There’s a universal truth in parenting that so many of us can relate to when our little ones enter the world: It’s hard. No matter how prepared we feel like we are for the task, it’s often more draining than we anticipated. And that’s OK.
But we also know that support for new parents is vital, and if a parent is co-parenting with someone, it’s reasonable to expect an even share – or as close to that as possible. This should be the way to go even when the kids are older and even when you have more than one.
One mom (the original poster, or OP), gets a lot of support from her husband. The two of them split duties fairly between them since they both work full time. However, recently, the two got into an argument about child care and alone time.
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OP and her husband can’t see eye-to-eye on their situation, so the mom took to Reddit.
Posting to Reddit’s AITA community, OP gave a rundown of the situation before asking for advice.
“My husband and I have 3 kids (9, 6, & 3). We both work full-time,” she started. “I will admit his job is much more stressful, but he also earns a lot more than I do.”
But the two work together when it comes to child care. “We split childcare pretty much 50-50. He takes the older ones to all their extracurricular activities and I handle more of the at-home stuff,” OP explained.
They also make time for each of them to spend time with friends.
“A couple months ago I went on a week-long trip with some girlfriends,” she wrote, “and he stayed home with the kids. After that trip he started planning his own golf outing with some friends.”
OP’s husband recently went on that golfing trip. “He left for the trip on Friday morning and got back yesterday afternoon,” she explained.
And OP’s time solo parenting while her husband was away was challenging. “For whatever reason, our 2 oldest kids have been fighting a lot lately,” she admitted. “This weekend was no different in that regard.”
She continued, “They are constantly arguing over everything. It can be a lot to handle with both parents here, but by myself it was a lot and by the time my husband got home yesterday I was burnt out.” OP said there was a lot around the house she wasn’t able to get done because the kids needed so much attention.
“The house was a mess, dishes were piled up, laundry wasn’t done,” she explained. “I was just over it.”
When her husband got home from the golfing trip with his friends, OP was more than ready for a break.
“Literally as soon as he walked in the door, I left,” she admitted. “I don’t think I even said 3 words to him other than ‘I need a break’ before leaving. I turned my phone off, got a coffee, and then walked around a park for a couple hours. I just needed to clear my head.”
When OP returned, she discovered her husband was able to get some chores done. “When I got home my husband had cleaned the house, did the dishes, and started laundry,” OP shared. “He even ordered dinner.”
She was thankful – and she let her husband know. “I thanked him profusely for doing all of that, but I could tell he was kind of miffed at me,” she wrote.
When the kids were in bed, OP and her husband were able to catch up.
“After we got the kids to bed, I told him that I was exhausted from dealing with the kids and just wanted to go to sleep,” she recalled. “He said he understands, but he was mad at how I handled things when he got home.”
Her husband told her that “it’s OK to need a break, but that it was wrong of me to just ditch him like that and to turn my phone off as I guess he had tried calling me to talk about dinner.”
But OP had to turn everything off to get the break she needed. And that’s what she explained to her husband. “I told him that’s the only way I can get a real, actual break,” she recalled.
Her husband tried to cut her off while she was talking – but OP wasn’t having that.
“He said that when he got home he was tired from driving home as it was a 4-hour drive,” OP shared, “but I cut him off. I told him that he doesn’t get to complain about being tired from golfing and drinking with his friends when I was at home with the kids playing referee all weekend.”
She added, “I told him that he can deal with the kids the next time they start fighting because I’m tired of it after this weekend.” But her husband said that siblings fighting should be expected, and as parents it’s their job to help the kids “work things out.”
OP was done with the conversation at this point. “I told him that I don’t have the energy to argue with him about this and went to bed,” she admitted.
Their fight continued in the morning.
“This morning he told me that I was kind of a jerk the night before and that I didn’t even ask him about his weekend, or act like I was happy to see him,” she shared. “I told him I honestly don’t care about his golf weekend but that I was glad he was home because he needs to help with the kids.”
Now the two are avoiding each other. “He didn’t even say goodbye to me before he took the older kids to school,” OP wrote. “I tried texting him a little bit ago and he responded that he doesn’t want to talk to me until I’m done being an ass—- to him.”
That’s not how OP sees things – she just wanted a break. But her husband didn’t see that either.
That is why OP sought help from Reddit, and the community had advice to give.
“You couldn’t say more than three words??” one person wrote. “If my partner treated me like that, regardless of how stressed they are, I would feel so hurt.”
“It is obvious he does the majority of work in this relationship and with the kids,” someone else added. “I actually feel sorry for him. He can handle things for an entire week but you cannot handle a weekend.”
“You went a week, he went a weekend. He didn’t dump on you, you dumped on him,” someone else wrote. “You turned off your phone, you think he owes you an apology. Kids are tough and exhausting sometimes, that’s why parents need breaks. He gave you yours, you didn’t reciprocate equally, you made it an issue.”
“Being burnt out isn’t an excuse to do that,” wrote another commenter. “Did he do that to you after your trip? Guessing not or it would have been in the post.”