I have a lot of rituals that bring me comfort, including my morning coffee (two cups), my bi-weekly yoga classes, my nightly bedtime story to my children, my once-a-month trip into New York to catch up with friends, and my annual vacation. One of my favorites is among the most simple, though: every night, sitting on the couch, my husband pats his lap, which is code for "give me your feet so I can rub them." I asked other moms to share the one thing their partner does for them at the end of the day, because these sweet little rituals deserve to be discussed.
Credit my Catholic upbringing if you like, but I think there's something to be said for the power of ritual. I'm not saying every aspect of your life should run in predictable cycles, but I think small, routine acts of tranquility, kindness, and/or care go a long way in centering us and, when a partner is involved, building and maintaining a strong relationship. My nightly foot-rub (on top of feeling amazing because wow that man has good strong hands) is, yes, a nice way to unwind at the end of the day, but it's a nice daily reminder that my husband cares about me and appreciates that I've had the kind of day that warrants unwinding from. It makes me feel seen, and, really, isn't that important to all of us?
So with that in mind, and especially if you're one to drop subtle hints, here are some of the nice evening rituals other moms appreciated from their partners:
"This is silly, but it’s the little things right? If he brushes his teeth first, he always puts toothpaste on my toothbrush so I don’t have to. It’s just one of those things that says 'I see you and I’m making the day a touch easier for you.'"
"He manages all of the annoying before bed tasks: makes sure the doors are locked, alarm is set, turns off all the lights, puts the dog to bed, sets the thermostat, etc. Those things don't take very long and are so minor, but when I'm super tired it's so nice to just be able to brush my teeth and go to bed and know everything else is handled."
"Lets say I go to bed... relaxed and happy... every night."
"He always fixes me ice water and sits it next to my side of the bed."
"So I don’t get end of day stuff, but my partner used to be a breakfast cook so I get the BEST breakfasts in bed, like crepes and eggs Benedict."
"My husband travels a lot for work, and no matter how busy he is or what time zone he’s in he’ll make time to call and say goodnight when I’m heading to bed. Even if it’s only enough time to say 'good night, I love you' it means so much."
"He tucks me in."
"He sets up the coffee and makes the bed. I'd never make the bed. It's lovely."
"My husband reminds me to take my Vitamin D and medicine and sometimes when I am struggling more with my health I don't eat properly so he reminds me. Once he even ordered me delivery to work so I would be able to focus."
"Ever since my first pregnancy (which was 12 years ago), my husband has rubbed my legs and feet. It doesn't matter what kind of day he's had, when we sit on the couch after the kids have gone to bed he holds out his hands for me to put my legs up there."
"He makes me tea every night when we’re watching TV. I know it’s really small but he makes sure I have it!"
"He brings me a scoop of my favorite ice cream after the kids are in bed when he sees me trying to decompress for the day. On weekends, he tries to let me sleep in by containing the kids in the basement playroom, but they are so loud it usually ends up waking me anyways. He also lets me have the last bite of stuff."
"Every night he packs me a lunch to bring to work the next day. He's a very talented sandwich-maker, and he knows if he doesn't send me in with something I probably won't eat. It's really sweet."
"My hubs is Italian. After a long hard day at work, he comes home and cooks a fabulous homemade dinner for the family while I manage the kids."
"When I’m exhausted and anxious, which is often and they go hand in hand, he’ll put his arm on my pillow (code for snuggling), and then rub my hair which is the most relaxing thing ever to me. It’s the only way I get any sleep when I’m really on edge and my anxiety is super overwhelming!"
"He turns off the bedroom light after I'm in bed so I don't have to do it. Because he knows I'm a grown-woman who's still scared of the dark, but he doesn't make fun of me for it, either. He just handles it for me and kisses me good night when he's done."
"Her last words every night are: 'Good night, my beautiful bride.' We've been married eight years and it still melts my heart every time. I end every day with a smile."