A question for parents/primary care-takers of children: have you written wills with provisions for who would take your children if something happens to you (and your spouse if applicable)? Or for non-kid-havers who have been asked to do this by friends or family: what was your reaction to being asked?
I feel like this is something we need to do, but we have never been able to decide who to ask this huge favor from. We're both closest to our families, rather than friends. Our parents would be best able to take them financially, but obviously they are older and it could be a real hardship from that perspective down the road. They are in their early 60s and healthy now, but our kids are a baby and almost 3, so still very young. While my husband's parents are financially very well off and the kids would have every opportunity with them, I don't respect them as parents based on the dynamic I see now and the stories I've heard from my husband's childhood. The kids would have very good care from a material perspective, but from an emotional/psychological one I am not so sure. And my parents would probably have to delay or forgo retirement if they were raising kids again, which isn't something I want to ask of them.
Then there are our siblings. My sister is the person I'm closest to in the world and my husband and I both like her husband, although not 100% without reservations. I would trust them to raise my kids with values very close to ours and my sister is a very enthusiastic and affectionate aunt. The trouble there is they are not very financially comfortable, and while whatever assets we have would obviously go to them for our kids, I would worry that it would be too much of a hardship for them. They also plan to have kids soon, so it would be tough for them to suddenly have 3+ kids of the same age.
My husband's sister is better off, but frankly I think she is a spoiled brat with a major entitlement problem and little self-awareness. I don't want my children learning those values from her. Obviously I haven't and can't say any of that to my husband. We both agree that her husband has patriarchal values and politics that we don't like, which is another reason I wouldn't want to leave my kids with them. And they have a baby as well, so the problem of 3+ kids of the same age is an issue here as well.
My brother and his wife have older kids, so they wouldn't have to deal with 4 very young children all at the same time. And their kids are awesome and I would love for mine to be like them— smart, nice, wicked senses of humor, good manners, varied interests, empathy, etc. I haven't always liked or gotten along with my SIL, but I respect her a lot as a person and she is a great parent. But (as the previous sentence suggests) we aren't close, so I feel like it would be a huge ask. Plus I know they are looking forward to being able to travel and have more freedom and fun when their kids are out of the house, which they never got to do because they were raising kids throughout their 20s. And they live in a different city, so it would be harder for the kids to maintain ties with their extended families, especially on my husband's side (everyone else is in or very close to the city we live in). I think they would agree to do it because family and out of affection for our kids, but I'm not sure if it's right to ask given our lack of closeness.
How have others dealt with this issue? Have you had disagreements with your spouse about it? A major issue here is I can't tell my husband the complete truth about why I wouldn't want to ask his sister to do this for us.