3 practical ways to give back as a new mom

Giving to others has always been an important part of my life. It’s how I was raised. As a new mom, giving back has taken on new meaning. 5 months into this parenting gig and the following is never lost on me.

I’m so blessed to welcome a baby with the following realities:

a) having grown up in a healthy family environment
b) a supportive and very helpful partner
c) not stressed about finances
d) being blessed by friends, family and our church community with clothing and baby items

How lucky am I to have not only have a few of the above but all four as my reality? Being a new mom is HARD. And I’m operating out of abundance. This has got me thinking about those who don’t have half of the support that I do.  How can I give out of my abundance and bless a mom who is struggling? The following is what I’ve come up with so far but if you can to this list please do (leave a comment!).

  1. Donate your baby gift bags to your local Pregnancy Centre. I’m not kidding when I say that I had 100 gift bags that were baby related from my showers or gifts people gave us after baby was born. There’s only so many baby showers that I will attend in the future so there’s no way that I would reuse all of them. I called up a Pregnancy Centre and they were glad to take some of those gift bags off my hands. They plan to re-use them when giving presents to clients. This is a much better alternative to letting the gift bags collect dust or throwing them out (as they were in excellent condition).
  2. You may receive doubles of some baby items or baby items that you find that you don’t need. Most communities have an emergency shelter for women and children that is happy to receive donations. Consider giving to your local women’s shelter any unused or like new baby items! (I personally feel its important for these items to be in good condition. I have a personal rule: if I wouldn’t give it to a co-worker or friend based on its condition, I won’t give it to someone just ’cause they are poor. I love giving new or next to new items away! I want my donation to make someone smile with how awesome it is).
  3. Donate diapers. Example: when your baby outgrows a diaper size but you’ve already opened a box. Or the diapers you were using just aren’t working right anymore. Your local women’s shelter will be happy to receive a donation of diapers!

I’m sure there are many other ways to give back as a new mom. Yes, giving of our time and resources can be a little more tricky as a busy mom but it’s not an impossible task. Recognizing that we are rich/blessed/well-off is a start in then wanting to give some of that way. We are blessed to be a blessing!

And just in case you don’t think that you’re rich, read the following to assess:

 If you have a bank account, some money in your wallet, you belong to the to 8% of the wealthiest people in the world
Source: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (UNCTAD)

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Do you want to get started in giving back?

How to make the most of your maternity leave

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Our baby is 10 weeks old, it’s hard to believe that if we lived in the States I would have been back to work for 1 month now (average maternity leave in the US is 6 wks). Yikes. My heart seriously goes out to everyone with short maternity leaves. We are spoiled rotten in Canada to get 1 year off and even then many of my friends really struggle to go back to work.

The thought hit me a couple of weeks ago that I’m so very blessed to get a year off with my baby. It’s truly a gift. My philosophy in life is that we are blessed to be a blessing (it does us no good to hoard). With that in mind, I want to make the most of my time while off on maternity leave. I want to give back and be a blessing to others as a result. I gave myself the first 6 weeks as “survival” weeks. Nothing expected or required of me. Just keep baby alive. I then decided that if women in the States were returning to work after 6 weeks, I had better start doing something. It was time to challenge myself to make the most of maternity leave.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s still very hard to do much of anything while taking care of a young baby. She doesn’t have a regular schedule by any stretch. But by 6 weeks, I figured I could start adding little things to my week that may enhance my life and bless others. At 10 weeks, I’m still figuring this out. I haven’t arrived and will have to do an updated post at the end of my maternity leave. But for now…here’s what I’ve been attempting:

1) Make time for my spiritual health each day. Instead of reading a children’s book to our baby, I’ll read a very short devotional (Our Daily Bread). It’s starting the process of reading to our child and making time for my batteries to be re-charged. Every so often, I’ve also watched a Christian or motivational on youtube while feeding her and been encouraged.

2) Encourage one person per week. This is the minimum. This can look like going to visit someone with our baby, writing someone a card, sending someone a “thinking of you” text that’s meaningful.

3) Journal. I have a personal journal in addition to blogging. Between the two, I hope to capture this time and to grow personally as a result. Some days I don’t get to write at all, other days I jot down a thought really quickly, and other days I have the time to write. I feel it’s important to write both as a means of remembering, processing, sharing, and growth.

I’d love other ideas in regards to how to make the most of maternity leave. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!