Thankfully, times are changing and more parents are doing equal amounts now more than ever.
My husband is very “hands on”. We have four children and we both work. So we function as a team in our house and our family.
But despite all of my husband’s wonderful qualities, I have to admit that it’s always made me slightly uncomfortable when anyone has told me how “lucky” I am to have the type of husband that I do.
The kind that thinks of nothing of getting up with our kids if they need something in the middle of the night, the kind that makes the kids school lunches every day, the kind that I would never doubt could handle all four babies if I happened to have an overnight stay somewhere. (A girl can dream!)
I’ve realised that when people say I’m “lucky” to have a husband who is a totally equal partner, it sends the message that women and mothers are to handle all the “housekeeping” and are to expect the worst from the men in their lives.
If I’m “lucky” to have a husband who is fully capable of taking care of our kids, doesn’t that imply that most men are not? I don’t count myself as a lucky woman to have married the man that I did.
Because it wasn’t exactly an accident, you know?
I knew he would be all of those things that he is. These are not qualities that suddenly materialised after we walked down the aisle. Being teammates in the crazy life we have is a conscious decision we have both made. One I feel is essential for parents of young children especially.
A couple of decades ago men had a very different role within the home. But, thankfully, times are changing and more parents are doing equal amounts now more than ever. The term “baby nups” is actually on the rise!
One couple who have come out to say “baby nups” are the way forward is Melissa and Greg Biggs. When they were expecting their second baby back in 2015, they decided to do things a little different.
“I remembered how exhausting and stressful it all was when we had our daughter, especially since I was breastfeeding and a lot fell on me,” Melissa explained in an interview with Parade. “I consider myself a pretty organised person, so I decided to create a physical chore chart for my husband and I. We both sat down and divided up all the baby and household duties together.”
The Biggs aren’t the only couple tag-teaming parenting duties. According to a new report, so-called “baby nups” are on the rise, with parents finding different management styles to keep their households under control and relatively stress-free.
Even in Hollywood, celebrity couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt have also spoken out about dividing duties. “We’re both hands-on all the time,” Emily said. “John’s the diaper king!”
Of course, it can be challenging when a mother is exclusively breastfeeding and the duties don’t feel totally “equal.”
Studies show more than 8 in 10 mothers begin breastfeeding their babies at birth and 52 percent are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age, which means in many households, feeding time is usually falling directly on the mamas.
But that’s when some couples are finding ways to give mum a break, whether it’s her partner handling bath time or other chores if she’s on breastfeeding duty. Breastfeeding is the only thing that a dad can’t do. Anything else can really be split.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and want to make a plan with your partner but not sure where to start, start by having that open conversation with your partner about why you might be feeling overwhelmed, and how you both can work through it together.
The activity of creating the contract has more value even than the contract itself. Creating a contract, as an activity in itself, is a meaningful exercise in speaking with clarity, identifying what each (and both) parents’ values are, and working through disagreements.
What do YOU think readers? Do you think a woman is “lucky” to have a hands-on partner? Or do you think we should all be signing “baby nups” to make sure everything is divided equally?
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.