Everyone has heard of prenuptial contracts, but have you heard of a baby-nup contract? If not, and you're expecting, it may be exactly what you need to make those stressful first months with a newborn a bit less overwhelming. Having a baby is a lot of work, and sometimes how to divide that work can cause tension and stress among new parents.
Many mothers feel like they're carrying the bulk of responsibility of caring for the newborn, especially if they're breastfeeding. Baby-nups are written agreements between both parents of how to divide the massive duties involved in caring for a new baby so one parent doesn't feel as though they are doing an unfair amount of work. While having a signed contract in place to ensure both parents are doing their fair share may sound extreme, it's something that is becoming increasingly popular among new parents and parents-to-be.
PARADE Magazine recently reported on the increasing popularity of these baby-nups, stating that having a written contract between both parents is allowing for a less stressful household. Melissa Biggs told the magazine that in 2015 when she and husband Greg were expecting their second child, they drafted their own baby-nup.
“I remembered how exhausting and stressful it all was when we had our daughter, especially since I was breastfeeding and a lot fell on me,” Melissa said of how she felt after having her first child. “I consider myself a pretty organized person, so I decided to create a physical chore chart for my husband and I. We both sat down and divided up all the baby and household duties together. I listed all the chores we had and assigned a name to each one and hung it on our fridge,” Melissa explained. “We both signed it so we knew we would stick to it, no excuses.”
You've heard about prenups, but now more couples are signing "baby-nups" to help split up duties and divide the work to take care of their kids before the baby gets there.— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 24, 2019
Would you agree to a "baby-nup"? pic.twitter.com/YFJWghTZoC
Other couples explained to the magazine that having a plan in place before their baby arrived was crucial, and even employed an online management tool to help divide responsibilities and prioritize tasks and events. Still, regardless of how well this has worked for some, others think the very idea of a baby-nup is ridiculous and voiced their opinions on social media.
It’s called being a parent. Either embrace every good, bad, wonderful, and annoying thing that comes with it, or don’t have kids. pic.twitter.com/8Vkzws6I4q— Heather Montz (@heatherdani85) April 24, 2019
No. This is your child not a chore.— Carrie I Martin (@CarrieIMartin) April 24, 2019
One could argue that if a contract is working for your family, there's no harm in having one in place. Matt Lundquist, an NYC based psychotherapist told Parade he's happy to see couples proactively working on a plan for when they welcome their child that sets expectations from the start of who will need to take care of what.
“The number one issue couples reach out to us for is communication,” he said. “Childcare is an area where couples often make assumptions–based on how they were raised or even an interpretation of things their partner has said or inferences based on a sense of who their partner is. A plan such as this–a contract–allows the opportunity to test those assumptions, to make them clear and bring attention sooner (pre-baby) to what might live in conflict.”
When one parent feels they are doing more work than their partner that person can become angry and resentful and overstressed. While having a written contract in place detailing who is responsible for what around the house while navigating a newborn may not be for everyone, it at least encourages couples to communicate about what their expectations are when the new baby arrives.