As the clock ticks down to the birth of their first child, the Original Poster (OP) finds himself at a crossroads between his career and his family. Stationed in Europe for work, he faces an unexpected extension on his trip, a decision that sparks a furious confrontation with his wife back home in New York City. Torn between the allure of professional advancement and the impending life-altering event, the stakes for OP have never been higher.
The Anticipation of Parenthood
OP and his wife are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child, with the official due date being September 19. The couple navigates the pressures and joys of impending parenthood. The atmosphere is filled with both excitement and tension.
The Auditor’s Dilemma
OP works as an external auditor, a role that involves international travel. Compared to his younger coworkers, he lacks certain accolades and connections. The high-stress nature of his job makes it vital for him to prove his worth to his bosses.
Striking the Work-Life Balance
While OP’s job offers several perks, the actual salary necessitates that his wife also works part-time to support their life in NYC. Both are aware that they are close to financial instability. OP feels the need to secure his position by climbing the corporate ladder.
The European Detour
Work has kept OP in Europe for the past two weeks. During this period, he has been working alongside a superior, who also serves as his mentor. OP was set to return home soon, with time off arranged for the birth of his child.
The Call for Extension
OP receives an unexpected call from his mentor, asking him to extend his European stay for an additional five business days. The mentor promises to reflect this favor in OP’s annual bonus. Feeling the pressure, OP agrees to the extension.
The Difficult Phone Call
OP calls his wife to inform her of the extended trip. Her reaction is immediate; she is furious and emotional. She criticizes the company and questions OP’s priorities for choosing his career over his family.
A Clash of Perspectives
OP attempts to reason with his wife, suggesting the extra bonus will benefit their future child’s education. His wife remains unconvinced, reminding him that she could give birth any day now and she wants his support in the delivery room.
Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place
OP’s wife accuses him of not understanding the gravity of the situation and minimizing her needs and concerns. He defends himself by emphasizing the importance of the opportunity for his career. The call ends on an unhappy note.
Balancing Financial Strains
The financial aspect of their lives looms large over OP. The salary he brings home barely covers the bills and the mortgage, putting added stress on his decision to extend the trip. He wants to be a good provider for his wife and child.
The Mentor’s Influence
OP has always admired his mentor and seeks to impress him. The mentor’s offer to fight for an increased bonus holds a lot of weight in OP’s decision to extend his stay in Europe. His guidance gives OP direction and purpose.
The Illusion of a Family-Friendly Firm
OP’s wife feels betrayed by the so-called “family-friendly” firm that keeps extending her husband’s business trips, keeping him isolated from her. Her frustration extends to both the company and her husband.
Motherhood and Career
OP’s wife has grudgingly accepted that her career in finance will be limited due to the hostile nature of her field towards mothers. She probably will never progress past the junior level if she prioritizes her home life.
The Need For Steady Income
OP sees the extra work as a way to secure his job and climb the corporate hierarchy. He’s well aware that he’s only two rungs above the bottom and sees this as a stepping stone. He’s afraid if he doesn’t move up, he could be first in line for lay-offs.
A Ticking Clock
As OP’s wife’s due date approaches, the urgency to be present for the birth of their child grows. Each passing day adds to the strain on their relationship as OP’s wife becomes more anxious about giving birth alone.
A Battle of Priorities
OP faces a complicated juggling act, attempting to balance work commitments with the crucial event of his child’s birth. This situation presents a stark conflict between personal and professional responsibilities.
A Gamble on the Future
OP’s decision to extend his trip is a gamble, placing potential professional gains against immediate personal losses. The phone call has driven a wedge between OP and his wife. Their usually united front shows cracks as each stands their ground.
The Culminating Question
OP is left wondering if he’s the antagonist in this family drama. Faced with two conflicting demands, he questions whether he made the right choice, even as he acknowledges the urgency of proving himself professionally.
Was The Husband’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Do you realize that your wife is utterly terrified of giving birth? Every woman is especially the first time. Others have said you’re choosing work/money over her, but it’s not that simple. In her mind, you intentionally chose to abandon her when she needs you more than ever.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “A due date is an estimate. Babies come early, they come late, and once in a great while, they actually come on their due date. Is your career worth gambling that your baby won’t be born two weeks early?”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Your firm will forget you did them a favor, your wife will never forget or let you forget if you miss the birth of your child (and she might not be your wife for much longer).”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “I understand that you are worried about finances and want to climb the corporate ladder. But don’t kid yourself. You can be the most dependable and loyal person to a company, but you could very well be the first to get kicked if they chose to let people go.”