My dear friend Bethany posted this blog on her blog and I thought, this is AMAZING!!! How true is this. But I wanted to add my own spin on it. I added her blog post to the end of my blog post.
While we are expecting our 4th boy, I tend to agree with almost everything Bethany says. Most people want to bless someone somehow, and not always sure how. And while anything is very thoughtful and wonderful some items are better than others. While Bethany loves blankets, I tend not to like them. I have a hard problem getting rid of the them and we lack the room for storage. I also tend to always try and find out if someone registered somewhere. There are almost a few needed items per child and a registry is wonderful. But some of the best gifts in non traditional forms in my opinion is meals, house cleaning, folding laundry, groceries, taking the older kids out to give the mom a break, and bring a coffee to a new mom! These seem so simple but these are worth gold on so many levels.
Here’s a link and a copy of Bethany’s post:
BABY SHOWER GIFTS FOR FAMILIES WHO DON’T NEED ANYTHING
I don’t use baby monitors, diaper warmers, changing tables, or some of the other things many families consider essentials. I also have four kids, which means there’s not much I needed by the time babies 2, 3, and 4 came along. Additionally, I fall into the “less is more” category and don’t want to accumulate a bunch of stuff I don’t have a use for and don’t want people spending money on things that won’t get used.
However, people still like to bless new or expectant mothers (whether pregnant, adopting, or fostering) with gifts. So, what are some gifts that you can give a family with a new baby, but without a need for more baby clothes or toys? After all, gifts that are neither wanted nor needed are not a blessing … which sorta defeats the purpose.
While we have certainly appreciated and used all the cute clothes, both new and hand-me-down, that we’ve been given and have put the practical things, like some new crib sheets, to use, we’ve also had some non-traditional gifts that were great and some practical ones that were consumable time and money savers.
* Four passes to Sky High and a gift card to Baskin Robbins. The intention was for Tim to take the three bigs out for a few hours to burn some energy jumping on trampolines while I rested with the baby in a quiet house, then to go out for ice cream and bring some home for me. This gift was great a few weeks after Teebs was born, giving me a day to relax and for everyone else to have some rowdy fun.
* Handmade blankets. I confess that we have a ridiculous amount of blankets. However, there are few things I love more than wrapping up the little Ws in something that someone took a lot of time to create. Tangible love that our kids use for years and years, first to sleep in, then to snuggle under for a movie, then to build forts with.
* Meals. Some people deliver meals through our church’s meals ministry, others do it on their own. Some drop off meals and leave, others bring food over and stay to eat with us, then spend time holding the baby and cleaning up the kitchen. We’ve had people give us home-cooked meals, had us order take-out and brought it over, bought food from the grocery story deli, or given us a giant fruit platter and a gift certificate to and menu for our favorite pizza place with the delivery number circled. It doesn’t matter how fancy or simple, whether it was homemade or not … a meal that we didn’t have to plan, shop for, prepare, or clean up after is a huge blessing! They are magic meals.
* Groceries. Some people have come by for various reasons and brought some groceries with them. Sometimes they’ve chosen items on their own, other times they’ve asked what we needed, but both ways it was nice to have a few staples, such as milk and produce, that we didn’t have to go out for. Once we were given a pounding during a pregnancy. Although it had more to do with our employment situation at the time than with being pregnant, it was a huge blessing and could definitely be a way to keep the fridge and cupboards full for a family with a new baby, saving them a trip to the grocery store for a while.
* Childcare. Taking the non-baby kids for a few hours or overnight not only gives the mom and baby a chance to rest, but it gives the other kids a chance to do something fun. Whether you take the kids over to your house for a low-key time of movies and snacks or take them out for some big adventure, the kids will enjoy the change of scenery and the mom will appreciate having her load lightened for a while.
* Diapers and/or wipes. I know this isn’t a unique idea, but all babies pee and poop, so any way you can help take care of that will help the family out. If the family is using disposable diapers, then giving diapers in a variety of sizes (babies will soon grow into the bigger sizes and you don’t want the family to have too many of the first size) is a huge money saver. Same with wipes. If the family is using cloth diapers, then you could give them money or a gift card to buy the brand and designs they like or pay for a diaper cleaning service, if that’s something that would appeal to them.
* A nap. A friend once scheduled a time to come over to my house and let me take a nap. She came during a feeding time, then sent me to bed as soon as I was done nursing. She took care of diaper changes and rocked the little W to sleep while I rested.
* A Groupon to Finnegan’s, a local toy store. The intention was to get things for the bigs to play with after the baby was born. We took the kids shopping a week or two before my due date and gave them the option of splitting the money to each get their own things or spending it on something larger they could all use together. They opted for individual items and had fun looking around as they chose what they wanted. We took the bag of toys and put it up in a closet at the time, then pulled it down on a day when the little Ws were getting antsy and I was getting irritable. We pulled the bag down and the rest of the day was awesome.
* Cleaning. Having a friend come over to run the vacuum and give the bathroom a quick cleaning is wonderful! Whether for a sleep-deprived mom who only has littles that aren’t able to help with housework, who is recovering from a hard labor, or has limits on what she can do because of a c-section, doing a little bit of cleaning will allow the mom to relax in a home that isn’t filthy and free up her husband to help in other areas when he gets home from work.
Those are just some of the things that have been done for us, but I’m sure there are other great ideas out there. Traditional gifts are awesome and sometimes we need things that are typically registered for at a store, so don’t bail on those entirely, but the goal is to give a gift that will be a blessing, not a burden. So consider things that are consumable or that are something to do, not something to have. Consider things that don’t require a tired mom to go out and register for things she doesn’t need or want, but that would still be helpful. Remember that what you do for the rest of her family can often be an indirect, but equally meaningful, gift for her.
What are some gifts that were a huge blessing to you, but that weren’t something you’d register for, especially when you had multiple children and didn’t need more stuff in your house? Please leave a comment and share what people have done for you or that you’ve done for other people and you know was appreciated. If you answer on Facebook, then I’ll copy your answer over here for people to easily access later.