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"Sayers" vs. "Doers"




New parents will not ask for help. As I recall, not asking stemmed from not wanting the judgment of being labeled as a "bad" parent or seen as "failing" at parenting, especially by the family matriarch. The family matriarchs are the equivalent to Fortune 500 CEO's. And we, the new parents, are the managers up for promotion, currenty being scrutinized by how we train the new employee, their grandchild. To be viewed as "good" and "natural" parents from the start seems to set the tone for a solid, supportive relationship moving forward. But to be labeled anything else...well...not so much... In the end, whether company CEO or family matriarch, the overarching theme revolves around needing a support system, judgment come what may.


I've categorized support systems into two categories - those who are "sayers" and the other "doers". Let me explain...


Have you ever heard phrases like "You got this" and "I see you" and "It'll get better"? These are the words our loving community members offer, verbalizing daily affirmations as a means of being supportive. But when's the last time an affirmation offered to take the dog for a walk or offered to bring over dinner? They are categorized as "sayers". I'm not judging, we all need a "sayer" in our life. They're quite the experts on providing unsolicited advice on the how-to's of life. But there's a time and place to be a "sayer", and when you're a new parent, you need a "doer". Because if I lose myself completely in the weeds of life, juggling everything from motherhood to marriage to career and beyond, then as much as I want to have the capacity to appreciate words of wisdom, I most likely won't appreciate them as much as the "sayer". At this point, those words are for them, they're not for me. I would, however, certainly appreciate a helping hand, a listening ear or a much preferred personal assistant for a day when I haven't showered or slept in 48 hours.


The "doers" of our community are those who live by the code of "actions speak louder than words." These are the people who truly "see you" and will offer their time and attention. They're often well-seasoned pros at caregiving and will sympathize for new parents who haven't been broken in yet by parenthood. These are the people new parents need, especially in the first 3 months postpartum. But the support shouldn't come to a complete hault after the first 90-days. A system needs to be formed amongst the newly minted family and the "doers" in their lives. A supportive rotation of paying it forward to help the community sustain and thrive. An environment created to insulate the the new comer - a.k.a. newborn baby - until its ready to contribute to the balance of the system. I was greatful for the "doers" of my life when I had them. They would volunteer their time to watch my kids while I worked, cooked or ran errands. But just as important as the time offered, they never made me feel guilty or as if I undervalued them in any way when I had little or nothing to give in return for their efforts other than a "thank you". I never forgot it though, how it made me feel at the end of the day. As time went on, when coming across a new family, paying the favor forward was an honor and a privilege.


I challenge you, the reader, to categorize yourself - are you a "sayer" or a "doer"? Should you find yourself in the category of a "sayer" - firstly, thank you for being honest and secondly, allow me to guide your transformation into a "doer".


You'll begin by first exercising a change of response. For instance, the next time your community member is elbows deep in the woes of parenthood, here are some acceptable responses you can try:

1) "what time works for me to stop by"

2)"I'm coming over"

3)"expect me to be there by..." and

4)"I'll drop off at this time".


Each of these responses are acceptable as long as they're followed-up with action. Here are some acceptable action items - offering meals, pick-up or drop-off the older kids to school, pick up groceries, watch the baby so the parents can take a shower in peace or get some uninterrupted sleep; offer to clean a room in the house or fold some laundry. 30-minutes to an hour is not a lot of time to dedicate. I promise, these daily items are much more appreciated beyond words.


So to all the "sayers" of the world ready to transform into a "doer", you got this.

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