Let go of expectations of baby thank you notes
After my first son was born, I spent a lot of time writing thank you notes. While my baby was napping, I wrote thank you notes. When my husband was holding our newborn, I wrote thank you notes. And when I wasn’t writing thank you notes, I felt guilty for the pile of baby thank you notes that hadn’t been written yet.
Sure, my husband helped out with some of the notes, but he didn’t seem to feel the same pressure as I did to get those notes out.
Society likes to impose expectations and “duties” on new moms, most of which are contradictory or impossible. One of those outdated and unrealistic expectations is the one that tells us we should send thank you notes, rapidly. After all, aren’t we grateful for the generosity of others?
Here’s the Thing: New Moms are grateful. We are also exhausted and confused. We are concerned about feeding schedules and safe sleep recommendations. We can barely think straight, let alone put pen to paper in coherent expressions of gratitude. Some days, we’re barely hanging on by a thread.
Related: This Is What It’s Like To Be A New Mom
Some of us, like me after my first baby was born, spend time we should be sleeping writing thank you notes to ease the guilt we would feel for not sending them. Some of us don’t send them and still feel guilty. Others don’t send thank you notes — or take their time doing so — and are secretly judged by people who still expect a note.
Can we all agree that new moms shouldn’t be required to send thank you notes?
It might take a bit of a shift in mindset to recognize that true expressions of gratitude aren’t born out of obligation. And we can be very grateful for something and also unable to express that gratitude.
One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned over the years is that we should do things because of how they make us feel. not because we hope to be thanked. If we give gifts, whether to a new mother or for a child’s birthday or whatever, we must do so with a generous heart, not because we want or should be thanked for it. In fact, some of the gifts I’ve given have been the most appreciated, for which I’ve never received a thank you note.
These days, every time I send a baby gift, I try to include a note that says “no thank you note necessary”. It may be presumptuous, but I want new moms to know that they’re not expecting to send one. The real gift is letting a new mom (or an experienced mom, for that matter) know that it’s okay to let go of those outdated and unrealistic expectations placed on moms.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate all the generosity that comes our way. Nor does it mean that we should not express our Acknowledgement. What this means is that we should give up the expectation that gratitude will only be expressed by a timely handwritten note.
Related: 14 Ways to *Really* Help a New Mom
So release the pressure to send a thank you note for all those baby gifts. Send a quick text message instead. Or send your friends and family a photo that says something like, “Because you love me, you know how grateful I am to you.” If you really want to send a handwritten note, take your time.
And if you’re attending a baby shower or sending a gift to a new mom, consider writing a little note that says, “Give yourself some time or sleep, and please don’t send a note of thank you for this gift. “Believe me, the new mom will be more grateful than any word on a card could ever express.
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