Running a household while working is difficult, and in multiple-adult households it’s important to divide and conquer in order to be successful. But what do you do when one persons idea of division of labor is wildly different from the other?
Reddit user “ozororo” found herself butting heads with her husband, particularly after he gifted her something to hint that she should do more.
She asked the AITA (“Am I The A**hole?”) subReddit for their thoughts on how she handled it.
“AITA for wanting to return a cookbook that my husband got me and refusing to cook?”
Before we get into the details of this gifting goof-up, let’s talk about how AITA works.
The subReddit is devoted to sorting out those “morally ambiguous” moments in life where you’re not sure if you’re being the bad guy or not.
Users share their stories as posts. Then other users reply to the original poster (“OP”) in the comments, casting a vote while they’re at it.
Voting options are:
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
So let’s get back to the details of her story.
“When my husband and I first got married, I did most of the cooking. I was also working less hours.”
“Then we had kids and I was a stay-at-home mom, so it just made sense. However, once our kids reached elementary age, I re-entered the workforce.”
“This time, my workload doubled. I tried at first to cook every night, prep in advance, etc. but at the end of the day, I was exhausted.”
“I shared this with my husband and he agreed to help with the cooking and we began to split it.”
“As our kids got older and my workload increased, my husband’s decreased. His field has taken a nose dive and he works a lot less hours than he used to. We’ve been fine financially because of my workload.”
“We eventually agreed that he would do all of the cooking to offset me doing all the cleaning and a majority of the stuff with the kids.”
“It’s not that I never cook, I will on nights my husband has to work late or if he’s not feeling well. But most of the time, he is cooking.”
“For Christmas, my husband and I don’t typically do presents. We save the money to either vacation (in non-COVID times) or to do repairs that we need around the house. This year was no different.”
“I did end up getting him a toolbox because he desperately needed a new one.”
“He got me something too and I wasn’t expecting anything big…but he got me a cookbook.”
” ‘The Happy in a Hurry Cookbook: 100-Plus Fast and Easy New Recipes That Taste Like Home.’ “
“I don’t cook anymore. It felt a little pointed.”
“I pretended to love it as he went on and on about how it’s been advertised on the news and is great.”
“It’s been nearly a month since Christmas and the cookbook has gone unused by me. I got a notification that my favorite author just put out a new book.”
“I asked my husband for the receipt so I could exchange the cookbook. He was hurt.”
“I asked him why he’d get this for me when I don’t cook.”
“He said he hoped it would ‘inspire’ me.”
“I asked if he was going to then pick up the slack elsewhere and he said no.”
“I said, so basically, we go back to me doing everything when I work more?”
“He stammered over his words.”
“I told him that he could keep the cookbook but that I wasn’t going to add anything to my to do list.”
“The next day, the book and a receipt was on my nightstand. We haven’t spoken since.”
“Am I being an a**?”
Reddit was absolutely clear about this vote—as far as they’re concerned, OP is absolutely NTA here.
“An UNORIGINAL chauvinist. This man just did the equivalent of giving you a vacuum cleaner as a present, and he’s mad that you called him on it.”
“Maybe he feels like you did the same by getting him a toolbox (did he ask for it?), but given that you didn’t mention any agreement for you to do home repairs, it’s definitely pointed in his case. NTA.”
“And if I were you, because I am a petty person, I would buy a new cookbook and give it to him, to ‘inspire’ him. But I’m not married for a reason, lol.” – affictionitis
“The gift would have been fine if the intention behind it was truly to please you OP. NTA because of the ‘inspiration’ thing.”
“Urgh. Way to turn a gift to you into something for him.” – miawmiaw_
“I mean, there is hope…”
“He stammered over his own words. She asked him, while pointing out all the shit she does anyways, if this is what he was suggesting – he kept silent because he realized what he did and what it would mean to respond to her question.”
“And the next day he delivered what she asked for in the first place.”
“I’d keep an eye out on that behavior, but to me it seems like OPs hubby took a a detour through ‘how much can I get away with’-land and took the correct exit out to straighten up the issue.”
“NTA OP, some things just take a little time to be less awkward. Don’t feel sorry for clarifying your and his responsibilities.”
“He stumbled, you made it clear where you stand, best case scenario he apologizes for such a bad look.” – Mesophalis
“Did you see the title of the cookbook? It was not ‘sparking joy’ – it was a utilitarian 100 recipes that can be cooked fast (presumably so she can spend her nonexistent spare time cleaning some more up after him.)”
“He seriously could find nothing else than the one thing they had an actual come to Jesus chat on, where she explained she dislikes it and was no longer doing it?”
“There’s two possibilities here. One: lazy person tries to get out of doing their one single chore.”
“Two: person is so criminally stupid that they can’t remember their spouses clearly expressed certainty that they were no longer going to cook.”
“I feel sorry for OP for being married to either of those people.” – ShoestringSam
“The book and receipt on your night stand are your proof.”
“He couldn’t answer because there was no answer he could give except to agree with you, and he was too much of an ass to admit it to your face.”
“Take the win and hold your head up high. You’re in the right and until he admits it openly, let him slink around. NTA.” – usernaym44
“NTA – this was passive-aggressive at best.”
“No point in keeping a book you won’t use. If he’s tired of cooking, but you’re still doing more work – then it should be open to debate that he’ll shift more to other responsibilities.”
“But you going back to more cooking without re-division of labor, when your workload has not changed isn’t a fair deal.” – Kay_Elle
“NTA. You do all other chores and most of the childcare? He is TA for that alone.”
“Whatever made you agree to such an inequitable deal?”
“Now he’s giving you the silent treatment because he wanted you to take over his ONE chore and you naturally refused. I feel so bad for you.” – terrapharma
What it seemed to come down to most people wasn’t the fact that he got her a cookbook, it was pretty much everything else about the situation.