A Terrible Breakup - a Dad's guide for a Mom's return to work

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

posted by Romy (@daddontlie)

A Terrible Breakup - a Dad's guide for a Mom's return to work

It's probably going to be the worst day for her.

What's the worst breakup you've ever been through? Think about it for a second.

That's exactly how my wife felt during her first week back to work from maternity leave.

After spending eleven straight months on maternity leave with our son, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 336 days in total, she was a basket case. As expected, there were a lot of tears shed, I mean, as much as you would expect with a terrible breakup between a mother and her infant. Even the days leading up to her first day back to work, if you made any mention of her going back to work and leaving her eleven month old son at home...instant tears.

My job as the dad (and caring husband that wanted to minimize any further emotional breakdowns), I wanted ensure that this was as much of a smooth transition as I could make it for everyone's sake. Did I mention that I was the one taking the last month of parental leave? I definitely had to make sure I was on top of things.

For all you new dads in the same boat that I was in, here's my rookie dad guide to making this transition as smooth as possible.

1. Get up in the morning with her when she gets ready for work

Do as much as you can to ensure she can maximize any time she has with the baby before going to work. Make the baby's breakfast, turn the coffee on, pack her a lunch....do whatever it takes, every minute and every second counts with this emotional mom.

2. Be prepared for the tears and emotional breakdowns

This is like the worst breakup she has ever been through. If we ever divorced, she would never be THIS upset. Get the tissue box ready.

3. Send pictures

Your smartphone will be your greatest friend. She wants to know what he's doing at every moment. So send those photo updates. Seriously, the pictures don't even have to be perfect quality, she just wants to know what he's doing AT ALL TIMES (nap times, playtime, she wants to know what he's eating and if he's eating his vegetables).

4. Always let her know she's not missing much 

If your baby manages to take their first steps, say their first words, recites the alphabet or something spectacular, keep it to yourself. Let them 'do it for the first time' when Mom gets home. If she gets any inkling that she's missing a lot when she's not home, see point #2. 

5. Let her know that she is greatly missed 

This mom wants to know that her baby has missed her, so make sure that you play up any moments from the day that could have been a result of your child missing their mom. If your baby cried when Mom left for work, make sure you let her know that when she gets home. And in those moments where your baby didn't go down for a nap easily or you had to change an explosive diaper, show your wife some love and appreciation and let her know that being at home ain't easy. 

6. Lunch Dates

If your wife or partner has a workplace nearby, arrange a lunch date during that first week so she can get her baby fix. And yes, she might even buy you lunch for making the trip. But also be prepared for point #2 at the end of this lunch date.

7. Clean House, Supper Ready and Baby Standing at the Door

This is key. If an emotional mom comes home from a hard day's work, and you're just chilling on the couch while the baby is tearing the house apart, you're in for a long night. There are a few things that will need to happen before she walks in that door: a tidy house, dinner started and your baby waiting at the door to meet their mom. I say if you can do two of the three, you'll still be in the good books. And if you can jam all those tasks in ten minutes, you're golden.

8. Lotto Tickets

When all else fails, buy her a lotto ticket. She just wants to be at home with her baby. So this lotto ticket might be that only ray of hope that there's a possibility that she can be that stay-at-home mom forever, and having that 1 in 13,000,000 chance of winning the lottery is better than none. But once you find out that your lotto ticket was a loser the next day, once again, be prepared for point #2.

Breakups are tough. Just be prepared for an emotional week based on my experience as a first-time dad living with a first-time mom, I wish you all the best of luck.

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Romy is a dad, husband and blogger based out of Halifax.  He also writes about hoops too at HipHoopJunkies.com.  For dirty diaper stories,  follow him on Twitter @DadDontLie and for hoops talk, follow @RomyAquino

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