Having a baby completely changes your life, and a bit of tag teaming over the first few weeks as you begin to learn the parenting ropes is pretty important. It’s also important to get in that bonding time. Often, parents don’t get any sort of leave, particularly fathers. One father was able to get three weeks off to welcome his new baby, but the way he plans to spend the time isn’t endearing him to his girlfriend.
In a viral Reddit post with more than 18,000 upvotes, a woman with the screen name Similar-Put1285 said her boyfriend’s mother gifted him a paternity vacation to Italy for the last two weeks of his time off. That means he would be out of the country while his girlfriend was tasked with baby duty alone, just a week after the birth.
She wrote, “I told her that his leave was for helping with the baby. She was taken aback and said that he would be with me for a week and that was long enough. Her husband never even stayed at the hospital with her when her son was born.
“I told her and my boyfriend that I didn’t want him to go and that she should have asked first before buying such an extraordinary gift. She left in tears because I was ‘ungrateful’ and ruining her sons (sic) experience.”
She added that her boyfriend felt he should at least go for a week because the trip is paid for. She asked if she was in the wrong for wanting him to stay.
Users largely sided with the original poster, with many asking what her boyfriend’s mother was thinking wanting him to go on vacation away from his one-week-old baby. Many also said it was important to have all hands on deck during the rough first few months of having a new baby in the house.
User Sad_Appearance4733 wrote, “I would no longer have a boyfriend if he went anywhere that wasn’t absolutely necessary when we had a newborn at home.”
Others suggested that this was fallout from generations that saw fathers as only breadwinners and not caregivers. When men aren’t seen as having house and child-related responsibilities, it may not be out of left field for someone to think a mother can handle it all on her own.
A new father, user CorkBullet, said his paternity leave was very important to him, writing, “I just got off paternity leave months ago and nothing could have pulled me away from helping / bonding with my new born (sic) baby.
Furthermore, you are going to be tired and very sore after birth (not trying to scare you) it’s not acceptable at all for him to leave.
I’m not even involved at all and I’m so mad for you.”
The replies underscore the importance of mom and dad being home for baby as it first comes into the world. Unfortunately, many families in the United States are unable to take any time off during this important time, as there is no federal law requiring paid family leave. As a result, only 23% of workers had access to this benefit in 2021. In 2019, only 25% of employers offered paid parental leave to at least some employees.
If you’d like to see that change to help new parents, consider signing this petition calling for a national paid family leave policy that covers all workers.