A few years ago, I ranted hard against a couple who created a list of guidelines for visitors who wanted to stop by and meet their newborn. They were essentially expecting friends and family to barter for an audience with their baby via handouts and housework.
It made little sense that a couple with such bizarre manners and expectations would have anyone visiting them, let alone enough people who it required rules and regulations. After all, this was a generic newborn, not the Pope. It was utterly ridiculous, and my post quickly became one of my most popular pieces.
Most of us felt that the couple was entitled and oblivious. Apparently, they were pioneers!
There isn’t a single new parent who doesn’t need time to adjust to the new reality that a baby brings, or that couldn’t use some help from friends and family – maybe a warm meal or two, or someone to watch the baby while you take a shower – especially in the beginning.
There’s nothing wrong with needing help. But most of us don’t crowdsource for it.
A couple in Philadelphia are doing just that, using a GoFundMe type website called “Meal Train” to ask for assistance in advance of their first child being born. Their page has been deactivated after some backlash, but this being the internet, the content lives on.
The soon-to-be dad (the baby is due on April 29th) wrote a little intro explaining why he’s asking for assistance.
“As the father-to-be, I’m teetering on a fence of emotions,” he wrote. “One of the things I’m most afraid of is not getting a great deal of sleep and as a result not being in the best frame of mind to offer my wife the support she needs to recover from the child-birthing process.”
Newsflash, buddy! Not only will you NEVER get “a great deal of sleep” again, you’ll also never be “in the best frame of mind” ever again either. It’s called suddenly being forced to care for a tiny, fragile human being that can’t do a single thing for itself. It’s overwhelming and scary, for sure, but it’s also the most basic aspect of being a new parent and something you should have thought of before you pulled the goalie.
This is what you signed up for, my friend!
He goes on to lay out exactly what he and his expecting wife “need” from the community, and by “exactly” I mean just that. My man listed more than thirty specific dishes, complete with recipes, that they were hoping people would donate to them! (They “try to avoid sugar” though, so please only use whole, simple foods.) At one point, the almost-dad says he will leave a big cooler outside to collect the food, in case he and his wife aren’t up for visitors at the time. Cool.
Usually when someone crowdsources for assistance, it’s due to high medical bills or a recent tragedy. This couple is crowdsourcing for assistance because they decided to have a kid and are nervous about not getting enough sleep. They don’t want your leftovers, they want meticulously prepared made-to-order meals so they can *checks notes* make it through the same boring, exhausting bullshit that every single parent on earth navigates when they have a kid. Someone should have given them a copy of “What Not To Expect When You’re Expecting!”
Parenting is hard. It fundamentally alters nearly every aspect of your life, it forces you to reallocate your resources and re-prioritize the way you spend your time, and it’s never harder than at the very beginning, when everything changes in a million different ways. Those first few weeks can be pretty hellish, and everybody could use support. God knows I could have used someone to come by and wash the dishes too, as the post requests of people who don’t want to cook – hell, I can use someone to come by and do that right now! – but it never occurred to me to start a website about it.
I don’t know these people, and I don’t know their life or what specific circumstances may make a request like this necessary. But based on the content of their page – and the dude’s recent backpedaling that it was only meant for “friends and family” (he must have lost their email addresses?) – it seems like they’re just tone-deaf and obnoxious. Here’s hoping they wake up before they raise their new baby to grow up the same way.
Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?