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10 simple ways to lend a hand to stranded moms

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the mommyhood memos: 10 simple ways to lend a hand to stranded moms

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 simple ways to lend a hand to stranded moms

"auntie" katie - my sanity while ryan was away.
Recently my husband was away on a work trip for nearly four weeks. It was not easy. During that time there were several things I was wishing for… and while it’s still fresh in my mind I wanted to share with you ten ways to help a mom who's going at it alone.

1.  Invite her over for dinner. Cooking dinner for one adult after a long day of taking care of kids can seem pointless. Spare your friend from having one too many grilled cheese sandwiches and bowls of cereal for dinner and invite her over for a meal. Do it early enough in the evening to not interfere with kids’ bedtimes.

2.  Even better, bring dinner over to her house. Either drop it off, or stay for a quick bite. Either way your friend will thank you.

3.  Mow her lawn. The last thing a busy mom can find time to do is mow the lawn. And besides, when will she be able to do it without little kids underfoot? At naptime? Nope! Not unless she wants a grumpy toddler on her hands after he wakes up prematurely from all the noise. Don’t offer, just show up and do it (unless you aren’t sure when naptimes are then, for heaven’s sake, definitely ask!).

4.  Take her kids for an afternoon play date. Don’t invite mom along, just give her some time to herself. Whether she has some errands to do or just wants to do nothing, the gift of a few hours sans kids will be a welcome blessing.

5.  Call her if you’re headed to the store to see if she needs anything picked up. Often mid-week she'll have one or two things needed from the store (milk!) that hubs would normally be able to quickly pick up on his way home from work. But with him away, a quick 10-minute errand can take a good 45-minutes out of mom’s day. Spare her!

6.  Wash her car. Though not a necessity, having a clean car can help bring peace of mind, and yet it often makes its way to the bottom of the priority list. Grab your own kiddos (or hers) and wash her car for her. Either that or ask to swap cars for an hour and take hers somewhere to have it cleaned.

7.  Offer to babysit one evening, or arrange a trusted sitter for her. See if she’d like to have a night to go out with the girls while hubs is away without having to scramble to find a sitter.

8.  Bring over some snacks and a chick flick for a girls night in. After days and days of being the on-duty parent 24/7 she may not have the energy to go out, but would love a little company and wind-down time in the comfort of her own home.

9.  Call once or twice a week just to see how things are going and if there’s anything you can do. Chances are things are going okay and your friend may say there’s nothing she needs help with, but just giving her that opportunity speaks volumes about how much you care.

10.  Help her clean her house before hubs gets home. Offer to come over the day before he arrives and lend a hand wherever she needs it.

And a BONUS tip:

If her husband is away over a holiday, then go out of your way to make it special for her. Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, etc… but especially if it’s over her birthday or Mothers Day when she is meant to be queen for the day! Help ease the blow of missing her hubs by going the extra mile and sending her out with a gift card for a coffee and a new book or magazine to relax with while you stay home with her kids and clean her house! And then let her come home and play with her kids while you stay a bit longer and make them all a nice dinner (or order them take-out).

In saying all of this, your friend may be supermom and not need any help at all… but I doubt it. (Especially if she's used to having a partner around.) If that is the case she will be glad for your initiative and your availability even if she doesn’t take you up on any of your offers.

The most important rule of thumb is: INITIATE. Don’t wait for her to ask… ask her first! Make her feel valued and cared for and supported while she’s going at it alone.

Dear friends, have you had your partner away for any period of time more than a couple of days? What is something that would have been a blessing to you while you were solo parenting?

glad that my solo days are over for now,

Current giveaways: Two Peekabooby nursing covers and one copy of The Pregnancy Companion (book).

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adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
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At May 16, 2011 at 8:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dearest friend is a military wife, she is thankful for the week or two that her hubs is a home and heartbroken over his all to often 15 month deployments. She's a super 'single mom' and the only way I've found to be of any help is to come over, help her make dinner and play with the seams to be a non-evasive way to take the pressure off of we always make too much so she's stuck with left overs! ;o)

At May 16, 2011 at 8:49 PM , Blogger Joey Espinosa said...

I had to commute for 13 weeks -- gone all week and back for 2 days on weekend. It was tough on my wife and 3 kids for sure. I'm so glad that she had a great support network of close friends!

At May 16, 2011 at 9:28 PM , Blogger Casey Martinez said...

I have a neighbor across the street who has really been this support for me during this season with my hubs. She has taken me out, watched Daisy, bought me gifts, etc. Really she is a gem. Love her. I think your list is perfect!

At May 16, 2011 at 11:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great list! I hope some of these things happened in the last month for you :)

At May 16, 2011 at 11:55 PM , Blogger Jhen.Stark said...

Excellent tips! So going to apply this!

At May 17, 2011 at 12:18 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

thanks for sharing the tips. i'll have to use them soon!

At May 17, 2011 at 2:10 AM , Blogger Courtney K. said...

These are GREAT tips!! While my husband was gone for 8 months, I would have loved to have had someone take the time to do one or two of the things you listed. :)

At May 17, 2011 at 3:27 AM , Blogger Anna said...

This is such a true post!!! My hubby was in the military and when he went away for training for 4 months. It was hard and his family that lived nearby never offered anything the entire time. Even when I would ask them to watch our dogs so my daughter and I could go visit him it was such an inconvenience for them. Very sad.

I hope you had some help during Ryan's absence.

At May 17, 2011 at 3:41 AM , Blogger Laura said...

I think your best tip was "don't ask just do it!" I think when we are alone we hate to ask someone for help and even when they offer we sometimes are afraid they don't really mean it or it would be too much trouble.

Wonderful list!! So glad your family is back together again!

At May 17, 2011 at 6:13 AM , Blogger Nessa said...

All these things are great. So glad your husband is home now!

When you are alone a lot with a little one - I would LOVE to have any of these things. But you are right - when people ask me what I need I generally say that we are fine.

At May 17, 2011 at 7:07 AM , Blogger Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Oh I love this Adriel. We do need each other and should always initiate and be willing to help out!

I'm so glad Auntie Katie was around for you. Going it alone can be tough to say the least!

At May 17, 2011 at 7:40 AM , Blogger Tiffany Larson said...

As a mom of two who's husband travels almost weekly (and has for over 3 years), I can vouch for this list. I would be so grateful for any break during the week. And yes, there is a lot of cereal going on at my house when my hubby is away. The kids eat healthy but my diet goes down the hill! How can I secretly pass this along to all my friends and family? :)

At May 17, 2011 at 11:12 AM , Blogger Kerry McCullough said...

Yes-- dinners, dinner, dinners!!! I took a birth class when I was pregnant with Niall, and the teacher assured me that meals would constantly be dropped at my door step once he was born; that it was the one thing I shouldn't have to worry about for that first month. And I'm not kidding you, I didn't have ONE person bring a meal over. I was the first of my friends to have a baby so I guess they just didn't know or didn't realize what a hassle it is to make meals during that time. I would have given back all of the gifts and clothes and toys for just a few cooked meals!

At May 17, 2011 at 3:23 PM , Blogger Jami said...

These are great tips and it's such a blessing to have a community around you who will reach out in this way. And what a cute picture, love the t-shirts!

At May 17, 2011 at 4:17 PM , Blogger Broot said...

This is a fantastic list. Well done!

At May 17, 2011 at 7:52 PM , Blogger Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

I've thought of a couple more!

11. If she has school-aged kids, offer to help with school runs.

12. Offer to come and land a hand from 5-7pm(ish) with the dinner/bath/bedtime routines.

At May 17, 2011 at 10:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband traveled a lot until we started our own business. There was nothing more relaxing than hanging out with a friend with my kids and hers over a cup of coffee - or going out to dinner with the kids. Developing a good support system is the key to success when you have a traveling husband!

At May 18, 2011 at 2:33 AM , Blogger Amy said...

So true! This was wonderful Adriel, just as I'm spending my first week with the baby all by myself. Boo to business trips, but yay for sisters & moms & friends!

At May 19, 2011 at 2:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely YES to afternoon play dates, chick flicks and snacks, dinners, and calling (seriously you're so exhausted and busy you don't even think of reaching out). I'm a single mom so I'm always at it alone. Whenever anyone does any of this for me, it makes a huge difference in my week let alone day. One more thing that's been done for me a couple of times-- dishes. My friend or mom have been over and we'll eat or something and they follow me into the kitchen and just tackle the dishes. I protest but they just tell me to shut up and deal with it LOL
Oh and doing something on special "her" days is truly the sweetest thing. I was kind of miserable on Mother's Day personally.

At May 19, 2011 at 3:10 AM , Blogger flyrish said...

I thought I commented here already, but apparently not. Awesome tips! My husband will be away for a few days next month and it's the first time he's been away from us for more than a night. I need to figure out a way to discreetly send my friends this post- haha.


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