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'AITA for telling my wife I didn’t enjoy the birthday surprise she planned for me?' 'I can’t hide my feelings.'

'AITA for telling my wife I didn’t enjoy the birthday surprise she planned for me?' 'I can’t hide my feelings.'


"AITA for telling my wife I didn’t enjoy the birthday surprise she planned for me?"

My (36M) wife (37F) said she would plan something for my birthday. She asked if there was anything I wanted to do, and I told her no. At 36, I don’t have any expectations for my birthday.

We’ve been together for 10 years, married for 7. We have 3 kids under 6, so planning activities can be tricky. Traveling is tough and staying in uncomfortable places with kids is stressful.

So my wife plans something, packs an overnight suitcase for everyone, and loads up our van. We drive 1h 45m to a small town, then take a long, rocky, narrow road to a tiny cabin Airbnb in a remote, heavily wooded area.

It’s a single room with a galley kitchen, one bed, and a pull-out couch. It’s cramped with three kids. There’s not much to do, no walking trails, and nowhere to drive except back on that awful road. I'm asked to drive back to get dinner from a nearby bar.

I’m surprised, and not in a good way. I don’t say anything bad about the property, but I can’t hide my feelings and she can tell I’m not a fan. We unpack, walk around, she has some gifts for me to open in front of the kids. We have cake and then spend 4-5 hours trying to pass the time.

(The highlight is the outdoor bathtub.) After that, we go through the tiresome routine of getting all three kids to sleep, which is extra hard in a tiny cabin. BTW I sleep on an air mattress because our youngest co-sleeps and needs Mom at night.

We wake up early because the cabin has no curtains. My wife tells me we're going to do a 5k bubble and color run. I smile and say “Ooook let’s do it,” not wanting to sound disappointed but probably failing to hide it. I’m not a runner, I’ve never said I wanted to run, but whatever, let’s try it. We pack up and head to the event.

It’s a small, cheap event on a hot day. Our two youngest don’t want to do this, but we start the race anyway. Our oldest takes off, causing us to lose him twice. I frantically try to catch up, ending up sweaty, winded, and with aching knees. Not fun.

After my wife finishes with our other 2 kids, we walk around a small street fair and let the kids play. It’s fine, but I’m ready to rest. My wife tells me we’re supposed to meet friends at the beach later, so we have a 2-hour drive back, hoping the kids nap in the car. I take a nap, feeling quiet and not in a good mood.

We get to the beach and two of our kids start melting down. I’m done with the day and would prefer to be home. Eventually they chill, we find some shade and it’s fine. When we get home, it’s a mad dash to get the kids showered and in bed, while I unpack, clean the car and house.

My wife asks what’s wrong, and I tell her I appreciate her effort, but it didn’t feel like she planned it with me in mind. I don’t like running, I want comfort when traveling with the kids, and it was exhausting.

It was a lot of effort for something not enjoyable. She flips out, devastated that I didn’t enjoy it and angry at me for not “just being grateful somebody planned something for me.”

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

LoudCrickets72 said:

NTA. I mean, it is nice that your wife planned this surprise birthday trip for you, but at the same time, some situational awareness on her end would've been nice. After being together for 10 years, she should know what you probably are or are not going to enjoy.

She shouldn't flip out that you didn't like the trip, I mean, that's the risk she takes when she doesn't consult with you or include you in any of the planning. At least you were being honest with her.

I'd reemphasize to her that you do appreciate the thought, but you would prefer to be consulted or included in the planning next time. Or better yet, ask you what you want to do first, if anything.

whiskerrsss said:

Op, as another non-runner, NTA. I would be dumb-founded if my husband organized for us to go for a family 5k run for my birthday, no matter how colorful or bubbly it was.

dublos said:

NTA. None of that sounds like a birthday celebration. I have no idea what you wife was thinking of when she planned it, but as you said I don't think she was thinking of you.

twizzjewink said:

NTA. Who does a 5k run AND a beach day all in one? Two hot sunny events with no breaks? That's asking for trouble especially with kids. She didn't plan a birthday for you - she planned a family day that wasn't well thought out and put a lot on you.

Marigold1976 said:

NTA, but, to be fair it sounds like maybe for your next birthday you should say, “call a babysitter and take me to dinner." Y’all need some time together to yourselves, no shame in that.

HJHmn said:

NTA - As someone with 3 kids (who are now older) this sounds like an absolute nightmare. When you said you didn’t want to do anything special for your 36th bday, I would have said ok.

Maybe suggested going out for ice cream or something like that, but when you’re in the trenches parenting 3 young children, you don’t stay in a 1 room airbnb for fun or run/walk a 5k.

thedoctormarvel said:

NTA I can't imagine in what world renting a 1 room cabin with nothing to do but a 5k run as a good idea for any vacation let alone a birthday celebration. Does your wife often do this?

Does she plan/buy things for you that seem to not actually have you in mind? If yes, then it seems like she cares more about getting praise than making you happy. I’m hoping this is a one off situation.

HeatherAnne1975 said:

NTA It’s sounds like she planned a family vacation that the kids would enjoy. But she never took into account what you want. Which would be fine if you were planning a fun weekend for the kids. But it’s your birthday. None of these plans even considered you (especially the sleeping arrangements, yikes).

In your wife’s defense, it’s so easy to get caught up in “mom world”, when the kids are little. Everything seems to revolve around them and it’s hard to get out if that cycle. What you probably needed for your birthday was a babysitter and the ability to step away from being “just dad” even if it’s only one night.

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