Life as a couple changes forever when you have a baby. Suddenly every waking hour is spent tending to the needs of a tiny human. You’re both knackered. And it’s all too easy to neglect your own needs. And each other’s too.
After birth more focus is on mum and baby’s needs and rightly so. They’ve been through the trials of pregnancy and childbirth. Mums are probably the ones having more broken sleep, grappling with feeding and are also recovering after the physical demands of labour and birth.
Dads naturally take a backseat as they support their wife and look after the new baby. And today, ever more dads are doing an amazing job at just that and helping their partners while developing a great bond with their new baby, toddler and child. But that doesn’t mean Dads couldn’t use a little reassurance themselves too.
We all need to feel appreciated, valued and supported. A few kind words go an awfully long way. Which is why we reckon dads need to hear these 12 statements from their partner, often.
I’m glad we’re in this together
This is one of the nicest things to hear, especially in the middle of a tough time, when you’re both ratty from lack of sleep and in the trenches.
Things might be a bit tricky right now but this lets him know that you’re so glad you’re in this together and that he’s by your side for the journey.
I appreciate all you do
Let him know how much you appreciate all the things he does.
Whether it’s bringing you a cup of tea while you’re breastfeeding or bathing the baby or toddler at the end of a tiring day.
And it’s not just about the things he does that you see, but all the countless things he does that you don’t see too.
I get it
There will always be times when you both feel stressed, frustrated or so exhausted that you can barely think straight. Let him know you understand and feel it too.
And when you don’t understand, then help him to open up and make you get it. Lending an ear for a few minutes goes an awfully long way.
You’re so good at…
When we’re busy and tired, we just keep going through the endless repetitive tasks involved in bringing up a baby. Both partners can forget to stop and praise each other for the things we do well.
Parenthood is a job without an annual appraisal or any feedback from your tiny nappy-clad ‘client’. And so it’s up to you to tell each other the things you’re good at. It can make all the difference.
I believe in you
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the separate days we face as mums. Often mums spend all day with baby and dads head out to work. While mums days are busy and often exhausting, it can also help to ask about your partner’s work life and how it’s going for them.
Let them know how much you believe in them and the fact they are juggling work with new fatherhood. It’s hard for men too to find the new balance between long working hours and helping out with the baby when they get home.
If they’re stressed about providing for their family and how to do better at work, let them know that you believe in them and that you know they’ll get to wherever they want to go.
Can we make things work better?
Like women, men are not mind-readers. Instead of seething silently about things he does or doesn’t do – just ask for help.
Can you help me with bath time tonight, because I’m knackered?
We’re both getting too tired, can you help me work things out a bit so we can both get a bit more rest?
Asking for help and figuring out how to make the days and nights work together gets much better result than fizzing grouchily hoping he’ll notice what you need him to do.
We all get things wrong. Especially when we’re sleep-deprived and running on a short fuse.
And for all those times we snap and shriek at him for now reason. Just say sorry. A hug goes a long way to making things better too.
I need you
To you, it might be obvious how much you need him by your side.
But you might forget to tell him. Say it. And say it often.
I still fancy you
One thing that takes a backseat after a baby is your sex life. It’s understandable but it does change the dynamics.
Even if you’re not swinging from the chandeliers every night let your partner know you still fancy him and he still rocks your world.
Let’s have a date night
In the tough bits you just have to keep going and put one foot in front of the other. You get through another broken night and trudge through another weary day and forget to look up.
From time to time book that babysitter and get out the two of you for a date night. Do whatever you enjoy, movies, or dinner or even just a walk in the park for an hour one afternoon.
Make time for just the two of you.
Why don’t you phone Dave and arrange a night out?
Being a parent is a 24/7 role. But we all need a break to recharge our batteries. And going to work doesn’t count.
Neither does going to the supermarket without the baby – even if it feels a bit like it!
Suggest that he phones a friend and gets a few hours off. And then make sure you do the same soon too!
Two small words, which make a big impact.
Say ‘thank you’ often. For the things he does, the love he gives and just for being him.
When you’re looking after a baby it’s all encompassing and we can forget to take the time to let our partners know how much you appreciate him.
All Dads could do with knowing that the things they do to help out are noticed and how much they mean to us.