Being a parent can get really pricey, really quickly. There are tons of companies out there who are doing their darndest to separate you from your hard-earned dollars by convincing you their child-related products are the best in the business. And while there are certainly a lot of baby goods that you don't really need to keep your child healthy and happy, there are some that are absolute necessities.
If your baby needs formula and can't be breastfed, for instance, that could get really, really pricey, as kiddos need to drink that stuff pretty much right after it's prepared otherwise it goes bad.
You can't really skimp out when it comes to child seats either, and while diapers and baby wipes can certainly add up, there are plenty of subscription box services that'll get you all that stuff for a decent price.
Again, different children require different levels of/additional care, and if you don't have health insurance to cover it, you're footing the bill for all of that. So there are definitely some financial implications for folks to consider before having a child, but do those implications extend to one's spouse demanding compensation for having said child?
That's what happened with Redditor @husbandmaybefather, who shared a post asking for advice on how to best handle a situation with his wife regarding her being compensated for having a child. $50,000 to be exact.
It appears that his wife's demand stems from the fact that the two of them share everything in their relationship 50/50: from the cost of their wedding to their honeymoon to their mortgage payments, which are apparently paid off. They both also earn $175,000 after taxes each year, which is in many instances, more than enough to comfortably raise a child and start a family - there are people out there who do so with a lot less. The couple also has separate banking accounts.
He says that he noticed his wife made the $50k demand after speaking with her sister on the phone. The way she sees it, her maternity leave only covers 6 months' worth of work at half-salary, and she wants to be compensated for that time lost from her husband.
What's more is that she wanted him to get a legally binding document that more or less stated the following: "For the first 6 months, her work will give her 50% of her salary, and I would compensate her for the rest, but for the next 6 months, since her work would not compensate her, and because this loss is something she is doing for the family, she is 'comfortable splitting the loss of her income.'"
It continues, "...and only asking me for 50% of her salary instead of 100% for the second 6 month period, and she will take the loss of 50% of her salary. The idea I guess is that both of us 'suffer' half the loss of income for the second 6 month period. However, if she takes 7 to 11 months off, any months after the 6th can be prorated."
He stated that even though they had shared everything in their relationship 50/50, the idea of paying her outright to have a child didn't sit well with him, calling her demand "gross."
Then there's the fact that he worried she was already pregnant and she would abort their child if he didn't cough up the dough, because she had an abortion previously, and didn't tell him for a year.
Although the couple had a wedding, he said that they are "spiritually married" which is the reason why so many commenters were stating that his wife's demands really weren't out of the ordinary and that she was ensuring she would have enough money to take care of her and her child in the event he decided he didn't want to be in a relationship with her any longer.
Others just thought that the strange "accounting" that took place between the two, coupled with the fact that they hide major life events from one another like a pregnancy (or at least suspect one another of doing so) made for a very "transactional" relationship devoid of love and full of...math.
Not to mention if the child grew up one day to discover that the only reason Mommy and Daddy had them was that in spite of the fact that they collectively earned $350,000 a year, it was only until Mama made sure her earning potential wasn't compromised that they were conceived.
What do you think? Is one of them more in the wrong than the other? Or do you think that their relationship is dysfunctional and that these two penny-pinching wealthy sociopaths are probably better off not reproducing and rearing more people like them into our species?
You can read the entirety of his post below:
"I have known/been dating my wife for 6 years, and we have been spiritually married for 2 years. We are not legally married, although at this point we are essentially common law.
We are both high earners (both earning over $175k a year after-tax). We purchased our home together and we have agreed to split the finances 50-50. We paid for our wedding, honeymoon, everything 50-50, although I did pay for the cost of our rings and her engagement ring. Our mortgage payments were 50-50 and we comfortably own our home now, so much of our income goes to savings, investments, home improvements, and discretionary spending."
"Because of our incomes, we felt it would be best to keep our finances separate - we're both highly independent people and both very career-driven. It's part of the reason I'm so attracted to her - she's amazing at what she does, and I'm so proud to be able to introduce her as my wife and explain what she does."
"Unfortunately our first two years of marriage were hampered by COVID and lockdowns. We would have loved to have traveled and saved up quite a bit in order to do this. A couple of months ago we had a talk and decided it might be a good time to have kids instead of continuously waiting for better or safer travel conditions. Without too serious discussion about it, we decided to stop using birth control and let things happen as they will."
"Yesterday I came home and my wife was on the phone. She seemed like she was in a hurry to end her conversation and tried to evade my question when I asked who she was talking to. It was her sister. They don't talk a lot, so that was a bit weird. She still works from home, so she continued to do some work, then we had dinner and watched some news. Regular, pleasant evening. Then she says she wants to have a serious talk, and asks me to make us some tea and meet her upstairs at her work desk."
"I make the tea, bring it up, and she starts talking financials.
Her work place allows for maternity leave for up to a year, but only provides 50% of her salary for up to 6 months. The remaining 6 months is unpaid. She was very direct, and said that while her insurance would cover the vast majority of hospital related costs during pregnancy and childbirth, taking a 6 month break from work would cost her almost $50,000 since her pay would be cut in half. She is asking me to compensate her for that $50,000, in addition to agreeing to split any related but unexpected costs to pregnancy and childbirth. Her stance is that she is doing something for us to start a family, but it is not a true 50-50 split if she is expected to take a financial hit for it and I am not, given that our finances are separate. She had a printed list of expectations in terms of what she expected financially, listed some things that her insurance may not cover."
"I see the logic in that, but I am really very turned off by this because she is essentially asking me to pay her to have our child (or children?).
She saw my hesitation and just doubled down. While her ideal is to return to work after 6 months, she says it's a real possibility that she may require more time off and decide, as things happen, to take up to a year off. So, she had another plan drafted for that. For the first 6 months, her work will give her 50% of her salary, and I would compensate her for the rest, but for the next 6 months, since her work would not compensate her, and because this loss is something she is doing for the family, she is "comfortable splitting the loss of her income", and only asking me for 50% of her salary instead of 100% for the second 6 month period, and she will take the loss of 50% of her salary. The idea I guess is that both of us "suffer" half the loss of income for the second 6 month period. However, if she takes 7 to 11 months off, any months after the 6th can be prorated."
"She expressed that she anticipates and hopes to return to work in 6 months, but that she wants a contingency plan in the event that she requires a year off. She said that taking more than a year off is something she is very unlikely to do as it would put her job at risk, but that she's open to exploring a third plan with me if I feel that it's necessary.
There are also detailed notes about how she wants to keep housework split, with plans to start saving for both childcare and additional housekeeper expenses for at least the first four years. I kid you not, it's a 16 page ring binder that she handed me with detailed notes, some explanations, and lists of expenses."
"But the immediate and essential element here is that, she wants me to pay her $50,000 - $100,000 to compensate for the loss of her salary for 6-12 months as a result of her having our child.
I really do not know how to process this. My first thought is shock, because, despite our salaries, $50k-$100k is a lot to demand. The idea of a payment plan to have a child is just gross. And many couples manage to do this without paying their wives to have children. But then, I suppose most couples are married legally and a loss to one person's income is a loss to everyone. So in our situation, it makes logical sense, but there's something so transactional about it that puts a bad taste in my mouth."
"I didn't fight it or argue, and she's basically allowing me to think about it, but says if having kids is something we're going to do, she wants to write up an agreement and go to a lawyer (splitting the cost of that is ALSO in the binder).
What really hits me here is that she was talking to her sister on the same day she brings this up to me. Why on that day? On the same day, she mentions this to me? They do not talk often. I am partially excited and scared that the timing of this means that she is actually currently pregnant and that my response to her will have real consequences if I disagree with her."
"She has previously had an abortion, and only told me after the fact (almost a year later), because it was early into dating. I was shocked to learn that when I did but supported her choice as it's her body, and at the time having kids would have been the wrong decision for us. Still, the fact that she makes decisions like that so independently has me incredibly cautious right now."
"I checked trash cans and such for a pregnancy test but didn't find anything. She also asked for tea instead of coffee, but maybe that is overthinking it because she likes both. I want to ask her if she's pregnant, but we both had busy days today, and I was processing and it didn't even occur to me on the day we first discussed this. Definitely, a conversation to have, but I don't know whether that should influence my response here."