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Newborn? No Thank You

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Guest blogger NorEastMom: Do you really have to write "Thank You" notes when you're getting barfed on every two hours, or is this a female standard we can change?

busy new mom cooking on the phone holding baby

When you have a new baby, presents naturally come flooding in. Sometimes it's even hard to find that new child amidst the gift bags, tissue paper and "I Pood" T-shirts. Of course, every mom is grateful for yet another packet of face cloths -- I get it, I'm in charge of washing this human, thanks. But, sometimes it's daunting to think that you must fit in all that thank-you card writing in between the nursing, sitz baths, diaper changes and chafed nipple care.

This is exactly why my friends and I started "No Thank You" gifts for newborns. This is when you specifically state in the card, "Please do not take the time to write a thank you ... instead, do something for mommy." Fathers that read this note think it means, go for a pedicure. Moms that write the note mean: shower your inevitable stink off, change your sour milk shirt, eat some form of food, drink a fluid, or maybe even empty that bladder that has been so neglected for the past six hours. So, our group has gifted our friends with "get out of jail free" cards in this instance. And I am all for the rest of America supporting the cause.

Why can we just decide that its fair and acceptable? After all, women set the standard. Most of us recognize that our husbands do not see the necessity of writing thank you notes under any circumstance. Case in point: I witnessed this conversation one day after my husbands work buddies chipped in $200 (!) for a guy's birthday present:
Steve: Hey, thanks for that money you put on my desk last month. I bought a new tuna rod.
Rob: Cool.
Steve: Tell the other guys.
Rob: No problem.

WHAT???!!! And yet here we are, newborn infant falling helplessly into our armpit, suckling for dear life, while notes and envelopes are splayed around us on the couch and we're silently weeping that all we had to eat today was a cheese stick. Ladies, we're the ones who hold each other to these standards, let's STOP THE MADNESS! If you get a chance to phone, drop an email, or send a baby pic on the computer, then you should be more than covered. Even if one of your breasts is hanging out as you accomplish this.

Etiquette maven Emily Post says that if a gift is opened in front of the donor, no thank you is necessary. Further, her guidelines state in the case of a family death or loss, as long as the person giving a condolence card specifically states, "you do not have to write me a thank you" then you're off the hook. So I'm sure the same can be said for new moms. Momlogic designed a printable "No thank you" coupon to insert in your next newborn gift. Let's start a trend! A revolution! An uprising! The next time you haven't showered or slept in six days because of your baby, you'll be snoozing instead of licking stamps.

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12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 8, 2008, 10:33 AM

Fabulous! Thanks Momlogic for those handy card inserts. One of the most fun things you can do to thank someone in another way is to put on that cute outfit they gave you for baby when you see them.

Amy October 8, 2008, 11:58 AM

LAZY!!! Seriously, it takes about a minute and a half to write a few lines showing appreciation. I had TWINS and still wrote thanks you’s. Get real, this is one of the problems with our society going downhill. Some traditions that go the heart of being grateful and respectful are being poo-pooed because everyone thinks they are too busy. Be honest, you think this should fly because you just don’t feel like taking the time to write thank-yous.

Anonymous October 8, 2008, 1:24 PM

Thank you cards should be abolished anyway. In this day and age, we should be saving money and conserving paper. It’s an old fashioned tradition invented before phones and email.

Anonymous October 8, 2008, 2:19 PM

After my recent shower, I had to take the perfect photo of the baby, order the cards, and now finish filling them out — all with a new child at home. I have to tell you, I feel like a loser not having them out by now … I wish they weren’t necessary BUT I’m so appreciative to all my friends, I would NEVER think of skipping them.

M.Rogers October 8, 2008, 3:08 PM

I love this idea. It sounds like you have a great group of friends who understand the stresses of motherhood. This is not lazy, this is absolute wonderful. I do love the idea of putting the outfit on the baby when you see your friend. Come on girls, do we really need one more thing to take on!? The way I see it is if you get mad or annoyed at a new mom for not sending you a thank you card, then you are either not a mom or not her friend. Another great article from NorEastMom! Kuddos!

Katie October 8, 2008, 7:46 PM

I did thank you cards when I had my daughter.. and I don’t intend on doing it again! Especially since most of the gifts, the people who gave them were there when I opened them.

I have every intention of sending thank you cards for my (eventual) wedding, but only to people who are NOT there for the gift opening. And for my 2nd baby, I will only send cards out to people who had to send a gift, if they were present when I open it, no card needed.

Mrs. R. October 8, 2008, 11:12 PM

I have tried to do this with all my friend’s babies since I had my own, and STILL I get thank you cards. Adorable ones too with thoughtful and sweet and personal notes. Good gracious - isn’t anyone as disorganized or exhausted or emotionally drained as I was when I had my baby?
I write thank you notes for everything, and took certain pride in getting all of our wedding ones done within 2 weeks of our ceremony… but after my daughter was born, it took me MONTHS to get them done!
To the poster who said it takes a minute and a half - mine don’t. Mine are actual thoughtful messages of appreciation and little hints of what I will use the gift for in my home. Mine take at least 5 minutes to write. That might sound like a little amount of time, but when you have 50 to do, and only 15 minutes to yourself at any given point during the day, it’s low priority.
Did anyone else take a hit to their self esteem when they couldn’t get the thank you cards done fast enough? It’s probably just me. I’m crazy like that.

Anna October 9, 2008, 12:36 PM

i dont know about everyone else, but I dont feel it is necissary to give out cards. I have participated in many of my freinds and relatives baby showers and never once received a thankyou card… Am i mad? Absolutly not, most of the time they thank me when i give it, or next time we run into each other. I am all one for protocal, but sending a note saying thankyou is so less personal and much less meaningful.

Momma October 9, 2008, 7:47 PM

This might be the best thing I’ve ever read! The suggestion is not to completely disregard the gift-giver, but to acknowledge their generosity in an equally personal yet less laborous way. Time and sleep are hard to come by, and adjustments are difficult (for some more then others) after a new baby comes home. And mommy of twins - you got off easy! You got to send 2 thank yous in one note. Not so for fools like me that keep popping out one kid at a time!

Anonymous October 9, 2008, 8:31 PM

oh, Momma… you are no doubt gonna send Amy into a rant now. I’m peeing in my pants on that one, “she got off easy!” But you’re right, she’s written half the thank you’s I have, since my two kids were singles!

Colleen November 3, 2008, 3:07 PM

I think it all depends on how well you know the person who gave you the gift. I got shower gifts from my MIL’s friends whom I’d never met, so I sent them a note. When my sister in law gave me a thank-you for her shower gift, I was actually kind of insulted by the formality. I felt like, “We’re FAMILY! You don’t need to send me a note!” If someone is your good friend,they probably don’t expect you to write them a note anyway.

Claire November 19, 2008, 9:53 AM

Great idea. My son is almost 2 and I still feel guilty about not sending Thank You cards for gifts received not only before he was born/when he was born, but also for his Xmas and b’day!! I’ve had a hard first 2 years to be honest, and most of my friends and family know that, so prob understand about the lack of thank you cards, but I still feel bad about it (esp when new mums mangage to post them a month after their new baby has arrived!! Grrrr!).

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