It took me to become a Mum to realise just how much the small things matter, and to realise that I probably hadn't been as much help to other Mums around me as I could have been. Here are 5 things you can do to lend a hand - whether you are a Mum or not!
1. Help with some food - cooking is the last thing on a new Mothers mind but the family still need to eat! Whether you can drop off some take-away or bring over a simple casserole it will be really appreciated. One of the loveliest things one of my friends did for me in the early days was come over with her partner and cook us dinner. Not only was it a beautiful gesture, it gave us some much needed adult interaction and sense of 'normalcy' during a crazy time.
2. Keep in touch - I'm not suggesting to drop over all the time or call everyday, but a phone call or a message every now and then does wonders to remind a new Mum that you care. A simple 'how are you going?' or 'is there anything I can do?' does wonders, particularly once the craziness of the first few weeks/months has passed.
3. If you are comfortable holding or minding a baby - offer to come over and entertain the baby whilst Mum has a long hot shower or enjoys a hot cup of coffee. Small things like these become such a luxury to a new Mum. This is a lovely thing to do, particularly as many Mums may not feel comfortable being too far away from their child initially.
4. Offer to run a couple of errands - getting up, dressed and out of the house can be quite a task for new Mums. Offering to pick up something on your way to visit like a loaf of bread or some toilet paper will always be welcomed.
5. Share your experiences (the bad too) - this is aimed more at those who are already Mums. Some Mums may appear to be 'naturals' whilst you may feel that you are out of your depth. I remember spending most of my Cousin's baby shower locked in a bedroom crying as I was unable to settle my then 4 month old baby, wishing I was more of a 'Zen Mum' like she was (this was her second child). She came to calm me down, and share some of her difficult moments she experienced with her first born, and it made me realise that we all have challenges as parents, even if it doesn't always show to the outside world. I will always be thankful for her honesty - and for making me realise that it is so important to share stories!