Any adult will tell you that adulting isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels like we need an “adultier” adult around to make the adult decisions.
Or at the very least, we’d appreciate an extra pair of hands, reasoned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Husband Redditor Head_Ad6803 and his wife found themselves in a difficult spot when, after he had been hospitalized and had to take time off work, he had to take on significantly more hours to make up for their debt.
But when his wife, who was a stay-at-home mom began to insist that she needed him to be at home more because of her stress levels, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how to prioritize their growing list of needs for a family of eight.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to take fewer hours at work even though my wife’s alone with the sick kids all day?”
The OP’s wife was a stay-at-home mother of six children.
“I (37 Male) have been with my wife since our senior year in high school.”
“We have six kids who are between the ages of seven and 15.”
“I work Monday through Friday (14 hours per day for three days per week and 12 hours per day for two days per week), and my wife is a stay-at-home mom.”
“Before I get the hate comments, I am extremely grateful. On my days off, I take the kids out, and my wife has the day to herself, or she goes out and I handle chores.”
“I always remind my wife of how important she is, and I take her out on date nights a few times a month on my days off. My sister comes by and helps out sometimes throughout the week, too.”
The OP recently had to take even more hours at work.
“We had a financial crisis earlier this year. I had the virus, immediately followed by bronchitis, and I spent weeks in the hospital, forcing me to use up my sick days at work.”
“This resulted in me having to take these extra hours to make up for the money we lost. It’s completely necessary. Four of our kids do extracurricular activities, which they love, and we have to pay for all of our other necessities.”
The OP’s wife was becoming frustrated with his absence in the home.
“My wife has recently been asking me to cut back hours, which has been causing arguments because it’s simply impossible at the moment. We need the money.”
“We have young twins, and earlier this week, they got the flu which spread all throughout our home. The kids have all been home from school for the majority of the week.”
“I could not call off, so it left my wife extremely stressed out. One of our children has Autism, and when they are sick, it is a very big crisis in the house with tantrums. I felt horrible, but I couldn’t call off to help her.”
The OP’s wife reached her breaking point.
“Basically, today my wife shouted at me for over an hour for refusing to take fewer hours, because she is so stressed. She said I get to escape at work, and she has a household to run.”
“I tried to explain that I’d love more than anything to be home more but I can’t, but she continued yelling, saying I was the problem.”
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 sympathized with the OP’s situation.
“I don’t know, man. 66 hours a week doesn’t sound like an escape to me. That sounds like h**l.”
“On your next day off, can you two sit down and go through your budget? Maybe you can work fewer hours if sacrifices are made in other areas and you both are willing to do that.”
“But also going through the budget can also reinforce why you are working those additional hours and it also can help you go over everything with a fine tooth comb to be able to see do you really need HBO Max (obviously, just an example) and where else corners can be cut.”
“NTA.” – LowBalance4404
“NTA bordering on NAH here. She shouldn’t be yelling at him but is obviously under extreme stress, provided it wasn’t name-calling, etc.; such is life.”
“He’s NTA because he needs to bring home money for the family. The only way out of this would be removing something from the budget (the extracurriculars) but even that might not help because then the kids will be bored at home.” – cewumu
“NTA. Neither of your positions is easy. Your work schedule is grueling no matter what the industry is. And caring for six kids is also an incredibly daunting job.”
“If you need to work this much to afford the lifestyle your family wants, then it is what it is. If your wife is dead set on you working fewer hours, sit down with her to figure out where you can scale back as a family to accommodate the reduction in hours.”
“Once the two of you as partners figure out what adjustments can be made, then you can reduce your hours.”
“And nothing for nothing, it’s not fair of her to say you’re escaping to work. If everything you do is exactly as described, you give 120% every day of your life.” – caucasian88
“NTA. You literally can’t take off work. You have bills to pay. She is the one that chose to put them in all of these extracurricular activities that take up even more time.”
“Also, the kids are in school for half of the day so I don’t get why she’s complaining so much. If they were toddlers, I would understand. But I still wouldn’t think you’re an AH.”
“She can get a part-time job if she wants to get out of the house and do other stuff. At least I could help take the burden off of you financially.”
“She also chose to get them, and all these extracurricular activities that are not necessities that take up even more money that you don’t have to spend. If she’s complaining about the time, it takes to bring them to all of these activities She has no one to blame but herself.”
“It’s not fair to accuse you of working so much and using that as an escape when you were working a ridiculous amount of time to support her and your children. You’re having to give up so much time to be with your children because of that.”
“Tell her you’re more than welcome to switch places if she can find a job that pays more than what you’re making now.” – seba_make
“I’m questioning where the mom is coming from in this situation.”
“Only one of the kids has Autism and, depending on the severity, a lot of Autistic children can still pick up toys or do light sweeping, etc. Older kids with mild Autism can even help prepare meals as long as someone else helps out.”
“There’s zero reason all these kids can’t be helping with the housework; it’s honestly the responsible thing to do as a parent so you don’t send kids out into the world who can’t manage their own lives.”
“Way too many people in this thread are defending the mom because ‘someone needs to be able to respond to the school for the child with special needs.’ However, I know plenty of couples where both work full-time, some with more than one special needs child.”
“If she insists on the extracurriculars AND him being home more often, then she needs to get a part-time job at the least. If I’m being honest, it sounds like she just wants more time for herself during the day when she usually has at least 8 hours without kids there at all.”
“Unpopular opinion: she sounds like a stereotypical SAHM who has gotten used to loafing once all the kids were in school and now refuses to help out with the household budget by working. There’s no reason he should ever be working that many hours when two could split that workload easily and then he could be home more often.”
“Even couples with no kids and single people have a problem surviving in this economy. They have SIX. F**KING. KIDS. They really actually need two workers in their house, not one. She needs to get a job and help out, cut back on the activities, or get off his back. NTA.” – Punkpallas
Others empathized with the OP’s wife but felt she needed to rethink the situation.
“NTA. Kids are expensive and your wife is refusing to let them drop their extracurriculars. Sure, she’s stressed, but so are you.” – LukeHeart
“‘She said I get to escape at work, and she has a household to run.’ Yeah. That’s the gig. That’s literally the division of labor for stay-at-home parent families.”
“And… they’re usually all at school all day? So she’s USUALLY off for six hours a day? This week/weeks sucks, but bills aren’t going to pay themselves, and this week with sick kids won’t last forever.” – ChristianUniMom
“The English have a lovely saying: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too.'”
“Your wife has planned with you a life where you have a very large family and she insists that you keep providing your kids the paid extracurriculars.”
“12- and 14-hour days are insane, but you don’t seem to mind them and are ready to on your one-off day provide your wife the rest time. You stated that due to the financial crisis of your family, you have to get the money from the extra hours.”
“I don’t see how you could be the a**hole in this scenario.”
“Your wife on the other hand ignores the reality, belittles the part you’re doing for your family by calling it ‘escaping to work,’ and yells at you for doing what has to be done without providing any alternatives. I get it that she’s in a tough spot but she’s still being an a-hole towards you.”
“NTA.” – Mean-Fix7821
“Light NTA. Overall N A H but the hour of yelling is not okay.”
“This sounds like an incredibly difficult situation and well outside the capabilities of AITA to weigh in on.”
“All I can advise is to sit down with her and discuss your hours, responsibilities, and budget, and figure out if there is anything you can do to mitigate it. You are both burning out. You need to work together to survive.” – ObjectiveCoelacanth
“I am a stay-at-home mum. My husband works away seven days on and seven days off.”
“I do everything. We are renovating and have animals, crops, and landscaping. I do it all. Especially the renos. He hates that stuff. He helps with the other stuff and the kids, of course when he is home.”
“Most of the time, s**t goes down when he is gone. Always the way. I end up sick, dealing with two sick kids, and still doing everything else.”
“When the budget doesn’t allow it, you just have to do it.”
“I have no solution for her. Perhaps she will see reason when it passes, she may have just been letting off steam due to the stress.”
“However, I suggest you both sit down and do two budgets, one for your current situation and one for if you took fewer hours. She will see it logically on paper and understand it. If she doesn’t, I am at a loss.” – Blodwyn0419
The subReddit could understand how frustrated and highly-strung everyone was becoming in this situation, but most felt that it was just the reality of the situation and something everyone had to put up with for a while longer.
Fortunately for the OP’s wife, the kids would not be sick forever and would go back to school soon, which would return her to a sense of normalcy during the school week.
But the OP’s hours were not going to improve as long as their expenses remained the same, so it was clear that they needed to discuss what they could change or cut back on, especially if his wife was going to be so insistent about him spending more time in the home.