When becoming a parent, communication between partners often becomes more utilitarian than anything else. Instead of saying "I love you" you say, "Pass me a diaper, please." Instead of saying, "We need a date night" you say, "We need more wipes." Frequently we forget to thank our partners or let them know how well they’re doing as a parent or ask them if they need help. So I asked several moms to share the one thing they wish they heard more from their partners, and what they revealed was way more varied and interesting than what I had initially expected.
As a mother myself, I can attest to how very different the conversations I shared with my partner pre-baby were when compared to the discussions we had post-baby and as new, sleep-deprived, clueless parents. Before our son came along, we definitely checked in with each other more. We discussed work, or talked about the shows we were watching, or what we might do that weekend. We had the occasional late-night conversation about the existence of other beings or whether we’ll ever get to other planets in our lifetime or what might happen to us once we’re no longer on this planet.
Now, don't get me wrong: we still talk about these things occasionally. If we really take a hard look at our relationship now, though, a large chunk of our talks center around our son and our family. So sometimes I just wish my partner would ask me more about what I’m writing that day, or what I’d like to write, or even better, how he can give me the time to finally write the books that are still floating around in my head. You know, things that have absolutely nothing to do with motherhood or parenting. Things that make me feel like even at the end of a day filled with toddler-tantrums and poop-filled diapers, I'm still me. So, with that in mind and because it's always worth remembering that a mother is more than her ability to parent, here's what a few moms wish their partners said to them:
"’I know you already have this figured out, but please allow me time and space to figure it out, too.’ Because I often (even at 25) made the mistake of taking over when a baby fussed. So dad(s) never got to work out their own way of soothing their child.”
“I really wish my husband would say, ‘Let's go play some pool and try to not talk about the baby.’ I'm cleaning the house and taking care of baby all day and when he gets home all he wants to do is keep talking about the baby. We used to have similar hobbies and interests. There's a smoke-free family-friendly pool hall up the street too, which makes this extra annoying.”
"Stay in bed today, honey. I'm cleaning the house and taking the kid to the park. We'll be gone all day. You rest."
"'I value what you do for our family just as much as what I do.' (I'm a stay-at-home-mom.) Also: 'The house is cleaned, here's breakfast in bed. I'll be taking the kid for a few hours and then we have a date tonight.'"
"'I'll do the dishes tonight,' as this is the one phrase he has never said."
"’I'm in awe of you. I'm so grateful to share my life with you.’ I know, I know, I'm not high maintenance or anything. My partner is a man of few words so I'd really be happy with any (frequent) terms of endearment.”
“‘Would you like a massage?’ Because the answer would always be YES!”
“Other than ‘Can I refill your beer?’"