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Dynamics of Same Sex Relationships with Babies

Jen727BFJen727BF Posts: 2,304
edited November -1 in Pregnancy and Babies
I'm just curious of the dynamics of other same-sex relationships once the baby arrived. Was there a clear division of caring for the baby vs. housework? Was the work equally shared or one partner did most of the caring for baby and the other the housework, or most of it fell on one partner?

I know and/or have several acquaintances with heterosexual couples where it appears the mom cares for the baby most of the time and does most of the housework, while the dad works and occasionally helps out with baby and/or housework. In my relationship we are not like this and I am curious how other lesbian couples do it. More specifically, I'm interested to know if its different because there are two women or it just depends on the couple.
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TTC No. 2 since Aug. 2014; IVF #1 - Cxld; IVF #2 - BFN

Comments

  • TheOtherLovingMomsTheOtherLovingMoms Posts: 1,481 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I can say what we planned to do, not sure if we will ever get to see if it comes to fruition or not though. Our plan was for DW to have the baby and while she was on maternity leave she would do most of the caring for the baby and I would do the housework and such. I am on permanent disability so I would not have to worry about going to work or anything. We talked about taking turns during night feedings but she planned to BF so not sure if we would actually take turns or not. Once she went back to work I would take care of baby and housework while she was at work and when she came home she would take over caring for the baby. Now I know babies take up alot of your time and attention so the housework may have had to take a back seat and we are fine with that. But like I said that was the plan. We tested it out a little bit when our now 2 year old grandson was born. Our daughter ended up in the hospital with a severe kidney infection when he was about 3 weeks old so we had him here with us until she got out of the hospital and was feeling better. While DW was at work I took care of our grandson and when she got home she would take over. I would do housework as I could during the day and whatever I didn't get done I did in the evening after DW got home and took over. I have been in a hetero relationship before when my girls were babies. I took care of the babies and the house all the time and their dad worked during the day and did whatever the heck he wanted to at night. So in my little bit of experience it does seem like it is different with 2 mom (or should I say 2 grandma lol) households.
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  • scorpiogrl7scorpiogrl7 Posts: 1,386
    edited November -1
    We don't have a baby (yet), so this may change, but this is our plan:

    DP works 3rd shift. I work during the day, varying hours (I do massage so whenever a client wants an appointment I schedule it).

    I will carry the baby, for various reasons, unless we completely run out of options (including using her eggs and my uterus). When the baby is born, I will quit my semi-full time job and just work my self-employed side job so that I can schedule around the baby's needs. DP will come home and sleep in the morning and I will try to schedule work from 2-6 or 7, during which time she will take care of baby. Then I will come home and take back over and she will sleep from 7-9 then get up and go to work.

    As for housework, I do all of that anyway. Her responsibilities are : make money, fix things that are broken, mow the lawn, change lightbulbs, kill spiders, take out trash/recycling. Everything else I do. I cook, take care of the dogs/cats, dehair the floors and furniture, wash dishes, clean bathroom, change sheets, etc. She does do her own laundry.

    So I guess we have that whole heterosexual stereotype going on. When she lived alone, she lived on frozen meals and takeout, her house was dusty as heck, and she always had dirty dishes in her sink. She just doesn't have the cleaning gene. (Neither do I, but I suck it up and do a good enough job to get by). So it's not as if she expects me to do all the housework; if I didn't do it either, she wouldn't say anything, we'd just lice in squalor.

    I am okay with this arrangement because she works 50-60 hours a week, makes twice what I do, and carries my health insurance (and will carry that of the baby).

    Now that I've typed this out, it looks basically like I'm going to be a single parent that has an extra income....but it doesn't feel that way.
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  • em'smomsem'smoms Posts: 1,439
    edited November -1
    I really think it depends on the couple and each of the women in the couple. I carried both our children which made me the primary baby caretaker- especially since I breast fed exclusively. With #1, DP was probably more involved in the non feeding baby care and definetly picked up the slack around the house. With #2, DP picked up the slack with #1 (which was very helpful) while I cared for the baby. We have had someone come in 2x a month to clean the house for years and pretty much share the day to day house keeping stuff. I tend to be more the inside of the house and kid taker carer of and DP is more the outside of the house, fixer of things, etc person. We both work but I work in the schools so have shorter hours, breaks and summers off so tend to spend much more time 1:1 with the kids. We joke that DP is for sure more the "daddy, husband" and I am the "mommy, wife". Having a baby does change MOST everything in your life, be prepared to be flexible and communicate!!
  • anna77anna77 Posts: 283
    edited November -1
    This wasn't directed at me, but in my house my husband already does most of the cooking and cleaning. I do more of the stuff for the kids (driving them to lessons, games, homework, etc), but honestly he does almost as much. And they are his stepkids. I would say he definitely overall does more than me in terms of typical "mom" duties, especially during the week when he is home earlier. I have friends (hetero couples) who are in relationships like you described, and it drives me bananas that most of the women also work full time, yet still have to come home and do all of the stereotypically "female chores". In my house, our chores are divided really by who has the time to take care of business because we both work.

    I have one lesbian couple as friends, and there is definitely a divide more like the hetero relationships that you describe than what you are describing in your relationship. BUT, one of them stays at home and I personally think that is different. If I stayed at home I would probably take on more of the "domestic chores" type stuff because I would be home more often. Not necessarily in the newborn phase, because that's a full time job, but if the kids were in school and I stayed home, I would consider household stuff kind of my job.


    I hope it was OK that I posted. I just wanted to point out two cases where I think the opposite of what you have experienced is happening :)
    Anna 38 (mommy to 3 boys...11, 9 & 2)
    #3 was conceived with DS via our 6th IUI (2 natural, 2 clomid, 2 follistim+trigger)
    Trying for one more blessing to add to our family:
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  • ncmomstobencmomstobe Posts: 549
    edited November -1
    Our family looks a lot like what Em's Moms described. With DS, I nursed of course, and then we split non-feeding baby care and chores, although my partner does do more outside and I tend to cook. When DD arrived, DP naturally did more with DS so that I could take care of the baby. Now that she is 1, I think this summer we will get back to a more normal arrangement. I say that because I do feel bad that I spend more time with DD and not as much with DS. We are both teachers, so in a few more weeks time won't be an issue.
    Sorry for the ramble!
  • m&smomm&smom Posts: 122
    edited November -1
    It depends on the couple. I was in a same sex relationship, married to her when we had twins. We used another bank and finally got pregnant after 2 years of trying. I have always been the one to do the majority of the housework and makes a lot more money. My dw started having issues about us raising twins where we live. She did go on night shift after they came which helped. We do have a nanny that came when I went back to work after 6 weeks. We are not together anymore and it is horrible since we have kids. I feel like I can't relocate to another state because she will not see them all the time and I do not want her to miss anything. I think communication is key.
  • Jen727BFJen727BF Posts: 2,304
    edited November -1
    scorpio - lol @ the single parent comment!

    anna - you are more than welcome to respond. I'm glad you did -- added a different perspective.

    Thanks for the responses so far. I am very intrigued by this topic and wondered if it was just because I was a woman that I was so involved in caring for our newborn. I guess I had some preconceived notions in place that the partner who births the baby would just be the primary caregiver. Sometimes I forget that I did not carry her and to me, that is a great feeling. I sometimes feel a bit left out when everyone is doting on how much the baby looks like DP or DP's relatives (Ok, I know this is a bit OT). My intellectual brain knows that with time she will pick up on some of my mannerisms, etc. and people will think she looks like me. In the meantime, I just need to find a way not to feel left out!
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    TTC No. 2 since Aug. 2014; IVF #1 - Cxld; IVF #2 - BFN
  • TxMoms2BTxMoms2B Posts: 532
    edited November -1
    When C arrived I was trying to bf and I was the only one who received maternity leave. It seemed, during that time, that I was doing the majority of everything for baby and she worked all day/slept all night. Once we started formula feeding (out of necessity) she helped with that during the days...but the nights were another story. Our son is 28 months, and I can probably count on my hands how many times she's been up with him. I've let that go and made peace with it. We hope to try for a sibling this summer/fall, and I am prepared to take nights again.

    As far as house work/cooking goes...it's fairly even. Cooking is probably a 60/40 split between myself and her. She insists on a presentable house, so she stays on top of that. We pretty much do the same amount of laundry. We alternate who cleans up the kitchen/does dishes. I handle outside stuff and sanitizing/deep cleaning.

    As far as our son, we trade off diaper changes and who bathes him. We've decided (since our move to our new home) that we needed a more regimented schedule in order to get everything done and not neglect the kid/pets/house. It seems to work really well with us, and it allows our son to have a lot more one on one time with his moms. The only thing that sucks is that we miss out on couple time during the week. Pros and cons.
  • Jen727BFJen727BF Posts: 2,304
    edited November -1
    Thank you all for sharing -- it is very interesting how we all have different dynamics. my goodness woman! You do A LOT!!!
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    TTC No. 2 since Aug. 2014; IVF #1 - Cxld; IVF #2 - BFN
  • irisgrace61irisgrace61 Posts: 203
    edited November -1
    another vote for ... it depends on the couple ....

    I work part time & my partner works full time - I have adopted, bio and step kids (one of each) - but I am in the more - traditional wife/mom roles - I am in charge of all things domestic - she works outside of the home to support our family & keep things running - I am the PTA mom and so on - I am the only one that cooks etc (funny truth, yesterday she posted on FB how much she enjoyed her lunch - her friend responded & asked "Well, what did she pack you - b/c we know you didn't make it" - She is the one who teaches the boys sports & gets all the fun stuff - It works for us - I am thankful that it meets both of our needs - I don't want to have to work full time - i want to be class mom & be there when you get home etc ...
  • MNmommasMNmommas Posts: 1,081
    edited November -1
    Depends on the couple.

    We share it all, from carrying the pregnancies to cleaning. Although I've done the bulk of the breastfeeding so far. :) I do also take care of all the bills/taxes, DW doesn't care to get involved with the financial aspects of the household and I'm fine with that. But I've got a "cheat sheet" so she can figure it all out should something terrible ever happen to me. And DW always does the lawn mowing, which probably means that this summer (she's 6 months pregnant) it won't get mowed at all unless we get a notice from the city.
    Donor 7070, births 2012 & 2013
  • cocobaycocobay Posts: 1,318
    edited November -1
    I feel like I am SUPER lucky when it comes to this!

    DP is the bread winner. I am the SAHM. She leaves the house for work (weekdays only) at 6:30am, returning at 5pm. During that time I care for our son and take car of most of the household duties, errands, appts, and cooking. I enjoy cooking and she doesn't so that is why I do the cooking too. I'm pretty OCD about most of the cleaning too so that is why I do the majority. When she gets home from work, I usually have dinner almost ready. She takes over caring for Bronx and helps set the table, or whatever needs to be done. For example, tonight as soon as she got home she took Bronx outside and they checked the mail and then they came inside and put up the laundry I had folded today. She does all the bill paying and financial stuff. I kind of suck in that department and she is phenomenal at budgeting. We just recently started grocery shopping together on Friday nights when Bronx is with Ali's parents for the night because it has become almost impossible to get in and out of the store with out a meltdown and everything I went in for. When it comes to the major decisions (buying cars, spending a lot of money on vacations, etc) we make those together, but she usually has final say so. I'm okay with that because she always takes my feelings and advice into consideration. On the weekends the work is 50/50. She does things before I even have to ask her. She is truly an amazing Mama.

    It hasn't always been this easy for us. When B was first born we had a bit of struggle trying to figure out our roles and BOTH being his Mom. Not to mention all of the by standers (straight friends and family) who were watching with popcorn to see how the hell this was going to work. We eventually fell into an amazing groove and it has been smooth sailing ever since. She is so appreciative of the work I do around the house and wants me to stay home with our kids forever, which will likely not happen, lol.
  • kimberleyapkimberleyap Posts: 26
    edited November -1
    Not only does it depend on the couple, but whatever you THINK it's going to be, you'll likely have to let go of. Like birth plans, parenting plans rarely work out as neatly as we see them in our heads.

    I carried our twins and will carry the next if we are lucky enough to get pg. My wife never wanted to carry. I wanted to be a SAHM. Never happened, because we couldn't survive in CA on less than one income. But, she's the cook and generally cleans, while I do laundry and a lot of the "kid" stuff. When they were infants, we pretty much split things down the middle. Then she got laid off and spent 18 months being the primary caretaker while I was the breadwinner.

    Now, we work completely opposite shifts. She's a 911 dispatcher and works graves and I work 8-5. We solo parent constantly. She makes dinner and picks the kids up from school while I handle school drop off, lunch preparation, and bedtime routines after she leaves for work.

    My best advice? Let go of any preconceived ideas about how it's supposed to be and let things fall where they naturally will and address inequities as they come up, if they come up.
  • GoobieGoobie Posts: 3,515
    edited November -1
    I'm married to a man, can I answer too?

    Tim works long hours, so that I can work from home, being here for the kids. We breastfeed exclusively, so I do most of the "baby" stuff, but when we are both home together we share everything. He'll take care of the kids so I can mow the lawn or clean the van. He does all the driving to and from events, since I don't drive. Apparently I am anal about laundry, so I do it all (except Tims, he does his own, In fairness the biggies do their own too... I do sheets, my laundry, baby laundry and towels). Whoever sees dishes need to be done does them. He does most of the cooking when he is home, because I hate cooking. He does all the grocery shopping AND takes the kids with him when he does so I can nap or shower alone! General household clenup and maintenance is split pretty evenly. I feel I do a bit more then he does, but I am home all day, and I CAN wash up a sink of dishes or toss in a load of laundry while the kids are happy doing something else.

    I had the urge to answer because I agree with whomever said "it depends on the couple". Tim is the un-handiest man I know, but was a single dad for 10 years, so the domestic stuff falls on him a lot!
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    Need to update a ticker, Silas Anthony Jordon born Oct 11, 2013. 6th baby, so much love!
  • A&JA&J Posts: 1,825
    edited May 2013
    Our dynamics have shifted since having our first child and I became the stay at home parent. This was nearly two years ago. Our set up has somewhat changed again upon having our second child. Prior to having children we both worked full-time and pretty evenly divided up and shared in the tasks involved in running and maintaining our home. Many things we worked on at the same time together-- grocery shopping, setting aside a day once per week to do a big cleaning and both would just pick up after ourselves daily, cooking meals as a couple, working in the yard, etc. Geez, just typing this makes me kind of miss these times we had together, looking back I can definitely see that a lot of times it really is the small things that mean and matter the most :) Ok, back to your question. So, even then there were things that we each preferred or are better at. My wife likes putting things together, yard stuff, and making certain meals. I am better at organizing, laundry stuff, shopping for the household. So we do divide things up based on interest and ability as well :)

    Now that I am a SAHM I definitely do most of the housework. I also spend a lot more time with the kids-- naturally because my wife is at work. My wife does help with projects around the house, but honestly I mostly prefer that she just let me do it. I kind of have a system and order to things and don't want it messed up ;-). My only thing is that while I am happy to take care of our home and pick up after the kids, I WILL NOT pick up after my wife. She needs to keep her things in order, put her dirty dishes away, put her dirty laundry in the basket, etc, This may seem like an obvious thing for another adult to do, or maybe not, but I do have friends that are always complaining about picking up after their husbands. I wouldn't like this and see it as disrespectful, but this may just be me. Anyway, when it comes to the kids I am the mom who carried both and have breastfed both. This also plays into who does what and when. In the beginning the kids were/are literally attached to me non stop day and night! When we just had one child this put my wife into the position of taking care of whatever needed to be done while I was nursing. It also meant for us that I was up a lot more at night. In the very beginning my wife was was up helping with nighttime diaper changes and trying to help with the feedings ( our daughter refused bottles for a very long time then was very stubborn about taking them) In time I just took over and let her sleep. It was hard to be up with the baby so much, but even more difficult when neither of us were getting any rest. So for the good of the whole I took over nighttime feedings. Now that we have a second child our situation has changed once again. Our daughter is now two and is very much into her momma, which is great because this gives me one on one time with our newborn, allows for those long nursing sessions or even just an opportunity to get a few tasks completed around the house.

    My wife and I are both involved in making the big parenting decisions such as education, behavior management, health, etc. I typically make the smaller choices and my wife goes with it, such as scheduling our day to day, which activities we are involved in, stuff along these lines.

    Oh, and another big one, money. This has been easy and difficult at the same time. The easy part is that we both agree that it is OUR money and we are really open with each other about our budget and how to handle our expenses, savings, and extras. The hard part for us was the shift from two incomes to one. As others will recommend we did live on just my wife's income for a fairly long time before we even decided that I would be a SAHM. For about two years prior to getting pregnant my income mostly supplemented our lifestyle and was our " fun" money. So, I guess for me the really difficult part of staying at home was giving up my guaranteed paycheck and the ability to splurge on things for myself, my wife, us, and now the kids. Instead of just doing what I want it has to be more of a couple decision. I'm not talking about the smaller things, but for us if I'm going to spend more than a hundred bucks then I bring it up with my wife. Every now and then I get vetoed as does she :-). I have always been a really independent person and kind of liked to do my own thing, so for me this was a HUGE change initially. Now a couple of years into it we are pretty set. Im just commenting on some initial issues that we had starting out.

    Overall I think my wife is super involved when it comes to parenting our children and taking care of our home. Admittedly I feel kind of like the boss and kind of take over in a lot of areas and not so much because I carried the children or stay at home, but mostly because it's my personality I suppose:-)

    Wow, I really got to rambling with this. Anyway, I hope this somewhat answers your question and you can forgive my typos, etc as I'm nursing, typing with one hand and operating on very little sleep today.
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  • RW17RW17 Posts: 197
    edited November -1
    For us it's fairly equal. We both work full time, we take turns with things like diaper changes and putting the child to bed. We also take turns doing chores while the other plays with our son. My partner does a bit more parenting since she works fewer hours/days, but when we're both home it's pretty 50-50.
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