We’ve all been in a situation at some point where we were overbooked and had to decide how we would proceed.
Maybe we were working more than one job, or juggling work and school, or maybe we just had a baby. Whatever our story might be, it’s fair to say it’s hard.
Sometimes it involves life-changing decisions, as well, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Internal-Sea-5203 found himself in the tough decision of studying for medical school and trying to be present for his wife and their baby daughter.
When his wife’s concerns continued to worsen, the Original Poster (OP) struggled to figure out what to do.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for focusing on medical school over my wife’s mental health?”
The OP was at a loss with his living situation.
“I’m in medical school. My wife and I and our one-year-old daughter are about 4 hours away from both of our families.”
“I’m three months into school and my wife has left and taken our daughter to her mom’s house 4 hours away and is making an ultimatum.”
“Either I help more with our daughter or she doesn’t come back.”
The OP’s schedule was tight.
“This is what my days consist of: I go to school for 9-5, and then I come home and try to help a little until about 8 pm, where I study until about 11, and then do it all over again.”
“I’m really not present a lot, but I’m trying to make a life for us by being a doctor and being able to provide for everyone.”
“My wife doesn’t see it like that. I don’t know where the issue is lost in translation, but she just doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me.”
The OP’s wife did not agree with his viewpoints.
“I’ve told her that anatomy, the hardest part of medical school, ends in three weeks, and then I’ll be more present.”
“She told me, ‘You’re not understanding. I need help now. Not in 3 weeks.'”
“So pretty much either I fail out of medical school and I’m a good parent, or I pass anatomy and I’m a terrible father.”
“I’m honestly in tears right now and I don’t know what to do. I’ve worked so hard for this.”
“What would you do?”
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 said the OP’s wife was selfish for giving an ultimatum.
“Ok but OP didn’t decide to be a doctor on a whim, this has been years in the making. The wife knew this was going to be happening, and stayed just to give an ultimatum now?”
“I get needing help, I have 3 kids. But if my partner was working his butt off to better our future, it would be a sacrifice on both our ends.”
“If OP quit now, what would they have?” – SourSkittlezx
“It’s the ultimatum here that makes the wife in the wrong too because it’s not at all productive and it’s just really bad for relationships – and leaving like she did is basically bailing on the relationship.”
“I feel for OP and wife here honestly. They both sound super exhausted like to the point that they’re too tired to actually listen to each other and figure this out. But they need to figure it out, and you can’t do that if you leave.” – justyules
“I am also the wife of a doctor, and I accept that he is never going to be more present at home. He is a pulmonologist and runs private practice – the first patient at 8 am, the last at 7 pm, and he comes home at 8 pm to a ready meal with happy kids that have their homework done.”
“He helps out as much as he can, but honestly, I do not expect anything from him at this point. He was a doctor when I married him. His patients will always come first.”
“When our youngest daughter was born, he took a day and a half off. On our wedding day, he saw patients before the civil ceremony.”
“It is his choice, and the world is a better place because there are people like him. OPs wife needs to realize that being a doctor is a calling. Sometimes that means sacrifice from the spouse too. So NTA.” – TiinaWithTwoEyes
Others said the OP needed to reprioritize.
“I’m sure she wasn’t silent about it, acting all happy and fulfilled, and then OP came home and she was gone.”
“I don’t get people saying she’s an asshole too. She’s entitled to support from her partner. If she’s not getting that she’s entitled to leave. OP made a clear choice every single time he didn’t do anything to change the situation.”
“He could very easily take off a year or two from school until his child is a little older. Over the course of his life, this will make zero difference to his career and may have saved his family. OP also needs to stop having children if he can’t contribute to their care in a meaningful way.” – emccm
“His claim that he can only see his wife and child for 3 hours a day is a little insane and I’m sure he isn’t changing diapers, doing feedings, or helping around the house at all.”
“Also, the fact that as an aspiring doctor he ‘doesn’t care’ about his wife’s mental health is scary and his idea that he’ll have more time in the future is delusional. I think your idea of a nanny or something like that is a fantastic idea. But I don’t think OP cares enough to help his wife in any way.” – Murderbunny13
“According to OP’s post history, he has time for video games. I understand that everyone deserves time to themselves, and I’m not knocking OP for taking that time.”
“But he’s trying to make it seem like all he does is study and sleep, and that’s why he can’t be present. Which is obviously not true, as he studies, sleeps, and plays video games.”
“I’m not suggesting he quit playing the games, but if his wife is a SAHM, she is working more than he is at this point. I doubt she has time for herself, which is likely why she’s so burnt out.”
“You don’t pack the kid up and go stay at your mother’s after one conversation. I suspect she’s been asking for help, and been trying to talk to him and he’s been dismissive of her mental health.”
“OP, YTA. Not for going to med school either. YTA for neglecting to offer any type of solution to your wife.”
“A part-time nanny? A situation where she lives with mom half the week and comes home the other half? Whatever would actually work for you both.”
“Because if you don’t do something now, you’re getting a divorce. Your wife is dangerously close to leaving you. Take her seriously, or lose her.” – Girlwithmanynames
Some said the OP and his wife were both in the wrong.
“She is an AH for having a kid with an aspiring doctor and then expecting he will be present as a father.”
“He is an AH for having a kid that he will not realistically be able to care for.”
“They both are double-AH for moving away from their support network.”
“She is triple-AH for thinking bullying him will improve the situation.”
“She is quadruple-AH for taking the job of SAHM, letting him organize his life around that, then quitting and guilting him into dropping medical school (she could have humbly said it was not working and proposed that she would stay with her mother while he would visit them during the week-ends).” – RNBQ4103
“I would never have decided to have a kid with someone headed to medical school. It means years of basically being a single parent, while also having a roommate with benefits who is sometimes there but rarely helping, so no.”
“Unless finances supported paying for a few dozen hours of assistance weekly from a nanny, or family agreed to a similar amount of childcare.”
“Heck, I wouldn’t have a kid with anybody in school full time And working full time at Any job, where is the time to be a parent? Or the time to be a partner?”
“I wouldn’t have decided to have a kid if I was the pre-med or full-time/full-time working student either, obviously.” – Meghanshadow
“ESH. As the wife of a doctor, I very much understand the dynamic that is happening here.”
“In that relationship it will take sacrifices from both parties, that is the reality.”
“As other posters have pointed out, this is not going to get easier in 3 weeks when anatomy is over. In one of his rotations in the 4th year of school, my husband was forced to go home after being at the hospital for 100 hours that week and then yelled at by the doctor he was working under to come back in and stop being lazy.”
“All 4 years will be hard, there are many large licensing exams you will need to spend a lot of time studying for, and then after that, there will be 4 years of residency (where we are at now) with many weeks where all you have time to do is come home, crash, and go back to work. And more board exams on top of that.”
“It will probably be 8-10 years before you can be a substantial and consistent presence at home. That is just the reality of the situation. You need to discuss a way to make that work for the both of you, or you will have this fight many times in the future.” – idprefernotto92
Though the OP was sure he was doing what was best for his growing family, the subReddit was not totally convinced. Rather, all understood the importance and demands of medical school, but they did not totally agree with how the OP’s education compared to the rest of his life.
Redditors were divided on who was in the wrong, given the OP’s original conversation, but one thing they could agree on was the need for further conversation before medical school puts an irreparable strain on the OP’s relationship.