Tuesday, February 20, 2007

To parent or not to parent that is the question

How did you as a couple with children decide how the gender roles would go? How would you deal with the responsibility of parenting? Did you follow traditional roles where the wife takes care of the children for everything, do you share the responsibilities or is there a Mr. Mom in the house?

I've watched my neighbors and how they have split the parenting responibilities and I've watched another coupld from Germany who is here now split the responsibilities their way. And then I got first had experience when we went to D.C. this weekend to visit friends. They have two children now, a 3 year old and a 15 month old.

I have to say that I am not fond of the traditional role - not in the least. Now I don't know if she chose this for herself like my next door neighbor did (she's a control freak and then wonders why her husband never helps - he was never allowed to help so he doesn't bother to when he is now asked), but J was run ragged. M had time to do his hobbies, he had time to drink beer, booze etc, where J was lucky to get a shower. J was up at 0630 with the kids, fed them, clothed them, played with them and kept them out of trouble. M got up went running, took a shower, waited for her to fix him breakfast, asked where we wanted to go and took us there. We went out as a couple one night for an hour and a half for dinner - that was it. Otherwise J stayed home with the kids the entire time. Even while we were in the home he did nothing with the kids other than an occasional "stop doing that" type comment to one of the kids.

I personally don't want that for myself. We have several couples with kids under 1 year of age who share what they do. They each get personal time - guy time, girls night out etc and share time where they go out with the baby with friends. They share feedings, changing, putting the kiddo to bed, have a beer with baby on your lap, etc. This is what we as a couple want for ourselves when the bean is born.

This traditional role where the man does nothing with the child at all, and I seriously mean nothing just doesn't seem right to me. It seems like the man got all the fun and the woman got all the work.

What about you? Its it a 80/20 split, 50/50 or no split at all? How do you feel about gender roles and parenting? What works for you?


Tracy said...

I don't think I can put a "split" amount to what we do here. I do stay home with the kids. I work from home. So, I am traditional in that sense of the word I guess. BUT, my hubby is NOTHING like how you described M. We both get alone time. We both get time to do hobbies or exercise alone, etc.

When hubby gets home from work he spends time with the boys. He's the "go to guy" for any outdoor playing (especially winter outdoor stuf lol).

We just kind of fell into our roles naturally. I nursed both boys, which meant that I put them to sleep for their first year. So, when #1 turned one and was weaned hubby said that he'd like to do more things to help and decided that bathtime and bedtime would be "his". 7 years later hubby still does bathtime and bedtime with the boys.

If a stinky diaper needed to be changed and he noticed it, he did it.

Naturally, I do more of the "nurturing" type things (hugs when hurt, etc.) and hubby does more of the playing and "fun" stuff :o)

I think that no matter how you decide to split responsibilities, the dad needs to be involved. Kids depend on that.

Anonymous said...

Things work best when the husband and wife (mom and dad) each give 100%

MQ said...

We have a pretty good balance, but that's because my husband wants to spend time with them, and he knows I've done more than my fair share in the past. :) Fathers have to understand that the more they "do" for their kids, the closer they will be. It's pretty simple to me, really. Do you want to bond with your kids or don't you? :) You'll figure it out. And what works for you won't work for someone else. I think that's the thing I've learned. You have to find your own style :)

Molly Pitcher said...

I think with nursing it can be hard for Daddy to initially find his role...but he will if he tries and mom lets him. I don't think a WAHM breastfeeding can have a 50/50 split, but DH helps a lot whenever he is home.

When DH comes home from PT, he grabs baby and I take a shower.

Sometimes on the weekends, he takes her so I can sleep in.

At night he often bathes her and does the bedtime stories. I suspect once she is a weaned toddler, he will take on an even greater role.

We bring her along when we go out as a couple.