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February 11, 2013

What Does a New Mom Want for Valentine’s Day: A Babysitter or a Nap?

While Jeff C. may be known as the office prankster, he’s also in charge of site analytics around here. But a more important project popped up this year – his daughter, Adelyn. Here, he talks about the stress about being a new dad on Valentine’s Day.


Blog-valentines-dayI became a Dad for the first time in November. My goodness, it’s hard! For the past three months I’ve learned how exciting, stressful, disruptive, and beautiful a new baby can be to a house – and to a marriage.  I’ve learned how it can unite us – and still make us feel like we haven’t talked in days.

So I come to you, Care.com readers, seeking advice. See, my wife of 4 years, is also my very best friend of 14 years. And we have always had a pact of never celebrating Valentine’s Day. She hates the holiday. Feels it’s too commercialized. In the past, we haven’t done anything. But this year, I feel we need something.  And I say this, because our dates have been few and far between since our precious and amazing daughter was born. Seriously, when babysitters/family come to help, we seek sleep instead of a nice outing. Or, we run necessary errands. Our last "date night" involved Target, Babies ‘R Us and onesies.

And my wife puts up with so much – mostly from me. While she was in labor, I passed out before the first push. I woke up in time for our daughter Adelyn’s delivery, but we all left the hospital with medical bracelets. I was also covered in poison ivy at our wedding. My wife still has to see me covered in Calamine lotion in all our wedding pictures!

I bring all of this up because I also know that maternity leave is hard. It’s our first baby, and my wife feels a little trapped inside during the coldest of these New England winter days. It’s hard to meet other moms, interact with friends, or get some rest. But I’m the one who gets a ton of compassion after one night, in a sleep-deprived state, I rocked a swaddled bundle of blankets to sleep for over an hour, thinking it was my child, of course! And I get to tell my co-workers that story and feel the new dad sympathy.

But she doesn’t see her co-workers. She doesn’t get a daily affirmation and a daily break. But she does get to see so much more of our daughter, and I know that’s a gift she truly cherishes.

So as I mentioned, we don’t typically celebrate Valentine’s Day, and I think it should be honored this year with a special tribute. Maybe I’ll skip the Thursday celebration which she hates, but get her a massage over the weekend. Tell me what you think: Please "Like" this post if you think that’s a good idea, but post a comment if you have a different suggestion.

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Comments

Tania

Jeff, I loved your post. I am a new mom myself so I can absolutely relate what your wife is feeling (by the way, it's beautiful that you can actually 'hear' what she is saying to you - lots of new dads don't) and I am sure my husband can relate to you. He also misses going out on a date with me... or one that doesn't involve running errands. We will also be going on our second real date since the baby was born on Valentines. My baby boy will now be 6 months in a couple of weeks so it's long due.

I absolutely love the idea of the massage, but go with your wife! Give her time and space for herself so she can relax, but hold her hand just to say you are there - in case she needs. I am sure she will love it and this way you also get (a much needed) one too.

Congrats to both of you.

lissette loeb

Aw! it brings so much great memories to reading your letter. My daughter is now 11 yrs. of age... Congratulations! both of your ladies are beautiful. You are in the right track!!! A massage is nice, but it will be nicer if you also get a massage. At many Spa they have couples massages or Mineral Bath (my favorite) for you both to enjoy. Its truly calming and rejuvenating! Then a light lunch b4 heading home to enjoy the beautiful baby....good luck! and Happy Valentines Day!!
oh! Don't forget to ask your babysitter to prepare dinner for later....the day must end stress free! lol

Rick

My wife and I don't really celebrate Valentines per se. But, last year, I bought her two tickets for the Andrea Bocelli concert, which coincided with Valentines day. She loved it!!!!

We didn't go this year because the concert was not on Valentines and somehow it lost meaning. Nevertheless, my point is simple; don't fall for the flowers or chocolate routine; get her something she'll never expect from you.

Every woman loves to be pampered; get her a day of pampering at the local spa. Don't scrounge either; if there is a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons Hotel near where you live, buy her a package at the hotel's spa. It will set you back a few hundred bucks (probably $500.00 or so), but if you really want to make your wife feel special, and she's that much of a friend to you, take my advise. Or not.

Good luck!

Rick

Holly

Jeff your on the right track, get her a massage over the weekend but make it so she can take a friend, sister,mom ,someone to join her. That way she can relax & also have some time to spend with someone & talk. I remember being a new mom & just wanting someone to talk to other than my spouse "girl talk" good luck & congratulations =-)

Sarah

A big grand gesture of a gift is great....like the massage or spa! But the BEST thing my husband ever gave me during those crazy years was the gift of about 45 minutes of help when he came home from work everyday. He would swoop in and do whatever needed to be done that didn't get done that day. Like vacuum, or clean the kitchen, or finish the laundry. I appreciate it more NOW than I did even back then, because now I realize how rare he is!

Stan

Massage is great, why not. If you are on tight budget, you may as well give your wife a break from her routine and suggest that you will be taking care of the daughter for 2-3 hours (or more) and send your wife to her favorite place, she will be happy to spend time just for herself.

Kathleen

You are on the right track with the massage idea. I would jut arrange for her best girlfriend or sister or mom- someone she loves hanging out with- to be with her. I'm a stay at home mom of 2 girls under 4 and what I crave most is alone time and girlfriend time. Maybe a gift card to a wine bar and the massage, or even a pedicure...sounds like a great afternoon!
Another important point is, depending on your wife's personality, she may not want to be gone from the baby a long time. Some new moms don't care, some do...so if she does, then maybe offer her a two part gift with drinks one afternoon and a massage another day.
Either way, cheers to you for trying so hard! Whatever you do, just thinking about her feelings and wanting to help is a great present

Larissa

Massage is great (if it can be uninterrupted) and adding a girlfriend to that + a glass of wine + pedicure, even better. But the thing (as a brand new mom myself) I miss the most: getting my hair done.

Ann

I am a grand mother 10 times so I understand your delima. I usually give hand made coupon books as presents. They consist of a number of things I can do to help mom and dad, ie. babysitter for a nite, washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking dinner etc. you get the idea. one may think this is tacky until it is used....and believe me, they are. Good luck and best wishes to you and your new family....will be praying for peace and comfort.....

Shealene

I've always thought going out on Valentine's day was too chaotic. The restaurants and movies are packed. What originally was intended to be a nice night out can quickly turn stressful. Instead I suggest getting takeout and taking the burden of cooking dinner off her hands. Not having to prepare dinner and clean up afterwards is sure to put her in a relaxing mood. You'll be able to focus on spending some time together while avoiding all the Valentine's day craziness.

Melissa

I just laughed so hard I cried at your story of rocking the blankets to sleep! We just had our second child in October so we can relate! Great idea for Valentine's Day Jeff!
-Melissa (Freinds with your wife in college.)

Nan Brophy

Jeff, anything you do will be wonderful . Perhaps the best thing would be for you to take care of Adelyn every night when you come home and spend time talking with Debbie. One thing most stay at home mums crave is adult conversation and company. What ever you do just enjoy the day and each other's company? Love to you both, Aunt Nan

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