Hello. I Love You. Will You Please Go Away.

One of the most difficult aspects of having kids for me, wasn’t the pushing, the nappy changing or the sleepless nights, but dealing with a steady stream of guests. I had had a rough couple of births, and ended up with stitches in all quarters. In hospital, I didn’t really notice visitors; I was dosed up on morphine, and brusque nurses dealt with anyone who overstayed their welcome. However, once I got home, things weren’t quite as easy.

Of course, all my guests were ace. However, some guests were more ace than others.

Here are five ways to be a good visitor, or five ways to gently encourage your visitors to behave.

1 Hospital visitor? Bring a basket of cakes. My sister-in-law is pretty much the most awesome sister-in-law it’s possible to have. Not only did she get me breastfeeding, but she also brought in a basket of cakes for the nurses, cleaners and midwives. Happy nurses, happy cleaners and happy midwives meant that I got breakfast brought to me if I was in pain, and a cheery smile from all the staff. Thanks sister-in-law.

2 At home visitor? Offer a specific form of help. And make good on it. Rather than “Oh, I’d love to babysit sometime” (uh, probably not for a few months, dude), aim for “Here are two frozen curries I made you. Use them when you can’t be arsed to cook.” My friend did this. She was a lifesaver.

3 Make a round of tea. OK, so you can’t cook, or don’t have the time. Offer to make some hot drinks and you’ll be rewarded in heaven. Or at least down the pub with a pint at some far off point in the future.

4 Offer to babysit right then. There is no sweeter sound to a fraught new mum than, “You go and have a bath, I’ll look after the baby(ies).” If it wasn’t for my amazing mum coming to help out with household tasks and babycare, I would have been a stinking mess ball.

5 Don’t overstay your welcome. One of my dear old chums and wise mum-of-three was in town for a conference. She swung by, dropped off flowers and presents, kissed the nippers, and was out of the door within half an hour. I still remember her visit fondly now.

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