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‘Baby prenups’ are a thing — and here’s how parents should split the duties (doodies)

July 26, 2019

Modern parents-to-be have figured out a new way to make sure neither parent gets stuck carrying the mental, physical and financial burden of a new baby alone. They’re writing “baby prenups,” and it’s honestly a brilliant idea. As celebrity spiritual and life coach Vanessa Petronelli recently explained on “Good Morning America,” the baby prenup is a written contract intended to outline the duties for each parent in an expectant couple so they know exactly how they’re divvying up their new roles as parents.

The basics of baby prenup

A baby prenup might specify: 

  • Who will handle night feedings and diaper changes.

  • Who will be responsible for child care drop-offs, grocery shopping, doctor appointments and other chores.

  • A clear budget for how much parents plan to contribute to savings accounts, education funds, child care costs and other child-related expenses.

Like every aspect of a new parent’s life, though, baby prenups aren’t foolproof. Petronelli talked to “GMA” about the need for flexibility in the contract. "What happens if one parent cannot honor their part of the agreement? They're running late coming from work? Or one parent struggles with a mental or physical health challenge?” she asked. “As with the relationship in general, ongoing communication and understanding is crucial."

Just the act of talking through all the duties and potential problems in order to create a baby prenup could be a positive exercise for new parents — and one that ends up preventing fights in the future. 

How moms, especially, can benefit from a baby prenup

Studies show many families are struggling to find balance on their own. Moms are still on the hook for the majority of household and child care tasks, even in households in which both parents work full time. In households where that isn’t the case, parents can still struggle with communication, financial stressors, exhaustion and stress. 

If you’re considering a baby prenup, it certainly couldn’t hurt to poll some experienced parents, particularly your mom friends, to see what they’d write on their own baby prenup.

10 must-haves on my fantasy baby prenup

Based on my almost eight years of parenting small children with a partner, here are some of the baby prenup must-haves I’d definitely include if I could go back.

1. Mom is entitled to a post-birth meal composed of everything that wasn’t allowed during pregnancy. This may include: sushi, a medium-rare steak, specialty French cheeses, a martini and a bucket of espresso.

2. Rock, paper, scissors will determine who has to get out of bed at 3 a.m. to find the missing binkie, blanket or stuffed animal. Results are voided if the winning parent gloats.

3. Whichever parent did NOT grow a human and give birth is responsible for all late-night diaper and/or formula runs. 

OK, OK, I’m kidding (sort of). But seriously, folks … I strongly suggest including these things:

4. Diaper-changing duties will be shared equally by both parents.

5. Each parent is entitled to one 30-minute shower period per day. Shower must involve hot water, and no babies can be present.

6. Both parents will pre-warn the in-laws that unsolicited advice won’t be tolerated. Those in violation will be responsible for cleaning up the baby’s first diaper explosion.

7. Parents shall alternate who has to eat dinner one-handed while standing on nights when the baby refuses to be put down.

8. Each parent must take half of the baby gear, figure out how the heck it works and then explain it to the other parent in detail.

9. All weekends will be spent taking turns napping for the first year of the baby’s life.

10. Parents should be grateful to and supportive of one another, even when they’ve both been awake for 19 hours and smell like old spit-up.

Read next: Dads can finally ‘breastfeed’ with this wearable device

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