This Pregnant Couple Had The Most Insane Food Request For Their Neighbors
Any first-time parent will tell you that no amount of reading or class-taking can truly prepare you to welcome a baby into the household. Only after the baby arrives do parents begin to grasp the reality of their new lifestyle.
Even so, stocking up on essentials, like pre-made meals and plenty of diapers helps to make life more manageable after the baby comes. But one couple thought they’d give their to-do list to their neighbors, and now the entire internet is mocking them.
When creating a donation page on Meal Train, new dad Jim Burns wrote, “As the father-to-be, I’m teetering on a fence of emotions.”
And for those who are not familiar with the site, Meal Train helps organize meal donations for community members in need.
Usually, though, friends and neighbors kick off the Meal Train campaigns, not the people in need.
Continuing to buck tradition, Burns also shared:
One of the things I’m most afraid of is not getting a great deal of sleep and as a result not being in the best frame of mind to offer my wife the support she needs to recover from the child-birthing process…”
“That’s why I’m putting together this ‘Meal-Train'”
He also referred to it as a “Mental-health check-in train” or “Do you need any help today train.”
That seems fair enough.
Plus, sometimes it’s hard for people to ask for help even when they need it most. So can we really blame him for opening up and taking the first step?
Burns continued via his now-deleted post:
“A meal would be awesome. If you feel comfortable reaching out before you arrive to see if we might need anything else – that’d be even more awesome.”
Of course, asking for help after welcoming a newborn into the world is far from ridiculous.
Friends and family members are often chomping at the bit to lend a hand to those who are adjusting to parental life.
However, the Burns family had a suspicious neighbor.
When Jack Jokinen, who lives in the same neighborhood as the couple, saw the invite to the Burns family Meal Train, he was fairly open to helping the small family.
He did, however, think it was strange that a couple with just one child would ask for meal assistance.
And he shared his increasing confusion in an April 2019 Twitter thread.
Jokinen wrote, “I clicked the link bc there is no way these people are asking strangers to make them food bc they have 1 baby.”
But as he soon found out, there was a lot more to the story.
And the couple seemed to have no qualms imposing on their neighbors.
At first, though, Jokinen gave them the benefit of the doubt.
He followed up by tweeting, “Trying not to be negative, I figured maybe it’s like ‘if you make a lasagna and make too much, we would accept it.’ That would be very reasonable inside a totally unreasonable ask.”
However, Jokinen soon realized that there was nothing quite that reasonable about the request.
In fact, Jim Burns got detailed in his Meal Train campaign.
According to the Twitter user, “THERE WERE 30+ SPECIFIC MEALS WITH RECIPES.”
Burns linked over 30 recipes to his Meal Train campaign.
And many of which were paleo-specific, like roasted eggplant salad, spiced lentil, sweet potato, and kale whole-wheat pockets, and salmon sweet potato cakes.
Sure, it all sounds super delicious, but is it reasonable?
Nearly everything on the list was complicated and fairly pricey for the average person to make. Plus, some of the prep time required for these meals is extensive.
Like this breakfast request.
One of the proposed breakfasts? Paleo breakfast egg muffins, thinly sliced cremini mushrooms, pork sausage, and three tablespoons of melted and cooled ghee.
We all love a healthy meal option, but sometimes it’s hard enough to achieve in our own homes much less for a whole additional family.
Or this lamb meatball stew with orzo.
The recipe claims it takes an hour of prep and also suggests using a Dutch Oven. Because their neighbors have time to make an hours-long meal for both themselves AND their new parent neighbors!
They’re not fans of store-bought, either.
The father-to-be added that they also enjoy “homemade granola and chocolate peanut butter energy balls.” And they would rather you make the burritos they can put in their freezer instead of purchasing them from your frozen food isle.
Looks like mama is trying to catch up on snacking, too.
He also added that they liked snacks such as “sharp/aged cheddar cheese, Italian antipasto – meats, cheeses, marinated veggies, and olives.” Maybe she was really craving those soft, unpasteurized cheeses you need to avoid while pregnant.
And that’s not all.
There were plenty of strict food rules. For example, in the “Allergies or Dietary Restrictions” header, Burns wrote, “We try to avoid sugar whenever possible and eat whole, simple foods.”
We’re not sure about this…
But it seems like imploring people to adhere to a non-mandatory diet (when they’re doing you a favor in the first place) is in rather bad form.
But don’t worry.
If those neighbors, for whatever reason, couldn’t supply the Burns family with their specific food requests, they could contribute in other ways.
In fact, the patriarch wrote, “This isn’t necessarily about food.”
Yes, it somehow gets even more wild than requesting free Paleo meals and snacks.
He wanted people to do his actual chores.
“Text me to check in… maybe come visit… vacuum, wash some dishes, walk the dog,” Burns implored.
“That will nourish us as much.”
Obviously, this did not sit well with Jokinen. Or, you know, anyone.
The Burns family would also prefer not to be disturbed.
In some instances, Jim Burns knew he wouldn’t want to be forced to interact with the donors, so he came up with another option.
For those situations, he wrote:
“[When] we could use some food, but prefer no distractions, I’ll put a big white cooler in our side yard.”
Therefore, do not expect to be thanked or to even see the new baby.
Like, Jokinen, we’re losing our minds.
But sometimes they need small talk!
Even though the dad-to-be said he wanted to avoid distractions, he also said neighbors could “simply bring your smile and some conversation.” What do you want, buddy!?
We really wonder why the new mom and dad felt like this was okay.
“I think it’s way too much and completely out of touch,” Jokinen told the New York Post.
“Maybe there’s some bigger issue that we don’t know about, like a health issue, but in those situations you put that [information] in,” the concerned neighbor continued.
But if the main concern is the husband’s lack of sleep, then, he may just need to get used to parenthood.
And, like Jokinen, the internet did not hold back their critiques.
They felt the Burns couple needed to get their priorities straight.
Most people who are expecting a child take it upon themselves to prepare meals and pack their freezer.
Because, you know, they plan ahead for that insane newborn schedule.
Plus, loved ones are more than willing to lend a hand.
And usually, you don’t even have to ask them.
As long as they get to cuddle the kid, most close friends will happily bring over a casserole or homemade mac and cheese.
Maybe this couple just didn’t have a support system, though. That would be truly sad.
Even so, the requests are too much to ask of group of strangers.
“Reality is hopefully going to slap these two in the face one day,” one disgruntled Twitter user wrote.
People have been having babies since the dawn of time without needing to leave a cooler on the curb for rogue meals from strangers.
We think the Burns family could learn something from this whole experience.
What’s the takeaway?
The thing about having a baby is that you kind of need to prepare for it.
Again, that means making meals.
New parents may also need to set up a different sleep schedule and stay in constant contact with people who already went through having a newborn in the home.
Some people don’t see the problem with the request, though.
And Jokinen had an issue with them too.
When one family agreed to help out, Jokinen wrote, “Now I have 2 houses to egg…”
We suppose it’s nice that someone was willing to supply those free Paleo meals.
But we’re more disappointed that these people didn’t see through the absurdity.
Another Twitter user had a valid point, too.
“Don’t take [the family] food if you don’t want to. Simple,” they commented.
Perhaps there was no need to drag the Burns family through the mud.
And perhaps this was the husband and wife’s weird way to get to know their neighbors better. But we’re still stunned by their entire Meal Train post.
He did the right thing in a way, though: he asked for help.
“The actual requests were ridiculous with the recipes, but the very real fact is people need help during this time,” Donna Ellenbogen, social worker and the founder of Family Wellness Solutions, told Good Morning America.
“I actually applaud this couple for taking the time to actually think about the support they might need as they take on this new role in life.”
“Many couples spend more time deciding what stroller to buy or picking out little outfits than discussing the small everyday challenges and changes that they may face when a new baby arrives,” Ellenbogen continued.
“Most importantly there is still a huge stigma around maternal and paternal mental health.”
“New parents, moms in particular, are still expected to just keep going and act as if it’s all rainbows and butterflies when the reality, for many, is that they feel overwhelmed and under-prepared,” Ellenbogen explained.
“The vast majority of new moms will not ask for help.”
According to Ellenbogen, the reason new mothers aren’t keen on asking for help is because “the metric of how well one is doing in new parenthood is not measured traditionally so many moms view asking for help as some type of parental failure.”
So was Burns’ choice to ask for help a step in the right direction?
We’re still a bit conflicted. It’s certainly great to ask for help when you need it, but shouldn’t those in need of help also be mindful of the capacity of those they ask for help from? There’s definitely some give and take here.
Ellenbogen suggests checking in on your friends with newborns.
Sometimes folks like Burns reach out because their friend group is not proactively reaching out. “For nine months a women is asked constantly how she is doing. Questions like ‘how are you feeling?’ and ‘are you getting enough rest?’ come all the time.”
You know when people forget about the parents?
“Then the baby arrives and it suddenly becomes all about the baby. Many moms’ mental health status isn’t looked at until their six week postpartum checkup. This is a time when women are at high risk for developing Postpartum Depression (PPD),” Ellenbogen concluded.
The father found out about his newfound viral fame and was flabbergasted.
And the first thing he did was apologize. But he did also note that not everyone had to pile on him, which we sort of get… but also, this request is ridiculous.
“I apologize if it was taken the wrong way.”
“And frankly I’m just very surprised and a little disheartened by…the response,” Burns told New York Post.
“If they are not interested, then they don’t have to check that site or do anything.”
“This is the world we live in,” he concluded to New York Post. And in a sense, we get it. He’s faced with an overwhelming new responsibility and folks are taking the time out of their days to eviscerate him. But then again… literally billions of men have done this in the past, sans bizarre requests.
He says it was meant for “friends and family.”
Burns also clarified that the request was mostly geared towards “friends and family,” which again, makes sense. But then why put it on a public forum and request that strangers help you out?
Jokinen teased that the Burns have set a new precedent.
“When my wife gets pregnant I may start one of these but we only eat food from suites at Yankee Stadium. Leave the tickets in the mailbox,” he told New York Post.
People are still divided.
Is it just the specificity of the requests that rubbed folks the wrong way? Or was it the fact they asked for so much for nothing in return? Are the people dragging Burns deterring people who truly need help from asking for it?
Would you be outraged if your neighbors asked you to put diet-specific food in a cooler for them after they gave birth to a new baby?
Or would you be willing to help them out (even if that means doing their laundry and washing their dishes)?