A father of two recently looked for support online after fighting with his wife about how often he goes to the gym. Posting on Reddit’s Am I The A**whole (AITA), the man told readers he has a two-year-old and a three-month-old with his wife, who is the same age as him. He told people he has a demanding full-time job, and his wife stays at home with the kids and works remotely part-time.
“A Continuously Sore Subject”
Getting down to this issue, the man explained that his wife has not been happy about how many times he goes to the gym each week, insisting that he stay at home instead. The man’s usual routine is to go to the gym every afternoon after work, and on the weekends, he goes when the kids are napping. The couple has a stationary bike at home, but his wife usually has a “passive-aggressive response” when he says he is getting on it.
There Are Chores to Be Done
The man says that his wife tells him that she will ask him to do chores when he is about to head to the gym and tells him, “Whatever, just leave instead.” His wife also makes quips such as, “It must be nice to go workout whenever you want.” The man says he has offered his wife the opportunity to do the same and go to the gym while he looks after their kids, but she is not up for going when he is available.
He Has Given up All Hobbies
The man seemed prepared for a little comeback from his post and pointed out that he has given up all his hobbies since having children. He says, “I don’t feel like it’s unreasonable to ask for 4 or 5 hours per week to take care of myself physically and mentally.” It is fair to say that people had a lot to say when he posted to ask if he was in the wrong.
After Work Is the Worst Time
One reader opened the comments by saying that he was indeed the a**hole as going to the gym after work is “the absolute worst time of the day with small kids. They’re tired and cranky, clingy, there is dinner to cook, and if the schedule gets behind, the kids are late into bed. “ One person said, “It’s pretty clear from the post that his wife thinks he’s a jerk, and hopefully he’s somewhat more concerned about changing that opinion than being validated on the internet.”
His Wife Needs a Break
While the man says that his wife wants explicitly to go to the gym herself and not get away from the kids, many readers plead with him to think about how she is feeling. One mom said, “She is probably upset that she doesn’t get to just leave. And after a long day, she would appreciate help after he’s done work.”
He Does Have Hobbies
One annoyed reader dismissed the man’s claim that he doesn’t get time to himself. They said, “You can wrap yourself in “I work long hours” but you’re fooling yourself. And you DO have “hobbies.” You go to the gym. During the worst possible times.”
Is He Pulling His Weight
While the man says he shares chores, some readers ask him to look at the bigger picture. One person said, “There needs to be a discussion of equity. He works long hours to support the family, so he thinks he gets to do what he wants.” Another expanded on this issue: “Mom doesn’t get downtime in the form of a commute. She doesn’t get a lunch break. She doesn’t get to chat with coworkers or go out for lunch.”
He Does Share Tasks at Home
Seemingly upset by some comments, the man posted an update telling readers he and his wife share chores; for example, if one person watches the kids, the other cooks and cleans. He also said that he helps to burp the baby after a night feed, but only when his wife wakes him up as she feeds him, and he feels guilty waking him up, too. Regarding his wife’s job, he says she usually takes Zoom calls at 9 p.m. and does the admin at her own pace throughout the week.
Compromise Is Needed
People leaped to the mom’s defense and insisted that the man rethink his routine. One person suggested, “Maybe start with picking two days a week where you go to the gym after work, say MW, and Tues/Thu you come home after work, and SHE goes to the gym.”
A Change of Routine Is Not Going to Be Straightforward
The man posted a further update to say that he was thankful for suggestions for a better time to go to the gym, but as he gets up at 5:30 to see his kids and do breakfast, it is impossible to go before work. Additionally, as his wife has work calls in the evening, going to the gym late is not possible either. The man was left with advice on how to try and make things better, with one reader saying, “If you absolutely must go to the gym several times a week when the most convenient time for the family for you to go is and what is a suitable amount of time.”
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