All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

Tit for Tat

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(Fair warning, this is a bit of a rant…)

I have an appointment tomorrow with my OB for my annual pap and also to figure out long-term birth control that isn’t permanent.  We were going to go with the Es.sure procedure, because it sounded so simple, but then I read about it.  Yeah, we’re not doing that.  There are a lot of side effects reported that I worry about, and the coils are coated in plastic and I am unusually sensitive to almost all plastics on my skin (even silicone nose pads on sunglasses eat my face).  The idea of a plastic device being shoved into my fallopian tubes worries me a great deal, so we’re looking at other options.  Hottie is coming with me to the appointment because he wants to make sure we select the right option for US, and I think we’re going to go with an IUD.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is that it’s not permanent.

When I told a friend about this today, her response was the same as I’ve heard over, and over, and over again when this topic comes up.

“Why isn’t he getting fixed?  You went through the IVF, he can do this for you.”

Ummm… because we don’t work that way.  Because there’s more to life than, “I did that, so you have to do this.”

There are lots of other reasons for this decision, such as 1) a vasectomy would be permanent (yeah, yeah, some reversals work, but I’m not counting on that) and an IUD isn’t, 2) I’m the one whose life is at risk if we get pregnant again, and 3) I’m not willing to let Hottie do something so permanent that if something would happen to me, that he couldn’t have children in the future if he would remarry (remember, he’s 3 years younger than me).  But the main reasons are that the IUD is simpler, less invasive, not permanent and… Hottie owes me nothing for being the one who “went through all of those shots.”

The response I almost always get really upsets me.  It makes me wonder how other people’s marriages really work.  I hear a lot of this when talking with my girlfriends.  “My husband had a guys night so he owes me a night out with the girls.”  “He won’t let me go for a weekend away because I did that 6 months ago and it’s his turn.”  “He bought that new computer so he owes me.”  “I bought those awesome boots, so now I have to let him buy that telescope he wanted.”  And my favorite, “I’m the primary parent during the week, so he can take the kids on the weekend.”  It doesn’t stop with their expectations of their own marriages and spouses, they project it onto me as well.  No one has any idea how many times I’ve been told by my girlfriends (SAHM’s and WFHM’s) what Hottie owes me because I’m with the kids all day.  I am constantly told that he needs to give me more breaks, because he gets breaks every day from the kids, and they tell me just what those breaks should be (a pedicure, a movie night, drinks on the patio, a trip to Vegas).

If our marriage worked the way that people seem to think it should, then Hottie and I would spend little time together.  I am home with the kids every single day – the weekends are no different for me than normal week days.  If I did what I’m told I should do, Hottie would be spending the weekend days from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM with the kids while I go off and have my time.  Hottie travels a couple of nights a week, so according to my friends, he should take over all dinners, bath times, bed times, etc. for the same amount of nights that he was gone so I can be paid back for the times he didn’t have to do those things while he was away.  Instead of make, or go to, breakfast as a family on the weekends, one of us should sleep in on Saturday and let the other one sleep in on Sunday (my neighbor has had multiple day-long fights with her husband because he got to sleep until 9:00 on Saturday, and she got to sleep until 9:30 on Sunday and it wasn’t fair).  Don’t get me wrong, there are mornings when I just can’t get up when Bryson does and I sneak off to Matthew’s room to sleep with him until he’s up (7:30 at the latest), but we don’t talk about whose turn it is to do that – we just do it (Hottie has done this too).  No one feels that anything is owed to them in this household.

It’s all very interesting to me, and I find myself feeling very defensive and resentful when my friends start telling me what Hottie owes me because I’m with the kids so much.  And I find it disgusting that others think that he owes me a vasectomy because of the IVF that we put my body through.  We did IVF because we desperately wanted children, and no one went into it keeping score.  Sure, we know the reason for our infertility and at fleeting times, I was a bit resentful that I had to do the shots when I “wasn’t the problem,” but we wanted a baby so I did the shots, and I got over that resentment almost as quickly as it entered my mind.  I certainly don’t think that he owes me an irreversible medical procedure because of the pain and suffering my body went through to conceive our children.  I got my kids out of the deal, and Hottie owes me nothing beyond them… not even a vasectomy.

 

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Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

14 thoughts on “Tit for Tat

  1. We opted for an IUD for me instead of a vasectomy for my husband for much the same reasons, so what you’ve written here makes complete sense to me. I don’t plan to die young or divorce my husband (also 3 years younger than me), but if I do, I don’t see any reason he should be precluded from having another child when I am the one who can’t go through another pregnancy.

    I think everyone should do what works for his/her relationship, and I find it somewhat presumptuous of your friends to tell you what you and your husband “should ” do.

  2. I blame L’Oréal and its “your worth it” slogan for this fake meritocracy. Everyone is unhappy because they did not get what they were owed. 😱

    I know someone who refused to take her husband’s name when they got married (their issue), and she wanted the children to carry her name (official reason is because it is an old French name, real reason is because she’s a German snob with a chip on her shoulder). The husband wanted the children to have his name, but after the 17 hours labour with the first one, he felt “he owed her that”, and so it is how she wanted. I was gobsmacked.

    I am very much of your opinion, my husband and I are having a marriage, a partnership, we are a team, we work together, and we don’t keep scores who does what when, and who owes what to whom. If one is happy doing something, the other one is happy for their spouse as well. When one only tries to keep the score even, it erodes the togetherness. Promises should always be kept (reasonable ones), but this tit for tat you speak of is ridiculous, and mostly heard of in couples that do not work very well together.

  3. Oh gosh, I’m so with you on this one! I do think that every partnership is a… partnership, but that doesn’t mean tit for tat. I also think there’s a world of difference between someone being out every night and “owing you a night with the girls” vs an irreversible medical procedure that affects your fertility!! That’s just nuts.

    I’ve found people are often a bit like that though. Especially when it comes to money. My #1 want in previous relationships was not to argue about money. My parents always found it a source of stress and so this affected how I felt about it. I think if you’re in a partnership you shoulder the burden equally, but that doesn’t mean exact numerical quantification. You might both contribute different amounts but the effort and giving involved is the same. Or one of you might give more to make up for giving less in another area.

    I earn more than my partner so I’m happy to give more to the joint account. He often does a lot more around the house because he’s more domestic(!) than I am. It all evens out and we don’t [often!] have a tit for tat relationship. Each of us gives equally to the relationship, but what we give is often different, because we are different people.

  4. Haha at “that’s just nuts”… Unintentional pun! 😂

  5. As you know, we went with the IUD, but more-so because *I* wasn’t willing to let Charlie do anything permanent (he was willing to b/c he’s in the no #3 camp right now). I definitely don’t think he owed it to me b/c I bore the children or anything. Silliness.

    Charlie and I usually alternate girls’ nights and guys’ nights (or weekends) out just b/c we both want that alternating time at home with the kids, not because it’s tit for tat. I can’t imagine keeping score all the time!

  6. I am total on board with the iud versus vasectomy! As somebody battling Sperm antibodies after a successful reversal….
    You never know if you will change your mind 5 years Down the road (maybe not you but my other friends), and yes, maybe one day for reasons relating to your death (obviously) there will be someone else. I think at our age something so permanent is a huge decision.
    Also, I agree, we don’t do – I did this so you do that. I think we are both very respectful of each other’s time and needs and both go out of our way to let each other have a good time both with and without kids. I think good relationships are built on respect for each other. Nothing else matters.

  7. I totally agree with your comments on the tit for tat I find it bizarre! My husband and I both work (me only 4 days) he travels off on on as well but we kind of work things out. Recently I have had more nights out but it’s never keep score it’s just whats happening at the time and what works we spend as much time together as a family as we can. Life’s short we had a baby to be a family not individually parent. We definitely both need separate down time but itcs just when we need it. I had friends that did the money thing and I totally don’t get that one. We are lucky we don’t worry about contraception as if we got pregnant it would be a miracle (and no problem)and it has never happened naturally in 12 yrs….not that it couldn’t happen I guess.

  8. I currently have an IUD but my husband wants to get a vasectomy, and I want him to as well because the IUD has some side effects that are exacerbated by my uterine prolapse and scar tissue issues. Basically my life would be easier if I didn’t have an IUD and he is 1000% sure he never wants more kids (even if I die and he remarries–I’ve asked him that explicitly), so he will be getting a vasectomy. It has nothing to do with “I had the kids, so he can have the vasectomy,” although I don’t think it’s totally unfair for a woman to bring up all she has gone through physically during pregnancy and childbirth when having the conversation about who will take next steps to prevent pregnancy in the future. Women go through a lot, their bodies are irrevocably altered. I don’t think it’s asking too much to say hey, I am dealing with these side effects of having been pregnant, couldn’t you do the next body altering procedure to assure we don’t have more kids?

    I will admit that we do a bit of the tit for tat here, but I think we do it more with the desired outcome of achieving balance and fairness than as a way to deprive the other person of something they want. The thing is, I am more likely to recognize when my partner needs time to himself and to offer him that time by taking the kids out. My partner does NOT offer that kind of time to me, not because he doesn’t want me to have it, but because he doesn’t particularly like taking the kids places. So I have to make sure I ASK for that kind of time, and I do keep track of how much I’m giving him so I can make sure that I’m getting a comparable amount of time myself. I think he ends up getting more time, because of the way our schedules work out, but I know that if I ask he’ll always make it work for me to have that time.

    I will also admit to feeling some resentment when the scales start to tip in ways that leave me with way less time to myself than he gets. When that happens I can feel taken advantage of, because I don’t think my husband always realizes just how much I do with our kids, and just what sacrifices I make at work so that things run smoothly for our family, especially since he has never made comparable sacrifices himself.

    We end up dividing most of the weekend as well, either we each have a kid or one has both for a bit and then we switch, because we both really need that time alone, and we both like having one on one time with our kids. We don’t end up seeing each other much on the weekends and that sucks (at least not with the kids). I think we’re both hoping it will be easier to have the QT as a family when our kids are older.

    I think some couples are better at making it work without keeping track of who is getting what, and some need to be more conscientious of who is having to do what. I think as long as both partners agree on what works for them, it’s okay for them to keep track, and I believe if they really did come to the agreement to do it that way, there wouldn’t be resentment attached to the agreement. Maybe I am just not a generous enough person to not keep track. I don’t know. I’ve thought about that a lot.

  9. Occasionally we do tit for tat here because I’m a sook if I don’t get some me time 😂 I’m a shocker like last night I was like I need a break can you take Molly for five minutes I’ve had her alllll day (we just had a massive fight – Molly not chippie) but I am -100% with you on the vasectomy and the whole competition thing – it sounds silly but for me those relationships are the ones that haven’t battled the crap we have and I know I would have ended up that way if I hadn’t gone through IF. IF changed me and for the better in many ways, still I would have preferred to have not gone through it!!!! And to say he’s the one that had the problems well that deserves a fist pump to the Nose.

  10. I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now, because it hit a nerve with me. When I first read it, I was totally in disagreement (about the daily balance, not the vasectomy thing). Stan and I definitely do the “my turn,” thing with time out with friends or time alone at the gym, etc. So while I understood what you were saying, I was also trying to figure out what was so wrong with what we were doing. And then I realized, I think, the difference. For us it isn’t me saying, “I’m going out tonight with friends because you went out last week.” Instead it’s Stan saying, “Why don’t you go get a drink with so-and-so and I’ll man the home front for the night. I know the kids were rough on you last week when I went out to watch the soccer game.” So, yeah, it’s tit for tat, but it comes from a place of love and generosity and respect instead of one of resentment and entitlement, if that makes sense. It’s about offering instead of demanding.

    That’s true except for night wake ups, of course. For those it’s every man/woman for him/herself. “I got up twice already, it’s YOUR TURN.” 😉

    • Exactly. We give”turns” but not because it was his our my turn last time. It’s rarely one of us asking for a turn, it’s the other one saying, “you need a night out, call so-and-so.”. And my main issue is people telling ME what I need based on how their marriage works.

      You know that it was always my turn at night…. Damn boobs.

      Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

    • Bryson has slept through the night, almost instantly, since my weaning trip to KC in January (19 months old). I left with a kid who write up twice a night and returned to a, kids who slept 10 hours through. He was ADDICTED.

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