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7 things the mother of your children needs to hear
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It's easy for a dad to say the wrong thing to the mother of his children. Stick to these seven things, and you'll always be telling her something she wants (and needs) to hear. - photo by Karen Banes
If youre a dad with a tendency to say the wrong thing to the mother of your children, youre not alone. Its hard to know what she needs to hear sometimes. And the flippant good humor that worked in one situation will just annoy her in another. If in doubt, remember the following seven things are something all moms need to hear from time to time.

1. "Youre an awesome mom"

Even the most confident and relaxed women worry about being a good mom. Its possibly the single most important thing women will ever do and certainly one of the hardest.

Men may not realize this, but being a great mom is exponentially harder than being a great dad. Dads are often told theyre a great dad by complete strangers because (get this) theyve taken their kids to the park. Know what? Your wife has taken those kids to the park a hundreds of times, sometimes with a migraine or when shes sick. Nobody told her shes a great mom. Once somebody tutted at her because she nursed the baby in public, while still supervising the preschooler.

2. "I value what you do"

Motherhood is hard. Its relentless. Youre either actively working or on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, often with a particularly demanding and stressful shift on Christmas, Thanksgivng and any other holiday. Vacations also sometimes involve more work rather than less: preparing, packing and even just settling kids at night in a strange place.

The mother of your children doesnt expect accolades or even a ton of praise. She just wants you to regularly acknowledge and value her work, strength, patience and contribution to your family.

3. "Im here for you"

Moms in general, and stay-at-home moms in particular, can feel extremely isolated. No one is criticizing you if youre at work all day. Families need hardworking dads. But even working moms often feel like theyre taking on the majority of the work and responsibility involved in running a family. Every family needs an organizer, and its usually the mom.

As a dad, you need to make sure she knows youre there for her emotionally, that youre happy to share responsibility and decision-making and that, if needed, you can step up at a moment's notice.

4. "You can ask me for anything you need"

Many dads are happy to help, but genuinely dont know what needs to be done. Moms tend to spend the early days at home with their babies, even if just on maternity leave, and they get into routines pretty quickly. Its vital that your wife doesnt feel like shes making unwelcome demands on you when she asks for input, whether its practical, emotional or financial.

Explain that you dont always instinctively know what she needs, but that you actively welcome requests (and directions). This is a simple thing you can do to avoid the mother of your children feeling resentment toward you.

5. "I appreciate my freedom"

Most dads have a huge amount of freedom compared to their partner. Dads of young children often seem to find time to hang out with their friends, go to the gym or watch the game. This can be another huge source of resentment, especially if the freedom is taken for granted.

Take a good look at your life. If you have way more freedom than your childs mother (and I suspect you do), let her know you appreciate that. You may worry that by mentioning it, you'll suddenly draw her attention to something you're currently "getting away with." I promise you, she's already noticed. She's just too tired to argue about it.

6. "Youre beautiful"

No woman feels beautiful with a post-baby jelly-belly and cheerios in her hair. Keep telling her how beautiful she is. For extra brownie points, notice (or photograph) a tender moment between her and your child and tell her "thats beautiful." Shell be more likely to believe you.

7. "Youve got this"

Simple but regular reassurance goes a long way. Several times a day, when its all spiraling out of control, moms have to stop and firmly tell themselves theyve got this. Its so much more convincing, and reassuring, when someone else says it.
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