Every family carries with it slightly different traditions and beliefs, especially from one generation to the next.
Women’s expectations in the kitchen were recently discussed in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor epsi-theta was surprised at her mother and grandmother’s thoughts on the subject.
When they criticized her behavior, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she had done something wrong.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not making my husband a plate of food before myself?”
The OP was recently confused while having dinner at her grandmother’s.
“This came up recently and I’m wondering if I’m an a**hole for it.”
“Basically what happened was, I was in a situation where I had to stay at my grandmother’s house for about a week, with my entire family.”
“Dinner time came around, which my grandmother had cooked.”
“I waited until she had got her food, and then I went in and made myself a plate.”
“I sat down and I began eating.”
“My grandmother and my mother looked at me strangely, and my mom started in on me, saying that I was such a b***h for not making my husband a plate, and my grandmother agreed that I was rude.”
The OP didn’t understand their reasoning.
“They said that they both always made my grandfather, and my mom’s boyfriend, a plate before anyone else eats and it was the proper thing to do, and I’m an a**hole for not doing the same for my DH (dear husband).”
“[It was odd, because] my mom and grandma are usually adamant about a man not running my life, and not serving my man hand and foot, and equal partnership.”
“I’ve been married for two years, and when we were on our own, I typically always cooked, but I let my DH make his own plate, so he can make it how he wants.”
“The only time I fix it for him is if I want to split rations evenly, but that’s fairly rare.”
“AITA for not fixing his plate for him?”
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 pointed out the OP did not have to follow generational gender roles.
“NTA. Just because your mother and grandmother follow antiquated gender roles that create unnecessary work for women doesn’t mean you have to.”
“The only time I’d even think about making my husband a plate would be if he had his hands full with something else (like putting a kid to bed, fixing the kids’ plates, helping the dinner host with carrying or cleaning or etc), in which case it’s more a divide-and-conquer situation than me being a good little wifey serving at my husband’s pleasure.”
“Your husband is a big boy, and not only is he perfectly capable of making his own plate, but he can also clean it up afterward and wash it, too!”
“I’ll bet if he started doing the dinner dishes to lend grandma a hand, her little fingers would clutch her pearls so tight you’d have to take her to the ER to get them unclenched.” – AccessibleBeige
“NTA – it’s 2021, not 1821 and he is a big strong man who can make himself a plate, just how he likes it.”
“Maybe ask your DH what he’d most like you to do to treat him – I doubt serving him food like he’s a child is high on his list of priorities…” – gin_n_tonic_n_dog
“NTA. Your husband can make his own plate. This isn’t the 1950s.” – lihzee
“NTA. That’s a bunch of old-school traditionalist crap. Like the wife can’t eat before the man, he always gets seconds even if there isn’t enough for everybody, etc.”
“If you and your husband don’t care about a bunch of antiquated rules, good on you.” – maantre
Others said the OP should do what worked well for her marriage.
“My Mom and Dad were visiting us several years ago. After dinner, she and I prepared the dessert. She made two servings – one for Dad and one for her. I made my own. She asked if I wasn’t going to make one for my husband.”
“I looked at her with deep concern and asked her if he had injured himself. When she said no, I replied that in that case, he can get his own dessert since he wasn’t disabled and could walk himself to the kitchen if he wanted any. No more sexist comments during that visit at least!” – KathyKAustin1234
“If you think it’d be nice to fix him a plate and that he’d appreciate it, go for it! But no, you’re not missing anything, and you’re not shorting him or being a bad wife in any way.”
“Even if it was a situation where it could be expected of you, still NTA and there was no call for them to react like that. A gentle reminder ‘hey, maybe you should grab him a plate too since both his arms are broken’ would be enough.” – _senpaiinthestreets_
“If you want to do something nice [for your husband], then start by not letting outsiders interfere with your marriage. If you and your husband are happy then don’t let nosy people get in the way.” – Hamdown1
“I’m sure if your husband wanted you to be making him a plate he would ask.”
“Your relationship works fine the way it is. Don’t take other people’s ideals to heart.”
“I only ask family if they want me to make them a plate if they’re eating separately or something, or if I’m making food that only makes one meal worth (like salads we typically make for everyone).” – CodenameBuckwin
Though the mother and grandmother seemed adamant about this in the moment, the subReddit was quick to side with the OP: there was nothing wrong with her preparing a plate for herself and beginning to eat while her husband then got himself a plate.
Gender norms surely had their place at one time, but the reasons for them have largely changed. Though some are slow to let go of those mentalities, clearly the subReddit was not one of them.