Becoming a parent alongside our partners is a life-changing
event, to say the least. Most of us have expectations that having children will
bring us closer to our partners. And it usually does. But babies, and the kids
they turn into, bring new stressors, sometimes stretching our relationships to
In the chaos of early parenting, with our old, time-rich lives gone, it's easy
to neglect our relationships. We can forget that just a few kind words can ease
hurt feelings and remind us that we're on the same team.
I polled my mom friends to find out what they'd most like to hear
from their partners. Here's what they said:
These four words are
among the most powerful words a mother can hear. It's a simple statement—so
simple, in fact, that our partners might forget to tell us what a good job we're
doing. They might assume we already know how they feel, but I don't think you
can remind a mom enough that she's doing great. We all have so much pressure on
us, so many things we're worried we're not doing right. A simple affirmation
from the person who most often sees us parenting can be a powerful
2. "You're so
Most moms I know feel pretty harried. We're tired. If we
stay home with our kids, we might feel extra frumpy. If we have a new baby, we
might barely recognize our bodies, with our leaking boobs, stretch marks and
sad vaginas. So remind us that we're hot. We want to know that you still find
3. "Let me
take the kids for a while"
When I hear them, the heavens open up in my mind, rainbows stripe the sky and a fluffy unicorn prances by.
These eight words form one of the sweetest
phrases on earth. When I hear them, the heavens open up in my mind, rainbows
stripe the sky and a fluffy unicorn prances by. Alone time, whether we use it to
clean, nap, catch up on Netflix or go for a run, is among the most precious of
4. "I know
this is hard"
Whether we're exhausted from our kids' constant night-waking,
struggling with the identity issues that parenting brings or enduring a mental or physical health
struggle, parenting is damn hard. Many men (and sometimes women) have a habit
of jumping into fixing mode. Most of the time, moms want to just have their
feelings affirmed. Telling your partner "I know this is really tough," without
trying to solve the issue, can do a world of good. Let us know you hear us.
Then again, sometimes we want our partners to jump in and take
action. Moms are often still the de facto parents. It can be an immense relief
to hear that our partners will take care of something, whether it's handling mopping
up the toddler's poo-splosion, or handling your kindergartener's bedtime
From the large sacrifices, like carrying and birthing babies and pressing
pause on our careers, to the more mundane, like holding down the fort so our partners
can have a night out, moms want to be acknowledged. It's important to know that
our efforts are noticed and our sacrifices are seen. A simple gratitude from a
partner goes a long way.