Responsibilities in Relationships

Single Life

Just two days ago, I was out to brunch with a friend and somehow, the topic of video games came up. I think I was explaining to her what I felt the value was of being yourself from the giddyap instead of doing what other people wanted you to do so they’d be willing to hang out with you.

I told her something to the effect of a chick would be a fool to give me an ultimatum to choose between spending time with her and playing video games because without a split second’s hesitation, I’d be like “Don’t let the door hit’cha… Where the Good Lord SPLIT’CHA!!!” 😀

I can afford that though, because I’m single and I don’t have any kids. If a chick doesn’t fit in with my style, she can vamoose and make space for the next gal who’s already on deck, waiting to step into the batter’s box.

So just now, reader “Kim” brought up the scenario of a guy having kids with a gal and still spending all day playing video games with his homeboys instead of spending time with the kids, doing chores, whatever.

Being that that’s a foreign situation to me, I have a hard time properly processing it. I know how it feels to play video games all day and not pay attention to SOME OTHER CHICK’S KID(S)! 😀 hahaha but I can’t really grasp anything other than MAAAAAYBE handing the kids controllers so they could make themselves useful in the game I’m playing. >:D

The reason I wanted to bring this up is that I think this is a very important issue that couples don’t often discuss before they accidentally have kids.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

It’s actually been funny to me, throughout the years, watching women get exasperated and frustrated because their boyfriends/husbands have ZERO to do with the kid’s maintenance. It’s funny because I know that in whatever brief fantasies I’ve had about having kids, I never imagined changing one or feeding one or really doing ANYTHING with them other than playing sports and reading to them from books, handing them video game controllers… you know.. FUN stuff! 😀

Unfortunately for women, they feel like a guy’s going to automatically give a flying **** about child maintenance just because he’s the one that got her pregnant. It doesn’t work like that. They don’t give us baby dolls and carriages and ovens to play with when we’re kids. That’s “girl stuff”. They give us footballs and baseball equipment and send us for drum lessons. Changing a kid never crosses our minds because there’s no reason for it to. In order to have a kid, it’s got to come with a female, who just so happens to have been reared to take care of the kids since *SHE* was a kid. It’s like kids come with automatic nannies, off the bat.

This is why women are surprised and complain so much that they’re the ones that always get stuck changing and feeding the kid(s). They don’t get that THEY’RE the ones that go through hormonal changes during child-bearing, not US. 🙂 We’re the exact same dudes that we were before… which brings up another issue…

Get a clue, ladies… If a dude doesn’t like to clean up after himself BEFORE you move in with him, what makes you think he’s going to want to start doing it AFTER you move in with him? O_o In fact, it’ll probably get WORSE now that he has YOU to clean up after him because that’s part of the reason he selected you as his girlfriend/wife in the first place.

Once again, no hormonal change occurs in guys when they move in with a gal that makes them different people than when y’all used to live apart from each other. If you want a guy to clean things when you live together… wait for it….. Date A Guy That Cleans Up After Himself From The Giddyap! 😀

Same thing with taking out the garbage. Same thing with visiting your relatives on the weekend instead of staying home and watching the game. Same thing with going to Happy Hour after work with his co-workers. Same thing with him driving his Corvette when you think he should trade it in for a van so he can chauffeur your new family all over creation.

The Talk

I wonder how many couples have these conversations ahead of time?.. I know a bunch of them have the convo AFTER THE FACT! 😀

I know I’ve never had a conversation where I would have claimed to take responsibility for ANYTHING, as you can guess, being that I won’t even let a chick interrupt my “ME Time”. I can only imagine that it’s stressful for both sides, unless the guy had been looking forward to feeding and changing kids beforehand.

If you have any comments on this topic (whether you have kids or not), please leave them below so we can all benefit from your wisdom. 😀

Ladies, do you expect your boyfriends/husbands to automatically share, say 40% to 50% of the child-maintenance duties with you if/when you have kids?

Guys, is this something that ever crosses your mind, or do you just figure the female’s going to deal with it and call you when dinner’s ready? 😀

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10 thoughts on “Responsibilities in Relationships”

  1. You are absolutely right about assumptions. If it’s never been discussed how could the guy possibly know what’s expected of him? I don’t have kids but should I choose to have some, there will be a discussion beforehand. I don’t read minds and I don’t expect others to read mine either.

    1. Yeah.. I hear THAT, Kenya. 🙂

      It was just really interesting.. A conversation was going on and Kim brought up the scenario of a gal not liking it that her man was playing video games with his homeboys instead of doing something with his/her kids.

      My first response was “Mind your own business”, but my second was to recognize that since I don’t have any kids, I don’t know how it feels to have kids. Like, I don’t know if I’d personally feel like NOT playing video games in order to spend more time with them. I have no point of reference.

      So, in trying to mentally place myself in that situation, I was like “ok, I guess this is what I signed up for. \o/” but then I was like “Well… DID I sign up for it? :D” and I realized that it all depended on the conversation(s) we had or didn’t have before the fact.

      I know a lot of women expect guys to care about child maintenance, and lots of guys do. Meanwhile, lots of guys don’t and I’m sure it never crossed their minds that they’d have to do anything other than pay child support and/or spend some time with their family, but other than that, their lives would be pretty much the same.

      On top of that, women don’t really have a choice, hahahaha.. It’s not like y’all can do a standoff where both of y’all refuse to change the kid. The female’s going to fold and do the maternal, nurturing thing. One would HOPE that a couple could come to an understanding that both of them appreciate, but lots of times, that’s not the case.

  2. Dude, you’re making it REALLY HARD for me to not want to bitch slap you right now!
    You might find this hard to believe, but there are men out there who WANT to help raise their children, and share in the work. I was in relationships with two of them. One of them actually offered to be “mr. mom” because he knew how important it was to me to keep working after having kids. The other one actually IS Mr. Mom with his wife. He raises the kids. And both of these men are MEN and not sissies. And they are both incredible.

    1. I know, C.. I know! 😀 hahaha I made it as palatable as possible! 😀

      I’m aware that there are guys that are LOOKING FORWARD TO changing and feeding their own kids. I didn’t call guys like that pansies at all. I think it’s a great thing if a guy feels like doing that.

      What I’m saying (and it goes for other chores too, not just maintaining kids) is that I’m positive that it doesn’t occur to some guys that women are going to ask them to change the baby until she actually asks him to change the baby.

      Similarly, guys that don’t clean up after themselves aren’t going to START doing it now that they have someone else to do it. Guys that are used to taking out the trash once a day aren’t going to want to start taking it out TWICE a day, because that’s what she’s accustomed to.

      Even with the kids situation.. What happens when they have one kid and he’s like “That was sweet. Let’s have another three! :D” and then she’s like “Oh No You Don’t!.. I’m only having ONE! :D”. How do you resolve *that*?

      Anyway, I think it’s a really important conversation to have.. Apparently so do you, being that you don’t have any kids, yet you’ve had at least TWO of these discussions! 😀

  3. But I also agree with Kenya, and you, that you need to discuss this stuff BEFORE marriage/kids. If you don’t, and you expect things to magically happen, you’re fooling yourself.

  4. I’d also like to add that every relationship is full of negotiations, small and large. If someone wants the trash taken out twice a day, and they’re dating a once a day person, someone is going to have to compromise. Although that’s weird, why not just take out the trash when it’s full? 🙂
    Maybe you negotiate that the person who likes the trash taken out a lot does that, and in return, the other person does the dishes? Anything can be negotiated.

  5. Like Charlene said there is not just a discussion/negotiation at the beginning but all the throughout the relationship. Sometimes women expect our men to know what we want when we could just tell them. Communication is key.

  6. Yes the conversation needs to occur waaay before commitment. And men DON’T think like women and I believe changing diapers IS a novel idea for many of them, when a child is born.
    I’ve witnessed so much resentment build up over fathers not doing “enough” to please the mothers. Deep resentment. It easily becomes too much water under the bridge which irrevocably damages the relationship. And that is when women tend to shut down sexually, as they nurse resentment. What a pity.
    I don’t know very many couples with children who don’t harbor deep seated resentment about some aspect of their partner’s approach to and involvement in child rearing.
    Sometimes it’s the guy left at home mad as hell at his wife who doesn’t return from partying when she said she would. Responding stiffly to nice overtures from a spouse,and many other stereotypical responses… eye rolling or just saying no (to sex) seem to evolve from serious grudges held about who’s responsible for caring for the children. I’ve heard stories repeated by women for a decade or more, reliving one scene, a picnic or a recital missed or the man was emotionally absent or playing video games, which pissed them off so badly that every time I hear it the intensity and furor are at the same frequency as when the event first occurred.
    when women are let down hard time after time after time they are way too angry to want sex with their husbands, in many cases. They might shut down completely or look elsewhere and have an affair.
    If conversations and understandings early on could help avoid all of that nastiness and dissatisfaction, they should be a requirement. Children might have a better opportunity to grow up in happy families without poisoned arrows zinging around their heads and everybody calling it love, if the resentment over child care duties didn’t build up in the first place.

  7. Hey Bill, so you finally wrote something for people with children! Thanks!
    Sorry for my late reply, I was busy with pregnancy stuff and watching the soccer world cup…

    Okay, here are my two cents on the issue:

    *They don`t give us baby dolls…..*
    I don`t know where exactly you mentioned this before, but I am quite sure you have made statements like that several times on your blog so far. And as always, I am wondering: Are gender stereotypes still that strong in your country? Are children really still brought up like that in the US? Or is this just something you make up because you don`t have children and you don`t know many people who do? I grew up in the seventies, and of course I had barbies and other girly toys, but my parents also gave me a belt and a cowboy hat and two colts, and I liked to pretend to shoot people. And that was more than 30 years ago. Just the other day, I saw a young mother walking by, and her 3-year-old son was pushing a stroller with a little baby doll in it. The way you describe the upbringing of boys and girls, isn`t that a thing of the past?

    »They don`t get that they`re the ones that go through hormonal changes during child-bearing, not us…..«

    Well, studies have shown that many men do go through hormonal changes when their wives are pregnant. That is one reason why so many men gain weight during their wives` pregnancies. The whole »women go through hormonal changes« shtick is just one technique men use to rationalize their immature behaviour. It is all about the »women are different« myth. Which is just that, a myth. »Women are different, especially when they become mothers, so they won`t mind spending all their waking hours taking care of the child`s needs. They are different, so they don`t need sleep, they don`t need quality time to pursue their own interests anymore, because the baby is their true and only interest, right? Right?« This is how lots of men think (IF they think at all, and that is a big if), because it allows them to behave like selfish brats and still feel good about themselves.

    It is actually quite simple: If you hang out with a friend and a bowl of fresh strawberries, and you eat 100% of the strawberries, how many strawberries will your friend get? Right, zero.
    Same scenario in a relationship with a child: If both partners are working full time, and the guy spends all the non-working time doing fun stuff, how much fun stuff will the woman get to do? Right, zero, because someone needs to take care of the kid and do the chores.

    Should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Yet many men use the »women are different« myth so they don`t have to face this simple truth. Just apply basic logic:

    1.All human beings need »me-time« to do what they like to do.
    2.Women are human beings.
    3.Women need »me-time«.

    Actually, most pregancy books agree that some »me-time« can do a lot to revive a woman`s libido after childbirth, so it`s in the guy`s best interest to take care of the baby and give his partner some time off so that she has a chance to remember that she is not only a mother, but a woman as well. I think Christine is spot on when she says that a lot of women withhold sex because they are too angry at their husbands for not sharing responsibilities and denying their needs as human beings, only because the guys don`t want to be inconvenienced.

    *Ladies, do you expect your boyfriends/husbands to automatically share, say 40% to 50% of the child-maintenance duties with you if/when you have kids?*

    Yes, of course. And it is absolutely necessary to have this conversation before getting pregnant. Ideally before getting married or having any other form of longterm commitment. Had my husband not agreed to take 6 months parental leave, just like I will, I would certainly not be pregnant now. My mother made the big mistake to marry someone who never really wanted kids or a house. For her, both kids and a house were non-negotiables, and since my father wanted her, he finally agreed. But he made her and his two daughters pay for that compromise for years to come. I remember one day, when my mother wanted to go to a neighbourhood party, and my father had one of his rage attacks, said she could not go, and if she went, that would be the end of the marriage and he would leave her and us without a penny etc., I found my mother crying on the bathroom floor, and she said to me: »If a woman has children, she can always be blackmailed. Don`t you forget that, daughter.«
    I don`t know if my mother still remembers that scene, but I certainly do, and I`ll be damned if anyone ever uses my child to blackmail me into anything.

    So I can only give this advice: No matter what happens, stay financially independent. As much as relationships are about love, they are also about power. And the question who gets to spend how much time doing fun stuff and who gets to do the not-so-fun stuff is about power and nothing else.

    1. Welcome back, fishingrod. 🙂 Thanks for the comments and I hope everything’s grand with you & your family.

      I need to copy pretty much your entire comment in order to respond to it. I’d like to say up front that you’re going to find what I have to say pretty stupid. haha I accept that. 🙂 Please understand that I’m seriously answering your questions and I’m not making fun of you, playing Devil’s Advocate or in any way belittling your points, which you know I appreciate…

      *They don`t give us baby dolls…..*
      I don`t know where exactly you mentioned this before, but I am quite sure you have made statements like that several times on your blog so far. And as always, I am wondering: Are gender stereotypes still that strong in your country?

      Yes.

      Are children really still brought up like that in the US? Or is this just something you make up because you don`t have children and you don`t know many people who do?

      That’s a fair question. I don’t have any kids. Girls in my neighborhood start ******* somewhere around 12 years old and there are lots of 16 year old girls with kids. There are lots of 20 year old gals with two kids. There are lots of 26 year old gals with 3 kids. When I’m walking down the street, I probably don’t go 30 seconds at a time without seeing another kid.

      How many boys are carrying baby dolls? ZERO.

      Boys are trained to DO THINGS. Girls are trained to BE GIRLS. Are there girls that play basketball or tag or whatever? Sure. Is there a female professional football league? Supposedly (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_Professional_Football_League).

      Am I saying that women CAN’T do these things? Of course not. Anyone athletic can accomplish anything within his or her abilities. What I *AM* saying is that boys are not trained to be homemakers, PERIOD.

      This is why the burden is on girls to learn how to cook and learn how to change baby dolls when they wet themselves, cook, set up tea parties and wash dishes because SOMEBODY’S. GOT. TO. DO. IT. 🙂

      Of course, the psychological effect of this on boys is “Maintaining Kids Is Not My Job”. Besides sex, that’s what you get a wife for. My point is that when women ASSUME that the guy they’re dating is going to help out other than financially (which isn’t guaranteed either) with any kids that might occur, y’all set yourselves up for a rude awakening when you realize he doesn’t actually give a **** and you’re pretty much on your own as far as that.

      Now that I think about it, I’ve heard of lots of cases where women have successfully sued guys to get child support (money). I’m going to have to see if I can find a case where a woman successfully legally forced her husband to change the baby. 🙂 I severely doubt that’s possible, but I’ve never checked.

      I grew up in the seventies, and of course I had barbies and other girly toys, but my parents also gave me a belt and a cowboy hat and two colts, and I liked to pretend to shoot people.

      That’s all well and good and I’m not saying that girls don’t have hobbies. Do you see the difference between “I was trained to cook and take care of kids and play cops & robbers” and “I was trained to play cops & robbers”? O_o

      And that was more than 30 years ago. Just the other day, I saw a young mother walking by, and her 3-year-old son was pushing a stroller with a little baby doll in it. The way you describe the upbringing of boys and girls, isn`t that a thing of the past?

      That’s what gets y’all in trouble. Thinking that society has evolved because all the television shows use politically correct speech. Thinking that because we’re in 2010 anything’s different about the dynamic between men and women from how it ever was.

      At this point in time, are there women that MIGHT give their baby SONS dolls that wet themselves as if that’s something fun to play with? Probably. I can’t wait to see the case study on that.

      What you’re saying is the equivalent of “Now that Obama is President, nobody’s racist, right?”.. Life doesn’t work like that.

      »They don`t get that they`re the ones that go through hormonal changes during child-bearing, not us…..«

      Well, studies have shown that many men do go through hormonal changes when their wives are pregnant.

      That’s very interesting. I just googled it and came up with This Page. I didn’t have time to read through the study. I’d be interested to see if studies revealed that guys went though the same changes with kids that were found to be biologically NOT THEIRS.

      I’m well aware that guys go through changes UPON HEARING that a girl they hooked up with is pregnant, forget about actually finding out that it’s true, thinking that it’s yours and going through 9 months of waiting for the next phase of your life to begin (assuming you don’t jet).

      I guess my point was that you HAVE TO go through changes and we don’t. If there are guys that do, that’s very fascinating. Thanks for bringing that up. 🙂

      That is one reason why so many men gain weight during their wives` pregnancies.

      .. besides the fact that he’s not tappin’ that anymore so he’s losing out on the exercise he normally gets from sex.

      The whole »women go through hormonal changes« shtick is just one technique men use to rationalize their immature behaviour. It is all about the »women are different« myth. Which is just that, a myth.

      Interestingly enough, if women didn’t believe that, I probably wouldn’t have a blog at all. 🙂

      The *FIRST* difference between men and women is that we KNOW there’s a difference and you refuse to believe it. That’s what makes y’all incredibly susceptible to the slightest manipulation by a guy that knows what he’s doing. We spend two seconds saying “I love you” and WHOOSH!.. Off fly her panties! 😀 It’s really too easy.

      The women who are open-minded enough to consider “Maybe he *IS* only talking to me because he feels like ******* me. :/” are the ones best equipped to make informed, educated decisions in these scenarios.

      It’s thinking that men are just like women because the year on the calendar changed a few times that keeps y’all clueless.

      »Women are different, especially when they become mothers, so they won`t mind spending all their waking hours taking care of the child`s needs. They are different, so they don`t need sleep, they don`t need quality time to pursue their own interests anymore, because the baby is their true and only interest, right? Right?« This is how lots of men think (IF they think at all, and that is a big if), because it allows them to behave like selfish brats and still feel good about themselves.

      That’s not the thinking. It’s more like “I used to play video games before. I feel like playing video games now. That’s what I’m going to do.”

      I don’t think anyone believes that women automatically feel like doing everything to maintain the kids. I think a lot of women get stuck with doing all the work because the dudes just aren’t interested and SOMEBODY’S. GOT. TO. DO. IT.

      Nobody thinks women don’t need sleep.. It’s just that the dude isn’t getting up in the middle of the night to stop the kid from crying. That’s on you.

      I agree with your line “if they think at all”, because that’s exactly what I’m saying.. A lot of guys DON’T think about it until the kid arrives and then the gal’s nagging them to do this and that that they never thought of doing before. There are guys that take extra overtime at work SPECIFICALLY SO they don’t have to do any of the kid stuff. My point is that not everybody’s going to go into something like this 50/50 with you so it’s in women’s best interests to figure out what he plans to do if you get pregnant ahead of time.

      I’m not saying any of this stuff it cool. It’s just facts.

      It is actually quite simple: If you hang out with a friend and a bowl of fresh strawberries, and you eat 100% of the strawberries, how many strawberries will your friend get? Right, zero.
      Same scenario in a relationship with a child: If both partners are working full time, and the guy spends all the non-working time doing fun stuff, how much fun stuff will the woman get to do? Right, zero, because someone needs to take care of the kid and do the chores.

      Yes. That’s my point exactly. Thank you for proving it. If he elects not to help out, the woman ends up doing all the child maintenance.

      The flaw in your analogy is that you’re assuming that he gives a **** whether she gets any strawberries or not. The reason you assume that is because women assume that just because someone’s dating them, they’re going to treat them as an equal. This is why y’all keep taking shorts.

      Should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Yet many men use the »women are different« myth so they don`t have to face this simple truth. Just apply basic logic:

      1.All human beings need »me-time« to do what they like to do.
      2.Women are human beings.
      3.Women need »me-time«.

      It *IS* obvious.. To everyone intelligent.

      Unfortunately, again, you’re assuming that he cares what she needs. You’re also assuming that when he sees that things are unfair he’s going to sacrifice some of his own good times for her benefit. That’s just not always the case, although it SHOULD be.

      Actually, most pregancy books agree that some »me-time« can do a lot to revive a woman`s libido after childbirth, so it`s in the guy`s best interest to take care of the baby and give his partner some time off so that she has a chance to remember that she is not only a mother, but a woman as well.

      Again.. I’m not trying to be funny.. You’re assuming he still wants to have sex with her. If he doesn’t, what does he care about her libido?

      I think Christine is spot on when she says that a lot of women withhold sex because they are too angry at their husbands for not sharing responsibilities and denying their needs as human beings, only because the guys don`t want to be inconvenienced.

      Agreed. 100%

      To make matters worse.. Not living into her ideal of what she thought he was going to do WAKES. HER. UP. to who he really is and in a lot of cases, women are only having sex with guys because they see them as special men who treat them as special women.

      If you ruin the fantasy and she wakes up, you might never get to tap that again.

      *Ladies, do you expect your boyfriends/husbands to automatically share, say 40% to 50% of the child-maintenance duties with you if/when you have kids?*

      Yes, of course. And it is absolutely necessary to have this conversation before getting pregnant. Ideally before getting married or having any other form of longterm commitment.

      Thank you. My point entirely. Check ahead of time and do not ASSUME that he’s going to do what you want him to do just becasue you’re having a child with him.

      Had my husband not agreed to take 6 months parental leave, just like I will, I would certainly not be pregnant now.

      Props to you, fishingrod! haha I hear *THAT*!!! 😀

      My mother made the big mistake to marry someone who never really wanted kids or a house. For her, both kids and a house were non-negotiables, and since my father wanted her, he finally agreed. But he made her and his two daughters pay for that compromise for years to come.

      Hopefully in reading this back to yourself, you’ll realize that this is *EXACTLY* the situation my post is attempting to help y’all avoid.

      I remember one day, when my mother wanted to go to a neighbourhood party, and my father had one of his rage attacks, said she could not go, and if she went, that would be the end of the marriage and he would leave her and us without a penny etc., I found my mother crying on the bathroom floor, and she said to me: »If a woman has children, she can always be blackmailed. Don`t you forget that, daughter.«
      I don`t know if my mother still remembers that scene, but I certainly do, and I`ll be damned if anyone ever uses my child to blackmail me into anything.

      Thank you for sharing that. I’m sure some gal will read that and make an educated decision because of your contribution.

      To use your terms, that story says “I don’t give a **** whether you get any strawberries or not.”, doesn’t it?

      So I can only give this advice: No matter what happens, stay financially independent. As much as relationships are about love, they are also about power. And the question who gets to spend how much time doing fun stuff and who gets to do the not-so-fun stuff is about power and nothing else.

      To which I would say that women who ASSUME that their men are going to help with the kids instead of checking ahead of time are taking chances with their entire lives because if dude decides to break north or be a deadbeat dad or worse, SHE’S the one that has to pick up the slack because SOMEBODY’S GOT TO DO IT.

      It’s the same advice I’d give to guys about using condoms because if you ASSUME that she’s not going to keep the kid, you’re taking chances with your ENTIRE LIFE.

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