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 want to 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.
Additionally, the fact that his wife wants to work is not at all a comment on how much love or devotion she has for her child. One commenter put it nice and bluntly for this clueless fella: "If someone I love told me I ought to give up the job I have, the job I like and am appreciated in and for which I am financially compensated, to take a job I don't like and am likely to be unappreciated for and for which I will not be compensated because my romantic partner 'makes exponentially more' than I do, I'd reconsider my relationship with that romantic partner."
That's another great point! Childcare is a skilled profession for which one should be compensated. Women are consistently expected to do so much unpaid labor — it's just assumed — and this dude's suggestion is just one more reminder of how unappreciated and overworked so many women are.
Another commenter wrote, "You aren't the supreme ruler who decides. Just because you earn more doesn't make you more entitled to have a fulfilling job that makes you happy. You two can DISCUSS the best options for the future but certainly no one should be TELLING anyone anything."
In a true, equal partnership, it shouldn't matter who makes more money. Presumably, you entered the partnership to be partners, not boss and employee.
The comments were, thankfully, entirely unanimous that this guy was extremely off-base for telling his wife she should quit her job. But it's still exhausting and discouraging that we still have to have these conversations. I hope this guy took the reactions to his post to heart, and more than anything, I hope his wife keeps her job.
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