When Our Partners Don't Value What We Do On Maternity Leave

When Our Partners Don't Value What We Do On Maternity Leave
Valeria Sabater

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Written by Valeria Sabater

Last update: 22 December, 2021

Believe it or not there are a lot of partners and people who don’t value the task of raising a child and the importance of maternity leave. The first few months take a physical and emotional toll that can be just as or even more exhausting than an 8-hour work day.

It is clear that the choice to stay at home for a few years to raise a child, is a decision that can be taken by both moms and dads. However, there is something that should remain clear: despite not going to work, this task is equally as important.

At the end of the day we end up exhausted and this exhaustion is completely justified. We will elaborate on this topic today in “YouAreMom.”

It is important to understand above all, that being a couple means being a team. If this basic idea isn’t understood, then the project of raising a child which depends so much on reciprocity, care and empathy will undoubtedly be very difficult.

If the mother or father feels lonely or misunderstood while they are caregiving and their spouse goes to work, it can take a serious toll on the relationship.

When our partners do not value the work we do on maternity leave

There are wonderful and exceptional spouses with whom it is easy to live a harmonious life. A perfect symphony where there are no reproaches. Where classic phrases such as “I help my wife or I give a hand to my husband or my partner” don’t exist.

misunderstood mother on maternity leave

Nobody lends a hand to anyone because there is an implicit idea that being a family means carrying out a common project. A project where effort and dedication are combined.

This pact has already been made and if one of the members decides to take maternity leave to be at home for a few years to raise the children, the other person should assume their role and respect their spouse’s work.

There are a lot of couples that don’t experience this reality. They are mostly women – and some men – who dedicate 24 hours a day to taking care of their newborns. They feel misunderstood and undervalued by their partner.

My mother raised 5 children and never complained.”  “But the only thing a baby does is eat and sleep, you cannot complain.” “You spend the whole day sitting down while I am standing and working all day.

These phrases hurt. Sentences like these ones can destroy and cause lots of damage till the point of affecting the upbringing of children. This happens because a sad mom or dad cannot give the best of themselves to their children. All of this has to be taken into account.

When mom or dad feels “trapped.”

When they get home and dinner is still not ready. The clothes are not washed and the house isn’t clean they ask “But how busy have you been all day?”

It is very possible that our spouses only notice these types of things. They only want to see that the baby is now sleeping calmly and satisfied, and resting feeling happy and loved.

father looking at sleeping baby
  • Now, if this attitude and response is repeated day in and day out, then the parent that is on maternity leave will start to feel terribly limited and even trapped. They feel this way because their beautiful task of raising their children is not valued. Because the person who they love the most, their partner, doesn’t appreciate their hard work.
  • The hyper vigilance that we experience in the first months and years of raising a child makes our stress levels rise to their limits. We are afraid of falls, we are afraid the baby does not eat enough, that they do not sleep as well as they should. We anticipate risks and watch them every second of the day.
  • If in addition our partners accuse us of neglecting household chores or criticizes us for being tired, then something is wrong. They do not value us. We are not receiving any respect, and this is a complex situation in which something has to change.

I am at home, but my work is just as important.

In some cases, the couple makes an agreement: I will take maternity leave and you will work. One partner will be responsible for economically maintaining the home while the other will take on an equally important task. The task of raising, educating, caring and giving affection to that new life that in turn shapes the roots of the couple.

Therefore, it is essential the we have the following clear:

  • Raising a child is not just a job. It is part of our life, it is a job that occupies 24 hours 7 days a week.
  • Having a child means investing in illusions, time, love and dedication. If there is no reciprocity between the couple, the project will not be able to be sustained. We will not be able to provide the authentic quality of life that will be best for our children.
  • The care of the home is secondary. Our priority should always be the baby. If our partner comes home to see that the clothes haven’t been ironed, that doesn’t mean that “we have not done anything” all day.
baby's hand holding mother's hand

A mother or father has all the right in the world to say that they are tired. They have the same rights as that of the person who has been working all day. The fact that they say they are tired doesn’t mean that they love their children less. They are just looking for a release and of course they deserve their partner’s understanding.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.