Happy Mother's Day: A Message for Partners
Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC
MAY 06, 2021
So Mother's Day is Sunday and to all mothers and mothers-to-be, wishing you a wonderful day!
You might be surprised to read that the rest of this post is actually directed at partners and dads, as I intend to provide you, if you're looking for some direction, some thoughts on how to celebrate Mother's Day (and every day). Believe me, this will help.
It's not unusual if you've just become a parent 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 how you value what she does. But after leading new parent groups for close to 20 years now, I can tell you that the vast majority of new moms say the same thing: they aren't looking for flowers or jewels. While those things are wonderful and appreciated, what they really want and need, almost universally, is time. Time for herself and then time with this new family you've just created.
So to start - take the baby, leave the house, and let your partner do whatever she wants for a couple of hours. Maybe that means she takes an interrupted nap while you take baby out for a walk and then stop at the grocery store to stock up the fridge. Whatever you choose to do is fine… but you get the point.
After a few hours of alone time, she may 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, just spending time together as a family without distraction of cell phones or other interruptions is appreciated.
You may even squeeze in a conversation about how you're both feeling about this new adjustment to parenthood. The kind of conversation that new moms have all the time with other moms might be something she yearns to have with her partner. No one is at fault, as 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 your partner might appreciate this Mother's Day.