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Man furious with how wife parents two toddlers; wife claims, 'You're overreacting. I'm a GOOD MOTHER!' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Man furious with how wife parents two toddlers; wife claims, 'You're overreacting. I'm a GOOD MOTHER!' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this man is upset with his wife's parenting and doesn't know how to move forward, he asks the internet:

"My wife has almost completely stopped taking care of our two toddlers. I'm at my wit's end. AITA?"

I work a 9-5 all week. My wife is a SAHM to our 2 children. We have a 3.5 year old son and a 1.5 year old daughter.

An important thing to note is that we barely have any supportive family. Her parents are not in the picture and my parents live two hours away.

My wife has been diagnosed with postpartum depression. She refuses to take her medication. She says that she doesn’t need it, but she does.

Our son is potty trained, but our daughter is still in diapers. She ALWAYS has a severe diaper rash due to my wife not changing her. She only changes her when our daughter leaks through and stinks, or when I remind her when I’m at work.

The house is always a mess. My wife barely cleans. I do all of the laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, bathing of our children and their teeth brushing. Did I mention that I also work full time?!

I’m sure that they don’t get a proper meal the entire day when I’m at work. They don’t eat meals unless I make something or if I order take out.

Our kids sleep with us because my wife refuses to sleep train them. I hardly sleep despite working a 9-5. I’m mostly bitter about the lack of sleep.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t turn to family. My wife thinks that she doesn’t have a problem. Our kids run wild all day long, and when I come home, it’s even worse.

Has anyone experienced this? I love my family, but this has to stop. She doesn’t share her part of the workload.

Before we give you OP's two updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

miswrite writes:

This is really sad but the thing that sticks out to me as odd is the medication thing. If she hadn’t been taking any medication prior to the appointment, they would (likely) absolutely not start her off on a “higher dose”, as you usually need to titrate yourself up to higher, more therapeutic doses.

The “it took a day to kick in” thing is weird too. I’ve experienced feeling a little better in the days after taking meds, but not like a lot. Especially after apparently being depressed, etc, for so long? Though the placebo affect is strong, and having the in-laws there for support was likely helpful.

Anxiety meds are usually more acute and fast acting, so I can see that being a thing. Anyway, this sucks. Sorry OOP. I’m glad your parents are helping and supporting you and hope you’re doing better.

fancyyy writes:

ESH. I agree with some of the other posters here that your wife is depressed and needs help. However, i will differ from them in that i think you need to reflect on yourself too.

I'm a working dad as well. I typically do 40-50 hours a week but being in software sometimes around deadlines I'm working more. I get it. Work is exhausting and stressful. However, a lot of times being at the office all day is still a damn nice break from the chaos at home.

You are getting out of the house away from screaming\crying\demanding kids. You get away from the messy house. You interact with other adults who can hold meaningful\intelligent conversations.

Even though you are working and you may be stressed about some project or whatever, it is still a break. I always joke with my coworkers when we get back from a family trip it's nice to be back on vacation again at the office.

Your wife doesn't get that break does she? Being a STAHM is a 24/7 job not a 9-5 thing. Her number one priority should be the kids and not having the house fully clean, laundry done\folded\put away and food on the table for you when you get home. That's a "1950s house wife".

It works for some but doesn't for others and it doesn't sound like that's your wife. It's not my wife either (i'm personally happy about that). Everyone's lives are different.

Just because one mom is a perfect housewife doesn't mean that your wife can do it too. I think you need to adjust your expectations. Going to work all day doesn't get you out of having to do chores around the house.

Laundry: Do you guys just differ on how often laundry should be done? Does she prefer larger loads\less frequent washes and you prefer smaller loads\more frequent washes?

For us what works is I wash the clothes and lay them out on our guest bed and she eventually gets around to putting the kids and her stuff away while I just live out of my pile. It's not really a big deal to me if laundry gets put away since it just gets worn again lol. It would probably bother me though if we didn't have a guest bed to pile stuff on.

Cleaning: Was your wife into cleaning before the kids? If she was messy before than she wasn't suddenly going to keep the house clean once the kids were born. Depression would certainly factor in here.

Frankly cleaning during the day with kids can be pointless as they just make another mess. You live there too so you should clean, the goal should be to try to get her to help you clean. Work out deals. "I cook, you do the dishes", "I load the dishwasher, you empty it", etc. Consider getting a maid.

Even once a month or maybe have them just do the bathrooms... that could help so you guys just have focus on the most obvious of stuff like the table, counter and putting the kids toys way.

Bathing: You're at work all day, how much time do you get to spend with your kids before they go to bed? You should own bath and bed time. I know for me, I'd work till 5 and then with my commute not get home until around 6-630 when my kids were your kids' ages.

We'd eat together than do baths, play\relax together and then bed time. That's your time with them take advantage. Soon they'll do more on their own and you'll lose that time.

Grocery shopping: Does she just not want to do it with the kids? Will she do it at night or over the weekend while you watch the kids?

Going back to my previous point, you're at work all the time why don't you take the kids and go to the grocery store. It gives your wife a break at home and gives you some more time with the kids. If you don't want to do that because "the kids are a nightmare at the store", why would she want to?

All of that said, yes there are some concerns here. We only have your side of the story but it sounds like she's not fulfilling the mom side of the job. Not changing diapers and not feeding them is an issue.

Are you sure she doesn't change the diapers at all? If you use a diaper pail or a specific trash can empty it before going to work one day and check if there's diapers in it. It can be surprising how fast a kid can fill a diaper. Diaper rash can happen for a number of reasons.

For example my youngest had issues with dairy for a while and it caused terrible rashes. Another thought is perhaps she's concerned about the cost of diapers and doesn't want to change them that frequently? Have you recently been fighting about money?

What makes you think she's not feeding them? If the diapers are full then i'd say this shouldn't be much of a concern.

It seems like you need time off work at the very least to be at home to help. Find out whether your company offers FMLA or any other kind of family medical leave. If your wife has mental health issues it should qualify.

Your parents being two hours away is not far at all, if they can't make the drive themselves maybe you can do a road trip with the kids and then bring one or both of your parents back with you to help for a little while.

There's certainly reasons they could help such as health, advanced age or work but if there healthy, retired and unwilling to help that's pretty fucking shitty. At the very least maybe take the kids for a weekend and let your wife relax at home.

A nanny or daycare can be expensive but it might be something you have to do to get your wife out of her funk. I'd personally dip into any sort of funds i had to make it work even retirement funds perhaps a 401k loan. Mental health is no joke and it's one of the few things that I'd say is worth dipping into a 401k for. If it's a complete no go for full time, part time would still help.

I also think you have to get your wife out of the house for some adult time. Does she have any friends you can call and try to enlist their help? have them take her out for drinks or dinner.

If you aren't doing it, get a babysitter and have some date nights. Start with a movie or something then try dancing lessons together, bowling or some other fun activity. Have her join a book club or some type of meetup group.

Get those kids out of the room. You're gonna have to do it and I don't see the big deal there. Lack of sleep sucks I get it but it sounds to me like you guys need more separation from the kids.

If you can't get time off then, you're gonna have to man up (i hate this term) and lose the sleep. It really does suck i get it but in my opinion t's probably one of the biggest things you can do that's gonna help.

headon writes:

As someone dealing with MDD and PTSD, I daydream all the time about what it would be like to leave my fiancé and let him have full custody of our kid.

We moved closer to my family when I was pregnant because my mom said they would help- and then they didn’t. So I spent the first three years of my son’s life depressed, suicidal, angry, and sometimes just…absent.

I have gotten so much better. My mental health team and I worked so fucking hard to get myself to where I am now.

I can’t imagine leaving my son, but I still have moments where I hate that I haven’t had a real break in years and just wish and wish and wish I didn’t have a kid. I miss sleeping in my own bed, I miss going on dates with my partner, I miss having money to spend.

This post was hard to read because I can relate to the ex wife so much, right up to wanting to leave and have a kid free life. Luckily, my fiancés parents are very much like OP’s, in their completely selfless desire to help- which is why we’ll be moving close to them here soon, once I finish school.

But I have to admit, I think it was good for me to read the other side of it. To know how my fiancé would react if I ever gave in to those depressive lows and just up and left. I am so terribly sorry for what you’re going through, and thank you for sharing your experience.

greeeen writes:

Bipolar was my first thought. People with bipolar disorder who go on antidepressants can have really bad reactions and flip hard, or even start rapid cycling (the immediate change after starting medication makes me suspicious). The treatments are really different.

Having a bipolar diagnosis wouldn't excuse her behavior at all, but it could partially explain the new relationship and extremity and suddenness of her abandonment. Irrational thinking (I never wanted kids, I have to flee my life and be free), risk taking, inappropriate sexual behavior, extreme decision making are all classic manic symptoms.

(And the neglect/suicidal ideation from the earlier posts sound like a very deep depression far enough past childbirth that I'm not sure PPD explains it.)

People with bipolar disorder regularly blow their lives up like this. If that's what the wife's problem is, I don't think she's going to be getting the treatment she needs by running off with this new person. I hope for her and her family's sake that she gets into care before she does even more damage.

If bipolar disorder is her issue, the right medication and therapy will help her stabilize into a person capable of having and maintaining healthy relationships with her children, and holding down a job necessary to at least financially support them.

Even if that's not her problem, the wife clearly needs more psychological help of some kind to deal with her issues in a healthier way.

liksith writes:

I think people just do not understand how bad PPD is and that it can permanently fuck someone’s brain chemistry sideways for life and leave them dealing with extreme mental health issues that ruin them and can take years just to remotely get your head moderately screwed back on.

It’s terrible for the kids, the husband and the woman, who basically had her brain taken like an egg and thrown against the wall.

The complete lack of support to new dads and moms in the United States is a direct reason for shit like this, because we absolutely do not give any shits about supporting new parents on the scale we should be to ensure not only they thrive but the children do.

fence writes:

YTA. This rubbed me the wrong way. The husband sounds like he’s thinking of his wife as a household equipment instead of a human being.

I hope that woman is happy wherever she are, I wish nothing but the best for her People are saying what a good man OP is but he didn’t said he stepped up and fed them or changed their diapers himself, his main concerns is his lack of sleep not his children’s wellbeing.

My dad is one such men and bless my mom, she stayed with him but she told me that there was a period she resented him because she felt like she was nothing but a vessel to birth his child and to babysit them. Maybe I’m projecting but to this day, my dad has never changed a single diaper and I can definitely see OP being a similar type of men.

He did become better now after failing his business and almost got us evicted from our home (used our house deed as guarantee without telling us, only told us when we almost got evicted, the house my mom bought with her savings), before he used to be ‘me man me make money ONLY here money’ even though my mom also works - and she makes more now.

Hold heavy stuff? My mom. Replace the water jug? My mom. Deliver me to dentist and extracurricular classes? My mom.

And now, OP's 1st update:

Things were horrific for us last week. I genuinely believed that my wife was suicidal. She would talk frequently about how she wanted to die and how death was so much easier than living. It freaked me out, and rightfully so.

I called my parents once and for all. I told them everything that I wrote in the post and more. They talked to her and demanded that she take the PPD medication or else they would come down to our house. Mind you, my wife’s parents are not in the picture. She said that she actually WANTED my parents to come down to our house. They agreed.

My mom can be very brash, but it was effective in the end. My parents came down two days after I made The Call. They called her doctor and made an appointment for her while they watched the kids. She was prescribed more depression and anxiety medication at a higher dosage.

My wife has been taking her NEW medication for a full week now. Before anyone asks, I make sure that she takes it. She is 100% medicated. I can tell a clear difference already.

She is more relaxed now. It’s helping tremendously. It took a day for it to kick in, but she seems healthier and happier so far. The house is cleaner and the kids are well taken care of. The weather has been nicer, and she takes the kids outside all day when I’m at work. They all love it.

Some more miscellaneous things have happened: BOTH of my kids are sleeping in their own beds. To my dismay, neither child fought sleeping in their own room that they share. The first night was rough (late last week), but they both understand that they have to do it. Our daughter still wakes up once, but everything is so much better at night! I love that we have our bed back.

My parents paid for my wife to have her nails and hair done. They also watched the kids so she could have an entire day off. My parents bought the kids tons of new toys and books. This helps because they’ve been more entertained while my wife recovers.

My parents arranged for my wife to see a therapist once a week. They are paying for it, and her appointments are after I get home from work. Her first appointment is tomorrow.

My parents have left, but they’re in contact every single day. My wife is embarrassed, but she says that she feels better. It’s only been a week, and I don’t know what the future holds.

I think that’s it. Please no negative comments. I don’t know if this is the “perfect solution” that everyone will agree with. This is what has happened. It’s a daily battle. We will get through it. My wife knows that my parents and I will always love and support her.

Also, keep in mind that it’s only been a week! Progress has been made and is being made. I’m pretty sure that the comments were just locked on this post, so I can’t respond anymore.

Thank you so much to everyone! I appreciate every single comment and message! I know going forward that there will be good days and bad days. There has already been a very bad day since my parents left, but we got through it. I’m trying to establish a long term fix, not just a Bandaid. I plan on updating again in the future. Thank you to EVERYONE again.

And now, OP's 2nd update:

It’s been several months since I’ve last updated on our situation. I left off with our lives being on the upswing. My wife had started taking her PPD medication, and my parents offered their help to get our family back on the right track. I last posted an update in October.

In February, my wife found a man online and moved into his apartment. There was no warning. When I was at work, she moved all of her things out. She brought the kids back over in his car after I got home from work.

She couldn’t even look me in the eye. She explained that she wasn’t happy. She said that she has never been happy with me or the kids. She told me that I could have full custody, but she would send us some money once she gets a job. She also begged me to not take her to court.

Luckily, my work was forgiving enough to give me a week off to figure everything out. My mother ended up moving in with us to help me avoid child care costs. My father visits on weekends or whenever he can.

Meanwhile, my soon-to-be-ex wife is having the time of her life with her new “boyfriend”. Before the Coronavirus, they were going on vacations and bar hopping. I’m sure they’re having wild se% that we haven’t had in years.

They’ve been posting pictures online about how happy they are together. I’ve never seen her smile so much. He funds her kid-free lifestyle, so no wonder she’s so thrilled. He has a child that he doesn’t have custody of either. What a classy guy!

It hurts so badly that I’m numb. I don’t feel anything anymore. I have cried every single day. I’m sure I’m depressed, but I’m keeping it together for the kids. My parents have been my rock, but I feel terrible asking them for so much help in raising my children as a 34 year old man.

I don’t know what to do at this point. I’m an essential worker, so I thankfully still have employment. That’s the only blessing in my life aside from my kids. I never imagined my life would be THIS fd up. It got so fd up in a matter of months. I never saw it coming.

Thanks to everyone that gave me advice previously. I don’t think anyone can give me advice to get through this one, but I wanted to get my thoughts out.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

fenzaaas writes:

Geez... I feel so bad for the OOP. x.x The 2nd update was so good. Not quite perfect, but there was hope, and hope is always good. Things sounded like they were on the right track.

Then the last update happened, and just... that's so terrible. I feel so bad for him, but also for the children. I can't imagine the pain they're going to feel in the future when they ask about why their mom isn't in their lives, because they will definitely ask in the future and I don't think it'll be good to lie to them about the situation.

Of course, share it in a child-friendly way that won't cause them to blame themselves (which I know is easier said than done), but I think hiding the truth and them finding out later on down the line will hurt more than just telling them once they ask about it.

I also hope the mother doesn't attempt to come back into the kids' lives when they are older and they don't need to be taken care of in the ways they have to be now.

As cruel as that is to say, but we've seen it many times on Reddit with parents that think it's perfectly okay to walk right back into their kids' lives after abandoning them for whatever their reasons are and thinking they can just pick up things right where they left off with no issues or consequences.

And nearly every time, it ends up with more resentment and pain for the kids. She doesn't want to be a mother now, then she should never want to be a mother period, and I hope she takes all of the steps she can to prevent that from happening in the future.

Because really hope she and her new beau (and any future ones she may have) don't have another child that they'll just end up abandoning like the children they gave life to now.

Sources: Reddit
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