When each of my first two grandchildren was born, I went to help my son and his wife for the first week or so. I did all the things my mother had done for me: keeping up with the laundry, fixing meals and filling the freezer, sweeping floors and doing dishes. My third grandchild, however, arrived just days before the nation shut down because of Covid-19—and all the help I wanted to give was impossible.
Luckily, I had visited the month before and the freezer was full for the first couple of weeks after the baby arrived. But as time has worn on, I’ve looked for ways to help without actually being there. If you can’t be where help is needed, there are a variety of services that can fill in for you. Read on for some services you can offer to arrange if your grandbaby’s parents are open to them.
Meal prep services abound, and there is one for every budget and palate. The most popular, such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, still require quite a bit of time in the kitchen. However, there are a few that cut out even prep time. Freshly and Factor both offer fully cooked, ready to heat meals that are not frozen. Gobble and Fresh and Easy both require cooking, but all the prep work is done so most meals can be on the table in minutes. Dream Dinners in another option: in some markets, meals can be ordered and delivered to your door. Yumble is a service that offers meals especially developed for kids.
While some new parents may be leery of having anyone in their home during the pandemic, most home-cleaning services are taking extra precautions to provide safe service right now. National companies such as Merry Maids and MaidPro seem to vary widely in their reviews depending on the franchise. Your best bet is to look on Yelp for “House Cleaning Services” in the zip code where your son or daughter lives.
Before washing machines were invented, sending out your laundry was standard in most middle-class homes. Almost every town has a dry cleaners or laundromat that offers “wash, dry and fold”, and many offer pick up and delivery. For this search start with Google and type in “laundry service” with the zip code. Prices are usually calculated per pound.
Of course, not everyone can afford to help by paying for these services. But as I pointed out to my daughter-in-law when I hired a sleep consultant, it cost less than a trip to visit would have, and the investment turned out to be priceless.
As always, make sure you find out what help the family is comfortable accepting and are clear about what you are offering. A simple “I was thinking about ways I could still help out, and I wonder if any of these things would be useful to you” is a great way to get the conversation started.
Do you have any other ideas? I’d love to hear them!