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Dad Won’t Let Wife Go Visit Her Grieving Mom For A Week Since He’d Have To Watch Kids Alone

husband and wife seated on couch arguing
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A death in the family is certain to disrupt the everyday routine—even if the person who passed wasn’t beloved.

But what if one family member decides that means no accommodations will be given for the grieving process?

A husband reluctant to support his wife and mother-in-law turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Tenrac asked:

“AITA for putting my family before my mother-in-law (MIL) after the death of her husband?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“MIL’s husband passed, he has been in hospice care for about 3 years. This man is not someone either my wife (39, female) or I (46, male) have many good feelings about.”

“To my wife, he was the (4th) man that her mom was married to. To me he was the ex-felon, racist, chain smoking redneck who has been manipulative and mostly a d*ck to me since I met my wife (11 years).”

“MIL has missed a large part of her grandchildren’s first few years because she was his primary caregiver during hospice. We are relieved that he is now finally out of the picture…I am so relieved that this man no longer has the ability to be an influence on my children.”

“However, both of us do very much care for MIL and her wellbeing, and she loved this man so she will need support. She lives 3 hours away in another state.”

“We are a family of 4. My wife and I work full time and have a 14-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son.”

“My wife is wanting to go up there for the whole next week to be there for her mother. I can not go, period.”

“My vacation time is used up. My salary is entirely commission—if I am not here selling, then we don’t make money—and I bring home the larger portion of our income.”

“My wife has a more traditional salaried job and does have available PTO as well as bereavement time. My job does not give me any of that—don’t work in the automotive dealership service world kids.”

“I have watched our kids by myself before, but not for such a long period of time. My job is Monday through Saturday, 7:30am-6pm.”

“I would have to get both kids dressed and out the door by 6:45, which I already do (wife leaves at 5:30), also have them picked up by 7 pm in the evenings and then make dinners, get them ready for bed and asleep. Throw in the cooking, laundry, and grocery shopping.”

“My wife has offered to take the kids with her, but I would rather them not miss a week of their normal routine for this circumstance. MIL is a smoker as well, and there is that.”

“We have other family members on my side that might be able to come help me during this week, but none of that has been confirmed yet.”

“I am of the opinion that MIL knows what it is like to be a mother and what it’s like to try to raise a family and work, and I feel like it is not the best plan for my wife to put her family on hold for a whole week to go up there and hang out with her mom while she goes through this. Therefore, I suggested that my wife just go up for the weekend.”

“My wife thinks I am being insensitive. MIL has not asked for anything.”


The OP summed up their conundrum.

“I told my wife that I didn’t think she should leave for a week to be with her grieving mother. Her mother’s husband just passed away after his battle with cancer.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously declared the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“YTA. How did this become all about you?”

“‘Put her family on hold’? What are you talking about?”

“You & your kids should be able to function without Mom for a week.”

“It’s a week. Families do what they need to do when they are dealing with a death in the family. If OP doesn’t want kids around a smoker, then he’s going to need to deal with taking care of the kids.”

“It doesn’t need to be perfect. Make sure kids are fed & semi-clean when Mom gets back. No one cares about laundry, cleaning, cooking, groceries…”

“Mom can pre-make dinners for every night. Shop before she leaves.”

“The kids also don’t need to be in daycare until Dad is done. Hire a sitter. Ask family to help out…. Or just send the kids with Mom.”

“My husband & I have 4 kids. My grandfather had a heart attack & passed suddenly.”

“I walked out the door that day to be with my grandmother without any of our kids—they were 2, 2, 4, and 6 at the time. My husband just said go & he handled it.”

“No discussion. No conversation. Just go!”

“Our neighbor & my best friend helped out & it all worked out. The house was a total disaster … but kids were fine, so no one cared.”

“It wasn’t perfect, but we did what we needed to do. He never asked me to change my plan.” ~ Alarming_Reply_6286

“Why does Mom have to do all the prep for OP? She works as well.”

“If OP wants prepped meals before his wife leaves, he can do that himself. He can also shop for the week so she can concentrate on getting ready.” ~ GoodQueenFluffenChop

“Do not say ‘mom can make freezer meals and grocery shop ahead of time’—her mother is grieving. OP can pick up the slack and hit the store and kitchen.”

“He’s not a helpless child, just a worthless husband.” ~ pineappledaphne

“YTA. Please do not take your wife up on her offer to bring the kids. Your wife won’t be able to do what she wants to help her mother, and your kids will be stuck in a grieving household for a week.”

“Not to mention that no one should have to drive three hours with two toddlers unless they absolutely have to.”

“You have one week with a difficult but doable schedule. You will be tired and have no time to yourself but you can get this done.”

“I can’t help but think of the millions of people who do exactly what you are dreading all the time. That’s perhaps not fair to you, especially since you acknowledge how difficult it will be.”

“However, when you follow that thought with the accusation that your wife is putting your family on hold…by asking you to support her by running the household for a week…then that’s where I take umbrage.”

“Whether you mean it that way or not, the subtext I’m picking up is that you are above doing this, unlike all the people (mostly women) who are expected to do this and judged if they complain.”

“Your family isn’t being put on hold. You are being asked to step up in an emergency situation by parenting your children. That’s exactly how a family is supposed to work.”

“You don’t need to be perfect. The house may be a bit messier, the timing may be a bit off, but everyone will be okay.”

“If you are truly that horrified at a hard, no good, very busy week, then please remember that horror when it counts.”

“Advocate for better parental and familial leave, support laws and politicians who advocate for better work-life balances, and speak up when you hear someone judging someone for their parenting.” ~ EmpressJainaSolo

“Please do not let your wife bring those kids with her as she helps her mother during this difficult time. Small children will make it impossible for your wife actually to be there for her mother.”

“And I am not even thinking about the smoke in the house. I am 100% thinking about your wife and how she can best help her mother.”

“Suck it up, it’s one week. Be an actual supportive husband and father, and do not ask your wife to set anything up for you before she leaves.”

“You are these kids’ dad; you should know what to do already. And if something crazy happens and you do not know the answer, you can always text her.”

“By crazy, I mean, the kids are seriously injured or need a doctor, and you have no idea who their doctor is (which you should flipping know, but I digress).”

“Seriously, it is one week, and you and your kids will be just fine. Your feelings about your former father-in-law do not matter in this situation.”

“All that matters is what is best for your MIL and wife. Boss up and be supportive of your wife.”

“Also, be sure to apologize to her for being selfish and trying to make her feel like she was doing something harmful to you and your kids. That was really messed up.” ~ Open_Ferret9870

“YTA. It’s one week. Those kids are 50% yours and looking after them for 7 days on your own is entirely manageable.”

“Don’t be that daddy that acts like he’s the babysitter. Step up!” ~ Repulsive_State_7399

“Here’s you OP: ‘My FIL died, but like, we didn’t even like him and now my wife wants to go, like, help? I guess? Ugh, anyway, it’s going to be mad inconvenient for me to parent the two kids I helped make. How do I get my wife to care less about her mom?’.”

“YTA. Majorly.” ~ knittininthemitten

The OP responded with some colorful language in the comments, as well as calling all of his detractors a**holes.

I guess he shouldn’t have asked a question he didn’t want an answer to then.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.