No billboards necessary.
New mom Serena Williams has been taking some time away from the tennis courts since welcoming her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., with husband Alexis Ohanian in September.
Williams has been open about her traumatic birth experience and the terrifying medical crisis that followed. A pulmonary embolism saw her hospitalized during her first week of motherhood, and stuck in bed for six more weeks after that.
Now recovered, Williams is happy to be getting on with life as a new mama and getting back on the court—and her husband is letting the world know he is her biggest cheerleader.
Ohanian (a multi-millionaire thanks to co-founding Reddit) bought four billboards in Palm Desert, California, to celebrate Williams’ return to tennis—and let his wife know that he and Alexis Jr. don’t just think she’s the GOAT (greatest of all time, of course) as an athlete, but as a mama, too.
For good reason, people on the internet are loving Ohanian’s very public display of affection and have already deemed Ohanian the greatest husband of all time. But you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire with access to billboard-buying money to support your co-parent when they go back to work after a birth.
Whether your postpartum goal is to take on new challenges at the office or, you know, win another Grand Slam title, support from your co-parent can make all the difference.
Here are some of the ways partners can follow Ohanian’s example—with much smaller budgets:
Support her in breastfeeding or formula-feeding
When it comes to breastfeeding, research shows that dad’s support makes a difference in whether or not mom meets her breastfeeding goals. This may look like helping to make dinner while she feeds the baby or offering to wash the pump parts and daycare bottles when she gets home from work.
Also know the difference between giving her the confidence to continue through the hard times with breastfeeding versus making her feel shame if she decides to use formula.
Do some chores
If your partner is going back to work, you can show your support by taking on more of the chores. Research indicates parental inequity at home doesn’t just hurt working mothers, but their marriages, too. When a mom is working plus doing more than half of all the childcare and household stuff while their partner just works and loads the dishwasher once a month, resentment can build.
And if your partner is staying home? Still pitch in with chores. Just because she’s “at home” more often, doesn’t mean her plate isn’t already full with taking care of baby. It may feel like a small thing, but by making sure the dishwasher is loaded every night, your relationship with your co-parent and your baby will benefit.
Lighten her mental load
When a parent goes back to work after a leave, they have a lot on their mind. Now they’re not only juggling the baby’s schedule, but meetings, projects and commutes, too.
One way to support your partner as her plate fills up with work responsibility is to take some things at home off her to-do list. If she’s been the one to schedule all the baby’s wellness check-ups or book the dog for his monthly grooming, offer to add that to your own to-do list.
This will lighten her mental load and stress levels—and give you an opportunity to be an equal partner in household responsibilities.
Not every dad can buy up a bunch of billboards to welcome their wife back to the working world. But, really, it’s not about billboards; it’s about support.
For just the cost of paper, you can slip a thank you note into your partner’s work bag on her first day back. While it may not be as public of a declaration as Ohanian’s billboards, we promise it will put you in the running for GHOAT.