After Mother's Day
Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC
MAY 14, 2018
So Mother’s Day was this past Sunday and the web was full of Mother’s Day wishes and suggestions. In that light, this is a post-Mother’s Day post intended to provide dads new to parenting some advice/suggestions on how to take care of your partner, not just on Mother’s Day, but most days. Believe me, this will help. So if you are a mom partnered with a dad, please turn this over to him for continued reading.
It’s not unusual, if you’ve just become a dad, to be feeling some pressure about coming up with a great gift for your partner’s very first Mother’s Day. Gifts are great and for some they communicate how you care for your partner … a symbol of how you are thinking of her and value what she does. I’ve been leading new moms groups for close to 20 years now and over and over again, what I hear from the vast majority of moms is the same thing. The majority aren’t asking for flowers or jewels, what they almost universally want most is time. Time for herself and then time with this new family you’ve just created.
So to start … Dad, you take the baby, leave the house and let mom to do whatever she wants to do for a couple of hours. Maybe that means she gets to sleep in while you take baby out for a nice walk and then stop at the grocery store to stock the fridge. Whatever you choose to do is fine, but you get the point.
After a few hours of alone time, mom will also enjoy a family outing. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. A walk in the park with a stroller or carrier is easily done. Whatever it is, it’s just spending time together as a family without distraction of cellphones, or various other screens/interruptions. A conversation about how you are both feeling in this most major life adjustment would be huge.
Just a note, this is the kind of conversation moms have all the time with other moms, but yearn to have with their partner. No one is at fault. These kinds of conversations are not easy to have. Living with a newborn doesn’t allow for much downtime, and when there are brief uninterrupted moments, conversations between parents are often focused on what needs to get done and who is going to do it. The conversation to have is not that kind of task oriented one, but more of a supportive, “how are you doing, how are we doing, what are we each missing and what do we each need.“ That’s the kind of nurturing conversation moms are wanting with their male partners.
It’s really quite simple, and doesn’t require any artistic creativity or spending lots of money, but I can guarantee a huge return on that investment ...