It’s no secret that when parents bring a new baby home, their lives will suddenly change and become much busier and messier.
But a lot of that can be alleviated by an equal distribution of labor, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Distinct_Papaya_8608 didn’t understand why his wife was frustrated when she was working nearly a full-time job, caring for their one-year-old daughter, and doing almost all of the household tasks.
When she tried to talk to him about her concerns, the Original Poster (OP) lectured her about doing her chores more efficiently.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for offering to help my wife with the dishes?”
The OP thought his schedule was well-balanced with his wife’s.
My wife (26 Female) and I (26 Male) both work four days a week. I work 12-hour shifts and she works 8-hour shifts.”
“She would work more, but our daughter (1 Female) needs to be picked up from daycare.”
“I leave for work before they wake up and some days get home after our daughter has gone to bed.”
“This week, our daughter’s daycare provider was sick, so my wife took the week off of work to care for her. I worked an extra day to make up for her lost income, so it all worked out fine (or so I thought).”
The OP was surprised when he realized his wife was overwhelmed.
“She seemed stressed still, so I asked her what was wrong. She broke down, saying that she is struggling with balancing work, caring for our daughter throughout the week, and keeping our house clean/cooking/etc.”
“I responded calmly by saying that I can’t miss work or reduce hours. We simply cannot afford it.”
“She responded by saying she knows that, but it is overwhelming for her, and the house chores are piling up.”
“I told her 90% of the problems with messiness could be solved if she picked up after herself, if she just put the used butter knives in the sink after she was done, and rinsed bottles/cookware/etc.”
“I will happily do the dishes when I get home from work. H*ll, I’ll even put them away after. But I do not want to play scavenger hunt and look around the house for things to wash.”
The OP’s wife reacted in an unexpected way.
“She did not respond to me after I said that, other than a quiet, ‘Okay,’ before going to console our daughter who woke up early from her nap.”
“She still seemed upset with me, so I vented to my coworker about what happened. He says I was being an a**hole because I didn’t even listen to what she wanted.”
“I feel like I was perfectly reasonable.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
The OP added a little more information about his wife in a comment.
“I can provide some more context for this (in her defense). Yes, she was at home last week. The first few days I would come home a room of the house was deep cleaned, and the rest was mostly decluttered (for example, on Monday, the kitchen was spotless/mopped/tidied, and then on Tuesday, so was the living room, etc. ) she was definitely using her time off to clean.”
“Then, there were a couple of days the baby did not nap, and clutter began around the house again.”
“When she said she was overwhelmed, she mentioned feeling that way since before the holidays (it was the busiest time for both our jobs) and was trying hard to catch up, but feeling like it was too much to do by herself while working full-time.”
The OP also shared in a comment about his wife’s support system.
“My wife does not have any friends other than a coworker she became friends with recently (a few months) she went out with her three weeks ago to get her hair and nails done and had a great time.”
“I was going out with coworkers for wings and beers once a week for a while, but we have had to cancel due to some guys not being able to afford it weekly. My wife was fine with it, and I would bring her home leftovers so she wouldn’t have to make dinner that day.”
“Before she had our daughter, she had a really close friend, but they had a falling out once my daughter was born. My wife would keep inviting her over to do things, and the friend would flake on her, so she just gave up and stopped asking.”
“She is not really a social person and has a hard time making friends.”
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 were really frustrated by how labor was distributed in the OP’s home.
“Quick question; why should your wife wanna stay with you? Honestly, from everything you’ve said in your comments, you do the bare minimum that is required to be a father and a partner. You’re about as useful as a child support check.”
“When I tell my husband that I’m feeling overwhelmed and need a break or that I’m struggling, you wanna know what he tells me?”
“He says, ‘You’re doing amazing, babe, I really appreciate everything you do for me and our son, babe. You take a break, I’ll go grab dinner, and I’ll take the baby for an hour so you can destress.'”
“You know what you did for your wife? Nothing but belittle her at that moment. She came to you looking for comfort and a sympathetic ear, and all she got was someone telling her to do better.” – DisastrousVegetable0
“You get to go out with friends on your days off, but she doesn’t get any days off, she gets ‘breaks,’ but those ‘breaks’ are literally her napping when the baby is because she’s so exhausted doing all the work.”
“Not to mention her husband blames her for everything, even though he doesn’t put in his fair share of work around the house and with the baby.”
“Do you hate your family? Sad lol (sadly laughing out loud).” – igotyoura**lmao
“She’s telling you she needs you to provide more than just money to the family! She’s providing money plus child care plus meals plus cleaning the home everyone lives in plus the mental and emotional labor plus plus plus. You are not pulling your weight if you’re leaving her all of that and just doing one of those.” – curvycurly
“He’s helping less than I did at age 10. At 10, I was doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen after dinner with my older sister. I kept my room clean and removed anything of mine from the family room. I sorted my clothes for mom to wash and folded and put them away.”
“This guy is a grown-a** adult and wants brownie points for offering to do the dishes, and degrading his wife in the process.” – FeralBottleofMtDew
“Notice even in this story, the ‘conversation’ about chores ended because OP’s wife had to go console their daughter who woke up from her nap. Despite the wife clearly being upset, she was the one who had to do the childcare at that moment.”
“OP just dropped it into the post like it’s completely natural that he didn’t have anything to do with his child’s needs while both parents are home and equally occupied.” – Bananapanda123
Others were heartbroken about how the OP’s wife was being treated overall.
“This is all so sad. She has one friend, who she has hung out with once in however long because she had no friends. Because her other friend fell out with her after the baby came, likely because they never saw each other because she had no time to even be a person outside of being your wife and a mother.”
“And you by comparison have (from your comments and item descriptions) a day where you can relax when she works and takes the baby to daycare. And have had time for weekly friend hangouts.”
“Not a single parent I know who has a partner who is on top of things with them has that kind of time.”
“This is so sad. I feel so bad for your wife. You should, too. You really should be ashamed of how you are treating her. And if you’re not, then I hope she wises up and leaves. Legit. She needs to be able to have time to feel like a person. She is literally breaking down and sobbing, and your responses to her have been, ‘Do more.'”
“Get a clue. You are pushing your wife to exhaustion by not being supportive and taking some things off her plate. Man. This makes my heart hurt for your wife.”
“You just seem cold. And callous. Your actions don’t speak well, my friend.”
“Also, it’s not lost on me that you only talked about your friends’ circles. What about errands? How often is she doing errands comparatively to you? Does she get any time when she isn’t working that’s not just once a year?”
“Like you just told me she essentially hasn’t gone out or done anything with friends for a year. Whereas the only reason your weekly bro hang got canceled was due to others needing to budget. This is awful. Factually awful.” – Choice_Werewolf1259
“There is a huge sense of sadness and hopelessness that I am getting from OP’s wife, and she is not even the original poster. She deserves so much better.”
“I don’t even know OP, and I want to divorce him just from reading what he writes. It is vile, and truly weaponized incompetence.” – larakj
“So, your wife is going through the entire postpartum experience, isolated from any platonic support?”
“Your replies make it sound more and more like she may also be experiencing PPD (Post-Partum Depression). She needs help, and not just you doing the dishes. She needs to be able to have an identity outside of being a new mom and right now it doesn’t sound like she feels like she has one.”
“Look into therapy resources, start taking over the childcare for even just one day on the weekends so she can spend time doing things for herself, and listen to her feelings and struggles without BLAMING her for them.” – lilblackmoon216
“She doesn’t have time to have friends because she’s taking care of a baby, your full-time maid and chef, except for the trash and occasional dishes, and working a full-time job.”
“You and your wife should be splitting the chores way more equitably in her favor. Do you know how much work she’s doing, on little sleep with a small child and a husband who is not doing anywhere close to his share of the housework?”
“You’re concerned with what your wife isn’t doing around the house, and not way more concerned about her health and well-being. What is wrong with you?”
“YTA a million times over. That woman carried your baby. You supposedly loved her enough to be with her and have a family. Where is your compassion for her? Why don’t you care that she’s drowning?”
“How dare you go out weekly and still be expecting her to help finance it, but never benefit from it? You are being incredibly selfish. Do better.” – nakedfotolady
“So your wife works nearly full-time, is taking care of a one-year-old, has no friends to blow off steam with or talk to, has an absent partner, has to do nearly all the cooking and cleaning, and you told her 90% of the problems she creates, to where she quietly and defeatedly excited the scenario, and then you came here to ask if you’re an a**hole?”
“How can your wife possibly find joy in this set-up?” – asamermaid
The subReddit was furious about how the OP was handling this situation and for so blatantly missing his wife’s calls for help. But they were especially heartbroken for the wife who, without a supportive husband or friends, was doing far too much alone.