There are a lot of factors couples have to consider when deciding if they want to have a baby. You probably won’t be surprised when we say that finances tend to be the biggest thing that comes into play. As in, can the family afford to take care of a child? (P.s. That’s nobody’s damn business.)
More and more, we’re seeing that time and childcare are also becoming major factors. Couples on Reddit (and we’re sure elsewhere) are wondering if they have the bandwidth — corporate as that may sound — to welcome Baby No. 2 (or three, or four, or even their first kiddo).
That was certainly the case for one dad who joined the “Am I The A—hole? (AITA)” subreddit to try and get advice about his and his wife’s family planning situation. They have one child (whose age he didn’t share) and he said they would both like to have a second one. That said, he doesn’t know if that will be possible if their jobs and work responsibilities remain the same.
And so he — the original poster or “OP” — is asking the internet, “AITA for telling my wife I don’t want to have a second child if she keeps her career?”
The Wife’s Job
OP’s wife has a career that she loves, but he is less than thrilled about the situation. The company has her traveling 12-18 weeks per year, and then there are about 10 weeks where she is working nights or weekends for 6 or 7 days.
“So roughly half of the year she is either gone completely or working night time and weekend hours,” OP explained.
OP said he is the primary breadwinner and that his wife’s salary is about 40% of what he makes. That money covers daycare for their son and then there are some extra funds.
OP’s problem with the situation is that when his wife is traveling, he is entirely responsible for their child (of course).
“It has been very hard being responsible for our child when she travels and on so many weekends,” he said. “I feel like a single parent. My job is demanding, and I usually have to work after putting him down for the night, and barely have time to clean the kitchen/house, etc., on top of my job.”
Which is a lot! Don’t get us wrong! But let us just submit a little reminder that women have been taking on the primary caregiving role and absorbing the mental load of parenting since like…forever.
OK, back to the regularly scheduled programming:
“I told her that I could support this career if we only have one child, but that if we have two…I don’t think she can continue in her career,” OP said. “I just don’t see how I can manage two kids for so many mornings – taking them both to school, daycare, events, and evenings and weekends entirely by myself, all while I am working full time.”
OP’s wife was not happy with this answer and called him “weak.”
Yikes! Ultimately, though, she said she will leave her job if that’s what she needs to do to have a second baby.
“I fear she will quit and then resent me which will lead to bad times for all involved,” OP said. “AITA?”
OP updated his post to give more context about his wife’s [soon-to-be former] job.
“She is doing a job that she is passionate about and highly trained for. Unfortunately, it’s not very well paid and not very compatible with raising a family (it is in the nonprofit art world) and she is struggling with that, but ultimately will quit.”
Reddit has a lot of thoughts, and one of the throughlines is that they are not cool with the “weak” comment.
“It’s concerning that your wife called you weak. I’d recommend couples counseling before she quits her job and you have a 2nd child.”
“OP is the primary caretaker AND the primary breadwinner & his wife has the gall to call him weak..!”
“Weak? Is English not her first language? Or is she trying to belittle you? Honestly, I wouldn’t have any more children with someone who responds like that to a perfectly legitimate statement.”
That second point was also big for Redditors. This was a reasonable thing for OP to want to discuss.
“Children are a lot of work. Your wife doesn’t seem to know how difficult it is because she’s not the primary caretaker.”
“OP is making a fair assessment and suggesting options. OP’s wife is lining up to blame him. Counseling would help her realize that this isn’t you making an ultimatum, but rather you pointing out the reality and trying to make plans.”
“If you want a job with this lifestyle, you don’t have kids. Oh and don’t get me wrong, fathers are excessively absent due to work are the same. You seem to be doing all the parenting, housework holding down a full-time job, and getting no help from her. You are right there should be no 2nd child unless she is prepared to step down from work and step up as a mother.”
“Of course she wants a second child. The first is hardly any work for her. You know your capacity. Stand your ground and don’t allow insults. NTA.”
“Having kids is a two-yes thing. You are taking on most of the responsibility, and it’s a lot. It’s completely fair to talk about these issues and come up with a solution. And having one kid is an option.”
“It would be exactly the same if you were the one traveling and your wife was the single parent. Because that’s what you are for most of the time – a single parent. She has to find a way to balance her career and her family, or you’re going to burn out.”
And yes, we’re glad people keep pointing out how gender plays a role in this and that the situation could easily be reversed (and often is). And perhaps quitting her job isn’t the solution they land on for their family, but insults aren’t the answer. Finding some sort of balance — whether or not they have a second child! — is
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