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to wonder if these chore-shy men WANTED to be dads?

37 replies

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary · 18/07/2015 10:51

Inspired by other threads which bemoan the DP/DH not doing his fair share of child-related duties.

The advice given on these threads is often about calculating and dividing duties up so each partner has equal free time. And about how if DP/DH didn't have OP, he would have to pay £££ for childcare. There seems to be an assumption that the DC are always a 50/50 responsibility.

Now, obviously, these men fathered these children (they could have used a condom or abstained!) so they ARE their responsibility, in terms of chores AND financially. don't shoot me down...DID these men want children in the first place? Did it just "happen" or did he just go along with it because OP wanted children or because it's just the "done thing"? I've never met a man who is desperate for children in the same way women can be.

Does anyone know of a set-up whereby the man said (maybe if he already has grown up children?) "Ok, we can have a baby but you have to do the lion's share of the chores". (A bit like if one partner wants a dog!!!!) Has a man ever turned around and said "no, YOU wanted the DC, YOU do the night feeds"?

I hope this makes sense and is not seen as goady. Just something I've wondered about.

Did you and DP/DH want children equally as much? Do you feel bad asking him to do XYZ if you, ahem, talked him into becoming a father of if it was, ahem, "accidental"?! (I have heard such confessions on MN!)

Thanks in advance.

OP posts:

Whoami24601 · 18/07/2015 10:58

My DH was desperate for children! Tbh I'd say he was more enthusiastic than me (though I love them very much obv Smile). He longed for children in a way I never did. Having said that he is a very hands on dad, and loves nothing more than spending time with both of them. I think he quite likes the fact that I bf, so he doesn't have to do nights though!


BlackeyedSusan · 18/07/2015 11:03

ex wanted children. he wanted a boy so went for a second one after knowing how difficult a newborn was. I knew when we went for number two that I would be responsible for him completely as I had worked out that ex could not manage to look after them on his own. he offers to help but is not capable of doing the thinking, planning and keeping safe. he does, thankfully, work and pay for the dc though.


AuntyMag10 · 18/07/2015 11:04

My dh wanted kids just as much as I did. He is very hands on and chores are done with whoever is available. He's a great partner. But i think that's more to do with this being modeled by own parents relationship.


InTheBox · 18/07/2015 11:05

If I'm correct wrt the thread you are referring to I did find it distasteful that some people thought the OP was trying to be a martyr or that as her DH isn't a mind reader she should clearly state to her dh what needs doing.

I fundamentally don't agree with that. Imo it takes two to make children and thus both parents have responsibility. No man 'babysits' his children! If there is washing that needs doing wash it. If a baby needs changing or a toddler needs to be put to bed then do it. It doesn't matter who does it as long as its done. I don't think men expect a reward for basically being a parent or helping around the home and if they do make a song and dance about it then I'd be considering the relationship as a whole.

I read another thread once where the OP said something along the lines of her DH "does the hoovering for me." I thought that was quite sad, I mean doesn't said DH also live in the house and contribute to the mess etc.

It matters not one iota whether children are planned or accidental. The fact is they are here now and need to be looked after. How a couple divide their responsibilities wrt childcare/ domestic is up to them but I don't buy for a second that just because someone has been at work all day means that they can come home and wait for the 'parent on duty' to change nappies, bathe the child or whatever.

In an ideal world these sorts of things should follow a routine but a very flexible one in which everyone gets on board when needed or unexpected things occur. Some parents begrudge the other parent for having to take holidays to look after their sick children.


countryandchickens · 18/07/2015 11:07

I know what you mean and I don't feel the free time concept can be sliced up neatly as MN would have it.

But I do feel once the children exist, how they came to exist becomes unimportant.

My mystery is why everyone moans about bedtime. I just chuck the kids in bed!


Sometimesjustonesecond · 18/07/2015 11:09

Whether they wanted to be fathers or not is beside the point. They are fathers and owe it to their dc not to opt out of actual parenting.

I would imagine that very few men say 'you want a baby, you agree to look after it'. A child isn't a dog - any woman who had a baby in these circumstances is doing her child a huge disservice.

I think relationships are broadly equal pre dc and it comes as a surprise to many women that their previously equal partner reverts to 1950s behaviour and abdicates all responsibility to the mother.


Preciousbane · 18/07/2015 11:17

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JaceLancs · 18/07/2015 11:49

I was ambivalent about having children - it was my DH who really really wanted children
He talked me round quite successfully and had DD - I think I had minor undiagnosed PND looking back so struggled - he helped a little but no night feeds and would make me move out into spare room if self and baby disturbed his sleep
When she was 6-7 months he started getting broody again and I got pregnant again quite quickly (17 month gap)
DH never did much around house as felt working full time was enough - although he loved them he was never a hands on Dad
Then went on to leave me for OW when they were both still pre-school
I've never looked back - so glad I had kids but much happier as a single parent
They're grown up now but we are still a close family and work as a team
Ex DH is now on wife number 4 and apparently wishes he had a better relationship with his related by blood DC
We reap what we sow


PoundingTheStreets · 18/07/2015 11:55

I see where you're coming from OP, but I think the point is that once a child is here, it deserves the best from its parents, regardless of how much they wanted that child.

When a child is born to parents who live together, growing up seeing one parent shoulder the lion's share of responsibility is not the best that child can expect. It has significant implications for that child's view on gender roles and healthy relationships.


LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary · 19/07/2015 11:34

Have to say, I'm really surprised this didn't get more responses!

OP posts:

MeowImaCatfish · 19/07/2015 17:49

Argh. Do is USELESS around the house. Ds was unplanned but after gettin over shock he's been a good dad, bearing in mind his dads a twunt and hasn't seen him for years. But wrt housework, DPs mum babies him so what do I expect. It's only been 4 years, I'll train him eventually Grin


MeowImaCatfish · 19/07/2015 17:51



rosierainbows · 19/07/2015 17:53

Dh was desperate for children. We had named all our children within a month of meeting! He does lots around the house and has had periods of sahd. He now is at home with them all day and works evenings and weekends.


Mintyy · 19/07/2015 17:57

Why are you surprised you didn't get more responses?

The subject of this thread is a little bit niche, wouldn't you say?

Most men who are lazy around the house do love their children and did want to be fathers. I'd say, oh I don't know, (plucks figure out of air) 90%?


Tequilashotfor1 · 19/07/2015 18:02

DP really wants another child but he doesn't do much of the child care unless i go out and hardly no housework. I'm a SAHM so it kind of just falls on me to do everything.

I've told him no.


fancyanotherfez · 19/07/2015 18:05

Da didn't really want kids but I have him the option of moving on and he didn't take it. He's a great dad and dies loafs more with them than some of the dad's I know. I put it down to us both working, so he had always had to take up some of the slack. I think if you have a sahm who goes back to work after a few years, the volume of work involved in child rating can be an almighty shock when you have been a parent for 5 years without any major upheaval as the mum had done everything.


noddingoff · 19/07/2015 18:05

We both wanted a dog, but I was the one who actually spurred us into action, did some research and rang the phone number on the ad. When we go for a walk, who ever is standing closest when she does a poo picks it up. I'd be raging if DH trotted out, "well you were the one who wanted her".

Actually a dog isn't a good example as a dog is going to be looked after all its life. A dog doesn't have to have good role models, whereas I think it's bad for children to see one parent sitting around on their arse and think that's acceptable. Particularly if they get wind of the fact that it's like this because actually daddy wasn't fussed on having them in the first place and would have preferred an Xbox.


Itscurtainsforyou · 19/07/2015 18:20

I know a man who said he didn't want children, but if his wife really did that was fine he'd go along with it. On the condition that she did all the care and paid for everything that was associated with them (nursery/school fees, extra curricular activities - food if they went out Shock). Both children were at boarding school by around age 8 (which I presume she paid for).

I lost a lot of respect for him after hearing that.


DisconcertedAndRetired · 19/07/2015 18:35

I see where you're coming from OP, but I think the point is that once a child is here, it deserves the best from its parents, regardless of how much they wanted that child.

I think your implicit point is that once the child is around the man must pitch-in, for the child's sake. I think that's an invalid argument, a child can be perfectly cared for, and one parent be doing 90% of the work. The fact that a man is doing close to bugger-all may harm the mother's interest, without harming the child's.

I think the OP has a good question. Even though googling has taught me that almost as many men as women say they want children, surely the real question is what sacrifices are each willing to make to have them? Did the men surveyed believe they would be doing 50% (or more) of the work of bringing up the children they said they wanted, or was their outlook a bit more old-fashioned? How many men (compared to women) are willing to give up their career, or financial independence, as a price of having children? Somewhat more hypothetically, how many of them would still be in favour if they had to experience pregnancy and childbirth?


ollieplimsoles · 19/07/2015 18:40


My dad is like this man, he 'allowed' my step mum to have children, but she deals with them, she pays all the bills associated with them and when they misbehave he says 'look what your children have done'. Its really eerie. Hes ok when they are very little (I think he enjoys the attention) but he quickly looses interest when they get to a few months, he was the same with me and my sister when we were little.

I was the one who really wanted to try for this much wanted baby, my DH has a very level head and wanted to calculate budgets and such, and I wanted to jump in feet first! So he took a bit of convincing. He has been utterly amazing throughout my pregnancy and hes really looking forward to being a dad. But hes very family orientated and enjoys looking after the house and a family.


kirbymagicyarn · 19/07/2015 18:50

I am a woman and there is no way I would give up a career and financial independence for children. I say that as someone with 3 children who is planning more.


riverboat1 · 19/07/2015 18:51

I think it's a good point OP, and something I often wonder about reading threads on here.

DP and I are both on the fence about having a child together (he has a DS from previous relationship, to whom he is an excellent father) and I think he swings much more towards 'no' because of how it would affect free time in such a massive way, and put a lot of pressure on our relationship in terms of expectations of each other.

At the moment the balance of our relationship, chores, time etc works really well, but I can see how much pressure is put onto that when a child is thrown into the mix, and I would worry about resentment building. At the moment where there are little imbalances regarding, for example, housework (I have slightly higher standards than DP), sex (he has slightly higher standards in terms of quantity than me) money and time (he earns a lot more money but I have a lot more free time) it's all fine, but I can just imagine how those imbalances grow and cause resentment when you have a child together and everything is affected...

I am pretty sure if I said I 100% had to have a child or I would leave him, DP would say OK lets do it. But is it good enough? Anyway, irrelevant for the moment as I'm not even sure I want one myself!


maudpringles · 19/07/2015 18:56

This happened to friends of my parents.
The lady was desperate for a baby, man not.
She became pregnant and was forced to have a termination Sad
After a few years, she became pregnant and was told that she could keep the baby, but the man wanted little part in the child's life.
Apart from not making the wife pay for anything related to the child, he had very little interaction with the boy and was always very open that was the arrangement the couple had come to.
Son grew up and joined the army.
We always said he was looking for the family he never felt he had at home.


SolidGoldBrass · 19/07/2015 19:08

There are also men who want lots of children and do fuck all in the way of domestic work or childcare - these men are either motivated by a desire to show the world that their dicks work they are Happily Married Family Men (and not gay at all) or they are obsessed with subjugating their female partners - the 'little woman' has to be kept 'barefoot and pregnant' and occupied with domestic labour to stop her getting any Ideas about being a a person rather than an accessory or domestic pet belonging to the man.


TendonQueen · 19/07/2015 19:13

Your OP does assume that the default position is that all women want children and all men don't, and have to be bribed/persuaded into it. There are other views on both sides. In any case, to borrow from Jeremy Kyle, the woman could respond, if she heard the lines you mention, with 'should've put something on the end of it, then, shouldn't you?'

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