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What are signs that your partner will split childcare and/or be supportive of your career?

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I’ve been seeing an article on The Lily about how, with daycare centers and summer camps being closed, women are being forced to choose between childcare and working. In particular, it talks about a woman who chose to dissolve her own company because her unemployed husband couldn’t handle taking care of their 3 year old for more than three days.

It made me wonder – for those of you who are mothers, what were signs from before you had kids that your partner would or would not be splitting childcare fairly?

Alternatively, for those of you who are very career oriented, what are signs that your partner would be supportive of your career, even if it meant you worked more and helped out around the house less?

Ed ecco le risposte del genere femminile:

Edit: thanks so much for the upvotes and the award, kind stranger 🙂

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the article.

How did I know my son’s father would be an active parenting partner? First of all, he was excited about becoming a parent. He WANTED to be there.

Everything after that was based on what I did, or didn’t do. The following list are all the things I’ve noticed my friends doing after having children that I wouldn’t reccomend if you want an actively participating partner.

Hogging the baby to yourself. I was a deep sleeper and my son’s father slept lightly. After a few days of him waking up first and prodding me awake for midnight feeds, we put our son’s bassinet on his side of the bed. He would have that baby out the bassinet and latched on before I woke up most nights.

Criticizing the nappy change. I gritted my teeth and said “well done!” To the first half dozen changes, surreptitiously adjusting afterwards. I didn’t take over, I didn’t point out flaws. I left him to it, and expected him to do it. I know dozens of men who’ve had multiple children with the same wife who have NEVER changed a dirty bum. Not acceptable.

Taking the baby off them when they’re crying. My son’s father was expected to be a place of safety and comfort. I didn’t interfere when our son wouldn’t settle unless it was time for a feed. Otherwise, I let them work it out.

Not incorporating the father into the kids routine. When my son’s father walked in the door from work, that would be my cue to start cooking. Dad would jump straight in the shower, get a 5 minute head start and I would pop bubs right in with him. They’d have a good 20 minute bonding session in there together EVERY DAY. Sometimes I’d be in to help with hair washing. I’d dry our son while his dad got dressed, and then he’d dress him while I served up dinner.

Freaking out when dad plays with baby by throwing them into the air a little. Ok, he did drop him ONCE. In all fairness, he also caught him before he hit the ground. My heart was in my throat, but I didn’t forbid it and let him carry on. Just not that day.

Stopping everything else going on in your life. I still studied at university. I still went for coffee with my girlfriends. He and I still went on dates (parents babysat). My son’s father knew how to make up a bottle and I made MYSELF somewhat disposable so I could have my own freedom.

Listening to idiots who wax lyrical about a mothers love and sacrifice. It’s a trap. If you treat your children’s father as if they’re an intrinsic, essential part of your child’s life, they will rise to the challenge because they’re NEEDED. IMPORTANT. I have ripped new assholes for people who make comments like this, even if my son’s father wasn’t there to hear it. Sharp, angry retorts like “it’s people like YOU who make it hard for dad’s to get custody of their kids” or “don’t be fucking stupid, dads are just as important as mums”. Dads are only a second class parent because we make them that way. In a thousand tiny cuts, we sever the bonds between fathers and their children. We undermine them, roll our eyes at their learning attempts, complain to our girlfriends, take over when they’re caring for their kids because WE know better. Or we let them take a back seat, we don’t EXPECT their full support. We think it’s easier to do it ourselves, then complain that dad’s aren’t CAPABLE later on. Of course not! They never learned, they’re not confident, they see themselves as a babysitter and the kids as not their responsibility.

And additional piece of information, we separated when our son was three. I’m one of few people who separated with children who NEVER went to court. Both of us had the best interests of our child at the forefront of our minds, so we negotiated EVERYTHING. Successfully. Today, we have a well-rounded 19 year old, absolutely beautiful boy and a good friendship and a healthy respect for each other. He’s been a wonderful co-parent for the last couple of decades, which was most important as we entered the tricky teen years and I felt like an epic failure. Not only did Dad step in and help, but on more than one occasion he told me I was doing a great job, he built up MY confidence, he supported my decisions and reinforced my rules to his son.

It surprises many people to learn I’m feminist, because these days people mistake feminism for being anti-men. I wanted EQUALITY, and I got it by giving up my superiority of parenting status, and fighting back HARD against those who sought to denigrate my sons father. Inequality in this area disadvantages BOTH parents, more importantly, it damages children. Also, my sons dad knew I had his BACK, even if I couldn’t live with him. That was really important.

I think there are no guarantees, as some people are bound to switch up after having kids — but IMO, the signs are often there and many women hope their partner will change, or that having kids will make them buck up and pitch more. It won’t, 99% of the time. But people hear about the 1% of the time the partner got it together after having a kid and make the bet that it’ll be them. I don’t know about that specific story but if their child is three and he can’t handle taking care of the kid for more than 3 days, that means that dynamic among them has existed for the past 3 years. You can’t change that overnight, or at all, IMO. I’d have to read the article to know more but frankly it just sounds like the typical dynamic of “oh, she’s just so much better of taking care of the baby” and she goes along with it because the baby has to be taken care of or it won’t get done. 3 years of bad habits and frankly a lack of respect or care for the wife on the husband’s part is nearly impossible to undo.

For one, actually TALK about your expectations. A lot of people don’t do this and you might be surprised at what your SO actually thinks. How did they grow up? Did they have a mom who did everything? Because it never surprises me when I meet people, mostly men, who grew up watching their mom be a stay at home mom or a working mom who still did the bulk of the work and they just expect that’s how their relationship will be. How do they talk about working women, childcare, and housework? What are their ideals and their expectations for you specifically? Are they putting in their fair share around the house without you having to ask? Are they able to take initiative?

A lot of people suggest getting a pet beforehand, but I don’t really think that’s the best indicator. A pet isn’t a human baby. People still think that human baby = woman takes care of the baby and that a pet can be handled by anyone.

The dynamic can still shift after having kids no matter how great they are. The first few months will be lopsided if you are choosing to exclusively breastfeed, however I didn’t breastfeed so it made trading off doing night feedings a lot easier and didn’t make it fall all on me. Communication is really the only way to solve these issues but my #1 advice would be don’t expect someone who is lazy or needs tasks delegated to them to change after having kids. There are always going to be exceptions, but I would never bet on being the exception.

When my husband and I were dating, he got a triops kit. He set it up and every day he would come home from work waiting for the eggs to hatch and when they did, he moved the tank from place to place until he found a spot he thought they liked best. He would come home from work and watch them swim around.
Eventually, they all died of course and he asked me, quite seriously, “Do you think they were happy? Do you think I gave them a nice life?”
I responded, just as seriously, “They were water bugs. I don’t think it really matters.”
He gave me a scowl the likes of which I had never seen before and said “They are CRUSTACEANS, not bugs. They have survived 300 million years. Their eggs can lie dormant for DECADES, waiting for a rain so they can hatch. They survive drought, radiation. They deserve a little happiness and maybe YOU should show them a little respect.”
Anyway, I figured a man that can find so much to love about bugs (sorry, CRUSTACEANS), would surely love his human kids to bits.
The twins are 12 now, our son is 9 and they’ve been gone all day on a hike, looking for frogs and salamanders.
He’s the best dad a kid could ask for.
Also, I make more than him and work shorter hours. If anyone was going to quit their job for child rearing, it was going to be him.

That article made me SO upset and disgusted. Being younger and super career oriented, it’s so I can always take care of myself if needed.

Before I have children it’s something I’d have to speak with my partner in depth about. I love ambitious men so it’s fine to me if we hire outside help to care for the children if we’re both working. I would also have the conversation to him that I am 100% fine with leaving with the children and putting him on child support if he doesn’t want to raise them… especially when being unemployed. No marriage is worth that slack. Unfortunately I don’t think there are many signs that would allude to him being unsupportive besides him being unsupportive before kids.

Honestly, I don’t understand how this dude couldn’t take care of a kid, if that’s all I had to do and there was nothing else.

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