Send Thank-You Notes and Baby Announcements

This week, you can

• Send out your thank-you notes
• Consider safe and sane ways to multitask

I CAN HEAR YOU SAY, “Regina, who cares about thank-you notes at a time like this!” Here’s the deal: Thank-you notes are a gracious gesture. They also help you stay connected to the people who love you. You know, those wonderful people who went out of their way to send a gift or participate in this momentous event in your life.

I think the act of writing thank-you notes, over time, also serves another far more subtle need. Children learn from their parents’ actions more than they do from their words. From time to time when I was a child my father would ask me to do something and I would say, “But, Dad, you don’t do that and neither does Mom!” My father’s words ring in my head to this day: “Do as I say in this instance. Don’t do what I do.” Huh? It was a huge source of confusion for me. Every day you will show your child how to exist in the world. Is there anything more valuable than having manners? So write those notes. Say “please” and “thank you” to everyone you interact with. You want your child to be smart and successful—and it starts with your example.


As a mom, you’ll need to catch snippets of time when Baby is sleeping to perform tasks you might otherwise have simply scheduled in your calendar. Once your baby is on a regular schedule, you’ll have more freedom to make plans. Unfortunately, babies don’t exit the womb with the knowledge that a regular schedule is good for everyone in the family. While the baby is sleeping or perhaps nestled safely and happily in Dad’s arms, you’ll have some time to tackle these notes. The first step is to make a plan. The whole of any project is overwhelming, right? You’re feeling like you have 25,000 thank-you notes to write and you just can’t face it. But once you make a list, you’ll realize it isn’t in fact 25,000 people who need to hear from you. It’s only 17.

Begin by making that list of who is to receive a note from you. Once again, Excel can make it easy, but if you are a yellow legal pad and pen kind of gal, that’s great too! Once you have your list, you’ll need to decide who will be delighted with an e-mail thank you, who could receive a greeting card via e-mail, and who requires a handwritten note. If you’re using Excel you can cut and paste from your master list to create these subcategories; if you’re working by hand, find a way to designate your groups. For example, make a check by those who require a written note and put an asterisk by those who get the greeting card.

If “mommy brain” has set in and you’re a bit fuzzy about who gets thanked for what, ask your partner to refresh your memory or grab that list someone recorded. Make a notation by some names. When you sit down to write the notes it will go quickly. Here’s another tip to help you gain speed.

If Aunt Martha has never met your friend Terry and most likely never will, you can write pretty much the same note to both. Just be sure the gift is mentioned in the body of the note, and be sure it’s the correct gift! This is where e-mail and cyber greeting cards are the quickest ways to go. You can write one message and then tweak it for each recipient.

If you aren’t familiar with sites online that send out greeting cards, there are some listed in the Resources section (page 325). It’s just like shopping at your favorite card store except you’re looking at a computer screen. If you join a site most will keep track of the e-mail addresses of your recipients. Whenever you return for a new card you’ll save time because you won’t have to retype the e-mail address. And most sites also log birthdays and anniversaries so you receive an e-mail reminder. Modern technology really helps you be more thoughtful. Some sites require a yearly membership fee, but it’s cheaper than paper cards over time. The more you use it the more you save.


One thing a mom needs is a stash of cards on hand. You can have a separate file tote just for this purpose or you can use a few of your box bottom hanging file folders. Make a space in your file cabinet. On the tab you put on the box bottom make a label that says “Greeting Cards.” Inside, place separate file folders (in alphabetical order) for whatever categories you feel you will most frequently need.

Here are some common ones:

Get Well
Valentine’s Day

You can personalize your list to suit your interests, culture, or religious affiliation. You’ll find this stash to be a lifesaver. But don’t go out and spend several hundred dollars on cards tomorrow! Build your stash over time.

Are you afraid this is too impersonal a communication? For some it may well be. Your best friend Ginny who already has three kids may groove on such a communication, but your aunt in Michigan wants to hold something in her hands. If you need thank-you notes, shopping for some might be one of your first outings. Perhaps your best friend or sister could run this errand for you. See if your favorite store is online and browse their selection from your laptop. You can send your sidekick your choices via e-mail or just make the purchase online and have them delivered to you.

Should you elect to have someone shop for you and you send them out with the simple directive “Pick up some thank-you cards for me,” be sure you’re delegating to someone whose taste is close to yours.

Keep your phone, laptop, and note cards handy so that when the baby falls asleep you can use those minutes to be productive. Of course you don’t have to be superwoman and make use of every opportunity to work—it’s perfectly OK if you catnap with Baby. Balance is the word. You’ll be in quest of it for the next eighteen years. Remember at the start of our journey when I asked you to drink more water, get some exercise, watch what you ate, and get more sleep? I wanted you to cultivate these as habits because once the baby arrives they will all be crucial to your survival.

Birth, especially your first, is a time of upheaval. If these wonderful habits have gone by the wayside, take some time to consciously reinstate them. They will save your life now and over the long haul. Be mindful when you are multitasking whether you are wisely using down time to serve you or whether you are simply driving your body and mind to a state of exhaustion. Being productive during these precious snippets of time doesn’t mean using every free second to work either. Next week we’re going to consider the things you can do that represent healthy self-care.
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