There are times in every family where one parent picks up the slack if the other’s work becomes demanding.
For this mum, though, her husband’s job has become a source of contention in their relationship, to the point where she has asked him to quit.
Posting to Reddit, the woman explained how her husband ‘got a really great job’ around a year ago. He loves the new role and it more than doubled the family’s income and helped them pay off debt, but as it requires a lot of travel, ‘he’s gone more of the month than he’s home.’
The couple share three children – aged eight, six, and three, adopted from the husband’s sister – and have two dogs, and without family nearby to help out, the mum says she’s ‘run ragged’ with housework.
‘I don’t have time for friends,’ she said in her post.
‘It’s never ending… No time for me whatsoever.’
Before the man got his current job the pair has opposite schedules, with him working during the day and his wife taking on evening shifts in a restaurant which ‘didn’t pay great’ but offered her the chance to socialise outside the home.
She had to quit this job to watch the children at night, instead doing a part-time retail job that she ‘hates’ due to age differences between her and her colleagues.
‘There is no time for me,’ her post continued. ‘I don’t even get to sleep alone since my six-year-old has night terrors.
‘When my husband was here, things felt more divided. I still did a lot during the day, but it wasn’t never-ending.
‘There would still be days I didn’t have to worry about lunches or bath time or homework because my husband would pick up the slack. I could go out with friends from time to time.’
The mum-of-three added that she felt like she ‘drowning’ without her husband around, and asked him to resign from the demanding job so things could be more equal.
However, he refused, saying he loves what he does and is ‘way happier’ than before.
‘I don’t know how I’m supposed to get through this,’ wrote the woman.
‘I demanded for the sake of my sanity he quit his job, but he exploded.
‘He thinks we’re doing better than ever. We could get a bigger house soon (we live in two-bedroom rancher but I like it), that the kids will have so many more opportunities – and he’s not wrong, but what about me?’
In the comments she explained further that her husband refuses to pay for help around the house, and when he is home ‘he likes to rest,’ so even when both parents are present she’s still responsible for the lion’s share of housework.
She said: ‘He’s home alone or going out with friends during his week off. He goes fishing, to the gym, etc.
‘I couldn’t even begin to fathom what it would be like to have time to go to the gym. Naturally that builds resentment.’
Seeking guidance on whether she was in the wrong, she received a range of responses, mostly decrying the husband’s lack of tangible (or financial) help.
One commenter said: ‘Why do you put up with him? You’re slaving away for his job, his sister’s kids (even if you two adopted them, and see them as yours) and his leisure time. You are royally getting f**ed for him to have his dream life.’
‘Ask him if he thinks that a divorce lawyer, child support, and alimony are gonna be cheaper than hiring a babysitter or a house cleaner even once a month,’ said another, while a third added: ‘You need to rethink this marriage. He doesn’t care about you because if he did he’d pay for the damn sitter. He has shown you that he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.’
Another person wrote: ‘Seems like you’re the hired help… except he doesn’t pay you. This whole situation is seriously messed up.’
Multiple people suggested the husband needed to either take on a different job in order to be there for his family or contribute more money to the pot so his wife could reduce her stress levels and hire some external help.
Yet some argued that the woman was ‘whining’ or should be more accommodating of her husband’s ‘breadwinner’ status.
‘I’m sorry to say it, but I think you’ll just have to be miserable for a while,’ said one person. ‘More freedom will come eventually.’
‘I’ve never met a parent that actually had time for themselves, especially when the kids are so young,’ added another. ‘This doesn’t sound all that out of the ordinary.’
Meanwhile, a third person wrote: ‘He’s working his tail off also and probably would rather be home with his family. Find a way to make this work without him quitting. His paycheck is what is digging you out of that debt hole.’
This woman isn’t the only one who struggles with an unequal division of labour, though.
Research shows that women often take on the ‘mental load’ in relationships, which has been linked to feelings of ’emptiness’ and reduced ‘satisfaction with life’.
Mothers are also estimated to spend double the time their male partners do on childcare, even if they’re in full-time work themselves.
It’s not easy taking responsibility for a family with no assistance, and a one-sided lifestyle can take a real toll on families and caregivers – as it’s clearly done in this case.
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