Post # 1
One of the biggest reasons I don’t want to have kids is because I’m afraid of a scenario where I end up doing the ‘majority’ of the work involved just because I’m the Mom, despite the fact that I’ll still be working full time, etc. Not that DH does anything to make me think he’ll shirk responsibilities when it comes to the baby, but I feel like this happens to most Moms I see since that is what is expected of them by society.
Like when we go to visit his family the men and women separate. We have to watch the kids, cook and clean while the men get to do fun things like play cards and drink. I don’t say anything in that scenario because I know how important it is for DH to have a good time with his family, and it’s only a couple weeks out of the year so I let it go.
But I am NOT the type of woman who would be OK with my DH living a ‘normal’ life while I am expected to watch the baby all the time. Normal meaning he can still stay late at work for no good reason, go out with friends on a whim, go away on trips, get to hang out with people visiting us while I am in the back room putting the baby to bed, etc.
Anyway my question is, would it be a crazy idea to have a contract drawn up stating that if we have kids, DH agrees to share at least 50% of the work? I feel like I would be more comfortable with the idea of getting pregnant if I knew DH was willing to sign an actual contract saying he would never let all the work fall on me. And again it isn’t like my DH has any kind of behavior right now that makes me think this will happen, I’m just worried by what I see from other couples.
Post # 3
my family’s gatherings have the same dynamic. i hate it, but they’re only once or twice a year so i can deal.
i think it’s a great idea to talk about all of this with dh before deciding to ttc to make sure you’re on the same page with all of your expectations. a contract seems like overkill/a bit crazy to me, but you know your dh better than i do.
Post # 4
I think contract might be a bit extreme but a conversation would be helpful!
My husbands family is very much this way. His parents are currently raising my niece and nephew and while my MIL works (from home), my FIL does not work. She still takes the kids to daycare (about 45 minutes round trip twice a day) and entertains/bathes/puts the kids to bed. He has stepped up some with cooking dinner and cleaning and helping wind down the kids at night but thats about it.
As MH and I started having conversations about having kids, I started pointing out things that bothered me that I saw in others (obviously at home in privacy). It lead to some great discussions about how we want to parent.
Post # 5
No offense but the contract idea made me laugh.
So what would you do if he doesn’t hold up his end, sue him?
Post # 6
I think the contract is extreme, but the general idea around it is good. I have to say that most of the parents I see in Brooklyn seem to be sharing the workload almost equally. I always see the Dads at the farmers market with the kids buying groceries.
You could always do what my sister and her husband do and have alternating days when one person is the main caregiver and the other gets a complete pass on staying out late etc. As long as you talk it over beforehand and decide what system will work best for you, I think it will be fine.
Post # 7
- Wedding: September 2010 - MacLean Park
I think a sort of ceremonial contract would be a good idea for you. Nothing drawn up and legal, of course, because that would be a bit extreme (and kinda crazy!) But it would help to have a set of “Baby Rules” documented to help you both hammer out exactly what you expect from parenthood. My husband and I talk about it a lot, because I’m afraid of the same things. I work from home, and I’m afraid that I’ll be the one doing all the work with the baby, and he’ll go off and have a good time with his buddies every night. It’s not necessarily a rational fear (especially when he talks excitedly about sleeping next to the crib and being the night-time feeder/changer, I mean, how awesome is that? Who knows if it’ll happen, but at least he’s excited about it!), but it’s one a lot of women think about.
You can line out how much time per day you’d like to split up watching the baby (since you’re at home, you’ll take maybe 60%, and he’ll cover the 40% when he’s home from work and in the mornings), a night-time feeding schedule (say, he gets everything before 2:30, and you cover the early mornings) and all the other logistics. So long as you both know what you want from each other, then I think it’s a great idea! Now to go chat with my hubs about it…
Post # 8
I think that a contract might be a bit of an overkill. And i agree with troubled what happens if he doesnt hold up his end of the bargain?
When my DH and I started talking about TTC we talked about our expectations and our concerns. It made a big difference.
Not to mention now that i am pregnant… I am struggling with the complete opposite…how am i going to LET him help me lol. I feel like i would want to do it all myself.
Post # 9
talking about it is a great idea, a contract seems a bit much!
Post # 10
LOL I love the responses!! YOu are all so nice about my crazy idea. But I guess I didn’t mean a legally binding contract, but something written and thought out that the two of us agree to which would really just be a way of discussing it beforehand. I might sue him, watch me!! 😉
@plantains: It’s funny you say that because when the weather is nice, I always see Dad’s with rumpled hair pushing strollers and walking the dog at the same time in Riverside park. I always imagine the Mom back in the apartment like “Get them OUT of here!!!”
Post # 11
Too funny, I’ll bet that is exactly the case! It is teh NYC equivalent of telling the kids to go play in the yard 🙂
Post # 12
haha. I guess if you felt like you and your husband really need something like that, I guess? Would he be offended???
We don’t really have the same dynamic on my husband’s side of the family. When we get together everyone cooks together. One person might be making the main but another might be doing sides. Others will help with prep or do clean up. All the boys were taught to participate in household duties by their parents. So I don’t foresee that issue with my husband and I.
I guess my other question would be how is he now around the home? Do you do the bulk of the housework? I would take that as an indicator as well. Although I think it’s completely possible his attitude might change when he’s a father! 🙂
Post # 13
@Gerbera: Oh I told him all about the contract last night when he told me (again) how he is leaning towards having kids. I mean I was joking, but it got me thinking. And to answer your question, I am happy to report that right now DH does probably about 75% of the household work/errands. He is an amazingly helpful, clean and organized husband I know I’m lucky!! But for some reason that just doesn’t calm my nerves about all the pressure society will put on me to do the baby work. I’d rather cook and clean!!! Ugh! 🙂
Post # 14
It seems like this would be a very important part of the larger “so we wants to have kids…” parenting philosophy conversation, along with how you want to raise them, what you priorities are, how you will discipline, how you will handle child care, etc.
Post # 15
I think since you know (I assume :)) that the document wouldn’t be legally binding, that it’s a good idea. But really the convo is key. Realistically though, he can agree to all the terms and not fulfill them once the time comes. This is a fear I’m dealing with now (I’m 12 weeks right now). Part of me thinks I’m just being irrational, but am I? Who knows. I think men of some families/cultures are conditioned to be the secondary care giver and I’m not ok with that. I think it should be a joint effort and I won’t give up until that’s what I have in my marriage/family. I think it’s a matter of open, everlasting communication. We’ll see!
Post # 16
You should both agree on this- be sure to let him know how you feel….that these are going to be his kids too! I am sorry that you are experiencing this….