Even though it’s 2021, with 2022 on the horizon, many households still have this idea of what should be a “man’s” job and what should be a “woman’s” job.
One woman appeared to embrace them wholeheartedly recently on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, in fact.
Redditor Known_Bet_6907 was surprised when he invited her brother and future sister-in-law to come to stay with her for a while, only to be met with resistance over how responsibilities in the home would be divided up.
After seeing her future sister-in-law’s stubbornness, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was looking at the situation in the wrong light.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for making my brother’s girlfriend mow my lawn?”
The OP’s brother and his girlfriend asked to come to stay for a while.
“I own a 3-bedroom home with a front and a backyard.”
“A couple of months ago, my brother and his girlfriend (GF) (24 and 23 years old) were having some financial problems and asked me if they could live with me for a few months while they save up for enough to pay first and last month’s rent and security deposit to get their own place again.”
“I was definitely hesitant, but they promised me they would do all chores, including housework, laundry, and yard work, including mowing the lawn.”
The OP thought this could be a fair exchange.
“I figured a couple of months of not doing chores would be worth it, especially to get out of the yard work and mowing the lawn for the summer.”
“For the most part, it was ok. They’re not quite as diligent as I’d like them to be, but at least the place doesn’t get filthy, and the lawn gets mowed weekly.”
“[As a sidenote], my neighborhood tickets you if the lawn gets to a certain point, and that just takes about a week without being mowed in the summer to get to that length.”
“Also, they are not doing full-time ‘maid’ work, just the same types of chores they’d do for themselves if they had their own place: sink is full, do the dishes; counters are dirty, clean them; keep the bathroom in shape, etc. I’m not a messy person so for the most part, they’re mostly just cleaning up after themselves.”
An injury forced a change of plans.
“Last week my brother, Jake, sprained his ankle playing basketball and was going to be on crutches for a few weeks.”
“Grass grows fast this time of year, so I told his girlfriend that I guess since he can’t do it, it would now be her job.”
“She flipped out on me and said I’m being a jerk and that mowing the lawn is clearly a guy’s job, so I should either do it myself or hire someone to for a few weeks.”
“I told her the agreed upon setup was that they would do all these chores and if he can’t, that means it’s on her if they want to continue living here free.”
“She huffed and puffed but eventually did it. Not the best job but enough.”
Jake’s girlfriend was not happy after that ordeal.
“She’s been having an attitude lately, which I don’t mind, since I work 50 hours a week and hope it’ll motivate them to move sooner than later.”
“But yesterday my brother told me it feels like I’m kicking them while he’s down.”
“I feel like we’re all adults and had an agreed-upon arrangement, but he was insistent that I was being an AH.”
“Would like some neutral party thoughts here?”
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 said NTA because of the agreement the trio had.
“Chores were a condition of them staying with you for free. He’s injured, she is not, so I don’t see what the problem is. Women mow the lawn all the time, having his GF do it is not vindictive at all.”
“Makes you wonder, if they lived in their own house, would GF be mowing to the lawn or just let it grow wild until your brother was able to do it again? They’re supposed to be a team, but she’s complaining about pulling her weight when her boyfriend is unable to contribute. Not cool.” – OneTwoWee000
“My mom is 71 and she mows my parents’ acre lot every week – well, sometimes every couple weeks for the backyard… that is all hill.”
“Yeah… no. Bro and GF agreed to the terms to live there – how they get the tasks done is up to them. They can ask a friend. They can pay someone. But that’s the deal.”
“Clearly a guy’s job? she kills me…” – rak1882
“If she didn’t want to do it, she could also pay someone to do it. There are usually kids around trying to earn a buck… pay 15 bucks an hour or per lawn.”
“If they had their own home, they would still have to do all the chores… AND pay rent and all bills. They have a pretty sweet deal mooching off OP and I don’t know what more they expect. Do they think OP should do all the chores as well as support them indefinitely?” – Ursula2071
“My SIL is like this. She classifies chores by color. Pink jobs are women jobs, blue jobs are for men, and purple is both.”
“We made so many jokes about it, she stopped saying it. At least in front of us.”
“NTA – I am female and love mowing the lawn. How is this ‘kicking them when they are down’? Even if she didn’t want to do it, they could have paid someone to come do it. It’s actually not as expensive as people think.” – derbarkbark
Others agreed and said the lawn couldn’t wait because of the neighborhood.
“Depending on where you live, it may not be able to go two weeks as you start to grow past the maximum height allowed by city ordinances. In some places, it’s surprisingly short. In others, you can have a full-on meadow/jungle in your yard before anyone cares that your lawn is spilling over the sidewalk.”
“Also, NTA. I’m a disabled woman and I mow 1.5 acres with a push mower every week. It’s Hell but if I can get that done, it’s possible for the SIL to do hers. We just can’t afford to have it mowed professionally, can’t afford a riding lawn mower, and my mother has a broken ankle. So… it’s me.” – Dr_who_fan94
“If you live in a neighborhood with HOA status, they can ticket you for like three- or four-inch grass, sometimes less. I’m not disagreeing that it’s stupid, just pointing out how strict it can be.” – whole_lotta_nope_503
Though the brother and girlfriend didn’t appreciate the OP’s approach, the subReddit thought it was a fair condition. The OP had been reluctant to allow them to move in to begin with, and doing the chores was the deal.
Refusing to do a chore simply because she didn’t want to might land the girlfriend and the OP’s brother back in the world of paying their own rent faster than they had planned.