Weaponized incompetence is the idea that someone will feign ignorance or do a job poorly to intentionally force someone else to do the task or answer the question for them.
There is a difference, though, between feigning ignorance and needing help.
What happens when you can’t tell the difference?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) GoatRevolutionary221 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for asking my wife to wake me up at night when our newborn wakes up?”
A great start.
“My wife (35f) and I (35m) just had our third child one month ago (4 weeks).”
“For the first week or two my wife had to wake him up every couple hours to feed him but now we just let him sleep until he wakes up to eat.”
“Here’s where that becomes a problem:”
“I am a REALLY heavy sleeper.”
“There is nothing that can wake me up short of being attacked by a bear or shaken or something.”
“It’s been that way since way before my wife and I had kids. Babies crying or screaming do not wake me up.”
“They didn’t even when we had our first (8m) so usually I’ve woken up when my wife turns on the lights for changing and stuff like that.”
“Apparently I sleep through A LOT when my wife is getting up a lot, so she is saying she does an ‘unfair amount’ of work at night because of it.”
“I feel bad because I recognize that if I’m asleep I’m not contributing to the night stuff.”
“So I asked my wife to wake me up when the baby wakes up, and she told me that made it so much worse and that it was like ‘weaponized incompetence.'”
“She just doesn’t want to wake me up for some reason.”
“I am not WEAPONIZING my heavy sleep against her, I just want her to wake me up so I can help. But like I said, she said that makes it worse, and now she’s mad.”
OP was left to wonder,
“AITA for asking to wake me up so I can help with the night stuff for our newborn?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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: YTA
Technology to the rescue!
“Look up vibrating baby monitors for deaf parents. Wear the bracelet.” ~ Wandering_aimlessly9
“Or set an Alexa routine to wake you up better if it hears a baby crying during certain hours.”
“I’m sure there’s a way to cause it to vibrate a smart watch if you already have one.”
“Mine notifies me when my dogs bark when I’ve left the apartment so I can monitor how often they’re barking when I’m not home.”
“A bark here and there isn’t an issue, but if they get super barky they get to wear the bark collars for a few days to remind them that ‘just because’ barking isn’t allowed.”
“My watch vibrates with that notice.” ~ disheartenedagent
Hard sleepers anonymous.
“I sleep like OP, maybe harder.”
“I’ve slept next to a window through cat 4 hurricanes, military vehicle collision, fire alarms, etc.”
“I have 8+ different strategically spaced out alarms on my phone with different ringers and vibrates, another alarm that shines a light into my face and screams like a siren.”
“And my dog licks my face and nudges me. I’ve even slept through that.”
“I really try.”
“I don’t want to oversleep but I still sleep through all of that sometimes and I can’t help it.”
“My poor husband wakes up before me.”
“He works from home and the alarms are understandably disruptive so he just wakes me up.”
“Usually he has to physically make me sit up, hand me a cold drink, and make me drink it.”
“That’s usually the best way. Cold drink helps me come to.”
“Maybe OP could try something like that?”
“I know it sounds lazy but something that could help his wife is a tiny mini fridge in her night stand.”
“That way she doesn’t have to leave the room to get a cold drink for OP. Just grab a cold water bottle, open it, and make OP sit up and take a drink. If it works, it works!” ~ TAforScranton
“I have an alarm that not only is loud AF, it also has a vibrator on a cable that I stick in my pillowcase.”
“It shakes my @ss out of bed every morning. It is the only way to get me out of rem sleep without relying on someone else.” ~ Phasma84
“I need less sleep than my husband, but we both really need consolidated sleep.”
“So switching off was really not a good option, since especially in the beginning our kiddo would sometimes wake more than every 2 hours.”
“The arrangement that we came to was that I’d take care of him overnight since I was breastfeeding anyway, and my husband would just wake up earlier than I did and take our son so I could get some solid sleep.”
“I think a lot of people latch onto this idea that parents should absolutely be switching off each waking.”
“(There’s that big TV trope where one spouse tells the other it’s ‘their turn’ to check on the baby) but in my admittedly limited experience, that’s not necessarily the most beneficial arrangement.”
“There are so many other options, and it sounds like neither OP nor his wife has made an attempt at considering those other options.” ~ SvenTheAngryBarman
“We figured out fast that our baby’s bassinet had to be in my husband’s side of the bed.”
“Something changed psychologically for both of us to know she was just a foot away from him, and it helped balance out our sense of responsibility and wakefulness in the middle of the night.”
“Mine needed to be turned down a few notches, with some mild PPA and post-partum hormones, and his needed to be turned up a bit to feel like a real responsibility like getting up for work is.”
“I don’t know why, but moving the bassinet to the other side of the bed made things a million times better.” ~ Moose4523
“We ended up splitting the night in half.”
“My husband’s a night owl and would stay up really late, so he would take the first shift through about 3am.”
“Since he went to bed after midnight, he wouldn’t usually fall into a deep sleep right away, so I only ended up having to wake him for an hour or two (which still sucked).”
“Then, I did the tough shift- 3am to wake up because he was too deeply asleep to wake during that time. It wasn’t a perfect solution but it worked okay.” ~ Fluffernutter80
Not everyone thought OP was in the wrong.
“If you have difficulty because of something that’s beyond your control (you are a heavy sleeper), IMHO it’s perfectly reasonable to ask your wife for help.”
“Your wife ITA for insulting you by calling this ‘weaponized incompetence’. Would she insult you like that if you were deaf? Blind? Handicapped in some other way?”
“I do understand her frustration.”
“And others on here have suggested some ideas that might work, so I’m sure the problem can be solved.”
“BUT – insulting your spouse when they ask for help with something – that might be a little harder to solve.”
“How is she going to treat you in future years if, heaven forbid, you have a stroke or suffer from some other kind of disability, and need her help?”
“I also have to say, people here who say YATA because you are a slacker and letting your wife do all the work need to check their assumptions.”
“Maybe you are a slacker, but then again maybe you do all the housework and most of the childcare and work full time while she sits around eating bonbons.”
“We simply don’t know, but people are quick to assume you are the slacker because, obviously, you are male.”
“That sucks.” ~ DragonfruitNo3776
And some didn’t see a problem.
“Also the fact that if the baby is starting to cry, sure the bracelet will wake up dad. But it seems like the crying wakes up Mom anyways?”
“So bracelet or no bracelet, I feel mom will be woken up either way.”
“Idk… He is TRYING to help.”
“So if the crying wakes her up, why can’t she just nudge him so he can tend to baby?”
“I am not entirely sure. Just my thoughts. In a perfect world, we would get Spidey senses a minute before the baby wakes so our partner didn’t have to wake for it.”
“I am a very light sleeper. When my partner gets up to use the bathroom at night, just him sitting up to leave the bed wakes me up. 😭🤣”
“So just thought that perhaps mom is a lighter sleeper and would wake up anyways when baby stirs. If that is the case, she can wake dad up.”
“So for my judgment based on my own experiences… NTA.”
“ETA: okay, I get it…”
“For heavy sleepers, a nudge doesn’t work.”
“Use a spray bottle or something. My point was just being if the baby is waking mom up.. she is up… Wake dad up.” ~ coolturtle0410
There were some good suggestions here to help mitigate the dire coma that can accompany a heavy sleeper.
Judging someone’s intentions, even when they feel quite clear, can be a challenge.
Be kind where possible.