DEAR CAROLYN: "Tom" and I are planning our wedding. He's a freelancer who plays a lot of golf and softball, hangs out with friends during the day, and updates his blog daily, yet he has a nice apartment and eats out most of the time. I knew he developed several apps and I thought he was living off the profits. Now that we're combining our finances, I found out that what sustains him is a modest inheritance from his grandparents. Though it's not enough to last the rest of our lives, Tom admits he has no interest in ever holding down any kind of real job after living like this his entire adult life. He says he'll probably inherit more money from his parents "if they manage not to blow it all." We're looking at a winter wedding and starting a family immediately (I'm 32). I have a great job and know when the inheritance runs out, I'll be supporting everyone. Tom's never had to cook or clean or be handy around the house, but child care won't be an issue since he'll be home and have time to learn at least some of that other stuff. My best friend, a stay-at-home mom, warned me that Tom is not cut out to be a stay-at-home dad and that his willingness to live off money he could have saved and invested should worry me. Is my friend right? I think if our genders were reversed no one would think twice about our plans.
ENGAGED: "Child care won't be an issue"?
Rolling off the desk chair laughing.
Unkind, I know. But Tom is telling you who he is!
And there is no job more "real" than wrangling a household and small children. It's physically demanding, emotionally draining, highly consequential, utterly thankless, relentlessly repetitive and boring as all hell. Like, rip-at-your-facial-skin boring. Then you wake up after too-little sleep and do it all again. Kindly! Gently! With enthusiasm! One Cheerio at a time and with 12 loads of laundry in wait. And without too much screen time or too many chemicals or this or that or the other thing dictated by the Beings Who Dictate These Things.
So you don't need someone domestic — acquirable skills — but for the love of all that is holy, do not, not, not undertake the 20-plus-year project of child rearing with someone unwilling to knuckle through boredom and hard work for at least that cause, if no other.
So I suggest you two talk. You and reality.
I don't even remember what the question was.
RE: TOM: In life, people tend to want partners who help carry the load, not someone who is the load you carry. Stay-at-home parents and working parents are partners. It is not a gender thing. It is that Tom is telling you he is looking for someone to carry him. It's been granny for a while, maybe his parents in the future. But if you marry him, it will definitely, always be you.
ANONYMOUS: Truth poetry.
RE: TOM: I'm a (mostly) stay-at-home dad. It's not impossible that being a dad will give Tom purpose and meaning he hasn't even realized he's missing. I'm more fulfilled now than I was before kids, and more productive.
SAHD: Fair, thanks. Let's hope.