Supporting Fellow Parents: 10 Ways YOU Can Help

This post is sponsored by our friends at Socialstars and Minute Maid as part of the #doingood #minutemaid campaign. All opinions are my own.

Chances are if you are friends with someone who is a parent, at some point he or she could use some extra help. Parenting is hard work. Even when both parents are actively involved with raising the kids, the days can be long and overwhelming. And if one parent needs to leave — whether it be for a planned extended business trip or an unexpected emergency — you could have a recipe for an even more stressful situation. The good news is that if you are friends with a fellow parent who happens to be in need of a bit of support, there are several meaningful ways in which you can help let them know they’re #doingood!

A few years ago when my father was dying of cancer, I left Mark at home with our kids (who were 2 and 6 years old at the time) so I could spend those last few weeks in the hospital to be with my dad. I did not know how long I would be gone, and I had to leave quite suddenly.

Supporting Fellow Parents: 10 Ways You Can Help

That was when the series of unfortunate events began to unfold.

My father passed away in late October, just 2 days before Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast. My parents lived in New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas. My mom came home to endure a hurricane that took down several very large trees in the yard. Thousands of us on the East Coast were left without power for many days. Mark’s parents came to watch the kids while we planned to go to NJ for my dad’s funeral. The plans for my dad’s memorial services were up in the air as we dealt with road closures and damage from the storm. Thankfully, power was restored just hours before the services began.

Supporting Fellow Parents: 10 Ways You Can Help

When we returned from the funeral, we were physically exhausted from all the stress and grief. That night Clara told us her ankle was hurting. We gave her some medicine and thought she just had normal growing pains. The next day, she had a high fever and was screaming in pain yelling that her bones hurt. We took her to the ER and she was admitted to the hospital for several tests. It turned out that she had synovitis, an inflammation of the synovial fluid in her hip causing extreme pain. Thankfully, she responded well to over the counter medication and made a full recovery after about a week.

Mark and I will always be grateful for our friends who helped us through that dark time. Neither one of us likes to ask for help, but thankfully we didn’t need to because we were fortunate to be surrounded by caring friends who seemed to know just what to do. Our friends helped us remember that if you care and worry, then you’re #doingood.

Here are 10 of our favorite ways YOU can support a parent whose spouse is away, and recognize they’re #doingood:

1. Send Meals

My blogging friends from the 20 Must Follow Moms quickly organized meal deliveries for our family. A big thank you to Maggy from Red Ted Art and Rachel from Kids Activities Blog for collecting funds and making phone calls to place delivery orders with our local restaurants. Not having to prepare dinner for a couple of weeks was such a blessing because it helped us to get back on our feet again, and helped us feel like we were still #doingood feeding our girls.

Supporting Fellow Parents: 10 Ways You Can Help


2. Offer to Watch the Kids — Be Specific and Reliable

A big thank you to my friend Kimberly for this one. Knowing that Mark would not be one to ask for help, she came to the door and offered to take the kids to her place for a few hours so the kids could play in the snow. She even treated them to a trip to a café, which my kids still remember to this day. It’s ok to ask for help – you’re still #doingood!

Supporting Fellow Parents: 10 Ways You Can Help

3. Snow Removal or Lawn Care

A HUGE help! Our friends Scott and Allison were such a big with with this. Scott helped Mark take care of the snow removal, and Allison helped watch the kids for a few hours. Such a blessing!

4. Surprise Goodies

Drop off a basket of fruit, muffins, or other treats at the front door. Send a text message to let your friend know that it is there.

5. Offer to Pick Up Groceries, Diapers, or Other Supplies

The next time you plan a visit to the grocery store, check to see if your friend could use any milk, eggs, bread, or other groceries. Offer to buy diapers, tissues, or toilet paper.

6. Walk the Dog

Another HUGE help! Is your friend a cat owner? Offer to clean the litter box. Helping with the smallest of tasks can give a parent the boost they need to remember that they’re #doingood.

7. Car Pool Rides for Kids’ Activities

Offer to drive the kids to and from soccer practice, violin, dance lessons, etc. Show up on time.

8. Return Library Books or Refill Prescriptions

No task is too small, and this will help your friend save time and energy.

9. Show Up with Coffee. And Chocolate.

Because. Coffee. And also, chocolate.

10. Offer to Mop Floors. Ask to Do Laundry.

I will never forget when my friend Allison came to the house with cleaning supplies and scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors. Such a show of love and support!

Supporting Fellow Parents: 10 Ways You Can Help

No one likes to ask for help, but there are little things we can do each day to support one another and remind each other that if you care and worry, then you’re #doingood. I really appreciated the support of Maggy, Scott and Allison; they helped me to remember that.

Take a moment and tell another parent out there that he or she is #doingood — let’s celebrate all the good things other parents do to care for their children and help each other out. Parenting is hard work, but it can be a bit easier on days when we have support from one another.