For many new moms, it only takes a few minutes after their baby is finally in their arms for fear to set in. They worry about their baby, the world their baby has been born in, and going back to work. Yes, that's right: American maternity leave is so insufficient that returning to work is on a lot of moms' minds while they're still in the delivery room. One person in a position to help, though? Our partners. So I asked moms to share the special thing their partners did for them when they went back to work.
I must say that, by and large, I'm impressed. While very few of these answers demonstrated grand, sweeping gestures, the truth is that profound acts of Arthurian chivalry aren't required when a new mom returns to work. What I saw was a lot of co-parents recognizing their partner's emotions, addressing them head on, and/or taking concrete actions that said something along the lines of, "Hey girl. We're in this together and I'm all in."
That said, the most special thing my partner did for me when I went back to my job was a pretty big gesture: he left his job to be a stay-at-home dad. We decided that our goals (financial, family, and career) were better served by him training for a job in a new field while serving as the primary caregiver to our son for the first two years of our son's life.
I don't know how many of you have had a stay-at-home partner, but for those of you who haven't I will tell you this: it is no wonder men tried to keep women out of the workforce and in the home for so long. Honestly, having a stay-at-home partner is the bee's knees. That's not to say that I, as a working mom, didn't have a rough go of things, or that we as a family didn't face tremendous pressure as a one-income home. But not having one iota of worry as to whether my child was in the best possible hands, not to mention having someone at home to cook and do the majority of the household chores, was tremendous. It was a sacrifice for myself and my partner, but one, I believe, he ultimately bore the majority of.
Like I said, though, the good, helpful, and supportive things people do for the working mom in their life don't have to be grand, life-changing gestures. Instead they can be small actions that provide working moms with the knowledge that their feelings are valid. Like, you know, the following: