Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ways to encourage moms of multiples/several young children.

Hello! I wanted to share some practical tips and ways you can encourage those moms (or dads or caregivers) around you who have multiples or several small children. These are from my experience and what people have done for us that I thought were so helpful and kind.

1. Bring them a meal. I totally get that cooking for your family is a big job that you have to do on repeat, all the time, but I think it's so worth the extra effort and cost to make extra to love on others. It's a very personal way to say that you care, and what a blessing it is for the recipient to not have to make dinner. I have several recipes that I always make double of whenever I make them, and then I can save the other one either to bring to someone else or to freeze myself for a later time. It's not that difficult and it doesn't take much extra time to make a second of something you are already making and have the ingredients out for anyway. Norah (my oldest) loves to help me in the kitchen, so this is also a fun way to spend time together, practice cooking and math skills, and to tangibly model serving others. I like to ask before bringing the meal if there are any allergies/strong dislikes and if they would like me to bring the meal hot and ready or ready to freeze or reheat at a later time. There were many people who brought us meals, both after Norah's birth and after we came home from the NICU with Lucy and Ellory, and it was so helpful. I will never forget the generosity shown to us during those newborn days. With all the newborn feedings, I was starving, yet had very little time or energy to cook, so having a hot meal was the best.

2. Bring easy to access snacks or baked goods. Maybe this is just me (I do have a sweet tooth), but when anyone brought any sort of baked good, whether muffins, cookies, bars, etc., it was amazing. Having a baked treat, especially when nursing, was great because I was hungry all the time because I was nursing all the time. My favorites to receive were muffins and protein balls, because they are already individually prepared so you could just grab one and go, and both of those options are a bit healthier than cookies or bars. I think this is a fun treat to include with a meal, or I sometimes just bring a baked item to a family if I just want to let them know I am praying for them during a difficult time, or maybe if it's someone I don't know as well so I wouldn't necessarily bring them an entire meal.

3. Bring something for the older sibling(s). If I am bringing a new baby a gift, I like to also include something for the older siblings. The new baby often receives many things, so it's fun to the siblings to get something too, even if it's something very small like chalk, bubble wand, hot wheels car, stickers, etc. Almost all these things can be found in the dollar section, so it doesn't have to be big!

4. Tell them they are doing a great job. I cannot tell you how many times people say, "Wow, you have your hands full!" or, "You sure are busy!" when we go out in public. I'm not offended by this, as I know they mean well and I just smile and say yes, but the times where someone has specifically stopped and told me that I'm doing a great job are what stand out to me. Hearing that I'm doing a great job is more encouraging to me than people telling me my hands are full.

5. Do something nice or lend a hand. Stop and hold the door open for someone with many kids or with huge strollers. Almost all people are very helpful with holding doors for me and I'm grateful for that, but there are occasionally a few who just stand and watch instead of helping. Our local grocery stores here push your cart of groceries out to your car and load them up for you, which is a tremendous help while I am loading up my girls into the car, but if you are at a store that doesn't do that, maybe offer to help if you're able! Or you could offer to dump their trays at a restaurant or something like that. I don't usually feel comfortable letting people I don't know hold my girls or do the child related tasks (and also none of my girls have never been open to going to strangers anyway), so I've always felt encouraged when people offer to help do the non-child related tasks like loading bags or taking trash. I don't mind if people ask to hold them or something and I just kindly say no thanks, and sometimes people say no to my offers for help and sometimes I say no do others offers, but I at least really appreciate the offer!

6. Go out of your way to do something bigger. I know this won't always work out with your schedule or whatever you have going on, but the moments where someone has gone out of their way to do something grander are what are so deeply encouraging and what I remember most. There have been several times where Kley was playing on the worship team at church, so I had all three girls by myself and he couldn't help, and there have been a couple Sundays where people really stepped up and helped me when I needed it. There was one Sunday where everyone was losing it (myself included), and Lucy and Ellory were fussy and Norah was throwing a complete crying fit and I still had to run back and grabbed my diaper bag, and this kind soul who I knew of but didn't know very well came and helped. She got my diaper bag for me, walked outside with me and helped me load them up in the car. There was someone else who brought us not one meal, but three. There was someone who brought us a meal after we announced we were pregnant with twins (they hadn't even arrived yet!), but this was also during the time where we had to travel for our trainings because we were in the process of becoming licensed for foster care, so her meal came on a perfect day. There was someone who was bringing us a meal who texted beforehand that she was running to the grocery store and asked if we needed any basics. That was so helpful! At first I felt bad, but she texted that she would really love to and to please text her some items, so she brought us a few extra things we were running low on in addition to the meal. Whatever it is, do something big if you can!

7. Offer to watch their kids for a date night, especially if they don't live near family. It can be hard to get date nights in, especially with the cost sometimes, but they are so important and so nice to have a break away together! It would be so nice to offer a family a free date night. Also, it would be nice to offer that you can come to their house or that they can come to your house (or take them to the park or something). Sometimes getting out is nice, but also sometimes having a date night in your own house where you can watch a movie in your pajamas in bed is amazing too. Maybe you could set up a swap night with a friend where you watch their kids for a night and then they watch yours. Even if it's something small, like taking some of their kids while they take one to the doctor is so nice so they don't have to take all of them with. One time there was a weekend marriage conference happening near us (we couldn't go because I was nursing), but someone from our church offered to anyone with young kids that they would watch them for free for the whole weekend so they could go. What a kind blessing!

8. Help with household things. Maybe you don't enjoy cooking, but maybe you could offer to mow their yard, shovel their driveway, trim bushes, do their laundry, clean their house, etc. Whatever your gift is, offer it! Someone from our local MOPS group offered to come clean my bathrooms several times when Lucy and Ellory came home from the hospital. (It never actually happened because my mother-in-law gifted us a bi-weekly house cleaner after Lucy and Ellory were born and it's AMAZING, but the offer was so touching.) Our friends had two foster girls for awhile, and a couple times I did their laundry. Whatever it is, there are plenty of small ways you can use your time and talents to do nice things!

A lot of these ideas can be used to bless anyone, not just moms with young kids, but these are some things that people have done for us over the years that have been really encouraging. It's a beautiful thing when we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to our friends and community around us!

2 comments:

  1. These are great ideas! I love your servant heart! 💕 You are an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Not trying to be an inspiration, but just trying to share the touching things others have done for us! Sometimes I feel in this busy motherhood season that I can't do big things, but I'm trying to decipher how to use what time and resources I do have to bless others! And it doesn't always have to be big- little things are meaningful too. Thankful for friends like you who encourage me in serving others as we walk together in Him!

      Delete