August 26, 2008

DTQ: What's A Dad To Do [When He Gets Home From Work]?

I got an email from a reader the other day asking for advice. At first, I felt like I knew the "right" answer, but then I caught myself. I realized I was trying to parse the email for clues, identifying "issues" and taking apart the text for hidden meanings, as if the question were some kind of puzzle to be solved, as if the complicated situation of work and family life, and the challenges of becoming a father can be decoded from a single, anonymous, incomplete message. While that might be entertaining to read, or even to print out and wave in someone's face, it doesn't seem all that useful to me.

Instead, I thought I'd put the gist of her question out there and see if anyone in a similar situation--dad or mom, go-to-worker or stayer-at-home--can provide some perspective from his or her own experience:

I would love to get a man's opinion on my concerns, mainly because women just take my side, and that doesn't encourage progress.

So, here are my concerns: My husband participates very little in raising our new baby (now nine months old).

I'm a full time mom and find my days entirely exhausting, as I throw all my zest and passion into playing, teaching, and nurturing my baby. By the time my husband arrives home at 6:00 p.m., I'm due for a break; but, he only wants to hold the baby for approximately five to ten minutes and then be left alone to unwind.

I get that he needs to unwind (I used to work long days at [a high-pressure corporate job]--say no more, right?), since he's a [medical professional] who works 9-5, 5 to 6 days/week. However, since he's the sole breadwinner now, he considers my job as heading up all the domestic duties, including childrearing.

Since I took issue with this and discussed it with him, he hired a housekeeper to clean our home. And, I'm grateful for that. However, when I say I need a few hours at night to work out and unwind, he tells me to hire a nanny to care for the baby. I don't want a nanny; but, more importantly, I want him to bond with his daughter. He was very clear from the beginning that he wanted a baby. So, why doesn't he care for her?

So if any of this sounds familiar to you, what can you add from your experience?


I don't have any personal experience with this situation, but I have a couple friends who're in this boat.

Simply put, she can't make him want to bond with his daughter. She's asking you why he doesn't care for their kid? Sounds to me like they decided on a course of action (mom will leave her corporate job to care for the child) without having a really clear understanding of what that would entail. She needs to decide ASAP what she'll consider a satisfactory answer to the question, "Do you expect me to assume all responsibility for the care of our daughter?" I've always wondered at young doctors having kids. I mean, they might as well conceive the child and then leave it a note saying, "See you on weekends...maybe!"

I'm guessing most of us have gone through something like this. One of the things we did pretty early on (probably right around 9 months) was make Saturday my day. The kid and I go out to breakfast, hang out, go to the museum, etc. We've done that pretty much every Saturday for the last 3 years or so, and it's been great. My daughter and I are undoubtedly much closer as a result. It also gives my wife nearly a whole day to just do whatever she wants. (Then Sunday we all spend together.)

During the week is tougher. I sympathize with the guy, sometimes it does feel like work to come home and spend time with a baby. That doesn't get him off the hook though- it's just as draining to spend all day home with the baby. I don't know what time their 9 month old goes to bed, but if it's like most kids, it's 8-9pm or so. So he's still got plenty of time to unwind, it's just later in the evening. The whole thing does get easier as they get older and you get more interaction. There are a lot of fun things you can do with a 2 or 3 year old that you can't do with a baby.

Anyway, he should commit to doing the bulk of the evening duties at least 2-3 days a week. Fair's fair.

IMHO. He sounds like an only child. By establishing these low expectations early he's exerting dominance and setting himself up to be someone who can dump on her any time he wants. This technique worked on his mom and it's now working on his wife.

Simple requests for help won't work. The more she passively asks for a hand, the more he sees himself as 'winning' his free time. He needs a metaphorical 'come to jesus' kick in the meat and two veg before it gets to be too late and she burns out.

50's are over Sparky. Man up.

(..yes...i am a sahd..)

I have 3.5 kids with my husband, and plenty of friends with families. From experience I can tell your questioner that men simply do not often bond with infants further than cuddles when the baby's being good. If you need alone time, make it clear in that context. Don't force him into your expectations of "proper bonding", but don't let him get out of changing diapers or the occasional feed either, especially on weekends.

On the upside- this all changes once toddlerhood hits. The child become fun and responsive, can be taken to parks, can play games, etc. This is where the bonding really starts for them. Men just seem to be better at relating to a moving target.

In short- don't despair! Your husband will connect with your child and have a good relationship. It's just going to be different than the relationship you, as a mother, have.

I ran into this problem a bit myself during the first year with our daughter and we ended up setting a few ground rules.

One was that I watched her for every Friday and let my wife do a day of work (this was during the summer when she was off from teaching). The other that still sticks today was that from about 5pm to about 8pm, I'm in full parent mode and not doing much (only in an emergency) work-related stuff. So no email, web surfing, or phone calls as we make and eat dinner together, play for a couple hours, then do the nightly bath and bed rituals.

As for unwinding, knowing that my 5-8pm time is blocked off, I tend to start turning things down around 4pm. Sometimes I go for bike rides or runs in the late afternoon to unwind before I pick up my daughter from daycare/preschool, but I make sure to be ready to devote 100% of my attention to my daughter and family things during those hours. It's worked out well for all involved.

It's pretty common for fathers not to really do much with the kid til they can really DO stuff with them. This does not make him evil, it makes him different than you. I suspect when most women think about having a child, they imagine the baby. I don't think men do. My husband (who is a FANTASTIC father, by the way) said to me when we found out or first was a boy, "I can teach him to weld!". We have an almost 4 year old and a six week old now. He holds the baby when I need him to, but the boy is really his main man, and this works for us.

I am totally fine with our arrangment, but is you aren't, just talk to your husband about what you need. And if you need time he's not able to give, then by all means hire the nanny. Their relationship will always be different than yours. Just because he's not all up on the baby right now, doesnt mean he never will be. And it won't hurt their bond. Just think of people who were adopted past the infant stage and how that turns out.

I feel that I have some perspective on this. For Kid 1 and Kid 2 with Wife 1, I was the breadwinner and the kids had a stay at home mom. Six years later with Wife 2 and Kid 3, I'm the stay at home Dad.

I'm going to say outright that I failed to appreciate the energy you have to channel in the pre-K years as a full time parent. I can also appreciate the concern over the involvement, or lack thereof, of the working parent. That being said, I also remember what it's like working 40+ hours a day and all you want to do when you get home is sit down, kick your feet up and have a cool one.

The solution, I find, is twofold:

1.) Take one for the team at night. Whether it's a nightly bath and a story or a late night changing/feeding or a colicky episode, the working parent needs to suck it up, lose some sleep and let the stay at home parent take a break. There is no word for the specialness and bond you feel when the little one finally falls asleep on your chest while you kick back in the comfy chair. Unless the working parent is an air traffic controller or otherwise directly responsible for the lives of others, then there is no reason they can lose some sleep at least a couple of times a week.

2.) Working Weekends. Even in this day and age most people get two days off a week. One day needs to be family day. The whole family goes out and does stuff, all day. The park, the mall, the zoo -- something all day. The whole family. Daddy does stuff, mommy does stuff and the kid(s) learn that the family is a cohesive unit where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The other day is 'Daddy Day' Where the working parent plays stay at home parent all day and the stay at home parent goes out and does stuff they like to do by themselves like get a manicure or go golfing.

2.5) As part of the 'Daddy Day' tradition, at least once a month or so, Daddy Day needs to mean that the working parent goes out and does stuff they like all by themselves, like get a manicure or go golfing.

But finally I'd like to say that you can't make anyone do anything they don't want to do. But I'll say this much: I was not all that involved in kid 1 until he started walking and talking -- somewhere around 12-18 months. The kid is only nine months and you've got a good ten years or so until the Jello finally sets in his mind. But if by preschool he's still not all that involved, it’s time for some serious reevaluations.

Sounds like the real issue here is the lack of involvement and not just needing a break at the end of the day so badly you'd chew your own arm off to get away-- if that were the case, I'd bet the nanny offer would have been taken up immediately -- and why not? Unless you're taking off for Tahiti for weeks at a time, a nanny doesn't have to be the end of your parenting.

Nine months is not quite a walking/talking "baby" to many people without kid experience -- he may want kids, even like kids, but may not be comfortable in actually interacting with one too young to give him the responses he's used to with older humans.

I had to learn to interact with my daughter, not having had much experience with babies before having my own, and I still find myself a bit too willing to let my husband (who is baby crazy) be the play-all-day caregiver when he's home. So yes, not every one is on board from day one in the parenting skills, but yes, an effort should be made.

Perhaps explaining that it's his relationship with his child that most concerns you will get more response than lumping it all together with whatever else he's not doing once he gets home. Save that discussion for another time because, sure, working 9 to 5, 5 days a week is hard, but working wake time to bedtime 7 days a week is harder, and you deserve credit and help for that too.

I honestly did not bond with our baby. I mean, I would have swum through a river of crocodiles for her, but I didn't have fun just sitting there holding her for hours at a time. I felt up until about a year that I was just trying to get through our time together. I also had a lot of frustration and depression about the new relationship my wife had, and my inability to have anything like that. We should perhaps talk more about children affecting the mental health of fathers. We're basically at the point we were with post-partum depression 100 years ago.

But presuming her husband hass his mental house in order, he does need to man up. He got into this. I cook dinner every night after work, and sometimes I wish that my wife would distract our daughter while I did so, but she doesn't get that distraction during the day so it hardly seems fair.

Having kids is hard. Babies are hard. It's draining. That's why women expect help with it.

OK I have a few problems with this. He works 9-5. Whatever his job is I'm doubting it's so stressed that the second he walks in means he can't see the baby.

Maybe its me personally but when I come home from work, I close the door, drop my bag and head straight for the living room where my 6 month old is. From 5:30-7 p.m. I am either playing with him, feeding him, making or cleaning dinner while my working wife is playing with him etc. He goes to sleep at 7 p.m. I would guess a 9 month old would go to sleep at what? 8 p.m. at the latest.

I then have a few hours to watch tv, play Madden, blog or even, hey spend time with my wife alone!

Needing to unwind is an awful excuse. I mean I have some stressful days, but to me, seeing my son helps, not adds to my stress.

He does want a baby; he just doesn't want to work after work, so you tell him you will divorce him, he'll get custody Friday evening through Sunday evening, then watch that light a fire under his ass.

This 'unwinding' thing is a little silly. He can unwind after the baby goes to bed. That's still at least two hours of alone time.

That is why 8 pm bedtime is sacred. After 8, we can relax, do our own thing, and have a major break.

The Mom needs to tell the Dad that he has to be involved as much in the rearing of the kid (when he is home) as he was in the conception, since they both wanted a child.

That's what she wants, and she needs to ask for it. No tiptoeing around the issue; we women tend to do that too much, and the men don't understand vague hints. I don't blame them for this, mind you.

If the Dad flat refuses, they need couples counseling.

I'm with Swill on this one (I laughed so hard at his "man up, sparky" comment). Before the baby, my husband and I both worked long hours, and I was the one who consistently had a full-time job and the larger paycheck. I wasn't completely sold on getting pregnant, but he had his heart set on having kids, so we went for it. Now, I stay at home full-time with our son and spend many hours to make extra money selling on ebay, while my husband works full-time and pays the majority of the bills.

The arrangement is that I cook almost all of the meals, so that my husband has time to spend with our toddler before bedtime. He gets home around 6:30 or 7:00, and bedtime is 8:30, so there's not a lot of time for him to see the kid. Anyway, one night, I was trying to get dinner on the table, and "Daddy" is spaced out in front of Family Guy, while our son is getting into trouble. I yelled for my husband, and he shouts, "When do I get a break? When's MY free time?" I said, "Your free time was before our son was born, and your free time will be after he's moved out. And you can have a break when he goes to bed in an hour."

Maybe those who whinge on about how hard it is and no one appreciates them or their feelings should remind themselves how many people there are who would literally give anything to have what we have. How many people would give anything to have a healthy baby. Raising children is hard. Of course it's hard! But grow the fuck up, self-indulgent wusses. It's also one of the most rewarding, beautiful experiences we'll have in our lifetimes, and I'm not going to waste a single, fleeting minute feeling self-pity for how so-called "hard" my life is. Wah, sob, I have central A/C. Poor me, I watch cable on a plasma television while my baby plays with non-toxic wood blocks on our shiny oak floors. Geh.

I could have written that except I never had a high pressure corporate job. I'll start by saying that my 2yr old is now my husband's favourite person in the world.

For the first 3 mos he did nothing for her. The first year they hardly interacted without my asking. He never got up during the night (wore earplugs to bed-- "if I don't get sleep someone could die”. I called him an and told him, "If I don't get sleep, that someone might be YOU" not sure if he was kidding; I wasn't). He also hired a housekeeper because he considers all domestic duties to be NOT his. He’s not going to clean, but I don’t have to either. All I wanted was for us to do it all together. (Childrearing & cleaning) I was offended that he didn’t want to spend every moment staring at our daughter. I didn't want a nanny, I just wanted an hour or two here and there. This sound worse than it is. He works all hours, has a stressful job, and is overall a great guy.

Around 18mos, our daughter, now a toddler became "interesting" (his words!) and they began to interact. Now he feeds her, plays with her, takes her places without me, calls her from work, and will watches her sleep when he gets home late. Of course he still doesn't clean up after her (or himself) as I'd like but that's ok because when it comes down to it, she's not going to remember who wiped her chin but she will remember the fun they have. I did get a nanny for a while, the idea was unappealing but the reality was it helped a lot.

We have #2 now (5mos old) and it’s a repeat of what happened with #1 except that this time we both know it’s going to be fine. What I’m saying is give it time, let him do his 10min of cuddling, get a nanny for now, call him on it if he says/ does anything egregious and accept that he loves the baby and cares for her and has a totally different definition for childrearing than you and just needs time to get attached in a way that you have been from the moment you first saw her. She will win him over and you’ll be happy to be second in line.

We have an 11-month-old daughter. I work a ton and travel a week or so out of each month. My wife works three days a week. Reading the comments above I see some common threads and some parallels with how we handle the co-parenting. To summarize:

- If you can afford the nanny, get the nanny. Even if it isn't your dream of how you want your husband to bond with the baby, the baby will get older and easier to bond with; trust that. In the mean time take the relief yourself and all the help you can get.

- Try to see if he can take your daughter for a weekend day. In our case it's every Saturday (we call it "Saturdaddy") but if he's working 6 days a week then maybe it's once or twice a month in your case. Point is for him to have bonding time & feel ownership of that and for you to get some "me time" as well out of it.

- Keep the baby's bed time sacred so he can use the time after that to decompress. Prior to that it's baby time. If he's back from work at 5pm it should make it easier to take on some baby duty if he knows that it's only :90 - :120 minutes before beer, TV, etc. (Or warm baths, Wagner, and the Atlantic Monthly - however you guys roll...)

And most important - give it time.

rereading the comments, I see that most are more constructive than my rant :D, but I still think that sometimes a person just needs a kick in the pants. that's always worked for us, whether it has been my husband or me who's needed to do the kickin'.

If the idea of a "nanny" is too much, think about a sitter; We had a standing sitter from 5 - 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday nights from when my colicky first born was two or three months old on. Sometimes we'd go to dinner together, but sometimes one of us would go to dinner with friends and the other would work-out, and sometimes we'd actually both be in the house just watching TV or doing laundry and talking on the phone. It made a huge difference for us, psychologically, just knowing that your "free time" was in sight on the horizon, and it's wonderful having a babysitter that the kid is comfortable with/knows all the routines and where all the bottles go, so when we had occasional real need for one -- business trips, etc. -- it was non-traumatic all around. Our sitter was a college student studying education at the local university, we found her through the classifieds at her school's paper, a better resource than Craig's List we found.

Hi. I’m the one who posed the question, and I just want to say: Thanks bunches for the outpouring of support and commentary! I feel better already. It’s not so much that misery loves company; rather, it’s comforting to know we’re all playing on the same field (I thought I was alone in all this). Kate, I was raised old school, so I get the kick in the pants comment; and, if I had the energy, I would kick myself in the pants. To address another point--When I used to go for my check ups while prego, I would get teary eyed for the couples who were there for fertility treatments; me with my belly full of baby, them staring at my belly longingly. So, yes, I feel blessed and lucky to have my healthy and gorgeous baby. And, Swill, you hit the nail on the head with your “50s are over, Sparky” comment (too funny). For such a young age, and being so highly educated, my husband is quite a dinosaur in this area of life (unbeknownst to me until the birth of our baby). And, for all of you that said give it time, the slow but sure approach may be the only solution. It’s reassuring to know that some daddies turn a corner after the baby days have passed. I’m impatient by nature and can accept change quickly, if it’s the best option, but my husband is quite the opposite. Regarding this topic, I said to him the other day, “You can’t sit down if you have a rock in your back pocket,” (shamefully stole that from Dr. Phil) and he replied, “Maybe I like the feel of the rock.” ‘Nough said. To sum up, thanks for the perspective.

-Sleepless in Seattle (literally)

I humbly suggest that the problem is likely one more of timing than interest in involvement.

Bear with me for a very harsh and frank second (in part, because I'm the man in this very scenario) because I still struggle with this very issue.

After dealing with the stress of a 6-day work week, the stress of multiple vectors of the medical profession keeping people alive or otherwise functioning, of the crushing political bullshit questioning whether I'll have a job or pension next year, of keeping the kids--and my wife--fed and out of the rain, being the sole breadwinner responsible--and feeling completely obligated and likely trapped in a job I might otherwise like to change--for the lifeblood of your family, and obligated not just today but for the next 18 years, of spending all my energy taking care of my children all day long by needing to be the breadwinner but not being able to actually interact with them...yes, some unwinding is indeed necessary.

I can remember the worst fights my Dad and Mom had when I was a little kid--Mom wanting to immediately interact with Dad and expecting quality Dad-kid interaction immediately after coming home from 12hrs straight of hard manual labor.

It's a nice thought to say, "the 50's were over", but were that really the case for you, you too might be out working until 6pm, with your kids being nannied all day long--is that what you want? Or is it a kind of luxury that (unlike many of my friends) you can raise your own children at the moment?

I humbly suggest to you, is the problem one of timing that you feel you need a break just at the time he walks in the door--and possibly not just a break, but a complete handoff to him?

It's going to sound trite, but one of the ways we've dealt with this is simply setting better expectations.

What days does Mommy *always* sleep in?
What days does Daddy *always* cook?
Regardless of when he gets home, what 90 minutes does Daddy have *with Mommy and the kids (and a cold beer)* to relax before taking on the kids?
Does Daddy or Mommy have any *always free* time to look forward to?
Does Daddy or Mommy have any *always watching the kids together* time?

Life's always more manageable when you have something to look forward to. Perhaps that's why you think 6pm is your time to look forward to during the day? What if you made that 730pm?

My favorite time of day, as well as my 3yr old daughter's, has become for us both to watch the 1970s re-runs of the Superfriends when I get home--but 90 minutes after hellos and hugs.

I know my little diatribe may sound a bit harsh and one-sided, but I'm hoping this perspective might help you as you deal with your situation.


Taking care of a kid full time, as I found out, is harder and more exhausting than most full time jobs. There were times when I was jealous that my husband got to go work in an office all day while I had to stay home and entertain/take care of our daughter all day. Some people just don't understand this. I have a newfound admiration for SAHMs (or Ds).

Yes, Alison, my career before a baby was easy street compared to being a FT mommy. I worked 50-60 hours/week, worked out and swam laps 5x/week, took mini vacations every other month (Maui, Cabo, Seoul, Vegas, Tokyo, etc.), dined out 3-4x/week, got a mani/pedi once a week, golfed a bit here and there, and had a lovely wardrobe size 4 (that fit). Compare that to now: I don’t have a six figure income (I have no income), no vacays, I’m still wearing my husband’s t-shirts because none of my clothes fit, I can’t tell you the last time I had a mani/pedi (well, I could but it’s too sad), I don’t sleep enough, and my husband and I haven’t been out without the baby since she’s been born. Twice we tried to catch dinner and a movie, but his mother called us back both times within a half hour, because the baby wouldn’t stop crying. I’m not whining, just sharing my reality to help all understand some of the reasons that I would like two hours or even one hour to work out and get my body back and speak a few sentences to another person that don’t include the words bottle, diaper, or Elmo. I’m not a selfish person, nor do I regret my new life (I adore my baby so much, sometimes I cry out of sheer overwhelming love for her), I’m just looking to work out some balance with my husband.

To MCF, thank you for your thoughts, because I really want to understand the male perspective. I value my husband’s hard work and his ability to provide a very comfortable life. And, I’m grateful that I have the option to stay home and raise my baby. Your comments mirror my husband’s feelings quite a bit, and I’m sure if he read your post, he would want to have a beer with you. And, after reading my above comments, I’m sure you’re thinking that my husband’s life has changed too. But, for the most part, it hasn’t. His daily routine is the same (remember, he doesn’t take care of the baby at all), he still works out and wears the same size, his wallet is still fat, he sleeps through the night and all day on Sunday, and (women, try not to have a bird here) he still enjoys golf and Vegas getaways with his guy friends. Sure, I could go back to work and do most of the things I used to do, but that would leave my baby being raised for long hours by a sitter or nanny, which I consider to be the ultimate selfish act at my baby’s young age. I waited a long time to have a baby, and I wanted all the conditions to be ideal and they are. I just didn’t know my husband wouldn’t take part in raising her. It makes me sad. A girl needs a good daddy. Chris Rock summed it up well when he said, “I looked at my new baby girl and realized that my whole goal in life is too keep her off the pole.” Sure, he’s kidding, but metaphorically, it’s true. Daddies instill a sense of value in girls. They model what a girl will look for in a man. I don’t want my daughter to choose a man that ignores her. So, that’s why I want her father, not a nanny, to spend two hours a night with her.

Again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

One of the things I found out (and again, I hope this doesn't sound trite), is that I actually had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Unstructured time with a little child was outright confusing and oddly intimidating.

One thing I found valuable, although it took me some time to warm up to it, was having fixed yet structured time to spend engaged with my daughter. It took weeks of "where's mommy" and walking out of the building, but I had decided to bear with it.

Swim classes, sing-along classes, kite flying, you name it. It helped me.

I just want to add that the example I gave wasn't the only time my husband and I had discussions about this issue. It did take him time - he treated everything like a chore (baths, bedtime, feeding, etc.), and it really wore me down. The key for us was having several talks about how unhappy I was and why. For me, it was so important because I didn't want my husband to have the same regrets my dad had in realizing that he couldn't get back the time he had squandered while we were young. Time that he thought then was better spent with his friends or hunting and fishing. Also, I wanted so much for my son to have a special relationship with his dad, and it hurt me that he was missing out on that.

As others have said, it has gotten better and better as my son's gotten older and my husband can take him places and really interact with him, talking and giving big kisses, laughing and sharing ice cream. If you can hang in there, I hope the same will be true for your husband. :)

I don't buy the "wait till the baby's older, then he'll interact". I think that's such MAJOR horsepucky. You cannot discount a human just because she doesn't communicate on the same level as you.

I'm sorry, but that "rock in my pocket" comment he made is SO childish! You have 2 kids in the family, not one! This cannot be about a battle of wills, it's about the kid.

I tried to help the situation we had by telling my husband about the things I learned all day regarding our daughter: what made her laugh, cry, get excited, etc. so when he got home he wouldn't be on foreign ground. I would always make a big deal when he came home from work, so she knew to get excited to see him. That alone can help melt a cold heart.

He did slack off being with her for a bit, but I got very upset and told him he can stick his "I just can't relate to her yet". I told him I'm feeling the hurt *for* the baby that he was ignoring her and if he didn't get in the habit of being with her- fathering her- there would be hell to pay (from me). Luckily my husband saw sense and has stepped out of the bad male stereotype set by his own father.

As for her growing up with a hands off dad, yes, like my sis-in-law, she'll probably end up with a more detached mate, but if they're happy together, who cares?

My husband loves to play with the kids, but he thinks that going out to work all day means he can come home and be a total slob. He takes zero responsibility for the house, because he's paying for the house. It's total bull - we have a home based business and guess who's at home designing (between 8pm and midnight) the shit he builds the next day? He's happy to hire me help which is great, but I still run the house and the kids and the buck stops with me. I can't just not show up for dinner, or just not plan what dinner will be, because at the end of the day, if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. When I complain, he says, what's the problem? You have help. Well, I've got news for him: he's not building houses by himself, he's leading other people, so does that diminish his job worth? I guess he shouldn't be so tired at the end of the day because he has help too. And an hour off for lunch, and time to stop for coffee, and a drink after work whenever he feels like, and a closed door when he pees, and adult conversation all over the place. Right now he's napping, because its been a long day, and I'm at the computer, doing his expenses. At 11pm. Ladies, I think you can relate when I say that a nanny is great, a cleaning lady is great, but what we really want is a wife. Somebody that we can leave our kids with who loves them as much as we do AND folds the laundry, makes dinner and cleans it up, sweeps the floors, etc, etc. In other words, what our husbands have in us.

I like this advice the best so far. Let's put it in guy terms. Remember when you played sports and you knew exactly how much conditioning you had left and exactly what to expect. It made the entire process more manageable.

Also, we are a culture of preconceived notions. We end up with all these preconceived notions of un-winding. Why can we not do it with a baby on our lap in our favorite chair?

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