“If you need anything just call.”
That was the one phrase that always stuck with me during focus groups on isolation.
People say it all the time. But, come to find out, with its flippant frequency of use, the receiver rarely feels comfortable actually accepting the offer, thinking it was merely a passing statement, not a commitment.
Research met the real world last month as I was planning a baby shower for my good friend Jodie.
Research – and practical experience – shows that the birth of a child can trigger isolation (i.e.: put you at higher risk for feeling isolated and alone.) This particular friend is having twins so I suspect that risk is even higher. (Dare I say double?)
While planning her shower, I knew it was time to come up with a new ‘baby shower game’ where the mom-to-be is always the winner and the phrase, “If you need anything just call,” is met with serious consideration by friends and family.
The activity was set up just in front of the entrance where all guests could see. Instructions were presented on a banner and read:
With a perfect pair on the way, [the parents] are going to need a lot of diapers and a lot of love…
Think: How can I show [the parents] the love?
Here are some ideas:
- 2 hour nap (while I watch the babies)
- 2 hours of help around the house (your choice)
- 1 afternoon of companionship and conversation
- 1 family dinner (delivered to your home)
- 1 snowstorm clean-up
- Date night! (I’ll baby-sit)
Make a coupon [the parents] can redeem.
Don’t forget to add:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- An expiration date
Follow-up: After the perfect pair is born, remind [the parents] it’s time to cash in!
(The theme was ‘perfect pair’ hence the pair/pear references.)
If you decide to give this game a try, remind guests that it is not about how the coupon reads that really matters. It’s about taking time to stop and ask a new mom how she’s doing and reaching out to her well before she feels the need to ask.
Written by: Ann Padley, a Women’s Fund Power Team member since 2008 and consultant with Blue Door Consulting, an Oshkosh-based marketing and consulting firm contracted to work on the upcoming Isolation Campaign.