I’m reaching out to you and hoping you would share any insight you might have.

I’m an INFP with one toddler. I want to have more kids but my ENTJ husband doesn’t want anymore. He says we can’t afford them. So I want to go back to work (community/career college teaching) to try to set aside enough money to have more kids, but wonder if this is pointless because I think my husband just doesn’t want more kids, period. And a lack of money is just the excuse he is giving me.

I feel a little useless because I’m not working, but I still leave them for 5 hours a day to have time for myself. I’m also not very good with emotional stuff. You and my husband allude to not being good in this area, but you’re both far more real, articulate, and honest than I am. So I don’t even bring the supposed INFP strengths to our relationship. My husband is really good at the things ENTJs typically excel at — leadership, decision making, real-time crisis management, and he’s better than I am at the stuff INFPs are supposed to be good at, like reading and responding to emotions and listening. I feel the only thing I’ve ever done really well was being pregnant and giving birth. I wish I could do it again.

When I read your posts and listen to you, I feel like you could be my husband’s soul sister or something. You’re so similar, and since I’m too hurt and scared to talk to him about this (again) and I don’t want him to feel pressured, I’m wondering if you have an intuition of what I should do or how I should handle this. Go back to work? Keep doing what I’m doing and get over wanting more kids? Perhaps if I hear it from you, it will be less triggering than hearing it from him.

Thank you so much for being who you are.

11 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    OMG this email makes me sad. You are great at the emotional stuff. That’s why you want to have another kid – because loving someone and caring for them feels so good to you.

    And you’re great at the emotional stuff because you have an inner life. That’s why you need five hours to yourself each day. If your husband or I had five hours we’d just work. Because we don’t have nearly as complex a mind as you do.

    Your husband is a dead fish when it comes to the emotionally complex roles of connecting the heart and putting relationships before work. That’s fine because you are great at that. But he’s not letting you do it. He’s not trusting you to know what’s best for the emotional side of the family. You don’t challenge him on what he’s great at and he shouldn’t challenge you on what you’re great at.

    He finds relationships messy and uninteresting so he doesn’t want more of them in his life. It’s not a money issue. That doesn’t make sense at all.

    Now that I think about it, I have to suggest to you that your husband is not an ENTJ. Because he’s not a very good one if he is. An ENTJ would be great at earning money so they’d never say no to another kid because of money. And an ENTJ is great at delegating, so it’s unlikely an ENTJ would tell an INFP how many kids to have.

    I think you should do a coaching session with me. I think we can get a much more clear picture of your husband and why he’s scared. And I can show you how to use the strengths you have to address those fears. In a coaching session, I think you will find that right now you are the one of the two of you who is feeling stronger and more at peace with your role in the world, and you can use that strength to guide him with your strong intuition.

    I hope you decide to do a coaching session. I think it would be transformative to you at this point in your life.

    Penelope

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      Penelope, I disagree with your comments that an ENTJ would not care about the number of children or the money to raise those children. My uncle is an extremely successful ENTJ and he never wanted to have any kids. His wife was able to convince him to have one kid (they ended up with twins), but he was adamant no more kids after the twins. And even if they had a single birth (not twins) I don’t think he would have agreed to have any more kids.

      Similarly to the letter writer, he cited money as an issue. I think he used money as an excuse because he wanted to maintain a particular lifestyle and which would extend to his kids (and his kids have had amazing opportunities to do tons of things that the average kid does not have access to). It’s clear from the letter that it is not about money if she is not working and they can afford day care so she can have 5 hours a day to herself.

      I also suspect that he didn’t want more kids because the kids took his wife’s time and attention away from him and he as an individual and they as a couple had less freedom to do what they (he) wanted. But he treats her very well and they seem quite happy.

      I question whether the letter writer’s hubby would even want her to have a job because it would limit her time with him even further. At least that was the case with my uncle. When the kids were older, she wanted to get a job and he didn’t want her to.

      I would suggest that if the letter writer wants more kids she should press for more kids now. And as part of her pitch she should include the argument that if they have another soon they will have fewer years of kids at home. The longer they wait the more spread out the time of little kids in the house is.

  2. Melody
    Melody says:

    I love that you’re asking these questions. I’m an INFP too, without any kids yet, and I can’t wait to have a houseful of kids to love! Hopefully you and your husband can find some common ground. I understand your need for alone time, too. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t have time to read or just explore my thoughts. Some people think that attribute is incompatible with parenting, though. What do you think, Penelope?

    • Rayne of Terror
      Rayne of Terror says:

      ISFP here. Having kids is really hard for a few years. I really struggled with lack of down time with my first child. But you get acclimated to it and I think every year after 18 months is better and better. Sometimes they “What if” me to death, but at 7 & 11, they are fun and interesting people who bring new music & books & movies into my life. At this point I wish we’d bit the bullet and had more. I might not have survived more infants, but elementary schoolers & tweens are just great.

  3. Missy
    Missy says:

    Sounds like he’s like my hubby. We had this conversation but I’m a ENTP, so only wanted another kid for purpose of someone for my son, not me. So we got a dog. LOL

    My hubby is an ISTJ and money was absolutely his reason. I always thought he was an ENTJ or ESTJ (he toes the line between N and S, as do I, but he’s more of a details freak) but he always comes out as an introvert and he’s very protective, in a duty sort of manner. Way too pragmatic over this kind of stuff. I am so short and hope you can find a compromise. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but I’d imagine it’s heartbreaking to an NF.

  4. Anoel
    Anoel says:

    I’m an INFP too and I really like Penelope’s advice and encourage you to do a coaching session with her. Don’t put yourself down, you really do have great emotional and inner life talents compared to many people. I would encourage having an honest talk with your husband about how important having more children is to you and that you’re willing to work with him to make it happen. Can you find ways to lower expenses and can he find ways to make more money? Maybe you have a special talent you can use to make money on the side or you could get a part time job or make extra money helping to take care of a friend’s child (instead of them going to daycare). If nothing else, I would encourage you to look into jobs where you can work with kids if that’s something you enjoy doing.

  5. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    All children deserve two parents who want to be parents. If his answer is no, then THE answer is no, because you shouldn’t have kids if only one of you wants more kids.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      I agree with this to an extent- many people don’t know what and if about kids, until kids are in their lives and hopefully those that were adamantly against it (if it happens) adjust appropriately.

      It is ideal to have both people choosing together to have children as it is normally a two parent responsibility and not as stressful when done together.

      How much is this poster’s husband involved with the current child? If he’s not, he probably will be as the toddler gets older, but that is a ways off. They get immensely more tolerable and interesting as they grow into more developed people.

      I think they should see someone together to sort through this process so they understand better where each other is coming from. It could be money, it could be the stress of child raising, it could be a time thing.

      She says she leaves them both (the kid and hubby) for 5 hours a day. If you are leaving them that long a) does he work from home? and do childcare? and barely make ends meet? Is he disabled? or b) do you mean you take the kid to daycare? If you have all this excess time, I’m wondering why the decisions haven’t been made yet to either have a child, or go to work. Something big is missing here.

      I don’t think this is the area to find an answer to a huge life decision without the husband present as well. I would suggest couples counselling to get to the bottom of it, together.

      • Pirate Jo
        Pirate Jo says:

        Yes, they definitely need to see someone together. Anonymous made a good point, too – money IS an issue. Maybe the husband wants to provide a better life for the child they already have. They are paying for daycare already (without her earning an income) and that cost will double with another kid.

        Something else bothers me about this letter, too. The LW’s OWN WORDS were, “I feel the only thing I’ve ever done really well was being pregnant and giving birth.” Which is seriously messed up.

  6. Caro
    Caro says:

    Why would you want more kids when you can’t even spend all day with the one you have? At what age is the baby going to be sent to daycare? I think you should be working now when you aren’t with your child. Too much time to think could be part of the problem.

    • Caro
      Caro says:

      And for the record, I am an INFP at home with my toddler. I never wanted to be a SAHM but love it. I have to go back to work part-time soon and wish I didn’t.

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