Dividing up your parenting responsibilities can be tricky when one parent works and the other is a stay-at-home mom or dad. But for one family, the division in labor is starting to cause some serious problems. As the husband described it, he is the only one who "works" in his marriage and he is very careful to make sure he gives his kids some quality time too. Based on this, he was stunned at how his wife handled things when she recently got sick — and didn't give their daughter 100 percent of her attention. According to him, this caused their little girl to feel totally rejected and now the dad is truly ticked that his wife let this happen.
The drama started when the husband came home after his wife had been home sick with their kids all day.
In a post on Reddit, the anonymous dad first gave a little backstory on how things usually go in his house. "I work full time and sometimes two jobs since my wife won’t work," he wrote. "She says it’s too much to deal with kids and work. She has been sick today in her defense and I am VERY aware that a stay-at home mom job is extremely draining and full time as well."
In the past, the dad wrote that he's had to work two jobs, which wore on his wife's nerves. She told him that he needed to help out with the household chores like laundry and cleaning the bathrooms, even though "I would leave at 7 a.m. and get home at midnight or later six days a week."
"Also she would stress the importance of giving the kids time and attention (which I completely agree is vital)," he continued. Now the dad only works one job, but he still makes it a priority to "play with the kids, make my own dinner, and then usually do bedtime with the kids and lay in their room till they fall asleep. Then I get to anything I wanted to try and do at home that day."
Feeling that he's done more than his fair share to accommodate both his wife and his kids, the dad explained that on a recent day when his wife was sick, he found her lack of initiative to be frustrating. He had taken the kids out of the house all day long, but was seriously angry when they got home and his wife rebuffed his daughter's request for a little attention. "(My daughter) said mom won’t play with me (she said look at this and my wife was too focused on the TV. So then my daughter said, 'Mom, I love you...' and my wife said nothing because of the TV)," the dad wrote. "This p*ssed me off so I said to my wife that our daughter was sad since she wasn’t getting her attention and my wife shrugged her shoulders like it was no big deal."
Well, of course the argument started to get heated and even though the husband agrees that his wife does spend the bulk of her time with their kids, he argued that she should have never made their daughter feel left out — even if she was sick. "I said that she shouldn’t dare shrug her shoulders like it’s no big deal her daughter was sad ... she pulled the whole I play everyday with them (I don’t disagree with that," he wrote. "She does, but also she goes out weekly with her friends and I always make sure they give her space when I’m home.) I said that’s great but she doesn’t need to play the victim over it and recognize that the fact that a 3-year-old felt the need to leave the room and be sad is a big deal."
Online, some people thought that the husband needed to cut his wife some slack.
They felt like his wife spends plenty of time with their daughter as it is and that she would most likely easily get over it. People also felt strongly that the husband needs to back off and let his wife get some rest when she's sick.
One person pointed out that although his wife could've reacted better to their daughter, it sounds like he's upset with more than just her sick day.
Someone else was also very suspicious of the picture the husband was painting. "This is one where I’d be very interested to hear the other side of it," they wrote. "The 'won’t work' stood out to me too, and then the way he painted himself in the rest of the story — that his wife literally goes to bed every night with him massaging her legs as he finally gleans one tiny bit of personal time by watching a show on his iPad ... just tasted a bit martyr-y."
And a third person agreed that sometimes mom is just too sick to play with a 3-year-old. "Sometimes mom is too sick to play," they explained. "3-year-olds don’t understand that concept, and would find any lack of attention from their mother upsetting. But the thing is, if you jump to the attention of a 3-year-old every time she wishes, you’re creating a new problem entirely. Cut your wife some slack. Parenting is tough. I stayed at home, and now I work — I see both sides. You’re a team, and sometimes you gotta’ take one for the team."
Other people thought that this mom was behaving badly and using her sick day as an excuse. They felt that being sick was not an excuse to let your child feel unloved and worried that the wife had made their daughter feel like their older child.
One stay-at-home-mom chimed in that she would never allow her child to feel neglected.
"I honestly can’t believe you people are white-knighting someone who ignores their kid and shrugged their shoulders about it," another person commented.
Someone else worries that the wife's dismissal of her daughter's feelings would leave a bigger impact than the could imagine. "Coming from a girl who was somewhat neglected as a child, it leaves a bigger impression than some think," they wrote. "Especially when you're purposefully trying to gain their attention, and they just can't be bothered."
In the end, this might have been one of the many times when there is no right answer for how to parent.
Could his wife been a little nicer to their kid? Absolutely. But this dad also needs to stop keeping track of what he does around the house vs. his wife. For better or worse, they're a team and making things tit-for-tat won't help anyone.
This post was originally published on Mom.me sister site Cafe Mom.