Maybe it's the former teacher in me, but I definitely like to be reminded that I'm doing a good job. Being a mom can be thankless work. I mean, no one is going to give you a trophy for cleaning poop out of the bathtub (they should). If you have a present partner, more often than not it's on them to build you up when you're down in the dumps (moms are so hard on themselves). I'm lucky in that there are lots of things my partner does to remind me I'm a wonderful mom.
I'm married to a pretty awesome dude. He's a great husband and a terrific father. That's not to say he doesn't drive me crazy, because he does. For example, there's that time he was nibbling our infant daughter's toes and made her cry and said, "I'm sorry 'Mean Mommy' bit you." But overall, he appreciates what I do day in and day out. Sometimes he demonstrates it with a well-timed email or text, or he simply shows me through his actions.
So partners, if you've been reading all those posts about infuriating things you do, I'm here to give you some well-deserved recognition. And if you can't seem to get it right with the woman who birthed your baby, consider this a list of gentle suggestions.
He Sends Me Flowers
Maybe it's old-fashioned, but there's something about this gesture that is really meaningful to me. I love getting flowers delivered at home or work. When we were dating, my co-workers assured me that the flowers would stop once we were married. They didn't. He sent them to me when I was pregnant to remind me I was almost there, and now I get them for being a kickass mom.
Honestly, it's not about spending a big chunk of change. It doesn't have to be expensive nor does it have to be flowers. It's the gesture — recognition of a job well done — that matters.
He Gives Me Weekend Mornings Off
My husband is a soldier, and he leaves at the crack of dawn for physical training. He sometimes works 12 hour days. However, he recognizes that as a stay-at-home mom, I'm "on duty" all the time.
So, he gives me the gift of weekend mornings. When we hear the baby wake up, he goes in to get her and change her diaper. He brings her into our bed for family cuddles and then takes her out. I get a blissful few hours to sleep, read, or scroll through social media.
He Makes Mother's Day Special
My husband and I had the following conversation a few weeks before my first Mother's Day:
Husband: Can I go to Vegas May 6th-7th?
Me: What do you have planned for May 8th?
Husband: To spend time with my loving family.
Me: Wrong answer. When you figure out the correct one, you may go.
Husband: It is the first Mother's Day for the greatest mother in the world.
Me: You may go. I want gifts. And a whole day dedicated to me.
Husband: I love you.
To his credit, I got just what I wanted. He got up with the baby and watched YouTube videos to figure out how to make me my favorite breakfast item (Eggs Benedict) and served it to me with presents in bed.
He Appreciates That I Do Things He Can't
When our baby wakes in the middle of the night, it's usually me who goes to her. My husband is game to try, but it never seems to work out. She ends up crying the second she's back in her crib. He inevitably comes to me and asks, "Can you come do that ninja mom thing you do?" Sometimes it's annoying that I'm the only one who can do certain things, but it also makes me feel like a parenting superhero. So I roll my eyes and go save the day, secretly patting myself on the back.
He Brags About Me
I don't think there's anything better than hearing someone compliment you to someone else when you're in earshot. My husband absolutely loved it that I made our baby's food when she started solids. He told anyone who would listen about how she only ate homemade, organic purees and about how much better and cheaper it was. Aw, shucks.
My spouse supports the decisions I make as a mom, both major and minor. When I decided leave my teaching career to stay at home with our baby, he was supportive. When I wanted to raise our daughter bilingually, he got on board and started Rosetta Stone. Even when he disagrees with my disciplinary choices, he'll back me up in front of our daughter. It helps me be a confident mom when I know I'm not going to be subverted at every turn.
He Tells Me So
My partner frequently tells me what a terrific mom I am. He says the best part of his day is coming home to his family. He compliments me on maintaining a beautiful home full of warmth and humor and the selflessness it takes to do so. His words are absolute gold to me.
He Tells My Daughter, Too
Even though she might be too young to understand, my husband still tells my daughter how lucky she is to have a mom like me. It's the best feeling ever to hear him say that, and it will be especially helpful when I have a teenager who hates me. I know her dad will be there to remind her of my deep love for her. I think that's the greatest gift he could possibly give me.