With the rise of work-from-home employees during the pandemic, more people have discovered the unique difficulty of being able to work from the living room: finding a healthy work-life balance.
One guy on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit particularly struggled with this.
Redditor derphubby found it difficult to balance his work and the house chores in particular.
Feeling burned out, the Original Poster (OP) came up with a solution that he thought would be helpful, but his wife did not agree.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for hiring someone to help my wife instead of doing it myself?”
The OP worked from home and also handled most of the chores.
“I do most of the housework.”
“My wife worked at a family restaurant as a kid so she won’t do anything involving the kitchen or bathroom, including sharing the cooking. All of that falls on me, as well as dishes, laundry, pet care, yard care, car care, organizing, all of that fun stuff.”
“I work from home, so I’m working and doing all of that.”
“Most nights my wife comes home and gets to relax or go to her choir practice or her friends’ houses.”
“All she really does around the house is clean out the fridge once a week, tidy her craft room, put away her clean laundry, and split walking the puppies with me.”
“Yeah, we have puppies, who are messy, so right now messes are a constant to be cleaned up while we train them.”
“I get pretty tired and get maybe one day a week to just veg (relax).”
“Lately though, on weekends my wife is wanting to do big projects around the house. That means me doing all the heavy lifting AND doing whatever menial daily tasks there are.”
“I’ve mentioned the burnout before, but we haven’t really made progress there yet.”
With a vacation coming up, the OP wanted some time to relax.
“We’re going on vacation this week. I made it pretty clear to her Friday I intended to just relax this weekend before doing all of the prep for leaving and making sure the car is good to go.”
“Plus, we’re driving the entire way and she hates long-distance driving, so who’s going to be stuck doing all the driving too? This guy.”
When he didn’t get to relax, he hired some friends to do the work instead.
“Low and behold, Saturday rolls around and she wants to organize all our closets and the attic. I told her no, but she insisted on it.”
“So I called some friends of ours that are needing some extra cash who have previously offered to do odd jobs for us and other friends if needed.”
“I had them help my wife and I left for the day to go relax elsewhere.”
“My wife was p**sed and sent our friends home. I still paid them, but I really don’t think I was in the wrong.”
“My wife thinks otherwise and says that stuff like that is our responsibility and I shouldn’t try pawning it off on others.”
The OP later added some details about his wife’s ADHD after several Redditors asked.
“When I posted this, I didn’t think her having ADHD was a factor in how she previously helped with the chores or now, but hey, I learned something.”
“So yeah, she has ADHD, which would explain why she always spaced out/wandered off previously when we did do the chores together.”
“She is on medication for it and does have a therapist she works with.”
“I did know it was part of why her working in the restaurant has given her such an adverse stance to doing things in the kitchen and bathroom now.”
“She was undiagnosed at the time, so what they thought was her just being lazy and goofing off and criticizing her harshly for, was something out of her control at the time and she is currently getting help for that.”
Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some suggested having a tough conversation about chores.
“OP should sit down with his wife and map out everything he does at home, about how much time all of that takes, and how much off time he ends up with at the end of the day.”
“If she says anything negative then you can compare your schedules to show how much more free time she gets.”
“And if she still doesn’t think you do a lot, I would ask her if she would like to officially split the chores in half so that way you both get a similar amount of off time and if she refuses ask her why not.”
“If she mentions anything about how her free time is valuable, ask why is her time more valuable than yours.”
“After all that if she is still insistent that you don’t do much then you can think about going on a small strike, or possibly asking to go to couples therapy because she is obviously not taking your feelings and value into account.” – AnimalLover38
“I wanted to add an extra strategy to implement along with this plan. If she is 100% unwilling to change and do more chores, lay out options.”
“For example, in my household when we feel like the balance is skewed, we discuss how to cut down on certain aspects of cleaning (either long term or momentary cut. For example, washing the floors every two weeks instead of one).”
“Similar to what you attempted so it depends on whether she would listen or ignore you. Regardless I would write down the cleaning calendar with who does what in a prominent position.”
“Every week, at first, have a sit-down conversation about what worked and what didn’t work and what you would like to change. Start the meeting with goals as well: I want x amount of free time etc.”
“Also, another alternative is that -once you write everything down (goals, tasks, frequency desired, etc) for each of you and you are stuck in who will do what (namely if she refuses to help out) suggest hiring a cleaner that comes in once a month or more frequent. Set out options and costs.”
“Regardless, write it all down.” – mabelbae
“NGL (not gonna lie), I agree with you, but my instant thought is that she doesn’t view these projects as ‘work’ and more as an opportunity to work on something together.”
“I have a family member like this who legitimately enjoys yard work and car maintenance and their idea of a fun afternoon is to tidy up a flowerbed. Meanwhile, this is my idea of something that would violate the Geneva convention. I had to explicitly tell them, ‘I do this out of love for you but it’s not even remotely fun.'”
“While I agree that wife is a TA for not respecting OP’s very clearly stated boundary—’nothing on Saturday, SERIOUSLY’—it would be worthwhile to have a sit-down talk with her about household chore divisions and appropriate approaches to large projects.” – Stormdanc3
Others felt for the OP’s unequal living situation.
“NTA. She doesn’t sound like a co-equal partner in the house chores, so why is she dictating the tempo or the rules? She cleans her room, but not the shared spaces. She puts away her laundry? Does she leave yours?”
“It honestly sounds like she has the responsibilities I’d give a child living in the house, rather than an adult.”
“I’m not surprised you’re feeling burnout; you need support and space. If you can’t get that from her, then she’s not a partner, she’s a burden.” – kodiakke
“Lots of people work in cleaning or the food industry and still come home and cook food, and clean their home.”
“Unless she has PTSD or another medical condition from working at the restaurant, she’s just using it as an excuse to get you to do it instead.”
“If she did it well enough to get paid to do it, she knows how to do it properly. Seems like she just doesn’t WANT to do it. Well, guess what, nobody does. Tell her to suck it up and deal with it like an adult, because right now she’s just taking advantage of you.” – PieBandit
“Even if she doesn’t want to do the cooking or clean the bathroom there are others things that she could do to make it even.”
“She could clean the dish after eating, do all the laundry, vacuum the house … my boyfriend is not the best at making something to eat so I do it and he clean after me. He goes to the grocery store when I clean the house. Sometimes he does more than me and sometimes I do more but we have an agreement together.”
“Like, you know … a real partner.” – Gobadorgosleep
There are countless reasons why we may not want to, or may struggle with, certain tasks in the home. But as this subReddit pointed out, there are other tasks the OP’s wife could help with that would make their living situation more equal.
With the combination of working and cleaning, the OP’s home has become more of a place of responsibility than a place of rest.