How to Support Your Partner After Paternity Leave
Learn how fathers can still help moms with domestic tasks even after maxing out their parental leaves.
Taking care of domestic tasks and chores can be very stressful for both parents, especially new ones. For mothers, the days after childbirth can be very demanding as she gets a majority of the child-rearing tasks. For fathers, it can be very stressful as well because of the sleepless nights and tiring days they spend doing their share of minding their child and doing household chores so that their partners can get their much-needed rest.
Things can get really challenging for both parents so you can just imagine what it would be like if one of the parents, in this case, you, will have to go back to work at the end of your paternity leave. Here are some practical things you can do to help provide the support your partner needs at home once you go back to work.
Start your “shift” when you get home
When you get home and after resting a bit, start your “shift” in fulfilling your share of domestic tasks. This will give your partner a much-needed break that she needs after a long day of taking charge of your home and minding your child on her own.
This might mean being the one to mind your child or children for a number of hours. To help you get some rest in between doing these things, try to sleep when your child is asleep. Your shift may end up lasting until the wee hours of the night or early morning so don’t forget to also get that nap or a bit of sleep before waking up to get ready for work.
Do house chores
Supporting your partner in taking care of your child and home involves more than sharing in childcare duties. It also involves helping around the house to ensure everything is in order. This means washing the dishes piled up in the sink, tidying up the house, and doing the laundry to make sure that your house stays clean and well-kept. And it may also involve you making dinner and breakfast so that you and your partner are well-fed and get the nutrients you need to meet the demands of early parenthood.
Give her “me time”
Taking care of a child on your own can be very exhausting and stressful. This is why it is important to give your partner some “me time” once you get back from work. This may mean giving her a couple of hours to soak in the tub with candles and a good book or this may mean her going to the salon to have her hair and nails done. No matter how your partner wants to spend her “me time,” make sure you give her time for herself so she can rest and recharge.
Affirm and be there for her
Calling her from time to time during your work day to check up on her and your child and ALWAYS taking her calls when possible can do wonders because she will feel that she is not alone and that she can rely on you. But beyond these calls, affirming your partner can do wonders as well. Always communicate with her what a good job she is doing in taking care of your child and taking charge at home. Make sure to compliment her on how she looks because this is the period where she is most insecure about how she looks physically. Moreover, telling her that you are always there for her can also ease the burden she feels every single day.
Ask for more time if possible
Ask your workplace if they can give you a longer paternity leave or inquire from HR about how you can get more time off so you can have more time with your child and partner.
You may be one of the lucky ones who work for companies that provide longer paternity leaves as a benefit to their male employees. If not, then you can try asking how much more vacation leaves you can use for this purpose. Better yet, petition for longer leave benefits for new parents in your workplace and if you can, petition the government into providing more paid parental leaves, especially for men.
Given that men are given shorter paternal leaves, going back to work can make you feel guilty that you are not doing your fair share in taking care of your child. But as you can see, there are many ways you can still provide the support your partner needs in caring for your child and taking charge of your home.
By making sure that you still do the things to take care of your child, by doing house chores, and by showing your partner that she can rely on you and that you got her back, you will be able to provide the support she needs and at the same time, create a deeper bond with your child and your partner as well.
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- How to cope when your partner goes back to work. Tommy's. Together, for every baby. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/after-birth/when-your-part…
- Spears, N. (2022, July 12). Best ways dads can help a new mom. Baby Chick. Retrieved from https://www.baby-chick.com/how-dads-can-help-a-new-mom/
- Will, J. (2022, February 17). How to hit the ground running at work after Paternity leave. Fatherly. Retrieved from https://www.fatherly.com/life/returning-to-work-after-paternity-leave-e…