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Man decides household chores shouldn't be split 50/50 if wife quits her job; AITA?

Man decides household chores shouldn't be split 50/50 if wife quits her job; AITA?


Dividing up household chores and childcare can be a challenge for many couples who share a similar professional workload, but what happens when there is a drastic career change?

So, when a conflicted dad and husband decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about expecting his wife to become a 1950s 'Mad Men'-style homemaker the second she quits her job, people were eager to deem a verdict.

AITA (Am I the As*hole) for telling my wife that when/if she quits her job to be a SAHM I am not planning to do much in the way of household chores anymore?

My wife and I have a 6 month old baby girl and a two year old boy. Wife hasn’t been too happy since returning to her job from her last maternity leave and I actually just got a new job.

At my old job I was working 45-50 hours a week. At my new job my hours fluctuate a lot — it can be anywhere from 60 to 80ish hours a week at the worst. I make a lot more though so there’s that.

The pay raise makes it so my family can do really well on just one paycheck. My wife is ecstatic because this means she can be a SAHM which is what she’s wanted.

The issue is that my wife and I aren’t on the same page about what this change would mean. Before, when our work hours were almost equal, we divided housework pretty much equally.

We also paid a housekeeping staff to come every other week to help us out. (Plus we have a nanny to care for our kids while we work).

I told my wife that her staying home would mean no more housekeeping staff or nanny. These cuts will help us afford to have just the one income and I also think it’s practical. She was mostly agreeable to that. But then she said that we should divide the chores 50-50 still.

I told her there was no way I was going to be taking on as many work hours as I am and then come home to cook or clean too. That would defeat the entire purpose of her quitting her job.

She looked at me like I was some sort of Neanderthal but I think what I’m saying is completely fair. I’m not expecting her to do any heavy lifting. Just tending to the kids, cooking, and doing a reasonable job keeping up the house.

I recognize that this would be an old fashioned way of living and if she ever wanted to return to the workforce I would support her 100%. But I think it’s fair that if I’m the sole paycheck and working crazy hours I don’t come home to more stress and chaos.

Obviously my wife and I will have to work this out between ourselves. I’m mainly posting here as a sanity check to see if my thoughts on this issue are completely off base.

Later, he updated the post to include:

I can see people are really passionate about this topic and you all have encouraged me to think more deeply about it. I think I’ll let my wife take a look at the thread too since many have gone out of their way to offer constructive comments for both of us.

Yikes...this is risky territory indeed. It's never a good idea to get on the bad side of the person you're expecting to cook dinner for you every night, sir. Here's what they jury of internet strangers had to say:

somuchbitch said:

Idk dude if you're working 60-80 hours a week and shes taking care of the kids full time you both better find some time to just be together because this ship is going down fast.

You're telling her how its going to be rather than discussing with your supposed partner the plan for raising two kids and supporting your household.

Raising kids is a lot. I don't think anyone who hasn't done it can even begin to understand (I don't understand). Right now you want her to do work that currently requires two people (a cleaner and a nanny) at the same time, and then do all the chores on top of that.

Take it one step at a time and see how much each of you can really handle before claiming demanding xyz.

Cinnamon_Razzmatazz said:

NTA. Cooking and cleaning is kind of part of the job. Though, as a SAHM, I can say childcare is a full time, labor intensive job. 'I'm not expecting her to do any heavy lifting.' Child care is as exhausting as a job that requires physical labor. You have to be on at all times.

It sounds like you'll be working a lot of hours but you need to understand that she will be working those same hours at home. Kids aren't just something you can put on the shelf when you're feeling overwhelmed or tired. The worst part is you don't get sick days. My husband still has a hard time understanding that one.

If you're still able to afford it, I would suggest keeping the housekeeping help for every other week especially during the transition to put her more at ease. Otherwise, you're going to have to understand that there will be bad days and even bad weeks where you might have to step up and help.

You should still definitely have at least one or two chores. My hubby is still in charge of garbage and recycling (even though I constantly have to remind him) and he does help with dishes when I'm having a bad week and just can't get back on top of things. It's definitely going to be a struggle in the beginning to find the right balance. Please be patient and understanding.

Smw860407 said:

NAH. You both have valid concerns. If I may share some advice that has helped my DH and me balance our work/home work load: worry more about making sure you both have equal free time to relax rather than an equal workload.

Sometimes you just can't make the workload equal for reasons outside your control. And often it's not the chores that cause the resentment (because you'd be doing 100% of it if you were living alone), but the watching somebody get to relax while you're busy working.

[deleted] said:

I wanna say NTA. However, I think you underestimate how difficult it is to do all the cooking and cleaning and take care of two very young children. Your wife will be now doing all the work that was previously shared among four people.

When you have a family, it shouldn’t be about tit for tat, it should be about doing what needs to be done. I don’t think you should necessarily split everything 50/50 as before, but you definitely don’t get to just not help with household maintenance.

You live in that house too and those children are half your responsibility, so anything they might require (food, clean clothes, etc) or make a mess of is your responsibility too.

CantHandleTheDumb said:

ESH. As a SAHM for only 1 child, it's tougher than what it sounds like being at home with them all day. I'm constantly cleaning messes all day, wrangling a toddler that dislikes diaper changes and trying to find time to meal plan/grocery shop (around nap schedules) and maintain some sanity with adult interactions without word vomiting on the cashier.

I say everyone is because she shouldn't expect an equal 50/50. My husband takes care of the outside of the house while I take care of the majority inside. If you can keep the housecleaner for maybe even once a month, that helps lessen the mental load on your wife.

She may go through an existential crisis (semi-dramatic) about her change in roles from contributing financially to the house to becoming another financial burden. This isn't always the case, but it could be.

I could expand on this, but then I just seem nitpicky, but talk and discuss clear roles for cleaning. I've accidentally exploded on my husband because I started feeling like his maid instead of wife when I was cleaning up his dirty dishes he left in the living room, even though he is an adult that knows where dirty dishes go, everyone can have rough and long days, paid or not.

So, there you have it...

While the opinions were slightly divided here, most people agreed that this man isn't necessarily wrong but they both need to have a deeper discussion about expectations. If he thinks that the second she quits her job that he'll never have to pick up a Swiffer mop or wash a dish, this could be a dangerous road. Good luck, everyone!

Sources: Reddit
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