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AIBU?

Shared parental leave ungrateful husband

153 replies

If123 · 26/01/2024 00:09

AIBU? 

me and my other half have decided that we will do shared parental leave. I’m am taking 5 months then finishing my leave and he will have the remaining paid 4 months as his company will top him up to full pay and I would only be on Statutory amount. It makes total sense financially to do this however when I ask my OH if he is looking forward to it he doesn’t show much enthusiasm. I would prefer he atleast pretends to be excited since I am absolutly gutted to be leaving my baby so soon. I feel he is being really ungrateful of the sacrifice I am making. 
to make thing worse I have been for a kit day with my employer today. I have spent months back and forth trying to set this day up and I finally managed. I am going in for the money to help financially support our family. I’ve come home in pieces because I feel guilty about leaving my baby she’s only 3 months. Also I had hardly any energy to make effort for her as I was physically exhausted (my job is very manual). I felt so bad for this. I had been up since 5.30am getting ready and getting out to drive to work. When I explained I was tired and needed a nap or to have a sleep my OH has a bit of a go saying that he’s tired too and he’s had the baby all day (which I get is tiring but I do on my own every day and he’s had MILs help all day) he then said how he’s tired because he had cleaned the house- which did look a lot better but I don’t know why he thinks he needs a medal for it when I did a large amount of it the evening before. 

it’s just made me feel like I am trying my best to financially help to support us and he’s thrown it in my face. He obviously does not understand how hard it is being away from her (he works from home) but I really feel like telling him to get F**ed if he thinks I’m making a load of effort again to try and help out to take the financial pressures off him when he clearly doesn’t appreciate the effort. 

AIBU to tell him that I don’t want to share my leave with him anymore if he doesn’t appreciate it and that I won’t be doing any more Kit days or forcing myself to prematurely return to work if he doesn’t appreciate my efforts. 

*the only reason I have to return is because I have to pay my contractual maternity pay back to my company if I don’t return for atleast 6 months. At the value of £3.5k to be paid in 21 days I can’t really afford to do that. So I have to try and go back for 6 months and with him taking 4 months off I could do most of this without relying on a nursery.

OP posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

614 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
33%
You are NOT being unreasonable
67%
MeMyBooksAndMyCats · 26/01/2024 08:23

Don't turn it into a competition, it's just as hard for him as it is for you.

Making it a competition will make you resent each other and potentially end your marriage. Your a team, need to remember this and work together.

Be it a rota or something like that.

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vdbfamily · 26/01/2024 08:25

I don't think it is particularly something to look forward to do YABU to be annoyed that he is not excited. It is fairly rejected spending all day with a baby as you know. It seems like it has been a financial decision between the 2 of you so you either continue with that and allow him to feel whatever he feels about the prospect or you extend your mat leave and have less income.
I agree with others that getting him to do some of it would be good as some men have no idea what days on end with a baby/ toddler is like and it is good for that experience to be shared.

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HeckyPeck · 26/01/2024 08:26

If you can afford to take more leave, I would do it.

It's ok to change your mind and realise you aren't ready to go back.

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TravelDazzle · 26/01/2024 08:26

Is this really about finances/his enthusiasm, or is it because you didn't get a nap when you got home from work?

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vdbfamily · 26/01/2024 08:27

sorry... did not check for typos as usual.. Cannot even remember what I meant to write, not rejected.... probably relentless

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LeroyJenkinssss · 26/01/2024 08:27

So if you stay at home what happens to the financial side of things? As others have said you aren’t sacrificing to help him out, you’re doing it because it’s what’s needed for the family. Also stop saying he needs to be grateful, you guys made a joint decision which benefitted the family both long and short term.

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Goldbar · 26/01/2024 08:31

I can understand him not being super-excited about it but I'd be concerned if this translates into your very little baby not receiving consistent loving care from an attentive caregiver.

Personally I think shared parental leave is a huge part of the way forward in achieving a fair division of household labour and childcare, but obviously not if one parent is happy to provide shit, lazy care to their child.

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shockeditellyou · 26/01/2024 08:41

Loads of women hang out with their mothers all day when on mat leave - no reason why he can’t do so too. Are you jealous that he has help when you want a medal for doing it the Hard Way? He tidies the house but that’s not enough?

If you want an involved competent father, it starts here.

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If123 · 26/01/2024 08:43

Thanks everyone, a very mixed bag of responses that are all really helpful and are helping me see things from his perspective. I think I probably do resent him that he can have the time off. I know he wants me to have that time and enjoy it but with the thought of having to pay back my contractual maternity pay hanging over my head and being down or considerbly less pay than him he knows I will be stressed about money. With nursery’s where I am costing £75-£95 a day we know me returning to work long term is not viable as I would make about £30 profit for a 7 hour day after nursery so it may well be that I can hand my notice and have plenty of time off with baby after these 6 months. I am trying to be realistic and know we will be thousands better off this way… but leaving my baby is really hard!
I also don’t think it helped we had 4 years of trying then fertility treatment to get pregnant which wiped out a lot of our savings. It also makes it so hard to leave her like I went through all of that and I don’t even get to see my baby because I have to work instead.

OP posts:
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Kosenrufugirl · 26/01/2024 08:48

I can sense a lot of resentment in your post. You clearly haven't been communicating well with with each other recently. You need to start listening to each other feelings, not just words and reasons and logic. Then everything else will fall in place and everyone will be still exhausted but happy. It's great you have your mother in law to help out on occasion. I suggest you go out for breakfast or coffee with your husband. Not to vent out your grievances but just spend time together as a couple. Try it once, you might be in for a surprise how much benefit you will get. I speak from experience. When people are on the same wavelength little effort is required to reach a solution that works for everyone. When you go out try acting like you were in the good old days when you felt loved and cherished. If only for the duration of one breakfast or coffee. You need to break the stalemate you are currently on when neither of you are really hearing each other. I hope it helps.

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Dishwashersaurous · 26/01/2024 08:48

Whilst intellectually shared parental leave makes sense, it's clear that you don't want to do it.

So don't.

Take the full time that you can.

Then return to work and do nursery until you've paid back maternity pay. Even if you only earn few pounds a day after nursery costs you are still accruing pension rights and developing a career.

And then after that time decide what it is you want to do.

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Brefugee · 26/01/2024 08:48

if you want to be at home with your baby it can be really hard to go back to work if you feel you have to. But you are being a bit UR asking him if he's excited - drop it. Let it happen and let him handle it.

However. If you really want to take the full year, and your family can afford it (ie not his money / my money leaving you short because of reduced maternity pay) then take all the leave yourself and enjoy it.

You also need to be clear what the SAHP role is and what the going out to work parent role is. Most people i know did the "when the working parent is at work, the SAHP does everything including some of the housework, meal prep" etc, and outside of those hours it was 50/50 (actually i know one pair where she got lumbered with everything but she left him before the child was 2 so, draw your own conclusion about that)

Be clear about finances, responsibilities. What happens when the SAHP is sick, what happens when the child is sick too. Etc etc. (a bit late since you're already the SAHP)

Good luck.

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KThnxBye · 26/01/2024 08:50

You don’t need to feel guilty. When I had my oldest baby the longest maternity anyone took was six months with four months being way more usual. I planned four months but finances wouldn’t allow it in the end so I had only the statutory minimum two weeks before going back to work part time. Nobody thought this was strange and I know many other people who have done this. With my last baby I gave my leave to my DH as I earned more than he did and would have needed a ridiculously unaffordable pay cut to take the leave. It just wasn’t affordable, so I went back after 5 weeks and he was off until baby was around 9 months. My bond with all my children is the same regardless of the amount of leave and he has a good understanding of what it takes to run a house and care for the kids and the monotony of the school runs and being the default parent. I’d do it again - it’s perfectly okay to go back to work when you need to, financially, that’s just providing for your family. It seems like you are both just in a bit of a period of change and don’t really know how you’ll feel in the near future or how it will work and that’s stressful but reading between the lines to me it seems you are both feeling the same way?

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Latewinter · 26/01/2024 08:51

How the hell is it as hard for him as for Op when for the day he's done so far he's had his mummy over to help!
I would have been so upset to go back that early.

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BoohooWoohoo · 26/01/2024 08:52

You need a chat with him. Is he going to act like this when he’s on parental leave and your child is starting to understand what he says? He’s going to have to do a day like yesterday every day and your child is going to mobile for some of those weeks.

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Emotionalsupportviper · 26/01/2024 08:54

SwordToFlamethrower · 26/01/2024 07:16

I think you're mad to be going back so soon!
It takes a year for a woman to recover her constitution from the drain of pregnancy and childbirth. You could be setting yourself up for serious health issues by going back to a job so soon. And a physical one at that.

On top of that, you are biologically hardwired to be bonded to your baby so no wonder you're gutted and devasted to be leaving her. Your baby will feel the same way.

Stuff the money! He doesn't care to bond with your baby. You won't get this time back. Be a mother. It's your right!

You grew her, you birthed her! Maternity leave is about full recovery AND bonding.

Get a cleaner to help you, stay at home.

Don't share leave with a man who doesn't give a shit.

This!

He's obviously not even going to be looking after her - what's the odds that at least half the time his mum will be there bonding with your baby (nothing wrong with that- the more people who love her to bits, the better) and he will be at the gym, going for a run, having a lie down because baby woke up during the night.

Meanwhile, you are working till you drop - and probably doing all the night work, too, because he has "had her all day".

Take the full year. Get yourself properly pulled round.

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Usernamen · 26/01/2024 08:55

Those saying they wouldn’t share their leave are missing the point. The father gets 4 months’ fully paid parental leave in this scenario and OP would be on SMP which is a pittance. It’s a complete no-brainer.

Lots of companies now offer equal paid leave for mothers and fathers so this approach will become more and more normalised. Where I work it’s 6 months’ paid leave whether you’re a man or a woman, and the men are gladly taking the paid leave.

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Brefugee · 26/01/2024 08:56

If123 · 26/01/2024 08:43

Thanks everyone, a very mixed bag of responses that are all really helpful and are helping me see things from his perspective. I think I probably do resent him that he can have the time off. I know he wants me to have that time and enjoy it but with the thought of having to pay back my contractual maternity pay hanging over my head and being down or considerbly less pay than him he knows I will be stressed about money. With nursery’s where I am costing £75-£95 a day we know me returning to work long term is not viable as I would make about £30 profit for a 7 hour day after nursery so it may well be that I can hand my notice and have plenty of time off with baby after these 6 months. I am trying to be realistic and know we will be thousands better off this way… but leaving my baby is really hard!
I also don’t think it helped we had 4 years of trying then fertility treatment to get pregnant which wiped out a lot of our savings. It also makes it so hard to leave her like I went through all of that and I don’t even get to see my baby because I have to work instead.

OP, if anyone had asked me, when pregnant, if i was looking forward to mat leave I'd probably have punched them. We are all different.

But. when you have a family, it is about family. And i think you need to look at the long term impact on you (personally and as a family) of working part-time just because you only end up 70 quid better off (which is more than some) and consider a reduced pension, reduced possibilities of promotion, earning more, etc etc, that comes with going part time. How about you and your husband look at each reducing to 80% (so one day off a week each and then only having 3 days childcare to cover? it is worth doing that now so you know, for eg, if the small loss of salary if you take the final 4 months of ML, is worth it in the long run if you are so miserable about it.

Etc etc. And i say that as someone who was in the fortunate position of living in a country at a time when i could have 3 years ML (only 2 with pay) but i could share as much or as little of that with the child's father because the leave is attached to the baby not the mother. and my DH did 18 months of it. And it was fabulous for so many reasons.

Try to make a short, middle and long term plan for how you think family life should be. But don't forget, even someone like me who really did not enjoy ML, cried in the loo every day at the time I'd be listening to a story on cassette (long ago) and having morning snack time with my lovely baby. It is hard. But you can do it if you keep your eye on the prize (what is best for my family)

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OnlyFoolsnMothers · 26/01/2024 08:56

Unless you’d be in financial hardship take longer leave- life isn’t just above practical sense, you have physical and emotional attachment to that baby, it’s fine not to be ready.
This is why I don’t actually like shared parental leave and think instead maternity leave should be properly funded.

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SouthLondonMum22 · 26/01/2024 08:58

I'd continue with the plans personally, especially if it will help financially. But DH does need to start looking after the baby without any help from MIL.

I think it's a good setup if it can work, baby then gets a good amount of time to bond with both parents and not just mum.

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Brefugee · 26/01/2024 08:59

i don't get the issue with MIL coming over to help. I would have LOVED my mum or MIL (well not my MIL because i loathed her) to come and help me look after my DCs when i was on ML. My DH wouldn't have been all huffy about it, he'd have been happy i was getting the help and support i needed/wanted.

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Orangesandsatsumas · 26/01/2024 09:03

You don't seem onboard with the decision to be honest and I would reassess. I wouldn't have wanted to either. I hate leaving my children and would have struggled when they were 5 months. I also would have struggled with a KIT Day at 3 months. We are all different and it's OK to not want to do it.

Is your husband truly onboard with it? He might be but struggling to the adjustment (understandable) or maybe he's not and you are both doing it for the financial side which is sensible but is there an alternative?

I would have a discussion about current plans and an alternative. Maybe make a plan to save the £3.5k between now and the 12 month period you can take off work if you don't want to go back. Also remember you accrue holiday pay. If you don't want to go back, they would I believe need to pay you for that. What is the value of a year's annual leave and will that offset some of the money you would owe?

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SouthLondonMum22 · 26/01/2024 09:04

Brefugee · 26/01/2024 08:59

i don't get the issue with MIL coming over to help. I would have LOVED my mum or MIL (well not my MIL because i loathed her) to come and help me look after my DCs when i was on ML. My DH wouldn't have been all huffy about it, he'd have been happy i was getting the help and support i needed/wanted.

The issue for me is that it is often assumed that men need help with babies (usually by another woman) but women in the same position usually don't get help because it is assumed they don't need any as they are women.

There's also difference between just helping or is MIL actually doing the majority of it? If so then what's the point? OP may as well use all of her maternity leave.

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MassiveOvaryaction · 26/01/2024 09:05

If123 · 26/01/2024 08:43

Thanks everyone, a very mixed bag of responses that are all really helpful and are helping me see things from his perspective. I think I probably do resent him that he can have the time off. I know he wants me to have that time and enjoy it but with the thought of having to pay back my contractual maternity pay hanging over my head and being down or considerbly less pay than him he knows I will be stressed about money. With nursery’s where I am costing £75-£95 a day we know me returning to work long term is not viable as I would make about £30 profit for a 7 hour day after nursery so it may well be that I can hand my notice and have plenty of time off with baby after these 6 months. I am trying to be realistic and know we will be thousands better off this way… but leaving my baby is really hard!
I also don’t think it helped we had 4 years of trying then fertility treatment to get pregnant which wiped out a lot of our savings. It also makes it so hard to leave her like I went through all of that and I don’t even get to see my baby because I have to work instead.

Maybe (if you're considering further children) look to move to a company with better maternity pay (his?!).

And treat all income as family income. "I'd only be making £30 profit" isn't true - you're also keeping up your corporate skill set and maintaining your career which is hugely important if you ever want to go back full time.

Have to say though I'm with him. Although I loved dc and wanted to be with them, "excited" was never a word I'd have used for maternity leave. Daunted, terrified, really unsure maybe, but not excited. Were you at the beginning? Really?

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megletthesecond · 26/01/2024 09:07

An early start to a KIT day in January with a little baby sounds awful. It will get easier once the weather warms up and your child develops.

He doesn't have to be excited, but he does need to not be shitty about it.

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