It’s not every day that before I sit down to write an article, I rub my hands together like a cartoon villain. But that’s what happened just now. Strap in, folks. This is going to be a good one (and by “good,” I mean bad).
Reddit’s “Am I the A-hole?” recently had one of the most cut-and-dry posts I’ve ever seen. The title question kind of sums it up beautifully: “AITA for telling my wife that she should stop working and take care of our child instead of us using a babysitter?” I know. I know! It’s almost like this guy took us in a time machine back to 1950, only he didn’t. We’re still in 2019.
I know you’re chomping at the bit to tell this guy off and see him get reamed out by pretty much the entire internet, but let’s let him dig himself a little further into this hole first. He starts out the post by explaining that both he and his wife are 24 years old and they have a 2-year-old son he describes as “definitely a handful.”
For the past two years, they’ve been using a babysitter during the day since both parents work, but “recently,” he writes, “I’ve just been thinking that’s it’s not worth the money.” Oh, have you? Have you just been thinking that? You’ve just been casually thinking, “Huh, I don’t think I want to pay for someone to take care of my child anymore”? Interesting.
While both he and his wife have jobs, he writes that he makes “exponentially more than she does.” So he told her he felt like it would “be in their best interest if she quit her job and stayed at home with our child.” He’d “rather not pay for something we don’t need to pay for.”
I can barely see because this makes me so blindingly mad. Obviously, his wife got extremely angry with him and told him she doesn’t want to stop working. She called the idea “ridiculous” and every time he’s tried to bring it up, she’s been ignoring it. And he wants to know if he’s in the wrong here.
Reader, there aren’t enough numbers in the world to count the ways in which he is wrong. First of all, you do not decide, on your own, what’s best for your entire family. As a person with a partner, those are discussions you need to have together. If your wife wants to work, that is her prerogative and you figure out a way to make that happen, even if childcare is expensive.
In the year 2019, you may not tell your partner you want them to be a stay-at-home parent. If that’s what they wantto do, that’s a conversation worth having, but holy goodness, it is not OK to assume that your wife will quit her job to take care of a kid. You are not just asking her to quit a job. You are asking her to put her entire professional life on hold, give up a giant aspect of her life, and possibly set her back years if she were to try to reenter the workforce down the line, like, for example, when your son enters school.
I don’t know when we will be able to stop shouting from the rooftops that women do not exist just to be caretakers and to make men’s lives easier, but evidently, that day is not today.
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