Splitting domestic labor is a major point of contention for many couples. As with most relationship dynamics, this contention often gets worse with kids - as they add an extra dollop of stress to the relationship.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong to refuse to take less hours at work even though his wife takes primary care of the kids. He wrote:
I (37M) have been with my wife since senior our senior year in high school. We have 6 kids between the ages 7- 15. I work Monday-Friday (14 hours 3 days a week, 12 hour 2 days) my wife is a stay-at-home mom. Before I get the hate comments as I’ve seen in the past, I am extremely grateful.
My days off, I take the kids out and my wife has the day to herself or she goes out and I handle chores. I always remind my wife, and take her out on date nights a few times a month on my days off. My sister comes by and helps out some days throughout the week. We had a financial crisis earlier this year, which resulted in me having these extra hours. It’s completely necessary.
Four of our kids do extracurricular, we have to pay for and other necessities. My wife has recently been asking me to cut back hours which has been causing arguments bc it’s simply impossible at the moment. We have young twins, and earlier this week they got the flu which spread all throughout our home which had the kids home from school for majority of the week.
I could not call off, but it left my wife extremely stressed out. One of our children has autism, and when they are sick it is a very big crisis in the house with tantrums. I felt horribly but I couldn’t call off. Basically today my wife shouted at me for over an hour for refusing to take less hours, because she is so stressed.
She said I get to escape at work, and she has a household to run. I tried to explain that I’d love more then anything to be home more but I couldn’t, but she continued yelling saying I was the problem. AITA?
Right_Count had a question:
NAH, I guess. If you can’t call off, you can’t call off. But I question whether the extra curricular activities are important enough to be worth burning out your wife.
And OP responded:
I have had that same discussion but these children have been in these extra curricular for many years, and my wife insist they continue bc they enjoy them so much.
I don't know man. 66 hours a week doesn't sound like an escape to me. That sounds like hell. On your next day off, can you two sit down and go through your budget? Maybe you can work less hours if sacrifices are made in other areas and you both are willing to do that.
But also going through the budget can also reinforce why you are working those additional hours and it also can help you go over everything with a fine tooth comb to be able to see do you really need HBO Max (obviously, just an example) and where else corners can be cut. NTA.
NAH but you need to have a sit down with your wife. Your current situation seems like it's unsustainable. I know your wife doesn't want to take away your kids' extracurricular stuff but you seriously need to think about tightening the belt. Whether that means getting rid of the extracurricular stuff, cutting down on quality-of-life expenses, or moving somewhere cheaper.
It seems like things are at their limit when everything is working out but adding additional stress like the kids being sick and your house of cards starts to fall apart. Plus there may not be any guarantee your extra hours will always be there.
I can’t decide between NAH and E S H. Honestly it sounds like you’re both living in hell. This is one of the risks with having so many kids-one financial issue, and you’re in this position. Obviously, you have the kids so you can’t change that now, but you both willingly had this many kids knowing that kids are expensive and get sick often.
This is just an awful situation for everyone, and unfortunately, it won’t last. Something's gotta give here. Someone will blow up or perhaps worse. Something needs to change or there will be serious consequences. Have you thought about your own health OP between the work hours and emotional stress?
Clearly, this sucks for everyone. Hopefully, they're able to find a solution that reduces stress for both of them.