When we’re in love and excited to see where the relationship is going, it can be hard to anticipate all of the important topics we should cover before committing to a life-long relationship with our partner.
But one subject that everyone should absolutely discuss is children, meaning, whether or not to have them, how many to have, and preferred parenting styles, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor opaquesilence and his wife had disagreed for years about how many children to have, as his wife wanted a bigger family, while he was concerned about the logistics of having more kids.
When they ended up having more children than the Original Poster (OP) was comfortable with, he debated what sort of presence he wanted to have in his expanding family’s life.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not wanting to help my SO (significant other) with our twins?”
The OP and his wife could not come to an agreement about how many children to have.
“We have four kids together in total, ages six, four, one, and one.”
“For context, I have always been vocal about not wanting more than two kids. Our firstborn is a boy, and our secondborn is a girl, so I was happy to have one of each.”
“I am the sole breadwinner as daycare costs would not make it worth it for her to work as well.”
The couple also could not agree on the forms of birth control they’d use.
“After our second child, I told her I was done and wanted to have a vasectomy.”
“She was against that and wanted to have a third.”
“We fought about this for months (I didn’t want to get it done against her will). Her reason for wanting another was that she always wanted a bigger family.”
“My reason against was that I felt that she had a hard time keeping up with daily tasks with only two kids.”
“I also spoke to her at length about how another child would be financially unsustainable since I have two jobs and am barely making ends meet (not to mention that I too am exhausted all the time).”
Their continued disagreements led to a life the OP did not want.
“Anyway, before we could reach a conclusion she fell pregnant (she was on the pill and according to her, barely ever missed a day).”
“We now have a total of four beautiful children that I love, but I can not bring myself to give her the extra help for the twins.”
“We now are stressed and fight all the time. I sometimes want to help her with the twins, but it gets me so discouraged to see everything I warned her against come to pass.”
The OP was doing the only thing now that he could think to do.
“I know they are my children, too, but it is not fair to get yourself in a situation when everyone is advising you against it… and then ask for help when the s**t hits the fan.”
“Now when I come home from work, I help just as much as I used to with our first two children, nothing more and nothing less.”
“AITA for refusing to help my wife with the twins?”
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 reassured the OP that he could get the vasectomy for his body that he wanted.
“NTA in regard to already knowing your boundary and that you didn’t have energy prior to having the twins.”
“No, I don’t think anyone can find magic money to help with funding life so they can find more time for other activities. Yes, because your kids all deserve to have the love and attention equally. That is assuming there is a decline in the attention the kids are getting.”
“I would suggest getting that vasectomy completed now. You have had the conversation and her side has been filled. She wanted more kids, and she got them, so now you should get what you want, and that is a vasectomy.”
“I would really suggest counseling for both of you, though, because this is already causing stress.” – Rare_Explorer5001
“You really should have worn a condom if you were one hundred percent sure you didn’t want any more children. Whether it was a birth control failure or whether she lied to you doesn’t really matter at this point. Hopefully, you’ll have a vasectomy now or you’re wearing a condom just in case.”
“If you’re working two jobs, other than not doing anything to add to her workload, I don’t know what else you’re supposed to do.”
“NTA, but by not using protection when you were adamant you didn’t want more children, you’re definitely complicit in the fact that you have four kids now instead of two.” – angelcake
“I think this is an all-out messed up situation. I’m going with NTA.”
“You work not one but TWO jobs. And on top of that, she wants you to do MORE than what you normally do. You’re already exhausted from work. On top of helping at home.”
“So how would everyone feel if you lost one or both jobs and were unable to financially take care of the home? Because due to being exhausted, your work performance becomes bad? Then it’ll be your fault for losing your job just like everyone saying YTA for not wanting to contribute more with helping with the kids.”
“It a no-win for you, it seems.” – DaTruCre
“NTA, BUT you really do need to help out for the kids’ sake really. I know you didn’t want them, and you very clearly told her your valid and perfectly rational reasons why, but the babies are here now, and they will need you.”
“But don’t ask about the vasectomy again, get it done regardless of her opinion on your own bodily rights.” – Earthlywayfarer
“NTA, BUT, instead of ‘not helping with the twins,’ couldn’t you simply give as much time as you always have? It’s not right to show preference.”
“It’s not the children’s fault. You both did the tango. Granted, it sounds a little suspicious, but the fact remains that all of those children deserve your time and love, not just the ones you wanted.” – effiebaby
But others felt the OP needed to take responsibility for his part in this situation.
“So you’re neglecting your children just to punish your wife and make your point. Got it, YTA.” – bononomous
“Look, the kids are here. Your wife is drowning, and instead of throwing her a life preserver, you are standing on the boat with your arms crossed, yelling, ‘I told you to swim!’ That won’t help a drowning person. And if she drowns, how will that impact all four of your kids?”
“The only thing your behavior is going to cause is divorce or serious PPD (Postpartum Depression). You two need counseling desperately. But what those kids need, and it is the KIDS (all four of them) that matter, are two functional parents who put them first. Not their Dad pulling a selfish ‘I told you so’ to their mom while she struggles.”
“Here is what I know: if Mom is seriously overwhelmed as you state, she is going to be a crappy parent to all four kids. Your role, as a father to these kiddos, is to be the best father and role model for them you can be, and part of that is stepping in where your wife is too exhausted to parent well and picking up the slack.” – Adventurous-Try1728
“His fertility is his responsibility. He could have worn condoms that he kept with him so they couldn’t be sabotaged. I don’t care what the wife did, if she baby-trapped him or not, had he taken responsibility, it wouldn’t have mattered what she did.”
“It’s 100% on him for making someone else responsible for his fertility and being upset at the outcome. And now, he’s also punishing his kids for something they took no part in.”
“For the OP, YTA.” – AcmeKat
“YTA, OP. She did not ‘get herself into’ this situation.”
“Step One: Go get a vasectomy.”
“Step Two: Stop being so selfish.”
“Step Three: Get help from friends and family.”
“Step Four: Instead of spending time arguing, change the diapers, and feed the kids. You’re wasting energy blaming her and making your children feel unwanted.”
“Step Five: Have no sex until the test confirms your vasectomy was successful.”
“Step Six: Apologize to your wife.”
“Step Seven: Grow up!” – N_Inquisitive
“You didn’t need her permission to have a vasectomy, and you didn’t need her permission to use condoms, but you didn’t do either and now these kids are your responsibility.”
“In the post, you are strongly hinting but not saying that you believe that your wife got pregnant on purpose. Obviously, I have no idea if she did. If she did, this would be an ESH.”
“It doesn’t make you N T A. More to the point, if you believe she got pregnant on purpose, I don’t understand why it is more important to hint this to strangers on Reddit than to talk to your own wife about it.” – Rikutopas
After receiving feedback, the OP shared some thoughts on the comments.
“Thanks for your replies. You guys held no punches and tore me a new a**hole in the process.”
“Jokes aside, I’m here to address the recurring concerns.”
The OP didn’t agree with fellow Redditors’ comments about his wife’s workload at home.
“We live in a small house and meal prep for a couple of days at a time, so cleaning and cooking shouldn’t take long. My eldest is in school during the day and my four-year-old actually helps with the twins.”
“My wife is tired all the time not because to the workload but because she spends all day on her phone even going to bed past 3:00 AM daily because she ‘lost track of time.'”
“On my days off, I used to take over so that she could rest, and it takes me a little over an hour to do everything and I manage to put the kids to bed by 7:30 PM. I feel that I am feeding into her bad habit (phone) by being so hands-on.”
The OP also explained his opinion about birth control.
“I understand that the pill is not a one hundred percent guarantee of protection, but she does not enjoy sex with condoms, which is why we use birth control. Marriage is about trust.”
“As for abstinence, anyone that lives with their SO (significant other) will tell you that it’s easier said than done.”
The OP also clarified what he was now doing in the home.
“I do take care of all my children (homework, playing, feeding, bathing, etc.).”
“When I say I refuse to give her the extra help, I mean I do not go above and beyond or take over after work as much as I used to, especially since I told her prior to having the twins that I am already limited in what I can do due to my work hours.”
“And I agree, therapy would help get over the resentment I feel, but I do not have the time or money for that right now.”
The subReddit could totally sympathize with the OP in having a larger family than he had wanted, especially since he was so clear about his wishes to his wife and even had a vasectomy plan in place that his wife later turned down.
But they also collectively pointed out that since the children were already here, the OP was morally obligated to help with them. Though he might not be living the life he always planned, having kids was not a matter of changing jobs or moving to a new house; he would have to make the best of it and be the best father to those four kids as he would have been for two.