Here’s what I did this morning; Make breakfasts, put on load of washing, puree pumpkin for baby’s lunch, empty bins, make beds, wipe kitchen benches, check milk, pick toys up off the floor, dress baby, write list for my sister who is a babysitting, get dressed, pack bag, get on train.
Here’s what the other adult in our house did: Woke up. Had Shower. Left for work.
Would a contract make any difference to this scenario? Probably not.
But that’s what a woman called Rebecca Onion has suggested. A baby pre-nup.
Yes, a baby pre-nup, a contract between expectant parents that divvies up the tasks of parenthood between mum and dad. A way to ensure your partner does equal housework, equal late nights, equal time spent on nappy duty.
Does that sound a little bit tempting to any mothers out there?
Onion doesn’t want to be like her friends who have children. It’s not their children she objects to – she’s 36 and ready to start a family. It’s the fighting and feelings of resentment over the ‘unwieldy burden of domestic life/planning’ that her friends tell her comes with baby.
Writing in Slate magazine yesterday, Onion said her girlfriends’ consistent complaints about the lack of domestic equality post-baby is scaring her off falling pregnant. She’s contemplating making her husband sign a baby ‘pre-nup’ stipulating how they’ll divide up the domestic tasks once baby arrives.
Babies are small but they come with a serious list of requirements that you can’t really grasp or prepare for until they arrive. Plus, these needs change frequently. Daily life with a newborn is vastly different to a 10 month old’s routine when it’s Weetbix and fruit for breakfast and no night feeds (sometimes). So how can you plan for that?
Also, what happens when one of you break the contract? And what’s the punishment? Does the winner or the loser get stuck with the baby duties?
I admire Onion’s lateral thinking but I don’t think a ‘baby nup’ will help her. Life changes dramatically post baby and the old ways of doing things just don’t serve you as well.
In my experience the early days with a baby were all about survival. Sleep deprivation makes even the simplest tasks seem difficult and the best laid plans bound to fail.