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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%
GintyMcGinty · 26/01/2024 09:56

Based on what you have described I think you should re-think your plans and take the leave.

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Alwaysalwayscold · 26/01/2024 09:57

To be honest I think you're being really unreasonable.

You've chosen to go back to work early, do you want a medal? Nobody is forcing you and you're clearly taking your resentment out on him. I wouldn't choose more money over missing out on newborn time, money can't buy that.

There's nothing worse than competitive misery and tiredness.

So he has had help from MIL, so what? Don't people constantly tell new mums to ask for/accept help when they can get it?

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vickylou78 · 26/01/2024 10:01

Op If you want to take your whole maternity leave then do it. Contact your work and see if the shared parental leave can be cancelled. Is the few thousand pounds you'll earn worth missing your maternity leave and that precious time with baby.

I personally just took 9 months maternity leave so didn't have the unpaid leave for the last 3 months. 9 months would be better than going back after 5 months. Have a think about it all.

Then with regard to nursery being expensive when you go back. It is expensive but remember it is a shared cost so you have to look at it that the nursery money comes 50% out of your husband's earnings too. Staying in work means you both keep your careers going and don't start from scratch later on and also you keep paying into NI and pension etc. So financially you will be better off when nursery ends and school begins. But consider going part time? So maybe you only need to pay for 3 days of nursery.

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Appleofmyeye2023 · 26/01/2024 10:01

MotherOfCrocodiles · 26/01/2024 07:28

Stick to the plan. Those four months will get him to be competent parent and share the load. It's an investment for the future dynamic of your family.

There is so,ethi g to be said for this, even though I do think mums and babies are best with each other for as long as possible. I’m speaking as a 60 year old who just got 6 months as standard back then (12 months rights didn’t exist). I had PND and it was way too soon to have to go back.

BUT; I have seen sooo many women who’ve taken time out of a year or more to look after children or even part time, become the “housewife” to their husbands “noble “ breadwinning and become the mother to his needs. Not in all cases, but far too many, men get used to having someone at home who is doing 95% of child care, 100% of domestic chores, 90% of admin etc . Most
y becuase the stay at home mum feels guilty to just focus on kids, and obliged to “earn her keep” for him to not feel put upon as sole breadwinner. These patterns establish very, very quickly.

when mum, finally returns to work full time when kids are in nursery, husbands are in habit of abdicating all their domestic responsisiblty. They’ve got used to being the one with “important “ job, the main breadwinner. This is why women still do the majority of housework even when both working. These patterns are incredulous hard to alter and can lead to resentment, bitterness and potential divorce when women realise she’s being treated as his personal service provider

so, I think maybe a compromise, him doing 3 months of lewve at end to your 9 months. That 3 months will establish that it is his responsisiblty as much as yours to learn how to be a full time resentmpartent and juggle demands of children who won’t let you have a minute to yourself.

the bickering about who’s most time is sadly normal- these things pass but agian dont let that push you into over protecting his sleep cos he’s got to “go out to work”. Seriously, I could work in senior role with 4 hours sleep for a few days at a stretch, during perimenopause (🤣that’s to come for you!). Unless he’s operating equipment, he’ll manage.

and him not being enthusiastic is also normal. Dads have to (in most not all cases) take a more back seat in first 6 months in terms of binding. Babies need mum for bf and bonds established in womb. They’ll manage with a dad, but mum is best. Dads often don’t start to enjoy and really really bond with baby till weening and the baby starting to engage more socially with babbling and playing. It’ll come. Don’t expect him to be as invested as you right

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LumpyandBumps · 26/01/2024 10:03

You were understandably tired after going to work after a period of time away.

To be fair if this is the first time DP has had to deal with childcare and housework alone ( or with a bit of help from his Mum), isn’t it reasonable that he is also tired? Were you tired when you first started?

If you do decide to keep to your plans it will likely get easier as you get used to your roles.

I don’t think it’s reasonable for either of you to think the other needs to feel grateful to the other. You are a team and need to appreciate that you both have a part to play - however tired each of you are.

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glusky · 26/01/2024 10:05

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.

This. It's early days but you are both doing what you don't want to do for financial reasons. Pull together and lift each other up, or agree to take the financial hit and both go back to doing what you'd rather.

Resenting him and demanding his gratitude is not the way forward. Work as a team.

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SecondUsername4me · 26/01/2024 10:05

I assume from your comments re not paying back mat pay, that you intend to quit and become a SAHM after the 6 months.

So you either go back soon and do 6m with him off with baby, or go back and do little less than 6m (with annual leave etc) and pay for nursery for 6 months, then be off. Then you get the full year with baby too.

Ignore the money for now - which of those scenarios do you prefer?

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PartTimePartyPooper · 26/01/2024 10:07

Both if you are tired; he’s nervous/ reluctant about being stuck with a baby all day (will it mean being regularly trapped at home with his mum sticking her beaky in? Maybe that is contributing to his worry!). You at sad about leaving your young child. Neither of you are unreasonable.

I have a compromise for you!

You take five months leave and he takes four months as planned. You return to work at some point in month six or seven BUT you ask your employer to use up any accrued holiday in a block at the start when you return - which means effectively in month six you might be on SMP, then full pay for your holiday as you “return to work” immediately on vacation (depending how many vacation and bank holiday days you have managed to bank!).

This way, you get a whole month or two together with your dp and dc - you can show DP the ropes, introduce him to parent and baby groups (yes, there won’t be many dads there but it’s increasingly common and he can be a trailblazer, he won’t be shunned!)

Then do has the rest of his four months with dc alone by which time he is a pro at the whole full-time dad thing.

That time can be filled with joy instead of stress for both of you. Hopefully!! It won’t cost you too much. If your DP really hates it, you’ll know after a month and can quickly stand up childcare for the last few months.

I did this with my DP and we were able to afford two months as I had 28 days of vacation banked and my dh had similar full pay arrangement as your dp. Being home with a baby is cheap! It was fantastic for us as a family and now my dp is such a confident, complete coparenter that sometimes I feel quite left out! My little boy adores his dad and doesn’t mind which of us is there to wipe his bum which means we both get to have a full life both at work and at home 😂 best of both worlds.

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ColleenDonaghy · 26/01/2024 10:08

If DH came home from a day at work and insisted he needed a nap when I'd been home with the baby all day then I would have a) been devastated at his lack of recognition for my labour that day and b) been burying him under the patio. I know you'll be exhausted at only 3 months pp, but that was really out of line.

I also think it's fine if he's not super excited at the prospect of his leave. I found my first maternity leave really hard and so I wasn't excited at the prospect of my second. Lots of mums feel that way. He's still doing it, which many men wouldn't.

I think SPL is brilliant for rebalancing things in families after maternity leave, and it sounds like it will do you both good to recognise the labour you're each doing both at work and at home. The months that I was back at work and DH was home with the babies were by far my easiest months of parenting to date - out at work with adult conversation and zero worries about the babies because they were with their parent. Amazing.

However, you are going back very soon and it doesn't sound like you're ready, which is fine. In another few months your baby will seem so much bigger and you'll probably find it so much easier. Have you thought through your long-term plans? £30 a day for the nursery years plus much more from school age plus long term salary increases plus pension is actually a really large whack of money into the household.

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Appleofmyeye2023 · 26/01/2024 10:09

Id also say, for dad being disinterested…..I really wasn’t someone who enjoyed baby stage. Still don’t…
everyone has ages and phases they enjoy, that they’re good at dealing with, that they’re stressed and worn out by, or absolutely hate or desperate at.
It’s fine- we’ve all got strengths and weaknesses. But thankfully just as you think that stage will never end, you realise child is moving on and you have to learn a whole new bunch of skills

dp not being overly enthusiastic with baby stage in itself is not an issue. As long as he knows he can’t abdicate, has to do his best, and wait for child to move forwards to come into his “sweet spot” of parenting joy

i loved the toddler stage- but I know some parents find this so hard. Some parents hate the teens, other love it. We’re all individuals.

talk to him about this, take pressure off, it’s ok to say he is doing it becuase it’s good for him and baby to bond, but he’s not exaclty enjoying it the vast majority of time . Don’t resent that. They’ll be times when you are ready to walk away from motherhood cos you can’t stand it any more or your bored senseless by it. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤷🏼‍♀️

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HopefulH · 26/01/2024 10:18

Is there anyway you can go back part time hours at all? It sounds super hard to me, going back at 5 months pp and having a partner who isn't going to view the paternity leave as a positive and lovely time with their new baby. My husband would have loved to have some of the leave but after all the struggles we had, I really wanted the full year.

Resentment can cause all sorts of problems in a relationship and I think you need to change the plan so you don't feel this way. As someone who also had a lot of fertility challenges having our child, and have had more since trying for a second child, I really treasure the maternity time I had and am so so grateful I chose for us to struggle financially but have that extra time with baby. Of course if you really can't make ends meet if you take the full year, that's a different story, but it sounds like the option is there for you - but you are very much thinking with your head and not your heart. Couldn't you take the full year and then go back to work for 6 months before leaving? Or would you still need to pay back the mat pay?

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Mikimoto · 26/01/2024 10:21

Did it never occur to you that OH might also feel "guilty about leaving the baby who is only 3 months old"?

All sounds a bit selfish.

And it can't have come as a massive surprise? Sounds like this was the arrangement from the outset? Or do you just not want to work?

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Mayorq · 26/01/2024 10:24

"He expects a fucking medal for cleaning the house and doing one day at home with the baby the fucking cheek of him, and the absolute cherry on the cake was he didn't even get me a fucking medal and thank me for doing one day at work the prick"

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girlswillbegirls · 26/01/2024 10:27

It's like this:

  • She feels bad about leaving the baby in the care of the baby's dad as he doesn't show enthusiasm. She sees the value of bonding and nurturing, he doesn't.
  • Resentment grows until she decides leave work or cut significantly her hours with the mantra "they are only little once". He feels relieved, comes home to a clean home and dinner made.
  • She becomes the main caregiver, involved in all admin, food, cleaning tasks. He is little idea of what the child is up to at school. That's her job.
  • She thinks about going back full time but she still feels guilty and sees how much she is helping with homework etc. Child happy with multiple playdates and she keeps facilitating life for her family.
  • He gets promoted maybe a few times. She realised they started off on the same salary but she was better academically or had better prospects.
  • There is never a good time for her to take action and stays put. Few hours of work only school term. She gets shit pay. He has a great job and also someone making his dinner and listen to what he says about the big job he has.
  • One day his metal health deteriorates/ he goes on a mid life crisis/ finds a younger model/ dont love wife any more/ have an addiction/ or dies etc. She is in shock. What is she going to do now. She can only do entry level work. And what about her non existing pension. Panic.


OP please please please. Go back to work. He needs to cop on. His mother needs to cop on and make him be responsible for his own child. Do not make the never ending mistake.
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Aptique · 26/01/2024 10:28

TinyYellow · 26/01/2024 08:16

You will make yourself miserable if you believe this is something your husband should be grateful to you for. You are working together as a team to bring up your baby and finance your household. He owes you exactly the same appreciation that you owe him.

This. I don't think you going to work, just like he is doing everyday is something you need a medal for? And surely he is a parent just like you, so sharing the leave should be expected and fair rather than you giving him some privilege that he needs to get down on his knees and thank you for?

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ColleenDonaghy · 26/01/2024 10:28

Mayorq · 26/01/2024 10:24

"He expects a fucking medal for cleaning the house and doing one day at home with the baby the fucking cheek of him, and the absolute cherry on the cake was he didn't even get me a fucking medal and thank me for doing one day at work the prick"

A medal and a nap! Sleep being by far the most important currency in any house with a small baby.

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ColleenDonaghy · 26/01/2024 10:29

girlswillbegirls · 26/01/2024 10:27

It's like this:

  • She feels bad about leaving the baby in the care of the baby's dad as he doesn't show enthusiasm. She sees the value of bonding and nurturing, he doesn't.
  • Resentment grows until she decides leave work or cut significantly her hours with the mantra "they are only little once". He feels relieved, comes home to a clean home and dinner made.
  • She becomes the main caregiver, involved in all admin, food, cleaning tasks. He is little idea of what the child is up to at school. That's her job.
  • She thinks about going back full time but she still feels guilty and sees how much she is helping with homework etc. Child happy with multiple playdates and she keeps facilitating life for her family.
  • He gets promoted maybe a few times. She realised they started off on the same salary but she was better academically or had better prospects.
  • There is never a good time for her to take action and stays put. Few hours of work only school term. She gets shit pay. He has a great job and also someone making his dinner and listen to what he says about the big job he has.
  • One day his metal health deteriorates/ he goes on a mid life crisis/ finds a younger model/ dont love wife any more/ have an addiction/ or dies etc. She is in shock. What is she going to do now. She can only do entry level work. And what about her non existing pension. Panic.


OP please please please. Go back to work. He needs to cop on. His mother needs to cop on and make him be responsible for his own child. Do not make the never ending mistake.

This should be handed out in the information pack at 12 week scans.

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FrangipaniBlue · 26/01/2024 10:50

I think you're projecting the fact you don't want to go back to work onto him not being enthusiastic.

I wasn't enthusiastic about going on maternity leave, I love my job and being on your own with a tiny fragile human is bloody scary!

I mean what do you want, him dancing around like the sugar plum fairy singing "yay I'm having 5 months off work to look after my child!"

Also, she's both YOUR baby, it would boil my piss if DH kept referring to DS as "his" son Hmm

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ladykale · 26/01/2024 10:54

Imo this is why all of this shared parental leave stuff is nonsense - at that age, mums typically want to be with their baby & often find it easier cs it's quicker for them to calm the baby. Of course he's not looking forward too being home with a baby all day, lots of mums barely enjoy it so it's ridiculous for you to expect him to be "grateful" when given the choice he would probably choose to be at work, if he's anything like my partner!

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ladykale · 26/01/2024 10:55

Take the full year and the financial hit (if you can make it work for your family OP) - good luck!

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Brefugee · 26/01/2024 10:58

i am still completely baffled by all the "meh the MIL will do all the work" so what?

I get that it is hard when you have no help (op hasn't said if her mum is over all the time or if she has any other help). We live in a different country from all our family, we had zero help. We worked as a team. and yes when we were both tired, or he had a bad/busy day at work and i had a stressful day at home with the DCs there was bickering.

And both of us grabbed help when offered with both hands. And asked each other to help/step in/take over when we just couldn't cope.

It is teamwork not a competition. And it goes on for at least 18 years. You really really need to work out what you both want/need, what you both can put up with and what is actually possible given your circumstances.

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ColleenDonaghy · 26/01/2024 11:00

Brefugee · 26/01/2024 10:58

i am still completely baffled by all the "meh the MIL will do all the work" so what?

I get that it is hard when you have no help (op hasn't said if her mum is over all the time or if she has any other help). We live in a different country from all our family, we had zero help. We worked as a team. and yes when we were both tired, or he had a bad/busy day at work and i had a stressful day at home with the DCs there was bickering.

And both of us grabbed help when offered with both hands. And asked each other to help/step in/take over when we just couldn't cope.

It is teamwork not a competition. And it goes on for at least 18 years. You really really need to work out what you both want/need, what you both can put up with and what is actually possible given your circumstances.

Agree with this, we also have no family nearby and it's hard. MIL will hardly be there every day, it's nice that she came.

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JamJar59 · 26/01/2024 11:01

Hold on, you want recognition that you’re doing something for the benefit of your family but at the same time you don’t want to recognise that he is looking after your child and cleaning the house? Most on here would say that looking after the child is all the caregiver needs to do and that splitting the housework is fair, yet you don’t seem satisfied with him doing both.

You are totally being unreasonable.

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CarterBeatsTheDevil · 26/01/2024 11:02

Oh, OP, I feel your pain generally. I think a lot of this - not all of it - might be about the fact that you're going back to work before you feel ready for it. I did the first six months with our baby and then my DH did the second six months. He loved it - was really enthusiastic, couldn't wait to do it, did a great job, so I think your DH could be a bit more excited and keen frankly - but honestly I felt like I'd left half of myself at home. I also went straight back full time, which was a mistake and I did end up going part-time during the pandemic and still am.

I'm not going to say that I didn't enjoy some aspects of going back to work. I did find a part of myself again that I valued, and I did enjoy eating meals that weren't handfuls of random food straight from the fridge whilst balancing a baby on my other shoulder. But I wasn't ready to go back and if I could do it again I think I'd have taken 9 months instead of 6.

Think about what you really want here and see if you and your DH can have a really honest but considerate discussion about what you both want and what is feasible, financially and emotionally.

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Reugny · 26/01/2024 11:13

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?

His mum will soon learn to be busy.

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