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Stay-At-Home Mom Sparks Drama After Booking Week-Long Solo Vacation Away From Her Family

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Parenting is not the easiest of tasks, but for stay-at-home parents, it seems to be even harder.

With expectations to keep the home clean, have dinner on the table, and laundry hampers empty, all while caring for the children in the household, it becomes too much.

After having enough of doing all the housework herself, one mom wrote into the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, explaining her plan to take a week-long vacation by herself.

The Original Poster (OP) “Little-Brush-4871” asked the sub:

“AITA for planning a solo vacation and expecting my family to survive on their own?”

The OP used to be a nurse before she committed to staying home to raise a family.

“I am a 34 year old stay at home mom. I gave up my career as a nurse to support our family on the homefront while my husband is a doctor.”

“I [can’t] say I like it but I’m able to help my kids with distance learning and I’m fully in charge of our home. I have 4 kids. A 11 year old son, a 10 year old son, and two 6 year old sons.” 

The OP has organized the household for everyone to have responsibilities. 

“Everyone in our family has responsibilities at home. It’s nothing extreme but I expect everyone to chip in as I’m not the only one living in the house.”

“I take on probably about 80% of the work including all of the deep cleaning, cooking, meal planning, errands, and financial planning.”

Unfortunately, the OP’s plans haven’t always been the most effective, and she needed a break.

“Well, getting anyone to actually do anything is a completely different story so I usually end up having to do everyone else’s chores too.”

“A few weeks ago, I finally broke. No one helps, no one gives me a break. I havent had a day off since the twins were born!!”

“I told my family I was done after begging for help for over a year! I’m mom, I should be able to do it all.”

Despite her reasoning, the OP did wonder if she was in the wrong for what she did next. 

“Here’s where I might be the a**hole.”

“I booked myself a week-long vacation to a secluded cabin and an hour away and informed my family that I will be going, alone, and would only be reachable in an emergency.”

“I also told them I expect my house in close to the same condition I left it in and they will have to cook and clean for the time I’m gone.”

“I’ve been getting the silent treatment ever since I told them and my husband is p**sed.”

“AITA?”

The OP returned to the post to clarify several points. 

“My husband has taken week long trips away from us with minimal notice.”

“We have discussed the cleaning issue quite a few times and nothing has changed.”

“I have my sister coming to watch the kids while my husband is at work and they have 3 weeks to prepare.”

“I will be reachable but husband [doesn’t] know the exact location of my cabin but knows the general area.”

Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP’s need for a vacation on the following scale:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some very firmly confirmed the OP was not at fault and needed a break. 

“Good lord, NTA!! You sound like my own mom, but far less appreciated. She gave up her career as a nurse to give my brother and I the extra care we needed (we’re both disabled in one way or another).”

“And she took vacations. Sometimes, it was a weekend trip to fish. Sometimes, it was across the country to visit her parents or siblings.”

“The point is, parents need time off. Especially SAH parents. Seriously, y’all never seem to get a break otherwise. You need, and deserve, this time away. You have to be able to take care of yourself before you take care of others.”

“My grandma avoided breaks. And she worked herself to exhaustion when my mom was in middle school. My mom and her siblings watched their mom being taken away in an ambulance when they got home from school one day. My mom is now in her mid-60s, and remembers it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday.”

“Your family needs to understand that this isn’t to spite them. This [is] for the sake of your continued health. Make a habit of it. A weekend here and there, a week when it’s possible.”

“Please, take care of yourself. Don’t work yourself the way my grandma did. Don’t work yourself the way my mom tried to (before ded started enforcing her time off). You deserve to be happy and healthy.”MamaC2011

“My mom has NEVER had a night away since she had my brother (who is 9 now, 10 in November) my sister and I are paying for her to have a hotel room this weekend to get away and she’s got the mom brain of being scared to leave any children behind.”immadriftersbody

“Totally NTA. My little one was 10 months old and I had the trip.of a lifetime planned for years before her arrival. You know what my husband and family did. They stepped up and took turns taking care of my baby in her own home.”

“I came back and things were great. I never got a ‘clean this or do that’ just a ‘we missed you so much. How was your trip? We can’t wait to see pictures and hear stories.’ Best family ever.”rifkalunadoesthehula

Others were also concerned at the reaction the OP received for her plans.

“NTA. Enjoy the h**l out of that vacation, you’ve obviously earned it. Your husband can deal with things for a single week FFS.”lightwoodorchestra

“It’s telling that ‘everyone’ is giving her the silent treatment, and the husband is p**sed at her rather than understanding.”

“A precedent has been set where op is expected to do it all and resented if she doesn’t, and frankly it sounds like the husband has been the one to set it. His annoyance says he knows how much work she does: he just doesn’t care.”

“OP, maybe when you are back from that week off, you should look into marriage counselling. Doesn’t sound like you are appreciated for what you do.”ZeeLadyMusketeer

“Yeah if it was the kids giving her the silent treatment because they wanna go [on] vacation or don’t wanna do chores or whatever, it would be one thing.”

“[It] would be another bad thing, although less bad than the reality, if it [were] just her husband, but it is clear that her husband is using the children to manipulate her.”telekineticm

A few tried to help the situation by suggesting how the OP could reinforce chores at home.

“Yes, and you need to establish consequences for when people don’t do their assigned tasks. You need to have set expectations, and tasks should increase as kids get older. There are lots of options, and you just need to ignore any tantrums (and just let mess sit sometimes).”

“For example:”

“Kids have to pack away toys, or electronics, etc. – if they don’t, they lose that item (except for schooling purposes, if required) for 3 days, then a week if they do it again, etc.”

“They have to put their clothes in the hamper or washing machine – if they don’t, they have to wash their own clothes or wear dirty clothes, until your next scheduled load.”

“They have to complete their assigned chore/s (sweeping, cleaning windows, taking rubbish out, etc) – if they don’t there is a consequence such as, they lose access to an item they regularly use (you can make them choose which one), they don’t get to see a friend, they have to make their own meal, etc.”

“If there are no consequences, there is no reason for them to change. Leaving them for a week, will be a great wakeup call for them.”Ok-Beginning-5922

“Yes. Also, look for natural consequences. You didn’t do your chore, well, the thing you had planned is now off the table until it’s done.”

“Remember to tell your kids something like ‘I have been bad at enforcing rules about chores. I do too much and that is bad for everybody. Chores are important life skills that everybody have to learn. From now on I will help you remember to do your chores, and teach you if you don’t know how. From now on, chores before fun time.'”Darktwistedlady

“Life skills are important. Try reframing chores as part of teaching your kids how to be adults, along with learning to cook, managing your money, shopping for food and everything else, regular maintenance on cars, houses, etc.”krankykitty

Though the OP’s news was probably sudden for her family, there should be no shame in needing a break from the usual responsibilities.

What is acceptable in each family for vacations and taking breaks will certainly vary, but it seems it should be a part of every household.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.