at home, and that is a-okay; there are so many other ways to send a meal:
I got a call one evening from a dear friend hundreds of miles away, asking if we liked Mexican food because it was coming in the next hour. Dinner Delivered is a great service with which to send food; in the Chattanooga area they partner with 175 different restaurants, many of which are not typical fast food joints. Our meal arrived when my friend predicted, was hot and so tasty. We appreciated the gift of a meal and being able to try out a new restaurant without leaving the house.
A fellow mom in the area told me well before the baby was due that she didn’t cook and didn’t bring food over. Instead she likes to order meals from local restaurants to be delivered — so easy! She had ordered with these restaurants often enough to know how much food a family of our size needed and it was enough for me to save some for the next day, and my kids loved it — BONUS. Hey, I’ll eat all the lasagnas and brownies anyone brings me (it’s my typical go-to dinner, so I am not knocking anyone else), but having fresh grilled chicken, veggies and a salad was awesome, especially since I was an immobile, emotional eating machine.
It may feel like a cop-out meal to you, but we loved receiving gift cards! Sometimes it’s hard to coordinate accepting meals from others, especially when family is visiting or you have somewhere to be and need to feed people early. A gift card was just as helpful to me especially if it was to a place I could send my husband or that had a drive-thru. And while I can literally eat anything in those first few weeks after the baby is born, it’s nice to pick your own dinner so that no one you know gets to witness the amount of calories you are actually consuming (soooo many calories).
A CMB friend brought over a breakfast casserole and some sides, leaving instructions on how to heat it up. I liked that we had something in the house to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, since we had acquired some leftovers from previous meals, and it was not necessary to eat right then. Easier for her, easier for me! Delivering meals at dinnertime is a little hard on a mom whose own tribe is beating the table for food! We also had a friend who picked up a rotisserie chicken and some fruit, dropped by for a baby snuggle and a chat, and let me do what I wanted with the groceries. It was helpful to have some fresh fruit around for the older boys to snack on during the day, and we used the chicken a few days later when we had an opening in our meal train.
Brunch with Friends
I get a little restless after being in my house for so long after a baby, so when I was feeling a little better, a good friend with kids offered to bring us brunch. We asked if they would eat with us and let the kids run around together. It’s probably not what every new mother wants, but I needed some company and grown-up talk, and the kids needed some friends with whom to play. Brunch seemed so much easier than dinner; there wasn’t a rush to get the kids home to bed afterwards and the food was more casual and self-served on paper plates. It was a great time and we felt loved on very well.