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'AITA for having my son help me in the kitchen? My husband says it's too girly.' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for having my son help me in the kitchen? My husband says it's too girly.' UPDATED 2X


"AITA for letting my son help me in the kitchen?"

In general sense, I know I am not the TA but I want an unbiased opinion from people in here. I (42F) have 3 sons Jamie (16M), Matt (12M) and Paul (10M) with my husband Charlie (45M). My middle son Matt is a little different from his brothers.

His brothers like things that are typically meant for men like sports, gadgets, video games and so on. But Matt is different, he is not a big sports fan. He likes reading and painting. He doesn't mind doing things that are typically not for boys.

Another thing about him is that he is passionate about food. He has been like this since he was 6. He would often come to the kitchen and see me cook and often times offer to help. Well I don't let him do heavy things like cutting or standing too close to the fire but he would be a helping hand. I call him Ramsey Jr (After Gordon Ramsey).

Honestly, I like this arrangement because while I am doing all of the cooking my other boys are in their room. My husband on the other hand is not impressed by Matt. He is a proud father of three sons and often like to do stuffs with them like- teaching them how to play baseball, playing video games, wrestling, watching sports.

But Matt is not interested in any of those things. He has said over and over again that those typical things they do doesn't interest him. My husband would still force him to do it because he thinks it is more important for him to do things that are more masculine with his brother because it creates a bond.

I have tried several times to convince my husband that he lot let Matt go and let him do his thing. We eventually reached to a compromise that Matt will do sports and other stuff with them once a week so that he is in touch with his brothers and rest of the time he would do his own activities that he likes.

My husband also doesn't like that Matt would rather stay in the kitchen with me being my helping hand rather than with him and my other boys. He sometimes tries to criticize him by saying, he shouldn't be doing girly things or he will not get any girls in the future or he will be made fun off.

The incident happened yesterday. I was in the kitchen preparing for lunch. My husband and sons were outside playing football. Paul and Jamie called Matt to come play with them but Matt was not interested. I told him he should go play with his brothers now while I do the meal prep and he can come back during the cooking process.

Matt agreed. But he came to the kitchen after 10 minutes and started helping me. My husband was with the boys too. He called Matt several time but Matt didn't budge. I can see it irritated him. After the lunch, my husband was pissed and told me what I am doing to Matt is going to harm him in the future. I told him how is forcing him to do things he doesn't like would help him?

He wasn't listening and kept saying things like he needs to be a man and stop doing girly things. And the way I am encouraging him cook and bake things like grandma he would get b-llied in school and he doesn't want a son who is a sissy. I was shocked. I told him he needs to get his head out of his a$$ because cooking is gender neutral. There is nothing wrong with Matt wanting to cook.

My husband got mad and told me I am ruining my son's future. He doesn't want him to grow up weak and fragile and making him do "girly things" will make it worse. He needs to learn how to be a man like his dad and learn how to provide rather than take on feminine roles. And just because I couldn't get a daughter I should stop turning my son into a girl.

This turned into a huge fight between him and me and now he is not talking to me. Matt is sad because he things he is the reason why his dad and I fought. I had to assure him that it was not his fault at all. So, AITA? Or should I just have told Matt to play with his brother and not come into the kitchen until the lunch is served?

Edit: I have read the comments. I just want to clear out any confusion. My other boys Jamie and Paul do have a good relationship with Matt. Yes, they are different and would rather stay in their rooms and do their own thing but none of them have ever bullied Matt or made fun of him for liking things differently.

Also, I am a homemaker for now but my husband does help me with some chores like- getting kids ready for school, driving them to school and other extra curriculum, folding the laundry, taking are of the lawn. So, it's not that I am totally helpless. The kitchen duty is 100% mine because my husband doesn't know or like to cook.

The internet kept it real in the comments.

Spekuloos_Lover wrote:

NTA. Every person should know how to cook and it's far more useful than the ability to kick a ball for the average person. There's nothing feminine about cooking. You're just teaching your kid basic skills.

PhDOH wrote:

All three are old enough to learn how to use knives and cook over heat. I feel OP is over cautious if anything. Also there's no way the kid will bond with his father & brothers doing something he hates. Their father should spend his once a week bonding time teaching them useful skills like DIY, fixing easy problems around the house, checking the oil & tires on a car, etc.

OP's the only one that's helping this kid out with his future. What are the other 2 going to do as adults? The older two should be able to cook a meal for the family by now, & the youngest doing it with help. A friend of mine's kid was doing cooking competitions at that age, and not simple stuff. Had his own set of knives.

They need to know how to wash and iron their own clothes, how to clean a house. I'm guessing their father doesn't do any of this. How would he cope if OP got hit by a bus?

editedtoadd wrote:

I am assuming/hoping OP meant that Matt had those restrictions when he first started at 6, rather than having them currently at 12.

OP responded:

You are right. When Matt was little I didn't let him get near the fire or hold the knife. He now knows how to chop and dice without my help. He also knows how to make some basic meals too but want to expand into more creative side of cooking.

sfransch5842 wrote:

OP, you are NTA. Not at all. You are, however, married to a sexist misogynist. Who cares if your son doesn’t like sports? What matters is that he is happy, healthy, loved, and supported! Please keep fighting for him. He needs to know someone loves him, and views him as more than a gender.

Some-Coyote1409 wrote:

NTA. Your husband is a peanut brain. Learning cooking is not shameful and is basic skill. In Japan they learn cooking in primary or junior high school. Is Matt helping you because he enjoys cooking or because he doesn't want to let you in charge of cooking (and probably cleaning) alone?

Cooking is a useful skill to become independent. All your kids and husband should learn the basics. Not everyone like sports or driving cars or fishing. Are all famous cooks gay or sissy? Is Gordon Ramsay a sissy? LMAO your husband has some serious insecurity. Maybe he should go to therapy.

A week later, OP shared an update.

Hello everyone. I just wanted to say thank you for the comments. I know some of you called me a troll. I don't know why you think that. I just wanted some unbiased opinion. So anyways, I am here to update on the situation.

My husband, Charlie was not letting it go. He insists Matt is wrong for wanting to cook with me. The argument between me and him never truly settled. So, few days ago, he decided to call his dad. He thought since his dad was in the military he would teach Matt some lesson.

So, my FIL came to our house. We chatted and talked. Charlie brought up the "issue" with Matt. He just talked about everything starting from his passion for cooking and not being interested in other masculine stuff. FIL was quiet and thought about it. Matt looked scared because FIL looks like a scary guy. FIL told the kids to go to their room because he wants to have a chat with hubby and I.

After we were alone, I was expecting FIL blame me but instead he blamed my husband. He said he is really embarrassed of my husband for having such backward thinking. He knows that when FIL was in the military he had to do all his chores and sometimes have to cook. He just loaded on my husband that he is teaching the wrong lesson to Matt.

That cooking is a good skill and it will help in real life. Watching sports and video games will not teach him anything valuable. There is more. I cannot write all of it but my husband looked really defeated. He tried to argue that Matt needs to do tough things but FIL shut that down by saying he has the nerve to say cooking is easy when he probably can't boil water.

Honestly, it was funny to watch my husband being berated by his dad like a kid. FIL then called the boys to the room and told us to give them privacy. We were outside, I was looking at my boys through the slit of the door. Matt looks relaxed but the heads of Jamie and Paul was down. Long story short, FIL told my boy to not bother Matt anymore.

He also instructed that my boys help me in the kitchen once a week to learn how to manage home. He also told Matt to not be scared and do whatever he likes. I am glad Charlie brought him to our house even if his plans backfired. I thought after FIL left there will be peace. My husband would be normal and understand but he was sulking and moping around.

I asked him continuously what happened, he didn't answer at first. But then after a lot of pushing and pestering he did. He said that the reason why he didn't want Matt to do "feminine" things is because he (my husband) was b-llied for that when he was in school. I knew he had to deal with bullies but he never told me why he b-llied them.

This is my first time hearing this story. He said when he was about Matt's age he would also be in the kitchen with his mom because he liked watching her cook. And they lived in a joint family so his uncles and aunts would also live in the house (like encanto). He would often get bullied by his cousins because he spent more time in the kitchen.

He also admitted that he had an interest in knitting but had to stop because he once heard his then crush say that it makes him gay. So he also got bullied for knitting. I was angry at him but now I just pity him. I had to explain the situation to him that we do not live in the past and a lot of things have changed. And that he shouldn't have to give up what he likes because people are stupid around him.

There was a lot of conversation about past and present and also about him being comfortable with this situation as a whole. He told me that he will not pressure Matt anymore. He realized that in order for his kid not to get bullied, he became his own kid's b-lly. Things are fine now. Today all of the boys (including my husband) helped me in the kitchen.

For the first time I felt a little relieved by it. Also to those people who told me to leave my husband, why? He is a good guy. I know he holds some backward views but he is nice and caring. I understand he has insecurities but they are not worth having a divorce. Things are fine now and if it goes bad I know what to do.

People were happy to hear the update.

Electronic-Way2199 wrote:

I am so happy it turned out well. Your husband calling his father was the best thing to happen. Matt gets to do what he likes, your husband opened up about his feelings and realised his mistake. Maybe your other kids also liked cooking and were scared to express that.

Also, your husband liked knitting when he was younger, maybe doing that together or gifting him some needles and wool might be nice?🤔 I don't know, was just a thought😅

OP responded:

I don't know if he likes knitting now or not but will ask him. He is still in his peak "masculine" phase. Baby steps.

geekynerdornerdygeek wrote:

Absolutely a case of "communication works". I hope things improve from here for OP and family and Matt becomes a wonderful chef.

OP responded:

I hope so too. I would be one proud mama.

Feyranna wrote:

Hahaha. He called a military man thinking they’d back him stopping a young man cooking? Who does he think cooks in the military? Glad you’ve got a good FIL!

OP responded:

FIL doesn't share military stories that much but yeah as far as I know chores are divided in military.

A year later, OP shared another update.

Hello, everyone. I just saw my post in instagram and I totally forgot about this account. I thought I should just give an update. It is not a happy update because my husband and I are going through a divorce. After my last update everything was fine until my husband started acting weird and out of character.

I will not go into details that much but he was having an affair with someone he met online. So, apparently, my husband has been using online forums even reddit to vent his frustration about Matt and he feels he has failed as a father and me not supporting his decision is emasculating him.

That is when he found his mistress (35f) who poisoned his ears that I am not a good wife because I should "obey" my husband. She and my husband bad mouthed me and she even had some questionable words for my son Matt as well. So, we have been fighting a lot about this.

He blames me because none of this would've happened if I just respected his authority as the man of the house and that mistress understands him and knows when to shut up. I still cannot believe he will turn his back on us just because my son liked cooking. This is not the man I married. I sometimes feel sad because I have been struggling with depression for a long time.

My sons are pretty depressed too. I took them to therapy. Especially Matt because he believes we are divorcing because of him. He took it hard. He even told me he will stop cooking if that means his dad will stay with us. My other sons are also very sad too but so far they have been understanding.

My FIL is 100% on my side. He has been helping me with a lawyer and pretty much disowned my husband for his behavior towards me and my kids. That's been my life. I am struggling a lot with the financial situations. I did get a job but it is that high in pay. My stbx has moved in with his mistress. I just hope we will see good days soon. That's all. Pray for us.

Commenters had plenty to say.

Patient-Drama8732 wrote:

When your son grows up and has to cook for himself, he'll be glad his mom taught him a few things in the kitchen. Sorry, but your husband is wrong here, on so many levels.

KLG999 wrote:

Not to mention when OPs sons start looking for partners - female or male (as dad is afraid of) - their skills in the kitchen will be very attractive. I can’t imagine being turned off by a man willing to cook for me!

ProfessionSanity wrote:

Boomer Mom here. I taught both my sons how to cook when they were in Jr High. Also taught them how to do their laundry. I wasn't going to send them out of the nest not knowing how to take care of themselves. NTA But your soon to be ex and his mistress are.

YeehawMiMaw wrote:

Your FIL is right - it's not about male/female, it's about being able to run a house/home. Everyone eats, everyone should be able to make some basic dishes. I have a son and a daughter, both of whom cook.

I think my son is more passionate about it, but he's married a wonderful woman, so I'm glad I encouraged him as she gets to enjoy his cooking now. So sorry for what has happened to you and the boys. You sound like a good mom.

theFCCgavemeHPV wrote:

I’m so sorry you’re going through all of that. I remember your post and was so bummed for your boy. Honestly, and I know this may sound callous, but thank goodness for that other woman for getting you and your kids away from him.

What a garbage human. You will heal from this and be so much better off than you could ever expect. You tell your kid that the rest of us can all see from a mile away that the divorce is not his fault in the slightest and someday he will see it too. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you enjoy. Don’t let anyone have that much power over you.

You deserve to be able to do what you enjoy freely without judgment or fear. Lots of chefs are men and there’s nothing wrong with boys cooking! The only wrong thing is his father’s misguided views of what it means to be a man. There is no right way to be a man. The only wrong way to be any kind of adult is when you hurt other people.

Your father is doing it wrong and we can all see that. I know it hurts now because you’re in it, but later on you’ll understand and be able to move on from the hurt you feel now.

Big hugs to all of you ❤️

Sources: Reddit
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