in , ,

Overworked Mom Balks After Husband Expects Her To Arrange Childcare While He’s Home Sick

Sick man talking on the phone
Westend61/Getty Images

It’s no secret that emotional labor and a fair division of labor are top concerns in many of today’s households.

It’s also not a secret that most of the pressure to care for the house, the kids, and any general affairs tends to fall on the wife and mother, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Responsible-Shame570 was sick of how the home tasks were divided up, simply because it placed the onus of responsibility on her, whether she was home, sick, or working.

When her husband was sick and demanded that she make arrangements for the kids, the Original Poster (OP) decided to make him do it, as he’d never taken care of her while she was sick.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not arranging childcare when my husband was sick?”

The OP didn’t feel the division of labor in her home was fair.

“I’m married, but over the last seven years, I have been the primary caretaker for our three children (ages seven, five, and two). Through maternity leaves, and then working evenings or overnights, I am still the one who does the most childcare and household tasks.”

“Whenever I was staying at home with the kids and was sick, my husband would just go about his routine as normal. He would leave without checking if I would need help for that day.”

“There would be times when I was so ill, I needed to call in reinforcements, but I would arrange that.”

The OP expected her husband to make his own arrangements when he was sick.

“Recently, my husband got a job where he gets one weekday off. Today is his day off.”

“I am working today and have several meetings and trainings that I need to attend”

“He has been messaging me nonstop that he is sick. He had diarrhea last night, which I think was lactose intolerance induced.”

“I suggested several people who he could ask for help, and he didn’t like some of the options. It feels like the expectation is on me all the time to be the primary caregiver, even when I’m working outside of the home.”

“I told him that it’s his responsibility to arrange for care since he is the parent at home, as I had done many times, when I was home with our children.”

But her husband lashed out at her for not handling the phone calls instead.

“He has texted me, ‘WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU,’ several times about me telling him he needs to make his own arrangements.”

“I asked him several times if he had ever asked me if I needed help while sick.”

“He keeps asking what is wrong with me.”

“I don’t feel like I am the a**hole because this is the same treatment he gives me, but maybe I am?”

Refreshingly, the OP’s mother-in-law (MIL) was supportive of her over her son.

“My mother-in-law and I are very close. I was chatting with her and said if I’m making more money and doing most of the household tasks, then what is the point of being married?”

“And she goes, ‘YA, THAT MAKES SENSE.'”

“She’s made it very clear that she’s not taking him back if I leave him. But she would support me and my kids.”


After starting to read the comments, the OP offered some additional background information.

“My husband wasn’t always like this. Our first two children were pretty equally cared for, as well as the house. We used to work opposite shifts to each other so whoever was home was in charge of kids and chores.”

“During my third pregnancy, I was extremely ill, and that was also when my husband got a challenging physical labor job. With me being off on maternity leave for 18 months, I feel like that’s when things really started to slide.”

“When I went back to work, I took evening or overnight shifts at a hospital while he started at 1:00 PM. I almost went insane as he would not take the kids in the morning after an overnight and would not let me sleep. I would be up all night working and then all day with them and was losing it.”

“He kept complaining that he didn’t like my overnight job because our youngest would still scream for me in the middle of the night. He mentioned me finding a day job.”

“I said, ‘Fine, you try to find childcare in the area and after-school care, and let me know when you do.’ Obviously, he couldn’t because waitlists are miles long in our area.”

Getting a different job didn’t improve the situation, either.

“I found a remote overnight job, which paid more and was more in line with my interests. That was fine except the same problems arose of him not respecting my need for sleep after an overnight shift (not even letting me sleep for a couple of hours).”

“The complaints started again, but I loved my job and I wasn’t going to change it. Then I got laid off. It was a job I really loved and it shook me to my core when it happened. I was depressed but still took care of the kids. The house suffered a bit but I was too tired to do anything.”

“My new job requires day shifts for three months, hence why I was working today. At around 2:00 PM, I drove home to grab my bank card as I had promised my oldest we would go shopping after school. I watched in disbelief and AMAZEMENT as I saw my husband rounding the corner with our two youngest on the way to the park, and not the closest one, either.”

“So there you have it, he was not dying, he was capable, he may have s**t his brains out this morning, but somehow he was able to persevere. Unfortunately, the little kids saw my van and wanted to come shopping, too, but we ended up having fun anyway.”


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 argued that the OP’s husband needed to grow up and show some responsibility.

“NTA, he threw in the towel before he even tried to be a parent for one day.” – Narrow_Guava_6239

“NTA. I swear when most men get a cold, they act like the world is ending.”

“Tell him to act like an adult and find help. There’s nothing wrong with you! Tell him to grow a pair and act like a parent!”

“I’m sure you’ve also had to care for a sick child while sick just like I have. There’s no reason he can’t do it.” – NoTomatillo3430

“NTA. Tell him you have three children, not four.” – Ok-Educator850

“My husband’s theory is that being a dude generally feels pretty good, so getting sick feels like the world is ending, whereas women deal with feeling like crap once a month, so it’s not as big of a shock to the system.”

“That said, my husband also takes over all household duties when I’m sick because he’s not an a**hole, unlike OP’s husband.” – BigBoxOfGooglyEyes

“I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say it again, but I don’t think the problem is the way men act when they are sick. The problem is the way men act when women are sick.”

“When we are sick, we should be on the sofa with someone taking care of us. We recover more quickly and move on with our lives. When men are sick we do that, and often a woman helps with that. There is nothing wrong with relaxing when we are sick and helping our loved ones recover. Obviously, when you are alone with the kids or something essential you have to pull yourself together, but when there is support, ideally you should take it easy.”

“Then the woman gets sick, and… we men do nothing. She battles through it. Men often don’t pick up the slack, and don’t encourage our partners to recover. This is mainly lazy men, and in small part societal expectations. I know my own wife struggles to let me help her when she’s sick, because she feels like she always has to be on the go, like she’s somehow failing if she can’t take care of everything.”

“We as a society shouldn’t be shaming sick people for taking it easy and trying to get better. We should be shaming healthy people for not trying to help their sick partners get better, and more often than not, they are men.” – Local_Initiative8523

Others agreed and wondered if the OP’s husband needed a taste of his own medicine.

“If he texts that to you again, say, ‘The same thing that’s wrong with you. I’m not answering more texts,’ and then ignore him. When you get home, tell him that from now on he should treat you how he wants to be treated. Because that’s how you’ll be treating him.”

“Oh and get home looking moody, pay attention to the kids but not him. So if he plans on sulking, you are ready to match that energy.” – Specific_Impact_367

“NTA OP. I support when wives return the same energy to their husbands and they don’t know how to handle it, lol (laughing out loud).” – eeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr

“Tell him, ‘I am merely reminding you of the standard operating procedure of our household. If this displeases you, we can discuss changes in protocol at a time I am not otherwise occupied.’ NTA.”  – piccolo181

“I gotta be honest, I am so tired of the expectation that wives must also raise their husbands. I don’t think you were punishing him, but rather expecting that he can adult just like you did. It’s a reasonable and loving expectation, scaffolding this for him is just reinforcing low expectations.”

“The entire situation and all the proposed solutions just sound so exhausting. ‘Take on the entire mental load of explaining empathy to him, and put in all the work of making sure he sticks to his agreement to show you basic love and consideration. Finish it off by ignoring all the pain and suffering he’s caused you over the entire course of your relationship in the name of ‘moving forward.'”

“Just divorce, my god. You can’t train or teach a man to love and have empathy for you. He doesn’t respect her, he can’t have an honest conversation without being manipulative, and every single solution is going to revolve around her doing more work, anticipating and talking about his feelings for him, getting the short end of the stick no matter which way you slice it, etc etc etc.”

“What’s the point? When does OP get a break and get to just… live a peaceful life without having to teach her husband what the golden rule is?” – wishingwell1119

“NTA for treating him the way he treated you necessarily. Obviously, you managed to get through it and that was the norm and expectation he supported, so it’s hypocritical of him to expect to get extra help from you in this case.”

“Hopefully, rather than be a forever game of tit-for-tat, you can have a conversation with him soon about this situation. Obviously, you previously felt unsupported and abandoned at times when you were under the weather, and this situation should show him why that’s problematic AND NEEDS TO CHANGE.”

“Ideally, you’d both move on from this in a more helpful and supportive frame of mind for one another in the future, rather than always be keeping score and punishing the other person. You need to get out of that mindset because I don’t think it’s conducive to a healthy, loving marriage.” – owls_and_cardinals

The subReddit was reading to throw their hands up over this one, as it was clear that the OP’s husband was expecting special treatment that he wasn’t willing to give her in return.

But no healthy relationship operates on drawing comparisons and playing tit-for-tat games.

If the pair wanted a healthy, long-term relationship, they clearly needed to work out a new work and home system, as well as drum up new respect for each other, or this would quickly turn into a slippery slope of no return.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.