How to Be the Most Helpful Slave You Can Be for Me and My Baby

This afternoon a tipster forwarded us a Facebook post and link to a Google Doc, composed by a new mother, laying out some ground rules for the friends who will serve her.

Written in the kind of direct, uncompromising language you might use when teaching a dog to sit (assuming you wanted to lose that dog as a friend) it is billed as a list of "helpfuls."

In the same way that a landowning gentleman in the antebellum South might have listed, "plow the field at dawn," as a "'helpful.'"

Below, a brief catalog of the ways in which you will be permitted to serve the Makers of the Baby:

1. Ask me what I want and then bring me what I want.

1. Ask us what groceries we need around the house and bring them to us. We likely need toilet paper and milk.

2. Prepare me a strange and beautiful salad but do not dress it in that fucked up way you do.

2. Drop off a big super greek salad with grilled chicken. We will dress it ourselves at home. Or, drop off frozen homemade food like lasagna we can reheat later.

*Allergies/intolerances include: Soy anything (including tempeh and tofu), carrageenan, guar gum, gum acacia, xanthan gum, carob bean gum (anything with the word GUM in it), lentils — Please read labels. Many of these ingredients are in store bought food.

3. Remind me what it's like to be a baby by "putting me to bed." Clean the litter box while I dream.

3. Come over at about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then complete one or more household chores, such as:
-fold laundry
-scoop the litter box
-take [our dog] for a well deserved walk or run around the neighborhood or park
-clean the kitchen or the bathroom
-vacuum

4. Clean my fridge and DO NOT HASSLE ME while you do it. Make me breakfast beforehand because I get hungry, too.

4. Come over at 10am, make me eggs, toast, and ½ a grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw anything out that you doubt — don't ask me, just use your best judgment. Clean the kitchen stove and the kitchen floor.

5. Come over in your work clothes and QUIETLY clean my home, including the litter box because I know you didn't clean it the last time I told you to. Don't talk to me while you clean. I am tired (of your talking).

5. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum, dust, clean the litter box, and then leave quietly. It might be too tiring for me to chat and entertain, but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to a clean, organized space.

6. Finally, a job for dogs like you: Walk my dog, you dirty old dog.

6. Take [our dog] for a well-deserved long walk or run around our neighborhood or Prospect Park.

7. I don't know how many goddamn times I have to say it: CLEAN. THE. LITTER. BOX.

7. Come over to fold laundry or clean and give [Parent] a break so she can go enjoy some r & r, go to a coffee shop, a bar, or something else fun. Vacuum and fold more laundry. Clean the litter box.

8. Take out the trash. I'm talking about you. But, on second thought, do empty every trash basket in the house on your way out.

8. Make a giant pot of vegetable soup in our kitchen and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Then take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house. Reline the kitchen garbage can with a fresh bag.

For your reference, the entire document, pasted below:

We are beginning to settle into a routine with our sweet baby girl and have visitors. [Parent] and I put together a list of "helpfuls" if you would like to come over and help us out during this transitional period into parenthood. Please visit this google doc:

Dear friends and family,

The following helpful list are the kind things that we will remember and appreciate forever. This is what [Parent]'s body and soul needs, and will be most helpful for our bonding with the baby. By devoting just a few hours doing one of these things, we will get the support and rest we need with our newborn in the house.

Love,
[Two Chill Parents]

1. Ask us what groceries we need around the house and bring them to us. We likely need toilet paper and milk.

2. Drop off a big super greek salad with grilled chicken. We will dress it ourselves at home. Or, drop off frozen homemade food like lasagna we can reheat later.

*Allergies/intolerances include: Soy anything (including tempeh and tofu), carrageenan, guar gum, gum acacia, xanthan gum, carob bean gum (anything with the word GUM in it), lentils — Please read labels. Many of these ingredients are in store bought food.

3. Come over at about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then complete one or more household chores, such as:
-fold laundry
-scoop the litter box
-take [our dog] for a well deserved walk or run around the neighborhood or park
-clean the kitchen or the bathroom
-vacuum

4. Come over at 10am, make me eggs, toast, and ½ a grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw anything out that you doubt — don't ask me, just use your best judgment. Clean the kitchen stove and the kitchen floor.

5. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum, dust, clean the litter box, and then leave quietly. It might be too tiring for me to chat and entertain, but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to a clean, organized space.

6. Take [our dog] for a well-deserved long walk or run around our neighborhood or Prospect Park.

7. Come over to fold laundry or clean and give [Parent] a break so she can go enjoy some r & r, go to a coffee shop, a bar, or something else fun. Vacuum and fold more laundry. Clean the litter box.

8. Make a giant pot of vegetable soup in our kitchen and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Then take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house. Reline the kitchen garbage can with a fresh bag.

[Photos via Shutterstock]