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Financially-Struggling Dad Upsets Wife By Calling Daughter’s Ballet Lessons A ‘Waste Of Money’

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When money is tight, families are forced to make sacrifices.

Sometimes,  they might be small, such as postponing a vacation, not going out to favorite restaurants as much as one might like, or getting a cheaper brand of food.

Sometimes, however, more extreme sacrifices are necessary from all members of the family, even if one or more might put up a fight to justify the expense.

Redditor Civil_Ant5300 and his family were forced to reevaluate their budget, and cut certain things from their daily expenses.

As a result,  the original poster (OP) was less than thrilled to notice a significant expense being used on their toddler.

And expense which the OP told his wife was a “waste of money”, leaving her in tears.

Concerned they might have overreacted, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for calling my daughter’s ballet lessons a waste of money in an argument?”

The OP explained how he felt their family’s budget didn’t justify an expense their wife was spending on their youngest daughter, despite her protests to the contrary.

“I (31 M[ale]) live with my wife (30 F[emale]).”

‘We have two kids, (6 F) and (2 F).”

“We’ve recently had a bit of financial difficulty as our rent got increased and my job has been cutting my hours.”

‘We aren’t struggling to survive but we need to count our coins before buying any luxuries.”

“I managed to get a second job to make up for the cut hours but we still need to be very mindful about where our money goes and I’ve had a few discussions with my wife about it.”

“My wife is a stay at home mom.’

“Our eldest goes to school from 8am to 4pm.”

“My job covers childcare for our youngest and she goes to daycare from 8am to 2pm, 3 days a week.”

“I take the kids to school and daycare and my wife picks them up.”

“I noticed some transactions from our shared bank account that were unusual and I asked my wife about it.”

“She explained that she’s been taking our youngest to ballet lessons in the afternoons after daycare once a week, and each lesson is £30.”

“I got annoyed because my wife didn’t discuss this with me and £30 a week is quite a bit of money.”

“I asked her to stop taking her to the lessons because we can’t afford them but suggested she look for cheaper activities, preferably something both of our children could enjoy.”

“My wife protested and said that our youngest really enjoys the ballet, she called me an asshole and said that I’m depriving my daughter of something that could help her future, and that we can find a way to afford them.”

“I called the lessons a waste of money and told my wife that we are partners and she shouldn’t spend large amounts without discussing it, especially when we don’t have a lot as it is.”

“My wife started crying and said that something that makes our child happy isn’t a waste of money.”

“She went into our room and slammed the door and that was the end of that conversation.”

“Since then, my wife hasn’t really been speaking to me and I wonder if I was the AH here.”

“The childcare for our 2 year old is covered as a benefit from my job, so we aren’t paying for it.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for telling his wife that the their daughter’s ballet lessons were a waste of money.

Just about everyone was in agreement that their daughter was too young to have an opinion on ballet, so she shouldn’t be taking a class they couldn’t afford, with many also feeling that the price tag on those classes was way too high, even if some felt that the OP could have chosen his words a little more carefully.

“I’m just trying to grasp what a ballet class for a 2YO even looks like.”

“NTA.”- UsuallyWrite2

“£30 a lesson?”

“That’s a lot of money.”

“Most places I know charge £5 for kids dance classes.”

“£30 would be the total cost per term not class.”- No-Yam1369

“What kind of ballet school takes 30 quid for a kids class?”

“You can get beginner‘s classes from 10 quid.”

“NTA.”- katwoodruff


“When money is tight, things have to be given up, and ballet lessons for a two-year-old fall into that category.”

“Your wife was also wrong to unilaterally decide to sign your child up for the lessons in the first place.”

“She put your child in the position of being unnecessarily disappointed when a conversation on the subject beforehand, along with a discussion on other possible options, could have avoided the mess entirely.”

“If your wife feels so strongly about the lessons, perhaps she could take a part time or online position to cover the additional expense of the classes.”

“That seems like a fair compromise if she truly finds the lessons necessary even with your current financial situation.”- MrDarcysDead


“£120 a month for just 4 lessons is a lot of money when ur struggling.’

“She definitely should have discussed it with you and u could have found an alternative together.”

“There’s plenty of other things ur children can do that makes them happy which isn’t expensive, find an alternative and speak to her about it, ur child’s only 6 she’ll forget about it in a month or 2.”-Ashamed-Movie9652

“£30 per lesson for a two year old?!?”

‘Even if she was getting private tuition from Darcey Bussell that’s an insane amount to pay.”

“Ballet lessons don’t have to cost anything like that much, it’s a relatively inexpensive activity for kids because until they start doing pointe work the equipment is fairly cheap.”- MoogOfTheWisp

“From the way this sounds, you are both on VERY different pages when it comes to your household finances.”

“You might be feeling more of the pressure of the tight finances, since you’re the one responsible for bringing in dollars.”

“You have tried to have conversations before about the budget, and are still just not in the same place if you are saying £30 a week is too much and your wife is saying it isn’t.”

“You both need to understand and recognize the reality of your situation, and recognize that things like utilities and food are just going to keep getting more and more expensive this winter.”

“You are NTA for being anxious about money, and while you could have put it more gently, it seems like other messages haven’t gotten across.”

“Your wife is an AH for refusing to listen to your concerns, running away from the conversation, and avoiding talking to you.”

“I’m also going to give your wife some side eye about how much your daughter will be helped in the future by ballet lessons.”

“If money is really terribly tight right now, waiting six months to begin lessons will not stifle her dance prodigy.”- distrustfuldiscovery

“If you are already struggling she cannot unilaterally decide to spend another 120£/month.”

“She should have discussed it with you.”

‘There are plenty of other, cheaper, options what your toddler could do instead.”

“For me you’re NTA.”

“I dont understand the “waste of money” comment as ‘there is no benefit at all’ but rather as ‘the cost-benefit-ratio is very unfavorable which is unnecessary because there are cheaper clubs with equal benefit’.”- Impressive_Brain6436


“She should’ve spoke to you first before enrolling your daughter in a ballet class.”

“You’re supposed to be partners.”

“If she really wants those classes to continue, she can go back to work.”

“You already have a second job and are supporting the family financially.”

“She can do the same.”- Kitchen_Reporter_318


“My Mom was a SAHM and Dad was the breadwinner with one full time and usually a part time job.”

“She volunteered in our school nursing office, did the PTA letters, organized the costumes for the musicals, and didn’t miss a beat. Dinner was always ready.”

“Our clothes were clean.”

“We were always picked up on time, by her.”

“When we were in school she had part time jobs.”

“She was a lunch lady, retail worker, and cleaned offices.”

“Anything that allowed her to put us first but brought in some coin.”

‘And guess what that coin was for?”

“All the extra fun stuff that isn’t in a family budget.”

“Extra ice cream after a good report card, maybe tap dancing lessons, or summer camp for my brother.”

“I can legitimately say the 2 to 3 hours a day she worked did not have a negative impact on our home or our childhood.”

“In fact if anything it made mom even better because she had something she cared about other than us kids.”

“It gave her a sense of purpose.”

“And she was extremely proud when she got to go in the cookie jar and pull her own money out and treat us to something really special.”- Delilah_Moon

If ballet does indeed make their daughter happy, one can understand why the OP’s wife might have been upset.

Particularly at the words “waste of money”.

However, she will hopefully understand that when money is tight, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify certain expenses.

And as many others have pointed out, perhaps the OP’s wife can find a less expensive place for their daughter to take class.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.