Since women don't really get much of a helping hand when it comes to their maternity leave, at least not in the United States, it's important for their partners to step up where they're able. Maternity leave isn't some frivolous vacation that every new mother automatically has at her disposal. It's actually quite stressful, very exhausting, and sometimes a little scary. It can be a lot for a new mom to handle, but there are ways grown-ass men help their partners on maternity leave that will make any mother's first few months at home with their baby much, much easier.
Preparing for maternity leave can be stressful, especially if it's going to be an unpaid absence from work, which, unless you work with or for a wonderful company who grants new moms paid leave, you're probably going to be functioning on one income for a while as you recover and adjust and bond with your new addition. There are ways to save money so you can have a longer maternity leave, but your time away from work involves a lot more than serious financial planning. That's where (and how) your partner can step in and offer some additional support. He (or she, because grown-ass women have a part in this act, too) can help keep your worries during maternity leave at bay (or at least manageable) so you can enjoy the time you have at home with your new baby.
Every grown-ass man is willing to do his part during his partner's maternity leave, but in case he needs a friendly reminder, have him read the following:
Checks In On Her
The first couple of weeks of maternity leave fly by. There's so much going on that that time might seem like a complete blur for new parents, but once you get into somewhat of a routine, the time will start to feel like it's dragging. New babies require around-the-clock care, yes, but that care revolves around eating, sleeping, and pooping constantly. Once you've been in this routine long enough, you might start to feel isolated or like you're in the twilight zone or like your life is far too predictable and your days are never-ending. Something as simple as your partner checking in on you, can make you feel human again and give you the boost you need to remember that, yes, you are in fact a normal and important and loved person. Don't we all need to be reminded of that sometimes?
Relieves Her Of Baby Duty When He's Able
Depending on what hours your partner works, he or she should be able to relieve you of the baby duties when you need them to. Of course, you love your new baby, but sometimes you need a few minutes (or hours) to take care of yourself. If your partner is a grown-ass man, he not only understands that self-care is vital, but he doesn't view parenthood as primarily the "woman's responsibility," so he'll be more than happy and willing to, you know, be a parent, too.
Doesn't Complain About Being Exhausted, Because Obviously Everyone In The Scenario Is Exhausted
Of course, every new parent is exhausted, whether they're working outside of the home or tending to a newborn 24/7. Your partner is definitely going to be tired, yes, but so are you. Just because they're working outside of the home, doesn't mean that the work you're doing at home with your baby is any less exhausting. Being so tired that you've developed the ability to sleep with your eyes open is a pretty normal part of being the parent of a newborn.
Brings Home Dinner
The last thing you're going to want to do when you've been taking care of a crying baby all day is to prepare a meal. Some days the stars may align just right so you're magically endowed with the energy, time, and willingness to do so, sure, but more often than not, you're not going to be feeling the whole meal-cooking thing. That's why your partner offers to bring home a hot and delicious meal that's been prepared by someone else or he'll just make the meal at home himself, because hello maternity leave budget.
Gets Her Out Of The House
Spending all day, every day at home with a newborn can get a little lonely. It's not like your baby can talk to you about what happened on The Game Of Thrones with you, so spending your entire maternity leave sans adult interaction, behind the same four walls, can do a number on your morale. If your partner is a grown-ass man, he'll make sure to get you out of the house so that you'll feel like a normal, important and contributing member of society again.
Doesn't Make Her Feel Guilty For "Taking Time Off"
Maternity leave means taking time off from your day job, but it certainly isn't a vacation and a grown-ass man won't make you feel guilty for not clocking into work every day while you're taking care of your baby.
He Doesn't Pressure Her To Go Back To Work Before She's Ready
However much time you feel is right for you to stay home with your baby should be up to you. If you're financially able to take an extended leave, your partner should support that, but if you'd rather go back to working outside of the home a little earlier than most, he should support that, too. The amount of time women need to stay home with their newborns is unique for everyone, and your partner should allow you to figure this out on your own, without pressuring you to end your leave before you're ready.
Doesn't Assume She's At Home Just Hanging Out
Again, maternity leave isn't a vacation, and women at home taking care of newborns aren't just hanging out and catching up on their shows. You're feeding, changing, nurturing, and bathing your baby. When you're not doing that, you're trying to take a shower in peace. Sure, there might be some Orange Is The New Black playing in the background, but if you're taking care of a baby all day, there's a good chance that you don't know what the hell is even going on outside of your home, much less what's going on in Piper's life.
Doesn't Blame Her For A Dip In The Finances, Because Paid Maternity Leave Is Basically Like A Unicorn In The U.S.
Maternity leave in the United States is a joke. Well, it's not even a joke actually, it's non-existent on a federal level and no one is laughing about it. Even if you're able to use some of your paid vacation time, or if you're eligible for short term disability while you're on leave, it's likely that neither of those will last for the duration of your leave and they might not add up to your regular income. There's a good chance that there will be a dip in your family's finances while you're on leave, but that's something that your partner shouldn't burden you with or make you feel guilty about. Maternity leave is a team sport, and everyone has to pull their own part of the weight.
He Reminds Her How Appreciated She Is
Being on maternity leave with a baby that can't communicate or care for themselves, and who has zero regard for sleep schedules or exhaustion, can make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed and, well, not like a typical human being. It's hard to keep track of time when you're constantly tending to a tiny person's every need, and that can make tending to your own basic needs (like showering or brushing your teeth or anything that once aided your self-care) a fictional concept. Your baby can't tell you thank you for all that you're doing for them, but your partner can.
One of the biggest thing a new mom needs to hear is that she's appreciated; that's she's loved and respected; that what she's doing for her family is valued and important. He might not be able to stay home to care for the baby with you as much as you'd like, but he can let you know that what you're doing is amazing. He can remind you that you're not only an awesome mom, but that you're so much more than that: you're a partner and a lover and a friend, and yes, an incredible mother, too, and he's just so damn lucky to have you.