Seven years ago, I became a mom.
My son arrived four weeks early, right in time for Mother's Day weekend, so every Mother's Day I remember those difficult first few weeks and months. Having a newborn is an exciting time, but it's also one of the most challenging for new parents.
Friends and family who have gone through it are full of suggestions about feeding, sleeping and soothing a crying baby. I remember that everyone wanted to offer me baby advice, but honestly, I needed help, not helpful hints.
The fact friends and neighbors brought meals and offered support meant so much more. When you're sleep deprived, just the thought of cooking dinner saps your energy. And forget about going grocery shopping, because when you have a newborn, it's hard to find time to even take a shower.
When my son was born, a close friend organized a meal calendar for us. Every other day, friends delivered dinner to our front door. Some people brought food for breakfast and lunch the next day, and some even brought homemade meals to put in our freezer.
One of my husband's co-workers brought us a takeout pizza and a six-pack of beer, which was greatly appreciated. It didn't matter if it was homemade or store bought, because it was a meal that we didn't have to cook ourselves and we were grateful for it all.
Now I know why giving moms the night off from cooking is such a popular Mother's Day tradition.
In addition to providing meals, there were other ways that our friends and family helped. When my mom came to visit, she did all the laundry.
This was a huge help since babies are notorious for adding extra dirty clothes to the laundry pile. Our neighbors offered their support by helping with the yard work and picking up items from the grocery store when needed.
They also sent their teenagers over to clean our house, which was especially nice. All of this was a huge help while my husband and I adjusted to life with a baby in the house.
It's so tempting to offer new parents advice on how to handle parenthood and everything that comes with it, but sometimes it's best to be supportive in other ways. If you know a new parent, deliver a meal or help with an errand.
They'll be immensely grateful and never forget the kindness, even seven years later.
Danielle Hauser is a married mother of two who lives in the Westchase area.