In every household, couples or roommates have to decide how they will divide up the responsibilities of making their house a home.
And when one person doesn’t keep up their end of the bargain, relationships may suffer, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
After becoming a stay-at-home dad, Redditor amithehubslob wasn’t keeping his home or his children as clean as would make his wife comfortable.
When his wife began to suggest they hire someone to clean their home, the Original Poster (OP) didn’t understand where his wife was coming from.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not keeping up with my wife’s cleaning demands?”
The OP and his wife felt differently about the cleanliness of their home.
“I had a major fight with my wife a few hours ago, and I strongly think I’m in the right, but she is so angry, I almost feel like I’m the one crazy.”
“I married my wife three years ago, but we have been together for six.”
“One important thing to note is she’s extremely clean. I regret not moving in together until we married, because while I knew she was clean, I didn’t know the full extent. Let this be a lesson to live with your partner before marriage.”
“She is the reason why our house looks like a model home.”
“She hates dishes in the sink while I’m content to let them sit for a couple of days.”
“She spends her off days scrubbing bathrooms because, in her mind, they should be cleaned weekly.”
“She doesn’t let me bring my shoes inside and insists I shower immediately when I get home before laying in bed.”
“There are a million more things but hopefully, you have an idea.”
The OP’s wife wanted to maintain a clean home for their children.
“This didn’t start hurting our marriage until we had kids. We have a two-year-old and a one-year-old.”
“I’m a Stay-at-Home Dad (SAHD). I left work when our youngest was born and that is when our disagreement on how clean the home needed to be started to get worse.”
“She expects me to do most of the chores now when it used to be primarily her, and I wouldn’t mind if they were reasonable.”
“She wants the children to have a bath every day and I think every one to three days is fine.”
“She wants all of their toys put away by the end of the day, and I think there is no point when it will be a mess again tomorrow.”
“She wants the dishes done daily. She wants all house bedding washed weekly. She wants me to vacuum weekly.”
“She wants me to mop every three to four days since, in her logic, the kids spend a lot of time playing on the floor. They will not be hurt or sick if I mop every two weeks.”
The OP’s wife had to pick up a lot of the responsibilities around the house.
“Because I don’t play along with most of her demands, she ends up being the one to do most of the housework when she gets home or on her rare off days.”
“She works 40 to 80 hours per week, so it is a lot, but she does it to herself.”
“I feel I do what is reasonable.”
“I cook daily. I make my wife’s work lunch. Sometimes I take the kids for a walk. I read to them daily. On days there are errands to run I’m the one to do them. I supervise as they play. I look after our dog too.”
“It may not sound like much but with two toddlers, it is.”
The OP’s wife ultimately reached her breaking point.
“This all built up to today. She got home and saw I hadn’t yet washed the dishes, and there was still grease and food in some of the pans that were on the countertop.”
“Also, I hadn’t yet brought in the trash cans from the previous two days when they were emptied.”
“She flew off the handle, calling me lazy and a slob. She said she would like for me to return to work since, in her eyes, I’m doing a poor job.”
“She said we could use the extra money to hire a weekly housekeeper and a nanny who ‘wouldn’t leave the kids in pajamas all day.'”
“I got p**sed and told her she is crazy and she works herself up over small things and I will not be leaving my kids with a stranger.”
“She packed a bag for herself and our babies and took them to her mom’s house. I’m furious.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
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 pointed out to the OP that his wife’s standards weren’t that extreme.
“Every single thing you listed as her cleanliness standards is very reasonable in my book. They are the same standards I have in my home.”
“If I had children, they would likely be stricter since kids touch everything, put stuff in their mouths, roll around on the floor, etc. In my book, I would consider you a slob.”
“Right now, your wife is coming home to a place where she doesn’t feel comfortable living in. Regardless of how you feel about cleanliness, SHE ISN’T COMFORTABLE IN HER OWN HOME. That, in my opinion, supersedes your disagreement about cleanliness standards. Think of how you would feel in her place.”
“From what I’m reading here, you’re a SAHD and you’re not keeping up your end of the bargain. If you don’t think you should clean that often, then she’s right, you should go back to work and hire someone to help keep your house clean.”
“YTA.” – NuclearSky
“This post screamed weaponized incompetence, and to make this even more ridiculous, most stories of people using weaponized incompetence use their career responsibilities as a shield.”
“But OP’s wife is the sole breadwinner who works insane hours and ends up having to do all the s**t in the house too because her husband with no job and no sense of cleanliness can’t get up off the couch to bathe his own children.”
“This post just infuriates me so much.”
“Nothing OP has written here indicates that he keeps a clean house or cleans his children on a normal basis. Kids play outside and get dirty; it’s very normal to clean yourself every day (and honestly obligatory for most adults in my opinion, even if not washing hair).”
“He didn’t clean dishes for the entire day; washing dishes after a meal has never taken me more than 10 minutes unless I have to soak it. He doesn’t clean the bedding regularly, vacuum regularly, pick up after his small children (which is part of childcare), or take in the trash cans, which takes all of a minute.”
“None of the tasks his wife asks him to do that are mentioned here are arduous or excessively time-consuming. He even left the kids in their pajamas instead of putting them in clean clothes! What ‘hard work’ is OP doing all day if he’s not regularly cooking, cleaning, or taking care of children, which housewives have been expected to do since the concept of it began?” – cakesl*ts
“YTA. I thought she was going to turn out to be a crazy person who wanted to clean the tile grout with a toothbrush twice a week and be able to eat off the floors at a moment’s notice. Doing dishes daily, cleaning the bathrooms weekly, and not wearing shoes in the house are perfectly normal standards.”
“Your house hasn’t achieved dangerously disgusting, but it’s on the slobbier, yuckier end of the normal spectrum. I usually think couples with differing standards need to find some reasonable compromise, but you lose points with me for not even trying and for painting your wife as someone whose standards are extreme.” – miriamathome
“Doing dishes and bathing babies/toddlers every day are normal things that most people do if they can. Sure, if things get crazy, sometimes dishes are left a day, but this would be an exception.”
“OP is pretending he doesn’t care because he knows his wife cannot relax and will do it when she gets home from work, no matter if she’s already had a 10- or 12-hour work day.”
“YTA. You are only being asked to do a normal, basic, stay-at-home parent routine. Nothing about it is exceptionally picky, and you pretending that you don’t understand is a blatant attempt to get out of doing the work.” – KaijuAlert
“Every single ‘crazy’ clean thing you mentioned, except having shoes in the house, is a basic expectation I have and I consider myself fairly messy.”
“Not bathing your kids daily gets me. The bath EVERY NIGHT after my daughter gets out of it has dirt on the bottom that I have to rinse. Not cleaning your kids is seeing them up for bullying and health problems.”
“And leaving the dishes for a couple of days in the sink is disgusting. Max 12 hours (you can leave it till morning on occasion).”
“Get your act together.” – NobleCorgi
Others also felt that the OP wasn’t taking his wife’s feelings into account at all.
“His wife is telling him something and all he can muster is, ‘Well, it’s her problem, not mine.’ He’s weaponized his incompetence. It’s malicious.” – tofuroll
“I was a STAHD for 13 years. I can’t imagine keeping the house this poorly.”
“He’s using weaponized incompetence to a tee.”
“It’s horrible when people just don’t ducking listen to their significant others. His wife, who he’s supposed to love, is telling him over and over that she’s unhappy, and he’s ignoring it. (But he’s listening to Reddit?!?!)” – That_Music_Person
“The OP said, ‘She works 40 to 80 hours per week but she does it to herself.’ No, my guy, she does it so you can stay home and you can’t even get your f**king a** off the couch to wash your kids every day and keep their environment safe and liveable.” – roxyinsox
“His poor wife has to come home from a long day at work and immediately has to start doing very simple cleaning tasks that should be done during the day.”
“His kids are two and one, which are messy ages. If you let the mess grow, you’re gonna have sick and dirty kids.” – silke_worm
“What gets me is that OP’s wife has already tried to compromise too, by suggesting OP return to work in exchange for a cleaner and a nanny. If he’s truly struggling to keep up with housework then that’s a reasonable compromise to suggest.”
“Not sure what OP is wanting to get from this whole situation, but he seems unwilling to adjust to his wife’s reasonable cleaning standards and also unwilling to outsource. His poor wife.” – Forsaken_Ordinary669
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a brief update:
“So I’m the a**hole. The common belief is I need to help more around the house.”
“I’ll see what I can do and apologize to my wife. Thanks.”
The subReddit absolutely understood where the OP’s wife was coming from with her frustrations about her home being clean after working long hours, especially with children in the picture.
The most reasonable arrangement to the subReddit seemed to be for the OP to go back to work and to hire a cleaner and a nanny, so that the parents could spend quality time with their children when they were at home, rather than arguing about who would do the cleaning at the end of the day.