Before having a baby, couples have to talk through all the many working parts of raising a child, including child care, working arrangements, sleep schedules, and more.
But sometimes what is decided before the baby is born isn’t so effective when put into practice, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Scary-Razzmatazz-195 was surprised by his wife’s reaction to the sleep schedule they agreed on before their baby was born, though she’d thought the arrangement was a good idea.
But when he tried to offer new solutions that she then refused to consider, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do next.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to wake up to take care of our baby?”
The OP and his wife agreed to their sleep schedule upon having a baby together.
“My wife Katie (25 Female) and I (28 Male) had our first baby together about three months ago. I’m an athlete and Katie’s a stay-at-home mom.”
“Sleep is very important for me because of my sport. I can’t be waking up multiple times throughout the night and be sleep deprived.”
“Katie and I talked about this before trying for a kid, and I told her that I can’t compromise my sleep for anything short of an emergency.”
“I specifically mentioned that I wouldn’t be waking up during the night to help with the baby, but we could hire a night nurse to help out.”
But the OP’s wife wasn’t comfortable with it later.
“Things had been going smoothly until a few days ago when Katie was being cold and distant.”
“I asked if something was wrong, and she said everything was fine.”
“She was quiet for a while, then finally mentioned that it’s extremely unfair that I’m not helping her at all with the baby during the night.”
“I acknowledged that she has been working hard and not getting much sleep, but we also previously agreed to this arrangement.”
The couple also couldn’t come to a compromise.
“Katie has refused to hire a night nurse to help because she doesn’t trust someone new to watch our baby alone during the night. I suggested that she could have a family member help, but she didn’t want to burden them.”
“So we’ve been at an impasse. She still doesn’t want to hire help, and I’m still not waking up during the night.”
The OP also included some additional information to help with rating the post.
“We have a maid that cleans and does the laundry multiple times per week, and we also have a meal delivery service that makes a majority of our food. So I’m not just dumping tons of housework on her.”
“Katie doesn’t have a problem with the maid being around the baby because she’s known her for a while now.”
“We’ve also been going to regular doctor and therapist appointments, they don’t think she’s suffering from postpartum.”
“Hiring a night nurse would not be a financial burden, so the cost isn’t the issue.”
“I spend as much time as I can caring for and bonding with our baby, just not during the night when I’m sleeping.”
“I am a professional athlete, and my sport is our primary source of income.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some cheered for the OP for trying to present his wife with additional options.
“NTA. I thought this would be the normal story of the wife doing all the baby stuff, cooking, cleaning, etc.”
“But you have a maid and food service, so she mostly just does the baby stuff.”
“And seeing as how this is the only thing you’ve told her (and made clear before even having a baby) plus giving her multiple solutions, you’re definitely NTA.” – IDK_Im_someone
“NTA. As a fresh dad myself, I was also expecting this to go into the Realm of Entitlement, but I actually think this isn’t unreasonable.”
“I would want to stress that since this is your first child, neither of you may have been fully able to grasp the amount and sort of work this involves. I am not surprised your wife is having second thoughts regarding the arrangement.”
“Perhaps since you are a pro, you could speak with a medical professional about how waking up to care for your child would influence your health, and if maybe sleeping at another time or whatever could compensate so you can help at night too, or at least some nights.”
“We have two kids, a three-year-old and a four-week-old, and are soooo lucky they both sleep all night, but that took some effort from both of us, and we have both been dead tired and high-strung certain days, so even with the two of us it hasn’t been a cakewalk.”
“Stay open-minded and try helping her at night at least once so you know how it goes, good luck, and enjoy your little baby. Beautiful days!” – erwin76
“She has every resource and comfort available to her and yet is resentful because her husband isn’t the one doing the helpful things, just paying for them by doing the work (that he needs plenty of good sleep to keep doing well). Illogical.”
“She has an emotional motivation here. She’s not valuing his input into the relationship and seeing it as equal to hers. He funds the family’s existence yet she resents that he is not doing what she perceives is ‘enough’ because he doesn’t get up during the night. That sort of entitlement is myopic.” – SelectWay5519
“Seems to me she wants him to suffer because she is suffering, so they both should be. Awful mindset. Especially when he was so crystal clear up front and offered her literal staff (including a NIGHT NURSE that she’s *refusing*) for help.”
“This is what makes her TA to me. She doesn’t want a solution, she wants him to join her in misery or nothing else.” – ingodwetryst
“Sleep habits for athletic performance aren’t magical mysteries with secret solutions. Based on the time of day when he is expected to compete, there is a specific window when he must sleep, and when he must be up. And varying that from night to night? Get real, no, completely unacceptable for a pro.”
“His competitions, his recovery, workouts, practices, nutrition, and sleep are all parts of his job and professional obligation. His wife doesn’t get a vote in that. And they are tied to physiological phenomena that cannot be reasoned or negotiated with.”
“Also, for f**k’s sake, this is literally her only thing. She does not work, clean, or cook. And he’s even offered to hire help with this, her only thing, so that instead of literally having no obligations but to care for her baby, she can just do whatever she feels like. And all of that luxury and ease depends on the man just getting his sleep at night.” – Mikeburlywurly1
Others recognized how tough it would be for both of them to have a new baby.
“NAH. I absolutely sympathize with your wife, I do. It’s SO hard in the beginning. Give her some grace-sleep deprivation is no joke and can totally change a person (temporarily). Is there maybe even one night a week you can help? An off-season where you can help a bit?”
“I hope if things don’t improve with baby’s sleep she will hire a night nurse so she isn’t so resentful, as unfortunately sounds like that’s where things are going.”
“Best of luck to you all.” – bokatan778
“Given the lack of sleep, postpartum, and having just given birth, the wife is not thinking clearly. If you are the spouse that brings home the income you need your sleep because you’re a professional sports player, I’m sure she wouldn’t want to jeopardize your job.”
“Ultimately, I think she will have to get a night nurse. Plenty of people do this and the baby is just fine. NAH.” – EmeraldBlueZen
“NTA or NAH – very reasonable solutions. But on a different note; am I the only one curious about what kind of sport is being played & who this pro athlete is?” – jules_Sweetheart
“NAH, but I think your wife really needs some tender care and appreciation from you. She’s probably feeling exhausted and lonely. Perhaps you can talk to her gently about how she is doing?” – birdwalk
“I also think a lot of commenters are underestimating the severe guilt and shame some social circles put on moms who admit to getting outside help, it wildly depends on who you’re surrounded by and the extent to which you buy into it, but even on other AITA posts where someone is reluctant to hire a sitter for their baby for [insert occasion here], there are tons of comments every time agreeing with them like ‘wow, yeah, I could NEVER leave my X month old with a stranger.'”
“There was even an article last year or so where a woman wrote about the joy and relief of hiring a night nanny and how much better of a mom she is now that she sleeps through the night and wakes up refreshed and ready to take care of her baby, and people WENT OFF on her.”
“There was a whole internet s**tstorm. You’d think she’d written an article about how every night she leaves her baby on a stump in the woods to see if the wolves will take it.”
“So if OP’s wife is sleep deprived and the message she’s received and internalized growing up and/or from her peers and role models is that kind of attitude (even if they’re all full of shit and playing Poster Mommy for social media and their friends but keeping a secret army of carers behind the scenes), then I’m not surprised she’s fighting this night nurse thing so hard even though to several of us here it’s the obvious solution.”
“If it’s been drilled into her head that REAL parents who REALLY care about their kids would do it themselves, then it makes perfect sense why she thinks the two of them need to be doing this together.”
“Definitely NAH, and I think OP is absolutely right, it’s just going to take a lot of gentleness and compassion from OP to help his wife through this. From his edit, it sounds like he’s on the right track! I hope they work through it and come out stronger and happier and better rested.” – anysidhe
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“Some of you mentioned the idea of doing a test run period with a night nurse helping out during the day while other people are awake and around, which I think is a good idea.”
“I talked to Katie about hiring a night nurse to temporarily help her out during the day, and she agreed and seemed happy about the idea. That way she can get familiar with the new nurse and feel more comfortable about transitioning to a full-night type of arrangement.”
“She also apologized for lashing out at me and explained that she was mostly too embarrassed to ask her family for more help when she already has hired help as a stay-at-home mom. So we agreed to ask my sister since they have a really good relationship.”
“My sister has offered to come by one by two nights per week to watch our son until Katie’s comfortable having the night nurse be full-time and alone. That way Katie immediately gets at least some uninterrupted sleep too for now.”
“As some of you figured out I play baseball. The season officially starts in late March with Spring Training in late Feb, so I won’t be home much because of the travel schedule. So that at least gives us a couple of months to get comfortable with a night nurse/nanny so she isn’t too overwhelmed.”
“Thank you all for the feedback, both good and bad.”
The subReddit was troubled by what the couple was going through, and while some were critical of the wife for not being more receptive to the OP’s ideas, they were otherwise empathetic of how hard the early months of parenthood are. Given time, the wife would hopefully learn to accept the help that so many other mothers are not offered.