Although no offers for free baby-sitting have arrived for Cathy Zoretic, 34, of Park Crossing, offers for meals have.
Zoretic just had her third son, Liam, three weeks ago, making three younger than age 3 in her household. Liam joins older brothers Nicholas, 3, and Aiden, 21 months.
The offers for meals come from neighbors and a group called Support Suppers, run by co-chairs Amy Lehtonen, 34, and Kristin Bordeaux, 32.
Lehtonen and Bordeaux have led Support Suppers since September. Since assuming those positions, Lehtonen said, the group has provided meals to about a dozen families.
"Support Suppers is great because that part of your day at least is set, and you don't have to think ahead. It cuts down on how long you have to spend at the supermarket," Zoretic said, which is good because younger children will "only cooperate so long."
Lehtonen had her daughter, Mackenzie, two years ago, and with her second child due in July she understands how hectic life can become for new parents. Bordeaux also has a child: a son, Ben, 2.
The goal of making things easier for new moms means most of the meals are the type that can be popped straight into the oven, Bordeaux said.
Zoretic's first meal was taco salad, followed by chicken potpie - son Nicholas' favorite.
"It's a huge help," Zoretic said. "I don't have to figure out a time tonight to start dinner."
Time, she said, is one of the hardest things to manage. "The hardest part of my day is probably getting everyone dressed and either out the door or into their bed at the right time."
"So far, being a mother of three under 3 is an adventure. It's exciting, we have a lot of fun," Zoretic said with a smile.
Lehtonen and Bordeaux, already good friends, decided to head Support Suppers after Mackenzie was born, when Lehtonen received meals.
"Kristin usually can find out about the new moms, and then we'll contact them," Lehtonen said. "Then I'll put a schedule together. Most of them will take any day, any time. ... It seems like they're so overwhelmed."
The two also use takethemameal.com, a website where new moms can post information such as their favorite dishes, food allergies, and when they'd like meals.
The website "cuts down on having to call the mom a lot or try to send her e-mails, because she's not checking e-mails a lot," Bordeaux said. "It's more at her convenience."
New moms typically are grateful for the meals, Lehtonen said. "It is so overwhelming being a new mom, especially if you've got another kid or even with your first kid."
Not sure what to expect and coming home from the hospital makes things like worrying about what to make for dinner stressful, Lehtonen said.
The success of Support Suppers and its impact on new moms' lives is truly a bonding experience for neighbors.
"With the neighborhood being so big, there's a lot of people who don't know about the Support Suppers, or they feel bad about asking," Lehtonen said.
"We have to rely on other people to tell us," added Bordeaux.