In the United States, employees frequently struggle to get an approved day off of work, let alone vacation time.
When they do get some time off, it rarely feels like enough, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
After relocating for his wife’s work, Redditor ptotimeaita was in a new workplace that allowed for fewer vacation days per year than he was used to.
When his wife came up with vacation plans, the Original Poster (OP) felt disgruntled that all of his free time was being used for something he didn’t think he would enjoy.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for being upset that my wife wants me to use all of my vacation time for her family events?”
The OP’s wife recently accepted a promotion, which led to relocating.
“My wife (35 Female) and I (37 Male) have been married for 10 years and have 2 kids (8 and 5).”
“Last year, my wife was offered a pretty big promotion at her job. It’s a huge step up and a big boost to her career goals, but it would require relocation.”
“After talking it over, we decided she should take it. We moved about 6 months ago.”
The OP didn’t have nearly as much vacation time as his wife.
“I was able to get a new job in our new city, but I only get 10 vacation days for the first year.”
“Part of my wife’s promotion was that she got a lot more vacation days (she now has 5 weeks).”
“She’s already used a couple of weeks of her vacation time for trips with her friends or sisters. I’ve stayed home with the kids while she’s on these trips.”
“She also took the kids on a trip while I stayed at home. She still has over 2 weeks of vacation time left.”
His wife had plans for how to use their remaining vacation time.
“We’ve started discussing our holiday plans for this coming winter, and she wants to go visit her parents for an extended visit. She wants to take time off around Christmas and New Year’s and stay with them for 2 weeks.”
“That’s all well and good, but that’s pretty much all of my vacation time.”
“I told her that I don’t want to use all of my vacation time just to go and see her family. I said I would be ok with using 5 days or so, but I want to save some time for me to use for things I want to do, like she did.”
“She got upset because she wants us all to be together for the holidays, and since the kids have all that time off school anyway, it makes sense to her that we would stay for a long time.”
“We also haven’t seen her parents since we moved, so I get why she wants to stay that long.”
The OP tried to compromise, much to his wife’s dismay.
“I’ve tried offering that she can stay for as long as she wants with the kids and I would head home by myself early, but that wasn’t acceptable, because she doesn’t want to fly with both kids by herself.”
“Which I understand, but I’m just trying to compromise.”
“She wants to start booking flights, and I am not willing to use all my vacation time for one trip to see her family.”
“We got into a fight over it because she’s not willing to accept my compromises.”
The OP had finally had enough.
“I finally got mad at her and told her that she got to use as much time as she wanted to do fun things for herself while I watched the kids, and I want to be able to do the same.”
“I told her that it’s great that she has so many new benefits from her new job, but I had to start over, and I don’t have those same options.”
“She took that as me being resentful for moving, which isn’t true.”
“I’m happy she got promoted and I’m not mad about relocating. But I am upset that she isn’t willing to understand that my work circumstances are drastically different from hers now.”
“I am not willing to budge on this, and she’s mad at me that I am not simply going along with what she wants to do.”
“I know it’s important that she sees her family, but I just want the option to do fun things for myself, like she did.”
“She thinks I’m being petty and stubborn because I’m jealous of her promotion.”
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 understood why the OP didn’t want to give up all of his vacation time.
“Wrangling kids on trips alone can be a huge pain in the a**, even for the most capable parent. However, she’s already taken the kids on trips alone while he stayed home and left him alone with the kids while she went off to wherever.”
“So it almost sounds like she just wants him to use up his only vacation days just to make it easier for her.”
“In addition, I don’t know his relationship with her family, but I wouldn’t consider 2 weeks with my in-laws to be a vacation at all. Even if it were all-expenses paid at a 5-star resort with infinite nannies and my own personal chef.” – TrudyKockenLocker
“My husband complained about going to see my family (they’re toxic and annoying), so I told him he didn’t have to come with me if he didn’t want to. They live an hour away and honestly, it’s annoying to have to visit them every other weekend. So if he didn’t want to go to a birthday party or game night, he didn’t have to.”
“One time we came home from a family event, and I was exhausted from it for days. And then every time I visited after that, I would need a couple of days to recharge from visiting family.”
“People don’t realize that you need space from family and maybe spending half a month around family isn’t always super fun and relaxing. It’s exhausting. Vacations are for rest and unwinding.” – Rrshirl
“It’s unfortunate that between the mix of, hopefully, paid days off around Christmas and New Years that there wasn’t a compromise on travel dates that would allow flexibility for both of you.”
“Also, your kids aren’t toddlers so flying with them shouldn’t be that bad considering they can carry their own backpacks and snacks and take a whole row together.”
“You’re NTA for wanting to enjoy some time relaxing and not spending it traveling, which is all well and good, but has its own set of stressors.” – Intelligent-Panda-33
“NTA. My husband has pretty limited vacation time (in construction). We are one income, so obviously I’ve got more flexibility.”
“He is NC/LC (no contact/low contact) with his family (a text on major holidays is where we are now, IF that). I do not ask or expect him to use all his vacation time on things with my family. He always heads home before we do.”
“One of our kids does have extra behavioral needs so traveling with my kids alone is a no-go for me, so I arrange for my mom or for our babysitter to be with me.”
“I think you should revisit the plan to head home before she and the kids do. Use a soft startup and aim to collaborate.”
“Fortunately, you’ll likely build up vacation time so this won’t have to be a permanent solution for your family’s vacation time.” – Sad_Faithlessness723
“In most marriages, you either alternate which family you see for the holiday, or you split the time. Just because you don’t have a family to visit shouldn’t mean you sacrifice your share of holiday planning. Maybe try to point this out to your wife, in a nice way, as you discuss.”
“NTA, because you offered several good compromises. But maybe examine your feelings on her new job and how she is using her excess free time that you don’t get. I’m picking up something that could turn into resentment, despite your best efforts.” – ToasterForHire
“The OP is in no contact with his family, which means she’s already sacrificing less time with her parents than most partners.”
“Most couples have to switch off and visit both families. Maybe she should think about the fact that she’d have to cut her time and holidays with her family in half if you wanted a relationship with yours.”
“You act like it having been over a year since you’ve seen her family is so much, and maybe for a lot of people it is, but for plenty of people, it’s not. My parents alternated Christmases, and pretty much all family was seen once every 2 years.”
“Your wife’s acting extremely selfish, and it kinda sounds like she’s used to getting everything exactly how she wants.” – Proper-Wolverine3599
Others also pointed out that the wife should be able to travel with the kids alone.
“Sure, traveling with small kids can be a pain but 8 and 5 (absent behavioral or neurodivergence) shouldn’t be hard.” – orangefog7890
“When I was six, my family moved across the country (military). My mom flew from Memphis to LAX with a 9-year-old girl, 8-year-old twin boys, and 6-year-old twin boys. OP’s wife is a wuss.” – anxious_apostate
“I’ve done 30+ hr long haul with kids. It’s not fun but once it’s over and done with, you are with your family. She can do it, she just wants to get her own way.”
“Great job? More holiday days? Relocation? Fine. But these things have consequences!” – watchingonsidelines
“Your wife needs to take a moment to reflect on the absolute nonsense of her position. She can spend two weeks there. You don’t have that luxury. Deal with it.”
“Further, every somewhat capable adult can fly with two kids. It’s not hard. It’s a simple task she and everybody else is able to perform.” – Testingthrowaway00
“Funny how she’s all about being with family, but flying alone with her two kids seems too much for her. OP has been fine with the kids when she’s having her alone trips, but heaven forbid she has to mind her kids for a flight home. They aren’t even infants for f**k’s sake.”
“OP, you’re NTA. I hope she sees reason, because your compromise is more than fair.” – kspeck
While the subReddit could empathize with the OP’s wife for wanting to see her family after a year apart, they did not believe the visit should come at the expense of the OP’s happiness.
Perhaps a visit could still happen, and they could spend fewer days there, or the OP could leave early to do something he was interested in.
But either way, the OP needed to be able to use his vacation time to relax and do something he had enjoyed, just as his wife had already been able to do throughout the year.