Work leave is among the most stressful of subjects for parents to have to address while they are preparing for their baby to enter the world.
That moment of returning to work while the baby is still small is incredibly hard for many, and the moment often comes far too soon, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Redditor, who has since deleted her account, was shocked when her husband expected her to return to work even sooner than she had originally planned.
When he dismissed her discomfort, the Original Poster (OP) had conflicting feelings about how to move forward.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for getting offended at my husband’s suggestion that I only take two weeks of maternity leave?”
The OP’s planning for her baby was on-schedule and going well.
“I (25 female) am currently 25 weeks pregnant with my husband (34 male) and my 1st child.”
“We have been together for 5 years, married for almost 2.”
“Our baby is growing on track, we’ve already painted the nursery, and my MIL (mother-in-law) is excitedly planning the baby shower.”
“I have a full-time office job while he has been working from home since the first lockdown.”
Then her husband made an unexpected suggestion.
“We were talking about our parental leaves and we agreed that we wouldn’t take it simultaneously.”
“We were good until he said, ‘Do you wanna do 2 weeks first, then I do mine, and then you do 6 weeks after?'”
“I just stood silently staring at him for 5 minutes. I told him I think he’s being ignorant and selfish.”
“He said, ‘What? I don’t know how long you need to recover. I don’t even know why we’re still talking about this.'”
“He works for an international company where they get 3 months paid paternity leave. Meanwhile, I work for a small business that only offers 6-8 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.”
It turned out the husband had other reasons for his arrangement ideas.
“He has been anticipating his paternity leave since I got pregnant because he sees it as an opportunity to seriously start looking for another job.”
“He has been with the company for 9 years and has been feeling burnt out. Lately, his frustrations have been compounded by his new manager being difficult.”
“I’ve been very supportive of his goal of finding a job where he can be fulfilled and appreciated as I can sense that he’s not happy at his job anymore.”
“He also said that his current company will be considering him for a better position once he gets back from his paternity leave so that gets him kind of excited.”
“We have a 6 figure income combined. I pay the mortgage while he takes care of the other bills. We have money in the bank, stocks, cars paid off. I don’t think my maternity leave being unpaid is an issue because my savings could cover the 2 months that I wouldn’t get a paycheck.”
The OP was furious after their conversation.
“I didn’t talk to him after his remark. He went to play video games on his computer while I folded his clothes.”
“I slept on the couch and still have not talked to him at breakfast. He tried talking to me as I was about to leave for work but I just noped out of the house.”
“I am upset that he doesn’t think that I deserve to get some down time after giving birth to recover and spend time with our kid.”
“I feel like he thinks growing an entire human being inside your body and then having to push that baby out is not a big deal.”
“Maybe because I never complain about anything. I do 90% of the chores around the house, even carrying laundry from our bedroom on the top floor down to the basement to get them washed, and then back up the stairs to get them folded and put away.”
“I feel like my in-laws are more concerned about my well-being than he is. My FIL (father-in-law) even bought us a litter robot so I won’t have to clean after our cats.”
“My family lives a few continents away so I don’t have a huge support system here.”
“AITA for being upset?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP definitely deserved some time to heal and recover.
“It took me 2 weeks to even feel sort of human again. If you were expecting your old body to snap back, it doesn’t work that way.”
“You are sore, exhausted, and everything leaks. It is mentally exhausting not only due to lack of sleep, but those hormones that made you crazy before baby drop like a rock after baby, leaving you like an emotional bouncing ball.”
“Even at 6 weeks, going back to work is difficult.” – iadggm
“Two weeks in was my peak bad time. The sleep deprivation had really set in and the honeymoon period crashes and I was a sobbing mess.” – Music_withRocks_In
“I had a c-section with both of my boys and at the 2-week mark, I was just barely off the pain medication. I needed the next 4 weeks to adjust to driving again, caring for baby, pumping, etc.”
“Husband needs to realize that OP may need a c-section and let me tell ya, the first one is always a bitch to recover from; my second one was much easier to come back.” – Any-Bit-2461
Others said the husband clearly didn’t realize what paternity leave would look like.
“NTA – your husband is woefully mistaken about what is possible during paternity leave. First off, where I live, what you are getting doesn’t even qualify for mat leave, it’s what’s considered the medically necessary leave to recover from childbirth.”
“Is your husband even aware that he will be providing full-time care while he’s off? Because it seems like he thinks this is a free vacation and not a responsibility.” – OrangeCubit
“Is he prepared for the commitment a 2-week-old baby needs? Yes, they sleep all day but come sunset… Wow. When do we tell him about the witching hour?” – Scottish-squirrel
“You just know he’ll be palming the baby off to his mother or sister or someone if he’s really planning on preparing for a new career. He’ll have it figured out already.” – VanillaBean1988
“I would bet $1000 that his thought process is something along the lines of:”
“‘Well, the baby will be two weeks old and will probably sleep most of the day! And of course, wife only works that easy office job – she can just take over as soon as she gets home! She already does (in her own words) 90% of the chores – how much more work could one tiny baby possibly add??'”
“This man is going to have a rude awakening when the baby is born.” – InvisiblePlants
“Wait! What newborn sleeps all day? Nobody told my kids that. I feel severely cheated.”
“My oldest didn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time until he was almost 9 months old. I was a single, full-time working mom, praying not to fall asleep at my desk.”
“That dad has zero clue what is going on.” – Trugem6
“He’s a grown man. Why does she have to hold his hand?”
“I did not have to teach my husband about paternity leave or what my body would go through. Or teach him about postpartum recovery.”
“He did his research. This is what women do to teach themselves, nobody teaches you at 14 how to have a baby. She does 90 percent of the chores, including carrying laundry upstairs. She just went back to doing laundry – not like he’ll make her clean underwear, right?”
“Maybe if he stepped back from video games and spent some time thinking about how their lives are about to change, he would be a real partner.” – LinwoodKei
A few said the OP really needed to talk to her husband about her feelings.
“You’re not wrong, but can we talk for a moment about how OP has not communicated any of what she’s feeling with her husband? He literally explains he doesn’t know what she needs and her response is to give him the silent treatment for two days.”
“She needs to communicate what she needs and not just expect him to know. I say this as a woman who is currently planning for kids; we haven’t even started trying and we’ve had these conversations so my husband has clear expectations about his responsibilities during pregnancy and what to expect post-pregnancy.”
“IMO (in my opinion), ESH, because Husband is clearly clueless (and could research it himself but hasn’t) but the silent treatment is not an appropriate response to his ignorance either.” – EliraeTheBow
“Well, she is during absolutely everything around the house so he can play video games on his computer. He has a nice little doormat, so he probably thinks this will continue.”
“OP not only needs to speak up and tell him that he will need to help care for her and the baby, but that he is also AS OF NOW, doing 50% of household duties.”
“Or maybe she should just move in with his parents, they sound nicer.” – everyonemustlovecats
The subReddit completely understood why the OP was upset about what her husband had said, but there was a disagreement beyond that point.
Some hoped the OP would go back to communicating her feelings rather than administering the silent treatment, while others stated the husband was an adult who could do his own research about the healing process for a woman who has just birthed a baby.