in ,

Exhausted Doctor Mom Slams Wife For Letting Her Sleep Through Entire Evening Off From Work

doctor napping seated on couch
JulPo/Getty Images

Occupations that require swing shifts or being on call can be difficult for the individual as well as their family.

When you’re gone a lot, the time you do have with family becomes more important.

But everyone needs to sleep sometime.

A wife—who got pushback after allowing her exhausted spouse to sleep—turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Sea_Chocolate_8450 asked:

“AITA for not waking my wife up and letting her sleep the whole day?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“Just some quick background info: My wife (Heather—36, female) and I (35, female) have been together for the past 14 years and married for 10. We have two daughters (4 and 6 years old) together.”

“Heather is a doctor, and she works ridiculously long hours, gets tired, etc… Yesterday, she came back home after being away all day.”

“She was on call and needed to go in for an emergency surgery. Heather told me she was going to sleep for a couple of hours and asked me to wake her up by dinner so she could see the girls and me a bit.”

“She went to sleep around 5 PM. I tried to wake her at 7 PM. I called for her, softly shook her, gave her a kiss on the cheek but she didn’t get up.”

“She is a very light sleeper and these things wake her up 90% of the time. I thought she needed the rest and let her sleep.”

“Heather slept until the next morning, which is when she needed to go to work.”

“She was very upset the following morning saying I should have woken her up and that I had caused her to miss an entire day of family time. I explained that she didn’t wake up and she said I just should have tried harder to wake her.”

“I get that she wants to be present in our family—and she is—and she wants our kids to see both their moms, but I just wanted to let her get some much-needed sleep to help her be well-rested for the next day.”

“Was I genuinely the a**hole?”

The OP summed up their situation.

“My wife came back from work and told me to wake her up by dinner. She was tired and didnt get up, so I let her sleep til the next morning.”

“I may be the a**hole because I didn’t wake her when she had told me to and it made her miss an entire day.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“Yeah, NTA. I would suggest, given the strong chance this situation can happen again, that OP sits down with wife and discuss what the acceptable limit of waking up efforts is for non-emergency situations.”

“Like actually lay down ‘However loud you think yelling is OK, however much tugging and pushing is OK, show me, right now’.”

“You might never convince her that what has already happened was something at a reasonable limit of waking up efforts, but if you communicate the details now, in the future you can say ‘Look, I yelled this much, I pulled that much, I didn’t go further because we agree that you only pull that hard or yell that loud if someone is bleeding’.”

“I have had kinda the opposite problem with my fiance—he thinks that my vague intent to get up and go for a walk around 9am because the weather report looks good means that it’s reasonable to use the ‘urgent tone of voice’—which panics sleepy me for some reason—and for that matter he will do that at 7 in the f*cking morning.”

“Cleared up with conversation about ‘don’t do X if no one is bleeding, don’t wake me up before Y time unless someone is bleeding, etc…’.” ~ CaeruleumBleu

“She’s probably mad at herself and frustrated, resulting in her taking it out on OP. It sucks, but we’ve all done it. She’s missing out, and she knows it.”

“Having a demanding job is stressful. It would be even more stressful with a malpractice suit because she was delirious during surgery. If it’s that hard to wake up a parent (usually light sleepers), they probably need to sleep. NTA.” ~ RecommendationBrief9

“She tried to wake her wife up, the wife was so out that she didn’t wake up to what would normally wake someone up who wasn’t all-out exhausted.”

“If she would have violently shaken her awake like the house was on fire and your @ss needs to get up, that would have probably been a problem too.”

“Everyone has a cell phone these days. She should have set an alarm and gotten herself up, as she is an adult, not a child.”

“Also, she’s a surgeon. She has a responsibility to her patients to be properly rested so she doesn’t F-up and kill someone because she’s overly tired.” ~ FAFO8503

“If she slept for 12+ hours—assume she gets up early or at least between 5-7AM—then she NEEDED it. If anything she should have thanked OP for caring for the children and household efforts for the evening.

“Or if she didn’t want that, then set a series of alarms, it isn’t hard. NTA.” ~ SmileParticular9396

“Your wife is a doctor. Don’t ask us; ask her—if she had a patient who had worked as hard as she had, wanted to lay down for a couple of hours, but wouldn’t wake up when prodded and slept all the way until morning, what would Dr. Wife say?”

“Because I’m betting she would tell that patient they clearly needed to sleep. NTA.”

“Medice, cura te ipsum [Physician, heal thyself].” ~ J-Kensington

“I would not want someone this badly sleep-deprived performing surgery on me, so good on OP for letting her rest.”

“She has years of family time ahead of her and quantity < quality if you aren’t mentally there anyway.” ~ xena_70

“NTA. You were not an a**hole for letting your wife sleep, considering how tired she was.”

“You did it with good intentions, but from her perspective, missing out on family time—especially after expressing a desire to be woken up—might have felt like a missed opportunity to connect with you and the kids.”

“Acknowledging her feelings and validating her disappointment can help.” ~ Loud-Economist-3092

“My husband tries to pull this kind of stuff with me. He just turned 40 this year and still thinks he can lay down for a 3 hour nap after just working a long night shift and …. it’s not possible.”

“He will not wake up for anything—except the sound of our daughter sounding hurt. He bolted up so fast he lost his balance and hit the wall—and I finally think I’ve drilled the concept of not having the ability to do what you did in your 20s anymore.”

“Some people just need to be realistic about what their bodies are telling them that they need.” ~ Obvious_Huckleberry

“NTA. Just because she asked you to wake her up and you tried and tried, and she did not wake up, you can not be the a**hole.”

“She is an ADULT; she can set up an alarm clock and wake up herself as ANY responsible adult would do.”

“Everyone who says you are the a**hole are pushing your wife’s responsibility to act like an adult onto you for some weird reason.”

“If she told you not to let her do online shopping, and you actually stopped her from doing so, all those people criticizing would come saying she is an adult and she can do whatever she wants.”

“Same here—if she wanted to wake up she should have made sure she would wake up.” ~ I_am_wood_dog

“NTA. You tried to wake her up, but you couldn’t.”

“You should introduce her to our latest technology; it’s gonna be mindblowing, it’s gonna be shocking…ALARM CLOCKS!” ~ Competitive_Jump_744

Some felt there were no a**holes in this situation (NAH).

“NAH. She’s not upset with you. She’s stressed from work, and it’s making her a little resentful that she is taking care of everyone else except herself and her family.”

“I’ve worked in healthcare, including pre-hospital and ER, most of my working life. I’ve had this exact argument with my partner, and it wasn’t fair of me when I did it either.”

“I wasn’t mad at him; I was stressed beyond my ability to cope well (even just short term) and was clinging on to strands of any enjoyment I could find.”

“The only thing getting me through shifts sometimes would be, ‘okay, I know when I get home, I’ve got 10 hours before I’ve got to be back, so I’ll sleep for 6, and that gives me at least 2 for relaxation plus prep for work’.”

“Those 2 hours were all I wanted. He’d let me sleep through my alarms because he reasonably assumed I obviously needed it, and then it would feel like all I’m doing is living to go to work and be stressed out constantly with no reprieve.”

“You two have to talk and she has to be honest with herself about the real issue. Burnout is real and it’s okay to recognize when a break is needed.” ~ TiptoeStiletto

“NAH. If you’ve called to someone and then shake them but they aren’t waking up, they probably need the rest.”

“That said, she’s understandably unhappy when she wanted to spend quality family time with you and the kids.” ~ ironchef8000

“NAH. If she wasn’t waking to calling or gentle shaking, then she needed that rest. I get that she is frustrated she missed family time, but her body was just doing what it needed.”

“She can’t blame you for this, and you did exactly what you needed; tried and she didn’t wake. Not your fault, not her fault.” ~ Own-Kangaroo6931

Hopefully the OP and her wife can come to an agreement about family time, sleep, and who is responsible for waking up whom.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.