Babies need full-time caretakers. Some parents pay for daycare so they can continue working, while others decide to have one parent stay home to raise the children full-time.
The decision of who, if anyone, should become the primary caretaker is one of the first significant struggles many parents have.
One woman learned that her husband wasn’t as progressive as she thought when he demanded that she quit her job to stay home with their first child.
About To Have a Baby
The Original Poster (OP) is 29 weeks pregnant with her first child. She’s been with her husband for eight years, and they’ve been married for two.
They have a reasonably egalitarian relationship. OP described her husband as progressive and said they typically agree on everything.
Someone Should Stay Home
That all changed when they were discussing how to handle childcare for the pending baby. They’ve been on the same page thus far and had numerous discussions about staggering their parental leave so someone could be home for the first six months.
Her husband changed his tune, deciding that someone ought to stay home with the baby full time.
“My husband said that he read that it’s better for the baby to have a parent home for the first year,” she reported.
Okay, You Can Stay Home Then
OP assumed he meant he wanted to stay home and began discussing how that might work for them.
“I asked him (thinking nothing of it) if that’s really something he’d consider since he might have to quit his job,” she said.
Husband Refuses To Stay Home
Apparently, when OP’s husband said “someone should stay home,” he meant “the woman must stay home,” and couldn’t believe OP suggested otherwise.
“He asked why he would have to quit since I should “obviously” be the one to stay home with the baby,” she reported.
OP Makes 3X the Income
Baffled at her husband’s response, OP asked how they’d afford life on his income alone. She shared that although they both work in tech, she makes far more money than he does, so it would make sense, from a financial perspective, for him to quit his job.
“I asked him what we were going to do for a year on 1/4 the income with a new baby,” she said, but rather than consider the genuine implications of her question, OP’s husband got defensive, reprimanding OP for even bringing up the income disparity.
A Fight Breaks Out
Now, both partners are upset. She’s mad because her husband is showing sexist attitudes about a woman’s place and thinks it ridiculous for the higher earner to quit when the lower earner is the one who wants a stay-at-home parent in the first place.
He’s mad because he feels emasculated and thinks she should “stay home like a “good mom.”
Op refused to back down, and her husband stormed out.
Now, she’s wondering if she was wrong for refusing to quit her job and telling her husband he could stay home if he felt necessary.
OP’s husband showed his true colors. He’s not actually progressive and holds outdated views about gender roles.
“He is being sexist thinking that since you’re a woman, your place is in the home. He’s also sexist because he thinks the suggestion that he stays home is emasculating,” said one user, highlighting how the husband’s sexism hurts both men and women.
The Money Talk
Many were baffled that OP’s husband shot down her critical questions about money.
“She’s not even allowed to ask how they’re going to manage finances when she makes 3x more than him?” asked one user, shocked at his apparent disregard for reality.
Don’t Quit Your Job
They say that pregnancy and childbirth are the most dangerous times for women and not for the health risks you’d expect. Far too many men become abusive during this critical juncture when they believe they’ve locked a woman down and she can no longer escape.
If OP quits her job, she’ll be trapped, and it sounds like the husband is banking on it.
“No matter what, OP, do NOT quit your job. Not to save your marriage. Not some sort of part-time compromise. Don’t move to another area for a lower cost of living. Nothing,” warned one user. “If he’s suddenly renegotiating everything now that he thinks you’re baby-trapped, heaven knows what he’ll do once he holds all the financial power,” they added.
Stand Your Ground OP
Some people want to be stay-at-home parents, and when they have a supportive partner, that’s a beautiful thing. However, some folks don’t want to give up their careers to parent, even if they can afford to, and that’s valid too.
OP doesn’t want to give up her career, so she shouldn’t. We hope her husband loses the ego and sees the light so they can come to a resolution, but if he digs further into his position, their relationship may be doomed.
We hope OP stands her ground whether her husband comes around to it or not.