It’s a running joke that husbands and partners don’t know how much work is involved with keeping a baby alive and well all day while they go to work. After a day of feeding baby, changing nappies, getting baby to sleep, running errands, trying to keep the house looking halfway decent and maybe even thinking about what’s on the menu for dinner that night, what we desperately need is the respite and relief that another adult can bring into the mix.
By the time late afternoon hits, we can’t wait to hear that key turning in the door. Finally, someone to have an adult conversation with! Someone to pass the baby to so we can get into the shower! Maybe even someone who can offer a bit of sympathy about the tough day we’ve had and tell us what a great job we’re doing. All of these things can do wonders.
Of course, in reality, not all partners come home doing this. They walk in the door with their own expectations and thinking about the tough day they’ve had (which we all know is nothing like looking after babies because going to work is a BREAK, but whatever) and don’t always come out with what we need.
And sometimes, that lack of insight can be hard to take. A simple yet caring statement can change everything, but one of the insensitive ones, even if you didn’t mean it to come out that way, can seriously break us.
Please don’t ever utter the following …
So, dear partners, on behalf of all the mums doing it tough today with their babies and older children, this is what we’d like you NOT to say when you get home today:
What have you done all day?
This one often goes hand-in-hand with ‘but you’ve had the day off’, both of which suggest that we’ve lolled around the house lazily wondering what to do with ourselves. Both are highly offensive. Please think hard before you utter these words.
I’ve had a long day too
No, you haven’t. Talking to adults, drinking hot cups of tea and being able to go to the toilet a) whenever you like, and b) on your own, does not represent a long day. That is a holi-day.
I just need to shower and freshen up
There’s nothing wrong with a quick freshen up under the shower, even though you had one this morning. The problem is the 20 minute session on the toilet before you hit the shower. And don’t even think about taking that book in there.
You couldn’t hang the washing out?
No, we couldn’t. We wanted to, believe us. There were parts of our day where we wanted to do ANYTHING other than parenting, but we just couldn’t get there. Doesn’t that tell you something about how the day went??
But you wanted a baby – now you’re complaining?
I’m not even dignifying this one with an explanation. If you’ve ever said this, pretend it never happened, pick something from the next list and just run with it, quickly.
What you can say instead:
On the other hand, there are things you could say that would change our lives for the better. I’m not exaggerating, say anything from this list when you walk in the door at night and we will kiss the ground you walk on. Try it and see:
Leave the kids with me; I’ll do bath and bedtime
A partner who takes over AND chooses to spend quality time with the kids? A true champion.
I’m home – what can I do to help?
BPE (Best Partner Ever).
Would you like some personal time? I’ve got this.
How dreamy are you?
The kids are so lucky to have a mum like you
No word of a lie, these are magic words to us. In fact, say this every day to us and you’re golden.
You look beautiful, by the way
And THAT’S why we fell in love with you, right there.