A friend’s daughter just gave birth to twins, which is very exciting but also, as you might imagine, a lot of work. She definitely has her hands full!
My friend has been pitching in, but mentioned that her daughter has been struggling with visitors. Everyone wants to visit the babies, but this can often create more work for her at a time when she’s already exhausted and struggling to stay afloat.
Some good friends will come by for a short while, offer to watch the babies so that she can shower or run errands, and bring by food or even do a load of laundry. My friend’s daughter has an older daughter who is in school, and it’s helpful when other parents offer to pick her up from school, take her to soccer practice, or invite her over for a playdate.
But some people see the twins as a novelty designed for their entertainment. Here’s what my friend’s daughter has complained about:
-Guests who stay for more than an hour. One friend came by for four hours, which completely threw the mom off her schedule. With twins, you are frequently nursing, pumping, or trying to squeeze in a nap while the babies sleep, and losing four hours can be very disruptive.
-Expecting her to entertain. Babies create a lot of mess, so when someone comes to visit, a mom often feels the obligation to stop what she’s doing and tidy up the house — including sorting out her own clothes and grooming. One friend of this twin mom is notorious for popping by unexpected, often with her daughter in tow. The daughter then creates a huge mess, which my friend’s daughter is left to clean. It would be more helpful if they invited the twins’ big sister over to their home for a playdate or scaled back their visits to a scheduled weekly meet-up that was more convenient.
-Calling all the time. Every mom is different, but my friend’s daughter says that every time she finally gets the babies to sleep and manages to shut her eyes, her phone rings. Short of switching off your phone, it’s hard to avoid getting a phone call, but friends ait of space. If you nd loved ones can help by switching to text messages and giving new parents a little breathing room. If you just want to chat, send a note and let them get back to you when they have a free moment.
-Showing up with the sniffles. If you are sick, or feel like you are coming down with something, you should not be near newborn babies, especially before they’ve had their 8-week immunizations. Stay at home. And even if you are healthy, use Purell and wash your hands before handling the babies.
The best support comes from those who pitch in — whether it’s showing up with donuts, offering to make a quick grocery store run, or watching the babies so the mom can hop in the shower or even take a nap. No new mom needs more pressure than she’s already got, so make sure that your visit is helping her, not creating more work.