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A New Mom Wants To Take A Month-Long Trip To Europe Without Her Baby

And her husband has thoughts.

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A woman with a 16-month-old baby want to go on a month-long European vacation.
Adene Sanchez/Getty

Having a baby is so much tougher than anyone can really explain before you experience it yourself. The sleep deprivation, being on-call 24/7, the stress on your body, the strain on your relationship. It can be constant and overwhelming, especially for new moms.

And it is totally normal and necessary to take breaks. But how big of a break is too big?

This week on Reddit, a husband and new dad wrote in to the Two Hot Takes podcast on Reddit to ask if he’s in the wrong for not agreeing to let his wife go on a month-long trip to visit a friend in Europe in order to get a break from motherhood.

He explains that, like all parents, they are navigating the first year and a half of having a baby.

“My wife (30F) and I (32M) have been together for 4 years, and currently have a 16 month old daughter,” he says. “We both split work 50:50, and despite this, I acknowledge how it is more physically challenging for her with the postpartum phase and constant (regressive now) breastfeeding (our daughter cluster feeds and doesn't like the bottle very much so that's that).”

He also makes clear that she’s not suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).

“I am also very pro-therapy, so regardless of any evaluations, I encouraged her to attend a few sessions and she and her therapist both agree that she does not have PPD,” he went on. “I am letting everyone know this because I really want to be able to find a way to talk sense into her without putting all of it on depression.”

And yet, she wants to leave the baby for four weeks to visit her friend across the pond and get a break from the daily grind of parenthood.

“She says that she is tired from feeling like a mom and wants to take a vacation for 4 weeks with her friend who is based in Europe,” he writes. “Her reasoning for going for 4 weeks is that she gets to "earn" it after childbirth and 1.5 years of being a mom. She also says she has her own savings and how she always dreamt of exploring Europe so this is her chance and she wants her identity back.”

He pushed back, hard, explaining that it’s way too long and super-selfish of her.

“I disagreed with her and told her that priorities are bound to change and she cannot expect to have a single life back,” he said. “I would happily step up and take on her share of childcare if she wanted to do a weekend trip or a spa day and would fully support that. Apparently that's not enough for her. I told her if she wants to really do something about her savings, it would be great if WE could do something maybe as a couple or a family TOGETHER because I also deserve a break as much as she does. I told her how it's selfish she is choosing to spend her savings entirely on herself when I nearly exhausted all MY personal savings on a large family expense.”

He also judged and shamed her for wanting that much time away from their child.

“I told her I cannot fathom the idea of a mom wanting to be away from her toddler for nearly a month and almost shamed her for it (may make me an asshole but emotions were high and I was angry),” he said.

At the bottom of the post, he clarified that he’d be fine with her taking a weekend trip, up to four to five days. And that, “I do not think it is appropriate for a married person, (and now a parent) to leave the household to be away from your family for more than that time.”

So, who did readers side with? Down in the comments, more judgement followed for the mom.

“I would try my hardest to talk her out of it or find a compromise,” one popular comment read. “If she goes anyway, I'm telling her I'm going to file for divorce and apply for sole custody. I can't think of a single couple I know who was away from their child for a month before they were 6-10.”

That seems a bit harsh toward the exhausted, nursing mom, right?

More reasonable readers suggested a shorter vacation that still gives her a solid break.

“4 weeks is too much and I say this as a SAHM who knows exactly how it feels to feel like you’re losing your identity to solely being a mother,” one fellow mom wrote. “A 1 week get away is another story.”

Another thoughtful person floated the idea that she may indeed be struggling with her mental health.

“I'm a mom of three and I understand wanting to run away from motherhood for a minute but this is extremely excessive,” she writes. “I'm not convinced she really doesn't have PPD. Having had three babies I just can't imagine being away from any of them for a month.”

Several people wondered out loud if the original poster has a clear view of who is doing what in the relationship, especially considering he said he would need his parents to come and help if she goes away for a single weekend.

“Not a snowball’s chance in hell OP is pulling 50/50 if he feels he needs his parents to get him through a weekend/long weekend with the toddler,” one person said straight.

And the best comment is about how Europe sounds like a symptom of a bigger problem, not the central problem.

“It's not about Europe. It's about burnout,” the poster says. “She sounds at the end of her rope. 9 months of pregnancy and 16 months and counting of breastfeeding and now a toddler who wants to clusterfeed on a diminishing supply...she must feel like she'll never get her body back. She has the patience of a saint, I would've shut down the milk bar. Four weeks in Europe is just a fixation, not the real issue. Even if she were to go, the stressors that drove her away would be waiting. It's probably time to make some quality of life decisions at home...how to get her more help, start weaning, etc. And plan a shorter trip away to recharge.”

Someone make sure the husband reads that!

Listen to the full Two Hot Takes podcast discussion here.

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