This Couple Asked for Help After Having a Baby, But Should We Criticize Them For It?
You know how we're always telling moms to “just ask for help” when they become parents, like it's that easy as just waving our magic “I need help!” wand and boom, our laundry is folded, we fit a shower in, and there's coffee that's fresh and not 5 hours old?
Well, there is a mom out there who took that advice quite literally–and the response hasn't exactly been kind and supportive. Technically speaking, her husband, the new dad-to-be, was the one doing the asking, but still, that should be even more of a sign that this mom learned the lesson we try to drill into new parents: have your partner be on board, right?
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning. So, according to a now-viral Twitter thread from user @JJFromtheBronx, a message went out to all members of his neighborhood who used the app Next Door, which connects people in the neighborhood in that neighborly way that used to be natural before people apparently lived indoors and only through screens, when two parents-to-be put out a post asking to help them line up some help before their baby came.
Sounds OK so far, right? A perfectly sound and reasonable request and if we're going by the trend of “just ask for help!”, it's also a very smart decision. These parents knew enough to know that they would need help, so they reached out the only “village” available to them, and the father-to-be showed he was thinking ahead to plan for when they would actually be in the throes of healing and not sleeping and all the good stuff that comes with a baby.
And then, well, things got interesting.
Because, according to the Twitter user, the dad did not ask for a reasonable lasagna dropped off on the doorstep, or perhaps a courtesy dog walk around the neighborhood. Instead, he got super, super specific about the kind of “help” he and his wife would need. Like, to the tune of 30 “whole-food, low-sugar, plant-based” recipes specific, including Paleo egg muffins with thinly-sliced mushrooms.
In addition to his literal menu of meal options, the prepping father-to-be also requested that his neighbors do things like “walk the dog, check in on them, vacuum, or do the dishes.” He explained that unlike a “meal train,” which, let's be honest, is pretty darn great in and of itself, but that's just me and my love of food talking, he was envisioning his neighbors instead surrounding him and new family of three with a “check-in” train–you know, checking on their mental, emotional, and physical health and pitching in to “nourish” them as needed. He offered that his neighbors could text him to see what they needed that day and reserved the right to totally not want to talk to people at all, in which case he would place a large white cooler out in their yard as a sign that they could just drop off one of the 30 pre-approved meals without actually having to interact together.
I feel like I need to insert that Chrissy Teigen cringe face here because dang, dude.
Listen, I can't fault the guy for trying, I really can't. And as a parenting writer, I can't fault anyone for reaching out for help, especially before the baby even gets here. Also, in his defense, he told The Post that his crowd-funded “check in-train” was meant primarily for family and friends, not just random people, and that he was “disheartened” by the negative response to his requests. But still, there's help and there's… well, whatever this guy is doing. I think we can all agree that 30 recipes is just a tad too much and frankly, after giving birth, most of us veteran parents out there would have gladly scarfed down dog food if someone else served it to us because we were just that hungry and exhausted.
But honestly, the poor guy is going to figure out the #1 truth about parenting soon enough: that babies pretty much have a way of ruining even the most carefully of laid-plans and that you will definitely learn to be grateful for any help you get at all, period. And his story, now gone viral and sadly, made him and his wife a bit of a laughing stock around the neighborhood, no pun intended, has helped spark an important conversation about why parents are so afraid to ask for help in the first place. Like you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, right? I guess the takeaway is, yes, absolutely ask for help and don't be ashamed to do so even before your baby comes, but if you do ask for help, maybe just maybe, keep it down to 1 or 2 favorite recipes, not 30, and be sure to come outside and say thank you if one of your neighbors is nice enough to bring over a meal, OK?
According to the Meal Train, the wife's due date was April 29th, so she's definitely welcomed their little one into the world by now and we can only wonder how it's all faring for this family. Let's hope they stocked up on quinoa!