Reddit user ZestyCowlicks is a stay-at-home dad who loves his job taking care of the kids.
His wife’s friends don’t have the same experience, which has caused some discord in his marriage.
So much so that the Original Poster (OP) took to subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” (AITA) to ask,
“AITA for not lying for my wife in front of her friends regarding me being a stay-at-home parent?”
The OP chronicled his and his wife’s arrangement.
“When my wife and I decided to start a family, she expressed she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so we made a plan and set everything up so that she could stay home during the early years.”
“We had our first kid, but she didn’t do too well being the stay-home and had a hard time with it.”
“We still wanted our kids to have a parent at home with them so we swapped out since her salary was close to mine. Two kids later, I’m still the stay-at-home dad working reduced hours remotely.”
“For me personally, it’s easier than any job I’ve had in the past, even the manual labor one, but I recognize that that’s just my personal experience.”
“We’ve touched base on the issue a few times to make sure there’s no resentment, guilt, or discomfort on either of our parts.”
The real problem began at a dinner party.
“One of her friends from her work invited us and other couples over for dinner.”
“While there, the other couples were talking about childcare in general, and some of the women started sharing their experiences of when they were home.”
“My wife was talking about how she had disliked it and mentioned our arrangement when one of the women said to me: ‘Oh, I know you’re just itching to get back to having it easy.’”
But the OP disagreed.
“I responded that I already have it easy and that for me, being a stay-at-home dad was a cakewalk compared to my office job. I didn’t see the point in agreeing with something that just isn’t true for me.”
“On the way home, my wife asked why couldn’t I have just agreed with the question and played along.”
“I asked her if she felt bad or guilty that she had a hard time with it, and she said no, so I told her to just forget about it then because there’s no reason for me to lie to make a bunch of other people feel better so long as it’s fine between us.”
It was not fine between them.
“When she got home from work yesterday, she had some attitude asking me if I had ‘another easy peasy day’ and told me how all day she had to hear from her friends what a smug a**hole I was for making light of their experiences by saying it was a cakewalk.”
“I get that for a lot of people it’s hard, but I don’t see why I should have to lie about it or fluff someone’s ego for not feeling the same way.”
The OP added:
“Additional info: The scheduling, making appointments, taking kids where they need to be, grocery list, school stuff, making sure payments for bills came out, vehicle maintenance, organizing our date nights, finding babysitters, figuring out what needs to be done–falls on me.”
“She keeps track of dates important to her family, I keep track of dates important to us and my side of the family.”
“I am very detail-oriented, I’ve done all of that throughout our relationship. We do grocery shopping together on the weekend.”
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 – people were sharing their experience, and you shared yours. Simple as that” – joolyrancers
“NTA: When you are doing something you love, it feels easy.” – the**holethrowawa
“NTA. some people struggle with being a homemaker.”
“Plenty of others find it easy. Neither group hurts the other by being honest about their experiences.” – HydratedMemes
“NTA. You are happy being a SAHD. Great!”
“What that woman said about going back to work outside of home was “easy” is insulting to you, to your way of life, to stay-at-home-dads in general.”
“It’s building on the idea that fathers find [it] difficult to take care of their children and prefer to leave these tasks to their wives.”
“This woman needs to think seriously about how she considers fathers and taking care of children.”
“However, your wife’s reaction is weird. You say you communicate about the equilibrium of your way of life, but is it possible she’s suffering pressure at work about going back to work instead of taking care of her children?” – Booky_Cat
“NTA. They decided to take offense because you like parenting more than the office job you had.”
“They could have been like, ‘damn, how hellish was his office, how mismatched was he for his job/company that tyrannical toddlers are a cakewalk?’”
“Plenty of people have day jobs easier than parenting, and plenty of offices are hell.”
“I wouldn’t want to leave my current job to be a SAHM, but plenty of other jobs would never hear from me again if my husband’s income was sufficient to support us.” – wildferalfun
“We (men and women) all deal with things differently.”
“Let’s call it what it is, I’d pick taking care of my kid every day over manual labor (e.g., car mechanic, construction worker, etc.) 100% of the time.”
“I’m good at it, but if I had to choose between that and being a stay-at-home father, I’d be a stay-at-home father.”
“I happily choose to be peed or pooped [on] over a job where I am basically in a dangerous/life-threatening situation half of my day.”
“I can clean up poop and pee quickly, but I can’t regrow a broken leg in an hour.”
“Don’t even get me started on the back and joint pain that I’ll have for the rest of my life or working outside when it’s 100 or 30 degrees out.”
“No offense to anyone out there, this is just my personal opinion.”
“Raising kids is hard, but it’s not the hardest job out there. I agree that it’s a cakewalk compared to my job.”
“Also, good for you, man! Enjoy them while you can.”
“Sooner or later, they’re gonna grow up and the opportunity to spend time with them will be gone. I don’t see the need to beat around the bush about how you feel.”
“People don’t have to like it nor will they share the same exact experience. It’s just what it is. And it’s okay.” – frb936
“NTA at all. Why do people do this?”
“Just because you have a bad experience means I must have as well? And then they get mad when you say everything is great!”
“Nothing pissed me off more than when people asked how MY childbirth experience was, and I honestly told them all the positives (because I had a wonderful experience) then I would be talked down to because other parents had to share their horrible experience with me.”
“NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU, SHEILA!” – Odd_Teaching_9168
“NTA – I think the key is that you said “For me,…” which isn’t discounting their experience and making it very clear that you’re just sharing yours.”
“I don’t agree with other commenters saying people don’t recognize a real challenge or the ‘modern woman syndrome’ (yikes).”
“I think it’s all of us recognizing that every experience is different and every person’s perception of that experience is different as well.” – pickledcheese14
“NTA with a gentle “maybe it would have been more socially acceptable to read the room and not go so far” vibe.”
“I think you’re right, there’s absolutely no reason to outright lie to people and say that it’s difficult and you’re dying to get back to working a full-time office job, for example.”
“Obviously we’re all Monday morning quarterbacking here, but replying something like “actually, I really enjoy my role as a stay-at-home parent, and find that for me it’s much less stressful than any job I’ve had previously” would have been received a bit better.”
“I think it may have been the “I already have it easy” that set some of the coworkers off?”
“Either way, I think they need to calm down. Being a stay-at-home parent isn’t for everyone, just like being (insert literally any job or career or life choice here) isn’t for everyone.”
“In case it matters: I’m a woman who always dreamed of staying at home with my kids until they were in school, I lasted about 5 weeks on [maternity] leave with my first before I was itching to get back to work.”
“My sister is a woman who never wanted to stay at home with her kids, but finances worked out that it made sense for her to do that, and now 13 years later, I swear to you she would describe being a SAHM as a cakewalk for her.” – NerdyNewt10
Clearly, being a stay-at-home parent is not for everyone, but it is for some!
More power to this dad and his children.