Let’s go halvies in a baby

9 Jan

No-one had ever put it this simply to me before but once your child enters the world he or she is as much yours as they are your wife’s.  With the exception of breast feeding you are as capable as your baby mama to perform all child related tasks.

It’s really up to you not society to determine how to care for your child.  You could have a stay at home parent, you could both go back to work or you could go halvies and both work and stay home part time.  No matter which option you choose, be kind to one another, communicate, keep your expectations of each other realistic and be in the moment when you are at home with your child.

In the past perhaps the bulk of child rearing has fallen to mothers because a) if they are breast feeding they need to be around at least in the beginning and b) I’m not in any way condoning this but generally men still earn more so it makes sense for the highest earner to go back to work.

It also follows that whoever is at home with the baby will work out how to do all manner of baby related tasks.  Unfortunately for men who so often find themselves going back to work, by the time they are at home their wife has already figured out how she wants to do things and you might be expected to just fall in line.  If you don’t fall in line expect to be told that you are not doing it right or to come back from the bathroom to find that your wife has fixed your sloppy work.

My advice is this.  If you are the one that goes back to work feel free to tell your wife to rack off if she tells you that you’re changing the diaper incorrectly. If you are a father-to-be in this situation then consider letting your wife rest up during her post-delivery hospital stay and take your new baby to all the classes yourself (in Australia most private hospitals allow stays of around 5 days and run classes during this time to prepare you for heading home).  It should give you some confidence to get involved, you might even find yourself teaching your wife a thing or two!

2 Responses to “Let’s go halvies in a baby”

  1. wowallthenamesaretaken January 9, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    This is a really interesting topic, and one that – as a new mum of a now 8-month-old baby – my friends and I constantly talk about. We are very lucky in that all of our partners choose to be very involved in co-parenting. In fact, my husband I would say does more than his fair share – for instance, as I am still on maternity leave, my husband is the main breadwinner and so goes off to work each day while my ‘job’ is looking after our baby. However, when he gets home I want (/need!!) a break, and so hand the baby over to him for a while – so when is his break? The same applies on weekends when I want to catch up with friends sans baby and leave the baby with him. I recognise he does get a break (eg when I’m breastfeeding / as he needs it!) but I still feel he does a great deal, and I have a newfound respect for single mums who don’t have this support!

    I totally agree with this post that the main reasons for women being the main carers of babies is still the breastfeeding and that men are still seen to be (and often are, particularly in a few months after a baby is born while the woman recovers from the sheer shock of what the f just happened) the main income earners of a family. I also think that women have come to realise they sadly can’t have it all (kids / career / social life / sanity) all at the same time, but perhaps our male counterparts haven’t gone through this group / social realisation yet, and that they are still trying to have a career and be income earners while also now taking on the responsibility of being a co-parent and perhaps more involved with bringing up their kids than their fathers were [recognising this is totally on a case by case basis and I don’t want to offend anyone out there!!].

    I should also note that while my friends and I say we are ‘lucky’ to have such helpful partners, it’s also a luck made of our own – ie, I wouldn’t have married someone who isn’t interested in co-parenting, and in fact sharing the load on a whole range of things – washing / cleaning / cooking / working to earn money.

    One work of warning for the male readers of this blog though – good luck telling your new wife to ‘rack off’! The sentiment is right, but perhaps more of a ‘darling, light of my life, love of my heart, please go and relax for five minutes while I change this nappy – I love you, and you married me because I’m not a total idiot, so while my style might not be as pretty as yours, as you are the expert here, I’m sure I can put a nappy on so that it functions to an effective extent’!!

    • kate724 January 9, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Too true Skye! One of my dear friends got told to rack off, she didn’t seem too offended, I thought it was hillarious and loved that he wasn’t scared to tell her that he could do it but perhaps a more softly softly gentle approach would be best in the long run. Tomorrows blog is about ‘having it all’!

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