A dad on Reddit got schooled on working motherhood after he posted to the internet forum seeking people’s opinions on how he handled a situation with his wife.
In the AmItheAsshole (AITA) subreddit, the 24-year-old father revealed that he recently told his 24-year-old wife she should stop working to take care of their 2-year-old, so they wouldn’t have to use a babysitter anymore. The OP, who goes by the username RedditThroww6923, explained that although he and his wife both work full time, he makes “exponentially more than she does,” and lately, he’s been thinking that paying for a babysitter for their child, who is a “handful,” isn’t worth the money. “So I told her I feel like it would be in our best interest if she quit her job and stayed at home with our child. I’d just rather not pay for something we don’t need to pay for.”
The wife didn’t react well. “She got very mad and said that she doesn’t want to stop working, it’s ‘ridiculous’ and that she doesn’t like the idea at all. I’ve tried bringing it up again, but she’s been ignoring it. So AITA?”
The comments ended up being some of the best defenses of working motherhood we’ve ever seen on the internet, with the OP ultimately being labeled the a-hole.
Redditor ErrantJune brought up the point that it’s awful to ask someone to quit a job they love, just because you make more money than they do, writing, “If someone I love told me I ought to give up the job I have, the job I like and am appreciated in and for which I am financially compensated, to take a job I don’t like and am likely to be unappreciated and for which I will not be compensated because my romantic partner ‘makes exponentially more’ than I do, I’d reconsider my relationship with that romantic partner.”
Several mentioned how hard it is for stay-at-home moms to re-enter the workforce after taking a career pause to care for kids, suggesting that if the OP forces his wife to stop working, it’ll be even more difficult to return to her field once the kid is past babysitting age. “Sometimes their education, qualifications or work experiences will become completely (or almost) out-dated or obsolete,” wrote user EverydayEverynight01.
And Redditor Shutterbug390, a stay-at-home mom, reminded the OP that if he forces his wife to become a stay-at-home mom, the situation could be bad for their kid too. “If she feels the desire and drive to work, she will be a better mother to your child while working. If you take that from her, she could easily end up miserable and even possibly resenting your child for the fact that she’s stuck at home because you don’t feel her job is worth the childcare cost,” she wrote. Shutterbug390 went on to mention that she realizes not everyone likes staying at home with their kids like she does, and added, “Unless your wife working is so expensive that you can’t afford to live, there is no reason she has to be home.” Plus, what’s so wrong with hiring a caregiver? “Having worked in childcare, I know that when you find a good babysitter or daycare, your child has everything they could possibly need while you’re at work and still feels loved at home. Your child won’t suffer for it, so as long as it’s not putting you into debt, let your wife be happy.”
Meanwhile, user sirdee23 urged the dad to think about how he’d react if the situation where flipped. “If the answer is, geez, what an asshole, then you already have your answer. :-)”
User heartjoysobfacepalm summed up what many Redditors felt so concisely. “You told, not asked. The family best interests might well include having two people in the workforce or with current job skills, in case something happens to the high wage earner. Two-year-olds ARE handfuls, whether in daycare or with a parent. Your logic that she should quit and he will chill is not founded in reality. Your wife is a person, not just a caretaker. You ignore this at your peril. Quit making assumptions, and discuss. Discuss jobs, parenting styles, all of it. But don’t just tell her to quit her job.”