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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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VampireWeekday · 26/01/2024 11:18

Gently I think YABU to expect him to be happy and grateful like you're doing him a favour. Loads of women struggle with maternity leave, it doesn't mean they're ungrateful.

I also don't see the problem with having MIL round to help if he's not used to it. When the time comes baby will be older and he will be used to caring for her.

That said if neither of you want this and you jointly can afford it there's nothing wrong with you taking the whole year on statuary.

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Reugny · 26/01/2024 11:19

leaving my baby is really hard!

Yes it is.

I did shared parental leave. I went to a conference when she was 3.5 months and felt shit. This was even though it was just one long day and I knew lots of people there. The conference organisers also sorted out a pumping room for me.

I then went back to work at the time you are going. After a month I could mainly WFH but I realised that I had to stay in the office as it was a break.

My DD was fine.

My DP had plans on what he was going to do on his paternity leave and was excited by his plans but not looking after our baby. I just raised my eyebrows. Then reality stuck. He found he was concentrating on looking after our DD.

The upside of shared parental leave is that within a few months DD was happy being left with either of us.

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Kosenrufugirl · 26/01/2024 11:19

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.

My best friend lives like this. Silly part time job with silly pay. Husband is in a good job. She has a nice clean house and two well adjusted teenagers. The mortgage is almost paid for. I often see my friend and her husband scrolling down hand in hand in the local park or on their way to the supermarket. I love my career and I am not jealous of my friend. However I do sometimes wish I had a different mindset

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VampireWeekday · 26/01/2024 11:22

Alternatively - would it be an option for you to go back on a part time basis? That way you'd see her two days a week, your DH would still be at full salary but would only be doing 3 days alone, you wouldn't have to pay anything back, and you'd be ready for when DD is 9 months old to only use a nursery 3 days a week.

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Snowdogsmitten · 26/01/2024 11:41

Cancel it. Fuck him. You spend the time with your baby.

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Usernamen · 26/01/2024 11:48

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 is a depressingly common both on MN and IRL.

It’s like women are intent on fucking themselves over.

Smart, highly educated women either out of the workforce or in pathetically paid part-time jobs in term-time, facilitating their husband’s career, only to find that when the marriage breaks down and they no longer have access to his high salary (which they helped him achieve!), they have to take on entry level jobs having set themselves back 10 or 20 years in their career, and have no pension. When the children turn 18 and maintenance payments stop, he gets to enjoy his high salary in full while she’s left to fend for herself in relative poverty.

I truly can’t believe how many women sleep-walk into this situation.

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Hocuspocusnonsense · 26/01/2024 11:55

Sounds like he’s less than enthusiastic and won’t actually be looking after the baby anyway, his mum will be!

I would say you’ve decided to take the rest of your maternity leave yourself. He clearly doesn’t want to take on the role and you do.

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Kosenrufugirl · 26/01/2024 11:57

Usernamen · 26/01/2024 11:48

This is a depressingly common both on MN and IRL.

It’s like women are intent on fucking themselves over.

Smart, highly educated women either out of the workforce or in pathetically paid part-time jobs in term-time, facilitating their husband’s career, only to find that when the marriage breaks down and they no longer have access to his high salary (which they helped him achieve!), they have to take on entry level jobs having set themselves back 10 or 20 years in their career, and have no pension. When the children turn 18 and maintenance payments stop, he gets to enjoy his high salary in full while she’s left to fend for herself in relative poverty.

I truly can’t believe how many women sleep-walk into this situation.

Not factually true. Husband's pension is an asset to be divided during divorce. It's a different matter if some women overlook it. Also, very often during divorce the man moves out and keeps paying for the main residence until the youngest is 18. Plenty of time to retrain/update her skills and re-enter the job market. OP should do what will make her happy. Going back to work at 5 months is filling her with dread so she should reassess her priorities imo.

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Intriguedbythis · 26/01/2024 11:58

Your baby is too young to be separated from you ( at that age it should only be separated if you’re ill) please go back home. You should absolutely exhausted and probably haven’t recovered physically. Your husband should pick up extra work not send his recently post partum wife to hustle on his behalf….

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Reugny · 26/01/2024 11:59

Hocuspocusnonsense · 26/01/2024 11:55

Sounds like he’s less than enthusiastic and won’t actually be looking after the baby anyway, his mum will be!

I would say you’ve decided to take the rest of your maternity leave yourself. He clearly doesn’t want to take on the role and you do.

No he's just finding his feet.

Neither the OP nor him have had a baby before.

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Reugny · 26/01/2024 11:59

Intriguedbythis · 26/01/2024 11:58

Your baby is too young to be separated from you ( at that age it should only be separated if you’re ill) please go back home. You should absolutely exhausted and probably haven’t recovered physically. Your husband should pick up extra work not send his recently post partum wife to hustle on his behalf….

The baby will be fine.

Mum may not be if she doesn't get any time to herself.

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Dontblameitonsunshine · 26/01/2024 12:09

please take the rest of the maternity leave. I’ve seen this end really badly in other contexts. He doesn’t really want to do it. You want to be with the baby. Our society is setting up situations that is making everyone feel guilty

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SouthLondonMum22 · 26/01/2024 12:15

Reugny · 26/01/2024 11:59

The baby will be fine.

Mum may not be if she doesn't get any time to herself.

Exactly.

I went back to work at 3 months, baby went to nursery and was absolutely fine.

I was also absolutely fine but everyone is different.

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Usernamen · 26/01/2024 12:22

Kosenrufugirl · 26/01/2024 11:57

Not factually true. Husband's pension is an asset to be divided during divorce. It's a different matter if some women overlook it. Also, very often during divorce the man moves out and keeps paying for the main residence until the youngest is 18. Plenty of time to retrain/update her skills and re-enter the job market. OP should do what will make her happy. Going back to work at 5 months is filling her with dread so she should reassess her priorities imo.

After the children turn 18, she is on her own. She can’t claim her husband’s salary after they’ve divorced even though she facilitated his career and helped him achieve a high salary. He gets to keep his salary to himself after maintenance payments stop while she’s left to pick up a career she abandoned years/decades ago or retrain and get an entry level job in middle age. It’s a raw deal, let’s not pretend otherwise.

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sandyhappypeople · 26/01/2024 13:03

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

So he’s not allowed to say he’s tired looking after the baby all day, doing the housework just because his mum was there?

why not? Would you say the same about a women? You don’t even know what his mum was there for and what she did.

this drives me barmy, women aren’t prepared to let men handle the day to day running the house and dealing with the baby, but then moan and ridicule when they haven’t got a clue what they’re doing!

it takes practice to be good at anything, your future self will thank you if you just let him get on with it. check the ‘I do it better than you’ attitude at the door, if anyone is told they’re not good enough after one day do you think that will encourage them to try harder or give up?

Him being tired doesn’t invalidate you feeling tired and vice versa, stop gate keeping and getting pissed off with each other, it’s completely wasted energy, you’re BOTH allowed to be tired and fed up.. taking it out on each other just makes it all 10 times worse.

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Mayorq · 26/01/2024 13:20

If I every came home from work when my wife was on maternity leave and her mum was there, first thing I'm doing is taking any protein off her plate if she's eating, protein is for care givers, and then I'm looking her squarely in the eye and very calmly but very definitively saying "not good enough"

Then I'd head for my post work nap without another word

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cremebrulait · 26/01/2024 14:27

My first thought: omg OP you sound entitled.

Then I started reading a lot of comments and thought well clearly there are a lot of mums who seem (to me) entitled to a long leave. And no matter what they're more hard working and deserving than their partner.

But then I'm a mum who went back to work 3 week after my child was born by emergency c section and septic shock - out of necessity. Very specific situation indeed but my view is you do the best with what you have. There's always an upside and downside. I never complained about having to work after 3 weeks - I was grateful I had a healthy baby. Many women in the world have it worse. I'm sure there are more details like how DP feels about his career break and impact. Maybe stop and make a list of all the things you are grateful for.

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TheBeesKnee · 26/01/2024 15:50

cremebrulait · 26/01/2024 14:27

My first thought: omg OP you sound entitled.

Then I started reading a lot of comments and thought well clearly there are a lot of mums who seem (to me) entitled to a long leave. And no matter what they're more hard working and deserving than their partner.

But then I'm a mum who went back to work 3 week after my child was born by emergency c section and septic shock - out of necessity. Very specific situation indeed but my view is you do the best with what you have. There's always an upside and downside. I never complained about having to work after 3 weeks - I was grateful I had a healthy baby. Many women in the world have it worse. I'm sure there are more details like how DP feels about his career break and impact. Maybe stop and make a list of all the things you are grateful for.

Are you in the USA? 3 weeks is unusual, especially as you're supposed to give it 6 weeks to recover from a CS.

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HalloumiGeller · 26/01/2024 16:22

I do think it's fair for dad's to be able to share the leave, as why shouldn't dad's be able to enjoy their baby for longer than 2 measly weeks?! My OH is gutted that we might not be able to share my leave (as his employer obv has to agree) as out baby is his first and only child, whereas I have done it twice already. If we can share it, then I will likely take 7 ish months and he will take the last 2.

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GintyMcGinty · 26/01/2024 16:28

HalloumiGeller · 26/01/2024 16:22

I do think it's fair for dad's to be able to share the leave, as why shouldn't dad's be able to enjoy their baby for longer than 2 measly weeks?! My OH is gutted that we might not be able to share my leave (as his employer obv has to agree) as out baby is his first and only child, whereas I have done it twice already. If we can share it, then I will likely take 7 ish months and he will take the last 2.

as his employer obv has to agree

If you are in the UK and he meets the eligibility criteria then this is a statutory right. Its not up to his employer.

https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

You can start Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if you're eligible and you or your partner ends your maternity or adoption leave early - eligibility, entitlement, starting SPL and splitting blocks of leave

https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay

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Didimum · 26/01/2024 16:36

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.

Sorry this is BS. Of course a woman can return to work before a year post partum. A year recovery is before getting pregnant again.

Fathers (good ones) on SPL are more than capable of giving their child a wonderful, loving home life. My DH took 5 months of SPL after I went back to work at 6 months and we all have a brilliant bond. They are so much closer to their dad than most children are.

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SovietSpy · 26/01/2024 16:51

Isn’t there a notice period you have to give if you want to change shared parental leave? If you do want to change it OP, you may need to decide very quickly.

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SwordToFlamethrower · 26/01/2024 17:00

Didimum · 26/01/2024 16:36

Sorry this is BS. Of course a woman can return to work before a year post partum. A year recovery is before getting pregnant again.

Fathers (good ones) on SPL are more than capable of giving their child a wonderful, loving home life. My DH took 5 months of SPL after I went back to work at 6 months and we all have a brilliant bond. They are so much closer to their dad than most children are.

Quick Google on it:

"Vaginal recovery from childbirth takes a few weeks, and pelvic floor function usually returns to normal within the first two to three months. However, recovery continues after childbirth for at least another year. After a C-section the uterus, abdominal wall, and skin need to heal"

So you are wrong.

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Mayorq · 26/01/2024 17:03

"Get a cleaner to help you, stay at home."
A lovely bit of MN advice to a woman who has said that her staying at home will place a financial burden on her family, sorry sorry financial burden on her husband I forgot that was his burden alone.

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Didimum · 26/01/2024 17:06

SwordToFlamethrower · 26/01/2024 17:00

Quick Google on it:

"Vaginal recovery from childbirth takes a few weeks, and pelvic floor function usually returns to normal within the first two to three months. However, recovery continues after childbirth for at least another year. After a C-section the uterus, abdominal wall, and skin need to heal"

So you are wrong.

Once again ... FOR HAVING ANOTHER PREGNANCY. What do you think women do around the home or with their babies and toddlers all day that isn't done at work? And what do you think women have done historically since people began having babies? Sit around on the sofa for 12 hours a day?

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