This article examines how the monetization of postpartum care practices since the mid-1990s has influenced the politics of gender and kinship relations in urban middle-class families in contemporary South Korea. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Seoul metropolitan area, my findings show that the post-partum period is a critical moment in which young, middle-class mothers negotiate contradictory and competing ideologies around conjugal love and equality within a nuclear family, patriarchal gender and family roles based on parental responsibility and filial piety, and consumption-oriented middle-class lifestyles. I further argue that contemporary economic conditions have increased the reliance of young, middle-class families on their extended family in unexpected ways, revealing a tendency to reinscribe rather than challenge patriarchal norms about how young, urban middle-class couples build family and kin relations.