As you may know, I currently live in Los Angeles, California. What you may not know is that I moved out here in December, 2005, after leaving my 65-hour per week marketing job in Atlanta to accept an hourly position as an account manager at a startup in Santa Monica. I was overworked, underpaid, and ready to shake things up.
Although I was stepping way outside of my social and geographic comfort zone, ironically it was something of a comfort to know that at least in this new role I would get paid time and a half for any overtime hours that I accrued. That fact, combined with a distinct absence of humidity (or precipitation in general), was all the encouragement I needed at the time to pack up my little Honda CRV and move clear across the country.
At the time of my arrival I did not know a single soul here in sunny California, and I’ve spent the last 9 years trailblazing in my career as well as cultivating a handful of really wonderful (if not sometimes unconventional) friendships. One of those friendships involves a remarkable gal by the name of Carol Cooper.
Carol is a successful boss lady who has a wicked sense of humor, a fondness for great wine, and a covetable career in the entertainment industry. She also very recently gave birth to a bouncing baby girl named Avery Jacklyn. While most of my friends back home in Atlanta have already expanded their families to the tune of 2-4 children by now, it has been a fairly recent development for my peer group in Los Angeles to start procreating with any regularity.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the gifts above:
1. Dammit Doll. Let’s face it, nobody is Zen 24/7 and being a new mom is going to test even the most patient woman. When frustrations seem a little too hard to handle, scientists say that finding a way to laugh leads to a happier life. The Dammit Doll is about releasing your pent-up negative energy. And they come in tons of fun colors and patterns, so they will match any new mom’s nursery!
2. Jelly Strands Teething Necklace. Your new mom friend is going to be covered in drool, vomit, and god knows what else. At least she can do it in style with this statement necklace made of food-grade silicone that baby can safely gum.
3. Gourmet chocolate. Chocolatier Blue makes gorgeous and tasty chocolate in wild flavors like Chili, Grapefuit with Rosemary, Vanilla Rum, Mojito, Sangria and Lemon Verbena. And they deliver.
4. A manicure or pedicure service. You could offer to babysit while your new mom friend steps out for some fresh air and a mani/pedi, but it’s equally likely that she will not be ready to leave her little one yet. In that case, setting up a time for a mani/pedi technician to visit her at home could be a convenient option that still allows her to feel pampered without leaving baby.
– Another option is on-demand, in-home massage therapy. Zeel.com is a new company that is said to be the “Uber” of massage therapy. All therapists are handpicked, licensed, and insured.
Use code: Z8SYK when you book to save $25 off your first Zeel massage service. Current service areas include: New York, South Florida, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles, with more being added all the time.
5. Diaper & Wipes Bundle Delivery. Gift her with a diapers & wipes delivery from The Honest Company, which includes a one-month supply of premium, eco-friendly, super absorbent diapers (in adorable patterns!) and all natural wipes. The delivery service starts at $79.95/month and you can even schedule multiple months if you like.
6. Hire a cleaning service to tidy up her home.
7. Bring her some overpriced coffee or tea from one of the recognizable chain brands. Take her order beforehand and then schedule a time to bring it by for her, personal assistant-style. Dad might appreciate one too! Most moms abide by doctor’s recommendation of not exceeding more than 2 cups of coffee per day, but you can always bring her a fresh juice, smoothie, or decaf version of her favorite drink if she would prefer. It will be a welcome treat and grounding reminder that there is still a world outside of the 24/7 feeding, changing, and worrying marathon.
8. Batiste Dry Shampoo. New mom isn’t going to have a lot of “me time” and may have to forego the occasional shower. To help her weather those tough days, a little dry shampoo can go a long way.
9. Sushi or some other forbidden food. One of my favorite things to do is bring some really fresh sushi to the hospital post-delivery, obviously letting her know your plan to do so beforehand. If she isn’t a fan of raw fish, bring something else that she’s been craving for the last 9+ months but couldn’t consume because it was not on the list of approved pregnancy foods. You can also schedule some food delivery via GrubHub.com.
10. Oversized and super comfy sweatpants. This is likely to be part of her new mom uniform for the immediate future. Go for oversized and let her use the drawstring to adjust them as necessary. She may have another pair, but I suspect there won’t be much time for laundry so your XL gift will probably come in handy.
11. The BS button. Because, let’s face it, sometimes you just gotta call it.
12. Sugar Mama gift set from Sugarfina. Not only is it adorable, but it’s luxuriously packaged, chewy, and sweet. Plus they ship it right to her door.
13. Set up a Meal Baby account for her. She’s going to be so toasted herself that she won’t even have the energy to butter a piece of toast. Be a super-friend and create a meal calendar complete with a list of her favorite foods, gift card options, contact information, maps and directions. Choose friends and family to e-mail that will help make meals, deliver food or purchase a restaurant gift card or chef-prepared meal gift. It’s not a bad idea to coordinate this with new mom before baby arrives.
14. Boppy Travel Pillow. She probably got a My Brest Friend feeding pillow at her baby shower, but that thing isn’t very portable. The Boppy Travel Pillow is a smaller travel version of a feeding/propping baby pillow that zips closed to convert into an easy-to-carry bag with a shoulder strap for on-the-go.
15. Medela Hydrogel Pads. If she is going to be breastfeeding, my new mom friends swear by these hydrogel pads that are cooling and soothing, and reusable for up to 24 hours.