- 4 years ago
- Wedding: May 2014
Hello all. My FI and I have been talking about the issue of kids for a long time and I need some advice/feedback about if I’m being insane or not.
Backstory: FI and I have been together for 7 years. The first 5.5 years of that, FI was adamant that he never wanted children. I happen to love kids. I’ve been working with them my entire life and my career is pediatric psychology (I work in hospitals with kids). In the beginning of the relationship I had to really evaluate if this relationship was going to work out, because I just assumed that I would have children some day. I decided that I was 100% okay with not having children, because I love my job and get to work with kids and families all day. Plus, my FI is pretty awkward around kids and clearly is not the nurturing, kid-loving guy I would chose to coparent with.
Currently, I get to come home from work and destress: we sleep late, go on great vacations, and do all of those fabulous adult-only things. My FI and I live a pretty child-unfriendly lifestyle. We live in the middle of a city, FI travels for work Mon-Fri, and on the weekends we participate in all sorts of adventure sports (rock climbing, backpacking, white water kaying, mountain biking…).
Last summer, my FI let me know that he’s had a change of heart. He wants children. WHAT?!?!!? I made him pull over the car and started dry heaving when he told me this. Seriously. This was another crisis point for us. I told him that I loved him, but he would make a TERRIBLE father. After much discussion, I let him know that I would be open to the idea, but it would require a complete change in lifestyle for BOTH of us. I will not be a single parent while he travels and continues to do all of the things we both enjoy. I had always thought that I would stay home if I had kids… but now I have a job that I LOVE and I don’t want to give up. I told him that if he wants to be a 50% parent, we can make it work. But he has to be home for dinner most night (not traveling 4 nights a week for work) and I will not be the one doing all the work. We put it on the shelf, both knowing that it will be 3 years before the opportunity comes up anyway (I have to finish Residency and Fellowship).
We both live 1000+ miles away from our families. We don’t have many opportunities to be around children. His sister has two sweet little babies and we’ve visited them 4-5 times in the last two years. One of these trips we strapped my FI into the baby bjorn and he freaked out for the entire 5 minutes the babe was on his chest (saying “ahhh… it’s appendages are moving!”). Like I said, not so great with the littles…
Current day: I am not convinced that my FI really wants kids, or just likes the idea of kids. It’s not something you can go back on and I’m worried that we will go forward and my life will radically change, his won’t, and we’ll both be unhappy. I have told him I would like him to spend time with kids before making the leap. I want him to learn to have a few parenting skills and be more comfortable around kids. I have told him straight up that “I will not have [his] children unless he shows some desire to be around them and some competency with them.” I work with dysfunctional kids and families all day. I know the 8000 things that can go wrong.
So, there’s a family in our city that I used to nanny for. They adore me (and by extension, my FI). I try to hang out with them every other week and remain connected to them. I think it’s good for all of us. A few weeks ago, the kiddos (13 and 11) came to our house, I made dinner, and with much convincing, all 4 of us played board games together. My FI sat with us for almost an hour before escaping off to the gym. Everyone had a great time!
A week or two later, I has hanging out with them again, and asked my FI if we could come back to our place. He said no. He told me that he felt “uncomfortable” having a young girl in our home. He said that “in this day and age, it’s not proper for an unmarried man to be around kids. Especially female ones.” Ummm… what? I understand that he may not want to be alone with just an 11 year old girl, but I would be there. And the kids parents love my FI and would never, ever be uncomfortable with him being alone with their children. They trust me and my choice of partner, ergo – him. After the successful visit, the mom told me that her son adores my FI and she was so glad they had time together (you know, good role models and all…).
This week, the girl is at camp. I’m hanging out with the 13 year old boy today. He wants to go rock climbing. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for my FI to get some more positive kiddo experience. He said no. He has no interest in hanging out with this kid and I, because it means that he would spend more time dealing with the ropes, and less time climbing. He said that I should go with this boy, and he would go with his friend late tonight. Arghhhh!
I again tried to tell him that I want him to spend time with kids before truly deciding if we’re going to have our own. He was shocked. He said that he doesn’t think that he has to prove anything and that I shouldn’t expect anything of him before having kids. He said “it’s different for guys.” He has zero desire to be around this 13 year old boy, or ANY kids. I told him that we have a few years still, but I am not willing to have kids with him if he’s not going to be a good father, and there’s no way to judge that without being around kids. He thinks I’m being crazy and unreasonable and “this isn’t a job interview.”