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'AITA for telling my wife that being a SAHM is not hard? The house is a mess.' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for telling my wife that being a SAHM is not hard? The house is a mess.' UPDATED 2X


"AITA for telling my wife that being a SAHM is not hard?"

My wife’s making this a deal bigger than it needs to be. Me(48) and my wife (48) married when we were 22 and have 5 kids(MF25, F22, M19). The 5th(F3) one was a surprise. Our other children are adults. For majority of their lives, I was the stay at home parent, I cooked, cleaned, attended games, etc.

From the moment they came home from the hospital, all up until their mid teen where I deemed them old enough to stay home by themselves. Like usual I quit my job, and had been watching her at home, but 8 months ago my wife comes to me and says she’d like to quit her job and watch our daughter.

I was skeptical because she had never done it before, but she’s her mother and assumed she can handle like I did. Well, she hasn’t been handling it well at all. Whenever I come home from work, the bathroom is a mess, there’s no dinner cooked, our daughter is a mess, and my wife is just watching TV.

After I tidy up the house, cook dinner, (which I don’t mind, I’ve been doing it for 25+ years) and get ready for bed she complains about how being a SAHM is hard. Personally I think she’s lazy. And I voiced my thoughts. She tried to tell me it’s different but I told her it’s not. I was able to watch the twins with little to no difficulty, and all the way up until they were 14.

I watched our 3rd and 4th child with no hassle either. I had the house cleaned, the food ready, the kids clean, homework done, went to their games, school meetings etc. I never asked for help, and sucked it up because I was a dad. For her to have so much trouble watching a 3 year old is ridiculous.

She’s been silent with me since that conversation, but when I came home from work the house was actually clean, food was cooked, and our daughter was clean as well. I’m starting to feel like TA because maybe it’s different for women, but how can raising children be so difficult and different for us.

Note: each time after giving birth she did not immediately return to work. She did stay at home for about 1 year so she could recuperate (she asked this time be for her since child birth was a lot for her). I, Along with hired help watched the children and took care of the house. We come from a very wealthy family, so returning to work has never been troublesome for me.

Not long after posting, OP shared an update.

EDIT: I want everyone to understand that I do love my wife. But she's not been able to take care of the house or our daughter. Being a SAHP means taking care of the house and children, and she does neither. My wife claims she’s not depressed, but I can’t allow for this to continue. I’ll have to discuss with her if she would like to return to work, or if she wants for both of us to be SAHP (we have funds to retire early).

I feel as if she may reject this, and if she does I will put my foot down and hire help for her. She needs it more than she is willing to admit. Calling her out the way I did May have been harsh and I will apologize for that, but it did seem to have effect since she did take care of the house and our daughter.

The internet had a lot to say about the situation.

PikaGurl322 wrote:

I’m only going NTA here because unlike most posts I see like this, you’ve actually been a SAHP so you know what it entails and have been able to do it. It sounds to me like you made it look easy so she thought she wouldn’t have to do much work at all.

Born-Constant-7913 wrote:

Yeah, look, he is obviously extremely competent in this area. I would struggle with one, let alone 4. That being said, it's really not a competition. It's a team sport. And also, pregnancy messes up your body. I can't imagine what pregnancy at 45 must be like. Still - it has been 3 years. NTA.

anoncommenter wrote:

Info: So, you’ve been “doing it for 25 years” re tidying the house, watching the kids and cooking But also you had hired help for the first 4 kids. So what did this help do?

OP responded:

After my wife gave birth she wanted to take a break. Giving birth took a lot out of her. She was on a break for about a year, so I had hired nanny to watch the children in the times she wanted to go on dates, see her family, etc. But the help was only hear for about a year because my wife was ready to go back to work and I could stay home full time. I hope this makes sense.

anoncommenter responded:

So why not hire the help now seeing as your wife seems to be needing it?

OP responded:

She doesn’t want the help. When I first suggested (about a month into being a SAHM) she turned it down. She was upset that I thought she needed help taking care of our daughter. There’s nothing wrong with the help but she insisted it wasn’t necessary. We have the money so it’s not an issue. Maybe a feeling of inferiority.

[deleted] wrote:

YTA. What may have been easy for you 15ish years ago might not be easy for her now. Do you know why she's not cleaning etc.? Me and my hubby have this exact problem. I do Saturdays alone with our son and he does Mondays. Every Saturday he does not come home to a clean house etc. but every Monday I do.

The difference is I put all my energy into my son during the day. Doing activities etc. Now I'm not saying my hubby doesn't but there is a significant time my son spends alone while he cleans etc. Nobody does their way wrong its just done their way. Maybe this is what is occurring. You also said you had hired help.. I would sit down and talk with her.

OP responded:

I don’t know why she’s not cleaning, and it’s nerve wracking. I find juice all over the floor, food splattered on the table, the bathroom is mucky, and there were even time she left the stove on. Half the time I have to give our daughter another bath because of how much food is in her hair. Before the argument I asked her what is going on and she just laughed it off and said since it’s her first time.

I need to go easy on her and that she’ll get better with time. But does she not realize all the dangerous situation she’s putting our daughter in? She doesn’t want a nanny or someone to come by to clean and cook. I don’t know what else to make of this other than her being lazy.

[deleted] responded:

So with the other kids she DID watch them during her maternity break apart from when she was going out and then you hired a Nanny to watch them- but then when she returned to work after a year you took over their care full time?

You know looking after kids when you are in your twenties vs 40’s is a whole other ball game right? Not that it’s ever easy.. but as we get older it certainly doesn’t get easier. I’m gonna say YTA . Hire the help, believe your wife, she wants help that should be enough rather than you asking strangers to justify that you think she’s lazy.

OP responded:

No she didn't watch them. The time my wife took off was her vacation. I was home with her, but when we went out we had hired help. I can count on both hands how often my wife watched our children after giving birth. My wife doesn’t want to hire anyone. And I was watching our daughter up until 8 months ago.

Just hours after receiving an avalanche of feedback, OP shared yet another update.

Just got done discussing with my wife on why she hasn’t been doing her part as a SAHM. We argued back and forth for a while, her saying that she still needs time to adjust, I’m shaming her, it’s different for mothers. I brought up hiring help and she quickly shot this down, becoming irritate that I suggested she needed help taking care of her home and child.

It felt like we were going in circles. I eventually cut her off and began to list all the dangers she had been putting out daughter in since becoming a SAHM, explaining how even though I went back to work that I come back and have to clean up after her because she hasn’t done her part, and told her I was sick of this.

I apologized for calling her lazy but she then broke down crying. My wife admits that being a SAHM was something she didn’t think she’d be good at, but she desperately wanted to be here to raise our daughter because she wasn’t there for our other kids.

She said that when I was raising the children I made it seem so easy because everything was neat, and the children were happy, and orderly. I told my wife that it’s not true, you were always with us. We got out some picture books and I pointed out all the times she was with us, every trip we took, the games she tried her hardest to attend, taking time off work for holidays, bedtime stories, etc.

She may not have been there for everything like I was but me and the children always so her efforts. She even thought our children held resentment towards her but that couldn’t be farther than the truth. I asked her if she was possibly going through depression but she assures me she’s not, but we decided we should attend couples therapy along with some individual therapy for her.

I asked if she enjoyed being with our daughter at home and she admits that being able to spend all this time with her was refreshing and possibly the happiest she’s ever been. She promised that she’ll do her part and keep the house tidy to the best of her ability and will be more careful so that she doesn’t put her in danger anymore.

We sat down for a while and I gave my wife some ideas she and our daughter can do together while I’m at work (go to the museum, aquarium, a picnic etc. These were things I did with our kids). But I did tell her I was still going to hire someone to help her, she attempted to say no but I shot her down.

Being a SAHM is a lot harder for her than she realizes. I gave her all the pros that having a help can give her. After a bit my wife was more open to the idea. I'm glad we were able to get this out in the open. Im still wondering if I should take some time off work before I hire someone to help my wife, that may possibly be more comfortable for her.

I’ll bring this up tomorrow. I'm going to plan something with our children this weekend, possibly a barbecue. I wanna tell my the children how my wife’s been feeling. I know for a fact they love her, but I bet my wife would feel a lot better to see it come from them.

The comments kept coming.

jaulak wrote:

I strongly believe that being a house manager (stay at home parent\spouse) is an actual job. And like any other job, some people will be good at it and some won't, some will find it easy and others will struggle (I'd argue the same on parenting but that's another topic for another day). I don't believe the wife is lazy.

She's been working for decades, even tho she didn't need the paycheck, that's not the behaviour of a lazy or a careless person. I think she's feeling overwhelmed and guilty and not giving herself the benefit of the doubt, that housework might just not be her thing and that it's ok that some people might find it challenging, and that it's okay to receive help especially if it's easily obtained.

The fact that she refuses help when she obviously needs it + her guilt about not being "there" for her other children while growing up makes me believe she's letting societal norms and expectations get into her head.

I'm pretty sure that seeing how her husband was able to accomplish the job with relative ease while she's struggling with it must be devastating to her. And then for him to call her lazy...I just can't imagine how horrible she must've felt.

The husband, although I don't believe he is actually an AH but he was definitely being one when he called her lazy, even if he didn't come from a bad place or have bad intentions. There is so much pressure on women to be naturally good at housework and to be able to do it anyway if they weren't. Another point I want to add is that age absolutely plays a role in the abilities to do the work.

The husband refuted that by saying he did it this time without struggle, but remember he also had many years of experience and practice while she didn't. Again, just like any other job, there are MANY factors at play. Natural physical and mental abilities (affected by age), skill, experience, preference...etc.

When allocating responsibilities in a household, all of this should be taken into consideration in order to find an arrangement suitable for all members of the household (this might include children or an in law etc). OK that's a lot. But I guess it hit a nerve lol. I hope they resolved it and are happy and satisfied by now, as they both seem to be good people.

rekette wrote:

I was ready to say that OP was the AH by the title but clearly he knows what he's talking about, this is nothing like the scenario of a working parent judging the SAHP but of an experienced SAHP. It's insanity that so many comments say that OP is the AH.

giraffecat1228 wrote:

God I can’t even respond to enough comments on this thread. OP you are absolutely NTA. Her refusal to accept help is on her, solutions have been offered and she is refusing them that does not make you an AH here.

You are speaking from experience when you say it's not difficult because to you it is not. You did this till 8 months ago so people saying”You Did ThIs TweNtY YeaRs AgO” are 1. Wrong and 2. Not even reading the whole thread before casting their judgment. Note to self never post anything having to do with moms on here.

babyitscoldoutside13 wrote:

WTF is going on in the comments??? This man raised 4 children as a SAHP, 2 of which twins, while his wife for the first Year after each birth did almost nothing. I mean, by all means, take the time off if you can afford it, but not actually do anything to parent o_O?!

So we can start from the premise of her being lazy when it comes to pulling her own weight in the household. Which she is! There is no 2 way to see this. First off, I mean, respect to you for raising your children. Sure, money helps, but cannot imagine being a SAHP to be easy either way.

And now, at 48, you go ahead and do the same and parent you little one 24/7 and keep the household for 8 months, while she again does nothing? That in itself is just baffling to me. So she decides to become a SAHP by herself, doesn't take proper care of the child, or the house, doesn't accept outside help and expects you to do everything while you work full time?

If I didn't know what crazy people are out there, I'd shout fake. NTA! Definitely try to convince her to talk to a professional in case of PPD or any other mental condition. My opinion, she was always a lazy, coddled person, who couldn't be bothered to parent her children, and is trying to prove to herself that it's not true.

eternal-darkness123 wrote:

NTA. If it was reversed and your wife was here asking for advice and what not, they’d be screaming that you were a bad husband and father. But since it’s your wife, it’s always PPD and depression instead it sounds like she’s just lazy. Coming from someone who struggled to be a STAH I recognized it wasn’t for me and worked to change the issue. Apparently not everyone shares that same self awareness.

Sources: Reddit
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