Many new mothers feel ignored, even when they are getting plenty of attention. For the first-time mum who felt completely ignored yesterday (and her partner), this article is for you.
It’s the Monday morning after Mother’s Day and some first-time mums will have woken up today still basking in the afterglow of a day where they felt special, cherished, and spoilt by their little family.
For others, though – and, judging by the volume of comments I saw yesterday in multiple Facebook mums’ groups, quite a lot of others – they’ll be trying to dust off the fog of disappointment that overcame them yesterday, when they woke up, as usual, to find their partner failed to make a fuss over them – or even acknowledge the day at all.
If you’re one of these mums, I have a few truths to share with you.
Firstly, you’re amazing. Becoming a mother is the most transformative, heart-shattering, doubt-and-joy-filled adventure you’ll ever experience and you’re not silly or selfish or high-maintenance for wanting to feel some acknowledgment on Mother’s Day.
Secondly, if your partner uttered those ridiculous four words that so many clueless partners have before them – “you’re not MY mother” – I encourage you to fart on their pillow.
Finally, I want to tell you that while neglecting you on your first Mother’s Day is thoughtless and ignorant and more than a little selfish, this doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is a dud. I’m not into making excuses for men but I do believe that the first year of parenting requires a lot of benefit-of-the-doubt going back and forth between partners.
Next year’s to-do list
Here goes …
Hey new dad,
I hear you f***ed up.
I’m not here to beat you over the head with it, but I am here to tell you exactly how to not have a repeat of this next year. Father’s Day is in a few months, and chances are the mother of your child, in spite of her disappointment over the way you approached her first Mother’s Day, will pull out all the stops to make you feel appreciated coming September. Consider this list of dos and don’ts your 12-month warning to make next year really special for everyone.
- Listen up throughout the year to things/events she mentions being interested in. If she comments on a friend’s necklace or a special book she loves, track that friend down and ask where they got it. Write it on your phone, or better yet, just go online and order it so you have it there as a gift when the time comes
- Put a reminder on your phone for six weeks before the second Sunday in May. Go on, do it right now so you don’t forget. In the reminder, write ORGANISE MOTHER’S DAY. Don’t snooze it when it comes around, start planning. And order a gift. “It isn’t going to arrive in time” is no excuse when you’ve had the entire year to get something sorted.
- Make the day special by actually listening to what she wants. Hint: I guarantee a sleep-in or at least an hour alone with a coffee scrolling her phone is going to be part of it.
- Plan in advance what needs to happen to facilitate this sleep-in. Maybe it’s you prepping clothes for the baby the night before so that you can take them out of the house and leave Mum in peace as soon as baby stirs. Maybe it’s just figuring out how you can be at one end of the house so that peace and quiet is ensured.
- Figure out the in-law sitch. Sure, you probably want to see your mum, and she probably wants to see hers. That’s great – if there is going to be an event organized, make sure you work around it to gift your partner some downtime before or after.
- Change every nappy that day. It’s one day, but every time you jump up first for a nappy change will be appreciated, I promise.
- Put something down in writing. Take the time to actually tell her all the things you appreciate about her as a mother. She has probably doubted herself more in the past year than you could ever imagine. Now is your chance to remind her how worthy she actually is.
- Give her a big shout-out on social media. Tell the world what an amazing mum she is and uses a flattering photo when you do it. Have this in the back of your mind throughout the year and remember to snap a few cute shots of her when she is doing her mum-thang. I guarantee she has hundreds of sweet snaps of you with the kids in her phone.
- Get defensive. She gave up almost a year of her body being her own to carry your child. She either endured her vagina being punched out from the inside or her abdomen being sliced open. You whingeing about “Hallmark Holidays” or “high expectations” is just childish.
- Think it’s not your job. Unless your kid has the executive functioning of an adult, a credit card, and their own set of wheels to get to the shops and organise something, it IS your job. It’s your job until the kids are teenagers. And when they ARE teenagers, it’s still your job to remind them.
- Rely on the daycare gift. Yes, your kid will probably come home from school or daycare with an adorable hand-made card, but this is your chance to add your own appreciation to the pile. If you don’t feel like she deserves your appreciation, question why this is, and then buy her something anyway.
Feeling supported and appreciated is one of the ways that mums can keep their mental health in good shape. Of course, one day is not going to change anything, but reminding her just how vital she is to your little family is a great start.
For the first-time mum who felt completely ignored yesterday (and her partner) put a reminder on your phone for six weeks before the second Sunday in May. For the first-time mum who felt completely ignored yesterday (and her partner), plan in advance what needs to happen to facilitate this sleep-in.
For the first-time mum who felt completely ignored yesterday (and her partner), figure out how you can be at one end of the house so that peace and quiet are ensured. For the first-time mum who felt completely ignored yesterday (and her partner), don’t get defensive, think it’s not your job, rely on the daycare gift, or feel supported and appreciated.