Mum sparks debate after sharing disappointment that husband on £55k wants her to return to work full-time

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  • One Mumsnet user has come under fire after asking for advice about returning to work after the birth of her child.

    User shewhocannotbenamed drew criticism when she expressed that her husband’s expectancy that she should return to work full-time after her maternity leave had left her feeling like ‘less of a woman’.

    She explained that she and her husband hadn’t discussed the matter of returning to work beforehand, but that she had been planning on returning for two to three days a week – and it was only when they were looking at nurseries for their baby that the issue cropped up.

    ‘I’ve never really planned on being a SAHM but I also never voiced a wish to go back full time post baby,’ the new mum explained. In principle I don’t really agree that LO should go to nursery before he’s at least one but I was willing to do it for 2-3 days a week for the sake of my job,’ she explained in the 400 word rant.

    ‘So imagine my surprise when we were viewing nurseries and he asked for full time rates. I told him I was only thinking part time and he accepted this but I could tell he was a bit… I don’t know, disappointed?’

    She added that after her husband’s recent ‘massive promotion,’ he was now earning £55k, and with savings in the bank to boot, ‘it’s not like [they’re] really desperate for money.’

    ‘AIBU for feeling a bit upset about this?’ she asked. ‘Considering the costs of childcare it’s not like I’d be bringing home much anyway whichever option we choose. I can’t even exactly specify why this makes me sad, perhaps makes me feel less like a woman and more like just his mate?’ 

    ‘It’s especially so as his mother never worked post children and also in the past he had a girlfriend who just chose not to work (no kids or anything) and as far as I understand he was perfectly fine supporting her.’

    But fellow users had little sympathy, most pointing out that returning to work after giving birth was a fundamental issue that should have been discussed previously.

    ‘Given that you’ve seemingly had no discussion about the terms in which you would like to return to work I imagine he was as surprised at your plans for part time as you were to his request for full time nursery rates,’ wrote one commenter. ‘As he’s not a mind reader I suggest you have this thing called a conversation.’

    ‘I can’t believe you didn’t discuss this before you started trying to have a family (or if unplanned, at least during your pregnancy),’ agreed another. ‘How was this not something you talked about? I just don’t get it.’

    ‘I can see how his reaction has upset you, but you have both made assumptions so it’s not entirely down to him.’

    But the real furore was over the users comment that the assumption had left her feeling ‘like less of a woman and more like his mate,’ and the ‘inherent expectation that the wife needs to constantly perform both at home and at work.’

    Mumsnet users seemed to be especially disgruntled by these comments, with the general consensus that shewhocannotbenamed’s comments were outdated.

    ‘Like less of a woman? Because he wants you to go back to work? How utterly depressing,’ notes one user.

    ‘If you feel like your child would benefit from you being home 4 days a week (not unreasonable) then explain this to your [dear husband]. Presumably he wants what’s best for your baby too? But don’t waffle on about feeling sad that he doesn’t see you as a woman because that is daft.’

    There were some users on the poster’s side, noting that the real assumption might be that ‘DH’ could get away with doing less of the work over all.

    ‘Make it clear if you are working full time or even 4 days that he will have to do 50-50 of sickness cover. He probable thinks can have it both ways you working and picking up all extra childcare and home care.’

    ‘Talk to him. And YY to him doing 50% of everything child/home related if you are both full time. That’s 50% of pick ups/drop offs, 50% of cooking/cleaning/laundry, 50% of taking time off when lo is sick.’

    What do you think? Is this mum justified in feeling upset at her husband’s attitude? Let us know in the comments!