Home Fatherhood Play Your Role: Should Men Wake Up With Crying Babies?

Play Your Role: Should Men Wake Up With Crying Babies?



Last week I had a conversation with a friend of mine. He was venting to me about his marriage and shared an argument that he was having with his wife. I’m friends with both of them, so I knew he trusted me to have a non biased opinion. When he began his story, I listened. I made it a point not to respond right away, and I hoped that my opinion wouldn’t cause any more damage.

Here we go. My guy friend works. He actually works two jobs. His wife is a stay at home mom. They also have 3 small children. If you need to read that again, feel free. Having small children, as in babies, we know they don’t exactly sleep through the night. Well, my guy friend says he and his wife, who is also my friend, argue because he doesn’t feel he has to wake up at night and help with the babies. He goes on to tell me that his justification is he works two jobs and is exhausted when he gets home. He rounds that statement out with telling his wife that it’s Her job to wake up with the kids. Take a moment to let that marinate.

Now that you’ve had that moment, I’ll give my two cents. First, I told him that he probably shouldn’t have told her that waking up with the kids was her “job.” He definitely could have left that part out. Additionally I said that I understand where he’s coming from, but he has to be willing to help out sometimes. I actually agree that she should be the primary person waking up with the kids. How ever they got to this arrangement, they both agreed to take on certain roles within their family and until a different decision is reached, each should play their role. If his job is to provide for the family, he needs to work so that he can provide. If her role is to take care of the house and the kids, she should do that.

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I want to emphasize that him working two jobs to support the family doesn’t exempt him from participating in non “outside the home activities” , and he needs to help out sometimes.  He should want to help his wife sometimes, but ultimately it’s her responsibility to take the lead with the kids, period. Any man that goes out and works on average 14-16 hour days, definitely shouldn’t have to worry about waking up with crying babies.

I’m sure there are a large number of women that are turning their nose up at me right now, and that’s okay. My views on marriage and family tend to be slightly more on the traditional side. When I shared this story with the masses, some women said things like, “he helped make the kids, he should equally take care of them” and “she works harder than him so he should be willing to get up” and even “when he gets home he still needs to be dad.” Oddly, that was a small percent. The majority of women (and all men) agreed she needs to get up. The women’s argument was that if he works hard enough to where she doesn’t have to work, she should want to make it as easy as possible for him to be able to do that.

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One of the most honest things was said by a good friend of mine and I totally agree:


Every situation is different. In this case, if she reaches to turn on the light…and it comes on. Goes to get baby a fresh pamper…and pampers are there. Warms up a bottle….water flows freely. He has made those provisions possible, so my family is comfortable, I’m getting up. I need him to not be tired at work. 

I’m going to do EVERYTHING possible, so he can be successful at his job. And he makes sure I am successful at mine. That’s called TEAMWORK.


What do you all think?

Keita is a Houston based blogger with a bunch of opinions and a lot to say. Check her out on twitter @keitathejedi or at www.keitawheats.com


  1. If this is the arrangement that they have agreed upon then so be it. I do think he should be willing to get up but I understand his sentiments with him working multiple jobs and her being a SAHM. The children are his responsibility as well despite the roles that they have agreed upon.

  2. I think instead of arguing, they need to have a calm conversation at a time when both of their emotions are not on 10+. Whatever rules, agreements the mutually agree upon, they need to stick to them consistently. I also hope they have family and friends to help them out and give them a break from their kids once in a while. I know that dealing with several children can seriously strain a marriage. Even if the couple doesn’t divorce, they’re usually not on good terms with one another, and it makes for a very strained relationship.
    One flag that I see is some selfishness, and sense of entitlement on both of their parts. I’ve learned from people who have been married for 30 years plus, you can’t expect to have a happy and peaceful home-life, and marriage if your always “keeping score” of who is doing more of what. Sometimes it’s just a matter of not thinking about it, and just doing it.
    If this is that serious for them, then they both should discuss all the things they do during the course of the day, and why it’s so much more important that one person gets more rest than the other. I’ve seen a few couples take turns and that seems to work out pretty well. They have a schedule of who will get up from one day or week to the next. They have to find some type of compromise for this to work well. But as someone who isn’t there with them at home, or at work, nobody on the outside can really say who is doing more, and who should or shouldn’t do more. That’s for them to decide.

  3. “I’m sure there are a large number of women that are turning their nose up at me right now, and that’s okay”

    Yup that would be me.

    Because “If he works hard enough to where she doesn’t have to work…” is a flawed argument. She might not have a job, but she definitely works. And taking care of children is not just physically tiring, it takes a huge mental toll on a person.

    No matter how physically demanding his jobs may be, the fact is that getting out of the house, being away from children, and being around adults is restorative. And a SAHM doesn’t get to replenish that mental toll in that way, she needs SLEEP for that.

  4. I don’t think the fact that he works two jobs necessarily entitles him to always get to sleep through crying babies. I agree that he needs sleep so he can function at work but you may be underestimating how taxing it is to tend to children all day. Being a SAHM is a 24 hour job and she needs her rest too. They need to have a conversation about what each of them needs to make their arrangement work and no one should bring a sense of entitlement to the table.

  5. I’ll just say this is interesting stuff. Dude has reason to be annoyed, and I can understand wifey being fatigued as well. I think they’ll get through it though. If I only have 8 hours to spare then that means I have an hour and a half to eat and watch sportcenter then sleep and get ready for another work day lol.

  6. Hmm….to each their own. I can see the argument on both sides. Yes – the husband should try to help with the baby at night from time to time. However, this situation is unique to me. The 2 jobs is not an exemption for fatherly duties, but I can’t imagine he’s neglecting all duties i.e. feeding the kids, bathing, etc… Maybe they should switch roles; let him stay at home and let her work two jobs.

  7. Yes he should get up. I would assume wife loves and respects everything her husband provides. Raising children should be a 2 parent job. I don’t think she would be expecting him to help out often in the middle of the night but when she needs him, he needs to be there for her. Every parent needs a break from time to time. A stay at home mom without much adult interaction can become overwhelmed and feel as if she has minimal purpose other than parenting. Husband doesn’t have time for sportscenter or anything else if he can’t promote wellness and emotionally support his family. He should have more of a purpose than solely financial support.

  8. Agreed. She needs to get up with the kids. After all they both have jobs and as the homemaker she needs to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. If I’m lucky enough to get married and have this arrangement I this would be a non issue in my marriage.

  9. In my case, growing up with six siblings, all within 10 years of each other, I was privy to a front row seat to the enormous demands made on my mother attending to her children’s needs without much help from my Dad, so when my time came, I was sensitized to the issue. My wife and l had three kids in 7 years (BGB), so the demands on my wife’s time and attention were as such that upon returning home, I would insist that she go and get 8 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep because I understood how the disrupted sleep patterns reeked havoc on her energies and how this would at times, diminish the quality of the time that she spent with the kids and I.

    It helped that as a professional athlete, though I traveled often for games/endorsements,business etc., I did have five months off-seasons, so I was able to be very hands on with the little munchkins. I realized that when she wasn’t exhausted, she was a more loving and attentive wife and mother, so everyone benefitted from the division of labor. I used to tell her that it was important that she had some semblance of a life outside of the kids and I, so; l would shoo her off with her sister and best friend on a weekend getaway but she would end up calling us every hour interrupting our cartoon marathons so she might as well have stayed home….lol. We’d laugh about it as she would accuse me of just trying to build up good credit so that I could watch the NFL alone in the man’s cave.

  10. Ok I understand the father’s concern because he is tired and the wife is tired as well. But I blame both of them for their situation. If you are not in the position to raise kid or kids for that matter a birth control method should be used that way everyone is happy. Then the husband wouldn’t be so tired from working not one but two jobs. And the wife wouldn’t be so tired from raising 3 babies, taking care of the house, etc.

  11. 3 kids? That’s working 3 jobs. lmbo I was a teacher for three years and parents would keep their children at daycare/school for almost 11 hours each day because when you have kids you don’t get a break. BEING A STAY AT HOME MOTHER IS A JOB! The only reason I agree with your advice is because you said that they both agreed on their individual roles. I work with plenty of people who have kids and they tell me that they would never want to be a stay at home mom. I think men think being a stay at home mom = being a stay at home wife. Poor wife..she literally doesn’t get a break. At least when you’re at work ..you get an hour break just to think and have silence.

  12. I love this discussion and how everyone is in agreement. I’ve been on both sides of that equation. I stayed at home for 12 months with my firstborn while my husband worked full-time. I was pretty much the sole caregiver by default, because I was raised to believe that this was the way of things. Being a stay-at-home-mom was a beautiful and rewarding experience, but it was downright exhausting. I should also mention that I nursed exclusively (meaning hubby couldn’t get up to feed the baby at night even if he wanted to). Daycare was out of the question for us (stranger danger!) and by the end of that 12 months, I looked like I had aged 5 years and was almost out of my mind.

    I finally went back to work when my baby turned one. At that time, hubby found himself laid off and we decided it would a good idea for him to stay with our baby and save that daycare money. I found that being able to leave the house everyday and come home actually left me more refreshed and appreciative of my family. Talking to other adults and doing my job was far less taxing than raising and minding a child 24/7. It didn’t take my husband long to realize just how much energy and patience it takes to care for a child. Luckily, I didn’t have a problem coming home and taking over duties to give him a much needed break. Whenever I was off, I offered to take my daughter so my husband could have time outside of the house.

    When we had our second child, I had already started working from home so sliding back into the stay-at-home-mom role was easy. My husband had started working again too. However, we both knew without a doubt that we would have to share childcare duties no matter who worked more outside the home lest one of us go insane.


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