Nothing settles a debate between a couple quite like a crowd of opinionated internet strangers. Most of us enjoy a good judgment session online anyway, so when someone solicits it? Well, that is ideal.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for not staying home with his daughter while his wife goes out with friends. He wrote:
Background: My wife rarely goes out with friends (~6 times/year) and has never been very social and prefers spending time with me. I am more social, but that has declined as we have focused on our family (we have a 2-year-old daughter), and I spend time with the same three friends once/week for games night (sometimes in person, sometimes online).
I have another three friends that I see only once every two months, also for games night. If I go out my wife will tend to our daughter (I often still help with dinner/bedtime, but sometimes leave earlier than this). Our daughter's bed time is 7:30pm, and she often sleeps through the night without fuss (wakes up fussing maybe 5% of the time).
I always offer for my wife to sleep in the next day, or something similar in exchange for me going out so that it's not a one-sided thing.
Scenario: My wife made plans to spend an evening this weekend out with friends, she would be out from 6pm until late. After she made those plans, I was invited to my friends birthday thing with my "second" friend group, if I went I would be gone from 5pm until late. Last time I saw them was exactly one month ago.
I brought this plan up with my wife as I wanted to make arrangements for a family member to take our daughter for the evening. She was irritated by this, and argued that I should stay home. I have since spoken with a family member who is happy to take our daughter at 5pm and have her stay the night and I have communicated this to my wife.
I made it clear that this will not affect her plans at all, I will be responsible for dropoff and pickup of our daughter, and will not ask anything of my wife because I understand that it is rare for her to have a night out like this and so I don't want her to change her plans at all. She still thinks that I should stay home.
She says that since she always covers for me that I should also cover for her
She doesn't want to ask this family member to have our daughter for the night because she thinks we ask too much of them
I am covering for her as she does not have to change her plans and doesn't have to do anything for our daughter
This family member loves watching our daughter, and my wife is often quick to agree to leave our daughter there for sleepovers plenty of other evenings out of convenience (eg: we will be there for dinner and put our daughter to sleep there so we can visit longer, then we will leave her there for the night) so I don't see why this time it's too much to ask.
I feel like she wants me to stay home as a form of punishment for going out more frequently than she would prefer. "Punishment" feels too strong of a word, I don't think there is any major resentment behind this or anything, I just don't know how else to describe the feeling.
So, AITA here for making plans to go out the same night my wife also already had plans to go out, even though I am covering all arrangements for our daughter for the evening?
Edit: Not sure why everyone thinks I'm planning on getting drunk, but I would not be drinking if I went to the birthday.
Not a big one, but this is more about the emotional load than logical reasoning.
Your wife is likely not going to be enjoying herself the same way she would if you had stayed at home. She isn’t necessarily going to worry all night, but she will be aware that your daughter is out of the house. She’s going to mentally check in - now they are driving over, now she’s likely settling down, now you are picking her up, time for bed again.
Every time she mentally checks in she exerts a little effort. Maybe she glances out the window to check the weather is good for driving. Maybe she checks her watch or phone to see if you called. However, even the energy of simply having a thought adds up. If your wife is like many parents I know, especially the main caregivers, she is always alert. She’s always on.
You being home with your daughter doesn’t turn that off but it does lesson the amount that it happens. The mental load of knowing your child is as safe as possible with their other parent is different from knowing they are driving around and at another house. It doesn’t matter how safe it is - travel needs more attention than staying home.
You get to go out. You get mental breaks from parenthood. She doesn’t get the same breaks. She’s asking for one now. You need to decide - does it really matter who’s right here? Your wife is unhappy. This is a rare occurrence for her that means a lot and you see your friends all the time. Even if you think my reasoning is completely irrelevant, is this birthday party really worth it?
YTA - Really inconsiderate here. Parenting your daughter isn’t a punishment, it’s what happens when you decide to have a child with your wife. You go out much more often than she does. Your wife understandably wants you to take care of her for one night, and I totally understand not trusting even family with her, if that’s the issue.
Most CSA comes from family...disregarding any of that, you’re her FATHER and she’s your DAUGHTER. Why is it so hard for you to watch her? Shirking the responsibility onto someone else instead of watching her for one night is wrong. Your friends should understand you have a child and can’t go out whenever. Grow up, she’s your child too.
YTA. You see your friends far more frequently than your wife sees hers. You’re long overdue to take more turns staying home. When’s the last time you and your wife went out together? You should save your babysitting credits with your family members for date nights, not just nights where you go hang out with your friends by yourself like usual.
The fact that you think it’s a punishment to stay at home with your own child while your wife has an extremely rare night out is really telling. Stay home with the kid, apologize to your wife, and plan a date night soon where the family member can babysit.
You calling parenting a punishment, make you the AH. You guys having nights out is whatever, but parenting your child isn't a punishment.
Just based on this, NTA. But you are quick to dismiss major resentment. Try to figure out what is really going on. Your wife is caring for your daughter alone once a week and you are never doing it? What does making it feel more even look like? A gym night?
Another hobby? A few hours entirely alone when she can sit in a dark room and watch a movie with her favorite cocktail? Even if your wife is an introvert, she is still missing out on something from her pre-kid life by being primary parent and she still gets your support to replace that.
While not everyone is in agreement, the tide has turned toward OP being TA.