I own a company, and my wife has a senior executive-level position at it. 14 months ago, she gave birth to our son. We elected to have a C Section and she went on maternity leave a month before she was scheduled for it.
My wife expected that 3 months would be more than enough. However, after giving birth, and having agreed that we would only be having one child together ( I already had 3 daughters), my wife was exceptionally adamant about not missing a moment of our son’s formative moments because she knew that he’d only be a baby for so long.
When the time came when she should have gone back to the office, I didn’t have the heart to refuse her when she said she needed more time. After giving birth, she joined a mom-specific life coaching program and still sees a life coach regularly. She also volunteered for underprivileged kids.
After a year had flown by people started asking my wife when she was coming back. Unbeknownst to them, my wife had discussed the fact that she had some light abdominal separation and wanted a tummy tuck, after which she was itching to get back to work. Around that time, another employee at the company, ” Mary”, had gone on maternity leave.
Around a month ago, we decided to go for it and the surgery went perfectly. My wife was advised to take at least two weeks off from work, but her doctor said to take 4. However, the other day, my wife asked me for around two more weeks before she officially went back to work because more rest after surgery couldn’t hurt. I agreed and we announced that she would be resuming her duties on February 1st.
Mary spent 5 weeks after giving birth at home before returning to the office. Yesterday, after only a few days back at the office, she asked her manager if she could take more time off, begging for at least a week. The manager in question brought this up with me, and I told him to deny Mary her request. The reason is that while my wife’s duties could be taken up by others, Mary’s team was borderline understaffed and her customer service position required her to be there at work. One person leaving is tough on the rest.
When I went to personally tell Mary this, she looked very upset. She angrily said that my wife has been gone for a year and that the nurse she sees blames the stress and body pains caused by coming back so early for her struggles in breastfeeding. I apologized but reiterated that it was a busy season for the customer service team and that perhaps we could discuss her getting more time off down the line.
When I told my sister about this encounter, she said I was being a jerk for giving my wife special treatment.
Do you guys think Im wrong for denying Mary’s request after having just allowed my wife an extra two weeks?