Real Talk: My Husband Is Saying He Won't Take His Paternity Leave, And I'm Livid

Pregnant woman and man in kitchen


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Leah Thomas866
April 17, 2024 at 6:43PM UTC

Deciding who is going to take parental leave can be a sore spot for partners. That's why one FGB'er recently took to the Community to get help encouraging her husband to take advantage of his paternity leave. 

“Paternity leave help!” she recently pleaded in the Community

“My husband gets paid leave but doesn't want to take more than a week off after our son is born,” she continued. “I am also lucky enough to get paid leave, but feel like I really need his help as we have no family in the area. How can I convince him that he needs to take the full three months he's offered?” 

FGB'ers suggested discovering exactly why the father is not willing to take a full leave.

Paid (and unpaid) paternity leave are relatively new concepts in the workplace. While more companies are beginning to offer paid leave to new dads, that doesn’t necessarily mean more dads are willing to accept the offer.

“If you're struggling with communicating your needs directly, consider working with a couple's counselor. A communication tune-up before you start co-parenting could be beneficial in any case,” one poster advised.

And we agree. It is important to discuss whether the father is attempting to avoid responsibility or if he is genuinely concerned with taking time off from work. Maybe no other man has actually taken advantage of the paternity leave at his company. 

“Talk to him about taking one to two months as opposed to only one week or the full three months,” one FGB’er suggested.

Another FGB'er advised that systemic issues may be behind his reluctance to take leave. 

“Unfortunately, you can't convince him. Have you asked him why he won't take more time, specifically? As in, list the reason(s)? If all he's got is ‘I don't want to,’ there may be bigger issues. He may feel he'll be treated differently (i.e. like a woman) at work if he takes time off. The Mommy track will derail his career, he'll be passed over for promotion, etc. He may not want to be involved with a newborn, he may not know how to care for a newborn, he may be afraid of the baby. He may not know himself, but if he doesn't figure this out now, you may as well be a single parent, because he may not ever figure it out. He needs to identify and articulate his concerns well before the birth, so you can both make decisions about it.”

And we agree. Communication in co-parenting is essential. You should share the responsibility for your newborn and feel 100 percent supported by your partner. 

For all other family, career, love or financial advice, claim your profile on the Fairygodboss Community.

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