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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.

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You are being unreasonable
33%
You are NOT being unreasonable
67%
Dancerprancer19 · 26/01/2024 09:07

I just want to say that 10 years on from this stage, new parenthood is the most straining time on a marriage. Whilst it will bring to the surface things that are objectively worth leaving your spouse for, it also brings a lot of stress that means even with a wonderful spouse neither of you will be at your best. I don’t know if it helps to know that this season isn’t a future trajectory. We had a really rocky year when our eldest was a newborn and have a fantastic marriage. It was just really HARD for both of us in different way.

I don’t know the answer to your dilemma but I’d suggest you leave off any “you did, you said, you always, you never” and have an honest and kind conversation with your DH about the plan. I don’t think he owes you feeling excited about staying at home. You need to decide together if it’s still what makes sense not just financially but emotionally for all of you too. I don’t think it’s a bad plan. I also don’t think it would be at all unusual for you to change your mind.

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BoohooWoohoo · 26/01/2024 09:09

A lot of women on ML spend the day counting down the minutes until their h comes home because they find it really hard. Is this the first time that your h was in charge ? He will get better with practice but being desperate for you to take over when you walk in isn’t unreasonable.
If MIL is likely to be available regularly during his his leave? Lots of women have their mums, sisters help during ML and they aren’t considered bad mums for doing this. They like the company, support and chance for baby yo get to know their wider family.

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RippedJeansAndCashmere · 26/01/2024 09:10

DrinkFeckArseBrick · 26/01/2024 00:35

Yabu. Its not 'your leave' to share any more - its paternity leave now not maternity. After thr mother has taken time to recover from birth, the purpose is for the baby to bond with their primary caregivers. Lots of people think maternity leave is tedious, relentless, and might be apprehensive about it...it doesn't mean they don't actually want to do it or don't think it's worthwhile. If you do 'tell him' that you're taking all the leave, on the basis of him not being as excited about it as you expect, then you can't complain when the baby will only nap for you, only wants you at night, you are the default parent, you become responsible for a disproportionate share of housework etc etc

The competitive tiredness thing is annoying but normal with new parents

What?! I’m a year in and still recovering!

It very much is her leave!

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Dancerprancer19 · 26/01/2024 09:11

PS you sound angry. It is really okay to be livid! I was so angry at how hard motherhood was. What helped me was reading loads of feminist books and realising that actually I was angry with society and the patriarchy and my poor (lovely but fallible) DH shouldn’t be expected to shoulder all that! We had good conversations and he read some of these books. Being able to separate being angry from being angry with him helped!

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Tempnamechng · 26/01/2024 09:12

I'm in two minds. I agree with the competitive tiredness comments, you have a manual job yes, as did my dh. He didn't throw it back at me though when he got home tired that my dm was sometimes with me, and still pulled his weight with the babies. You are both tired, but the problem is, and the reason I'm a bit 😒 at shared leave, is that its your body that went through the trauma of childbirth, so to me part of the point of maternity leave, as well as parental bonding, is for the mother to make a full (if possible) physical and mental recovery.

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SecondUsername4me · 26/01/2024 09:12

Why did his Mum come and help all day? Is he planning on having her help (aka do it all) when he is off too?

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lapsedrdwhoenthusiast · 26/01/2024 09:13

I think you should give him a chance. Being on parental leave is a very different rhythm to being at work. You get into a pattern with it. You get quicker at things. My DH was pretty useless to start with and I had to point out things that needed doing. But he adjusted. It is hard and you're allowed to be tired.

If this was a Mum saying she'd been at home with the baby all day, and a Dad came home from work and told her she wasn't allowed to complain that she was tired, since his work was more tiring, Mumsnet would be incensed.

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lapsedrdwhoenthusiast · 26/01/2024 09:14

Also, even if he was excited at getting to be on leave with your baby, I don't think his excitement would match the emotional intensity of your grief, loss and complicated feelings about going back to work. I think you're being unreasonable to expect that. I think you're projecting and you need to deal with your own feelings.

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SecondUsername4me · 26/01/2024 09:16

So is he doing all the night waking too on the nights that you have work the next day?

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shepherdsangeldelight · 26/01/2024 09:16

So to summarise.

You are planning to go back to work which you don't have much enthusiasm for.
Your DH is planning to be a SAHP which he doesn't have much enthusiasm for.

You just did a day at work which you found hard and tiring.
Your DH just did a day at home with the baby which he found hard and tiring.

You don't appreciate your DH's effort in looking after the baby and doing housework.
He doesn't appreciate your effort in going to a KIT day.

Spot the symmetry?
I don't think either of you are in the wrong, but you need to get much better at communicating what you really want.

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GreatGateauxsby · 26/01/2024 09:18

i haven’t rtft So apols if it’s an unpopular opinion(?)

but just don’t do shared parental leave?

I planned this with my first but my DHs company were AWFUL didn’t under the law had no HR and the whole thing was impossible so we gave up. I was really annoyed about it.

it was actually the best thing that could have happened for me (personally) as I loved the final portion of mat leave.

I would just take the 9m / full year if you can especially as you had issues conceiving. As cliched as it is you don’t get this time back.

On this point
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 at least 6 months.

I know you mentioned statutory pay is low - can you are your DH economise or use savings to cover this period?
is there anyway you can go back for 6 month when she is 9/12/13m for at least 6m?

also agree with others (as hard as it is & it is hard!) try not to get into a complaining competition and try and be a team

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Propertylover · 26/01/2024 09:27

DrinkFeckArseBrick · 26/01/2024 00:35

Yabu. Its not 'your leave' to share any more - its paternity leave now not maternity. After thr mother has taken time to recover from birth, the purpose is for the baby to bond with their primary caregivers. Lots of people think maternity leave is tedious, relentless, and might be apprehensive about it...it doesn't mean they don't actually want to do it or don't think it's worthwhile. If you do 'tell him' that you're taking all the leave, on the basis of him not being as excited about it as you expect, then you can't complain when the baby will only nap for you, only wants you at night, you are the default parent, you become responsible for a disproportionate share of housework etc etc

The competitive tiredness thing is annoying but normal with new parents

WTF Maternity Leave is an entitlement for mothers. They have to formally agree to end their Maternity Leave before their partner can become entitled to Shared Parental Leave.

So yes the op is most definitely giving up “her leave”.

@If123 take the full 12 months Mat leave and then return to work for 6 months. The repaying of Mat leave if you don’t return is a joint expense. Put your mat pay in a high interest account so it is there to repay if necessary.

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Heronwatcher · 26/01/2024 09:35

We shared our parental leave, but I was off for a bit longer than you. I don’t think I ever even asked my DH if he was looking forward to it- I think in truth he probably wasn’t!

I think here it will all depend on context- is he a good, engaged father generally? Does he have a good relationship with your DC. Will he do a good job on his part of the leave, like taking DC to classes, swimming for walks etc, or will he get his mum in and/ or laze about? If you think he’s going to do a shit job, reassess, maybe he should just get some overture if he doesn’t think he can do a decent job, and you can stay off. Or could you look at finances, cut back, take a small loan so you could do that anyway. But really why would you put up with that anyway?

I think what I would say though is that you can’t judge him by your standards and expect that he’ll be jumping for joy if in reality he’s not looking forward to it, or because you were hoping that his reaction might make you feel less sad/ guilty.

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Sunshine322 · 26/01/2024 09:37

I think shared parental leave is a great idea, it recognises that there are two parents not just one and reduces the inequality men have previously experienced regarding taking time off work to spend with their baby. But, if you would prefer to take the full year yourself and your dh isn’t particularly enthusiastic anyway, suggest that you just take the year and he goes to work.

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sandyhappypeople · 26/01/2024 09:38

With kindness, YABVU here, the emotions you are feeling are perfectly normal and you shouldn’t be coming home and taking it out on your partner, it’s not his fault you feel guilty, he sounds like he’s had a successful first day (even though he’s had some help, I’m sure MIL isn’t going to be there every day going forward!).

The best thing you could do to share the load as a parent is to let him be a parent, and support him in his efforts, otherwise you’ll end up as one of those mums that resents the lack of interest/bond from the father when they’ve never been allowed anywhere near them, the guilt is real but you have to go back to work sometime and that’s not his fault, it’s just your circumstances, you can always look for another job if you’re finding yours too much physically now.

youve worked so hard to have this baby, you’re tired, you’re probably more tired than you would be because of nerves/not sleeping well/getting up early to do this kit day, that’s not necessarily how it will be when you settle into going back.

Give it time and give each other a break, you’re doing your best and he’s doing his best, it’s only been one day, stop taking out your frustration on each other and learn to be a team, it will taint all your memories from this time and set you up for a lifetime of resentment if you let this carry on for no real reason.

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PurpleBugz · 26/01/2024 09:38

Coming at this from a different angle. Those 4 months will show him the reality of parenting. You should be firm that you are out working a physical job and his role will be childcare and housework while you work then share it when you are home. I think if you take the full leave he will get into the habit of acting this way all the time and you will end up working and doing all baby and housework because the default has been you.

That said if you feel you want to take the leave for you and baby then definitely do that. I just think you come across as wanting to take the leave because he's been useless and letting him off won't fix this

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Propertylover · 26/01/2024 09:38

@If123 I also meant to say a trick regarding the 6 months working is to ask to return part time e.g. 3 days a week. Then use the annual leave you accrued during mat leave to reduce the number of days you actually have to work.

6 months is 26 weeks full time = 130 working days (M-F). 3 days is only 78 working days. If you have 28 days holiday = 50 days to work which is less than 2 days working a week. Plus you accrue another 14 days leave which actually means you only have to work 36 days.

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SecondUsername4me · 26/01/2024 09:39

PurpleBugz · 26/01/2024 09:38

Coming at this from a different angle. Those 4 months will show him the reality of parenting. You should be firm that you are out working a physical job and his role will be childcare and housework while you work then share it when you are home. I think if you take the full leave he will get into the habit of acting this way all the time and you will end up working and doing all baby and housework because the default has been you.

That said if you feel you want to take the leave for you and baby then definitely do that. I just think you come across as wanting to take the leave because he's been useless and letting him off won't fix this

This is such a good point.

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WimbyAce · 26/01/2024 09:39

Haven't read the whole thread but do you know your work policy on KIT days? Just check it as at our work if you work a KIT day and are still in receipt of maternity payments then the maternity payment will be deducted for the day worked. So some people end up with no extra payment.

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Heronwatcher · 26/01/2024 09:41

Oh and by the way, my shared parental leave was the best- I was really happy to go back when I did (and I compressed my hours so I still had 3 days at home each week with my DC), but more importantly my DP genuinely does as much if not more than me with the kids, even now they are older, and parental
leave was definitely the start of that.

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CoffeeMachineNewbie · 26/01/2024 09:46

Take your KIT days regardless so you figure out more about how it will work for you all in practice.

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leighanneJ · 26/01/2024 09:46

🤣 hes tired after one day of looking after the baby, even though MIL was there, and lets face it, did the majority of the looking after! Omg op, seriously

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diddl · 26/01/2024 09:51

So if there's 2 adults & one baby-what are both the adults doing?

If his mum was looking after the baby of course he should have cleaned the bloody house!

Did he not want to look after his own baby just for one day?

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vivainsomnia · 26/01/2024 09:53

I really feel like telling him to get Fed 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

Shared leave is about equality and fairness for dads. It's not you doing him a favour. This attitude is very sexist.

Don't fall into the trap of competition of who has it the hardest and who is more heroic. You are BOTH entitled to find this time of life difficult and very tiring. Instead of expecting the other to be grateful, try to be kind with eachother and respect that you both struggle.

You're not making an effort for him, you are doing what you need for your family as he is. Talk to eachother and agree a structure in the day. Discuss how much cleaning is required, sharing activities once you have finished work, mornings etc...

It's often expectations that are missed that fuels resentment. It's much easier to show some flexibility when arrangements are clear.

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Samsung37 · 26/01/2024 09:54

I agree it IS your leave. You gave birth to your child. You have the extra bond. Just the way it is! I would definitely use all the time you have with the baby, it goes by so fast.

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