Speaking of parental leaves in corporate jobs, it’s very important for any couple (working professionals) expecting a baby to discuss and plan out things beforehand, so they know well in advance who’s taking charge of the baby and who’s going to be at work the first few months.
An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for asking my wife to take ‘her turn’ of parental leave?”. Here’s the full story for you to decide.
OP says, “We are financially comfortable but reliant on my income – I earn 77% of our income and my wife the remaining 23%.”
Throwback To The Time They Had Their First Child
When they had their first child, OP’s wife returned to work far earlier than planned (5 or 6 weeks after the child was born). OP took 7 months of parental leave.
What’s Happening Right Now
They are discussing having a second child, and OP’s wife is non-committal about taking parental leave. OP has changed roles and does not have the job security to take a substantial amount of parental leave this time around (6 weeks would be the upper maximum).
What Does OP Say?
OP says, “Am I a jerk for asking my wife to commit to taking a substantial amount (3-6 months) of paid parental leave before agreeing to have a second child?
My fear is that if she doesn’t take leave, the responsibility will fall to me to do so, and we will not be able to pay our bills if I lose my job as a result of that.”
Now OP wants to know if he is a jerk.
Have A Mature Discussion
“Not the jerk, you should definitely sort out expectations around care giving before committing to another child. I don’t think you need to frame it as an ultimatum though, just have a mature discussion about it and see what she says.”
You Need To Figure Things Out
“Not the jerk but something else is going on here, you need to figure out why your wife wants to go back to work so quickly. There’s nothing wrong with her wanting to work, of course, but if she has the ability to take 3-6 months of paid leave, and taking more than a few weeks would threaten your job stability, then just waiting to see how she feels about taking the leave until after your child is born is not a viable option.”
Wait Until You Guys Resolve This
“No jerks here. You and your wife seem to have very different expectations regarding child care. If you are still the majority earner of the household then it makes sense for her to be the one to take leave or take longer leave.
Less financial impact, better for your household *and the child you already have a responsibility towards.*
However, if she is unable to or unwilling to take that leave, as she is running her own business (doesn’t matter if it’s charity or for-profit) that’s a valid concern for her to have.
The solution is to *not have more children* until and unless you and your wife can find the middle ground. If you two have a second child without resolving this difference of opinions, it becomes retroactive.”
She Can Use Childcare Afterwards
“No jerks here – but why does she need to take off 3 to 6 months? I mean, that’s really nice but at least here in the US, people don’t often have that amount of time. Can she take off two to three months and use childcare after?”
Don’t You Have Other Options?
“You’re the jerk. It’s not necessarily the case that either of you has to take prolonged leave. Do you not have the ability to find other childcare options? If she doesn’t want to take leave, she shouldn’t have to.
Also, if that doesn’t force you to either. Lots of people don’t even get the *option* of extended parental leave, so it’s certainly not a mandatory thing.
This sounds like an artificially created problem. What would you do if you were both working jobs that don’t allow leave at all?
She doesn’t have to do anything if she doesn’t want to, and neither do you.”
She Shouldn’t Expect You To Do Double Duty
“You make the most income and you’re taking the most time off. If she wants another child, then she needs to commit the time to it and not expect you to do double duty.
Please don’t engage in any activities with her that could result in an oops until she’s ready to pull her weight, either by taking the time or finding a higher-paying job so you can do the SAHP thing more.
She expects you to pay the bills and raise the kid(s) in the current state of things, and that’s unfair to expect you to do everything when she doesn’t have the income to support the family instead.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.