With self-isolation still on the radar, many people are finding their work-life balance to be a little wonky.
And for parents who typically care for their child all day long alone, it can be too tempting to pass some of the responsibilities off on their still-working partners.
One new dad discovered this when his wife approached him, during an important virtual presentation for work, and placed their newborn baby in his arms without another word.
Redditor "babyinmeeting" shared his story on the "Am I the A**hole?" subReddit, looking for opinions on his frustration.
The Redditor asked the thread:
"[Am I the A**hole] for getting p**sed at my wife for handing me our son in the middle of an important presentation?"
He shared their current living situation, with self-isolating, first.
"My wife currently is not working and our son is 2 months old. I still have work, and I'm working from home currently."
While still working from home, he had a virtual presentation to give to his boss.
"Today at 12 I had to give a presentation about how our team is handling the crisis, and then give a proposal about a new product design. This was given to my boss, and the VP of engineering. It's probably the most important meeting I've had in months, which isn't really saying that much since most of them are useless but this one was actually important."
He asked his wife not to disturb him, but things didn't go that way.
"I told my wife beforehand about it, and reminded her this morning. Then half way through she comes in with my son crying, hands him to me, and just leaves. She not only left the room, but she left the house and didn't take her phone. She didn't come home for 4 hours."
This had unfortunate repercussions for his meeting.
"This threw the whole pace of the meeting off, I had to put him in his crib, and then had to keep an eye on him. Additionally it stressed me out in the middle of an already stressful meeting, to my less than understanding boss."
When his wife returned home, they had an argument.
"Suffice to say I was pretty f**king p**sed off. When she got back I yelled at her that she can't just disappear for 4 hours without her phone, and that she interrupted something I told her not to beforehand."
"She then said she 'needed a break', and I told her if she needed a break she could watch tv and zone out like a normal f**king human being instead of f**king off to god knows where leaving me stuck between a new born and a judgmental boss."
His wife didn't take this well.
"She got p**sed off and said that I should be more understanding and that she's doing more work than me. That also p**sed me off, because she absolutely isn't doing more work then me, she doesn't even have a f**king job."
The Redditor later added this about his workload:
"Edit: since people assume I do nothing around the house:"
"Okay, perhaps I didn't want to make a giant f**king list of chores, but clearly it's necessary."
"I cook 5/7 days a week, 7/7 now that we can't get takeout in good conscious. She doesn't know how. I do the dishes because I cook. I vacuum and take out the garbage. I clean the bathrooms. The only thing she does is take care of our son."
"So you tell me if I'm doing nothing around the house."
Now his wife won't be there to help during his work hours at all.
"She said she was going to stay at her moms, again leaving me alone with my son during work tomorrow."
The husband turned to Reddit, asking if he was in the wrong for being as angry as he was about how his meeting went.
The Original Poster's (OP's) fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously and voted on his situation, using the following scale:
- NTA: "Not the A**hole"
- YTA: "You're the A**hole"
- ESH: "Everyone Sucks Here"
- NAH: "No A**holes Here"
Some Redditors pointed out that this whole story was filled with red flags for postpartum depression and possibly psychosis.
"Pro-tip: If your partner is reasonable in general and suddenly starts acting 'irrationally' a few weeks after having a baby, your first thought needs to be concern, not blame and anger."
"I completely understand that OP's stressed about work, but his wife is showing clear signs of mental illness." - pie12345678
"If it really was a psychotic break, yes she might do exactly that. Or drive and drop him off at a family member's house. Happens a lot actually. The extreme version of postpartum psychosis can cause women to literally kill their own child."
"All in all I think OP is NTA for being upset that she did that, I'd be pissed too. If she was the kind to do that sort of thing before then she's the AH, but if this is a drastic change in character then OP needs to look into getting her some professional help immediately." - kzp17
"You know, when you leave the hospital they tell you a lot that if you ever get the urge to shake the baby you need to put the baby down and walk away. This might have been her version of that. She couldn't take it anymore and backed away until she could."
"This woman needs help of some kind. A newborn takes so much effort and emotional energy and sleep deprivation and I didn't have to go through it in quarantine, so I can't imagine how much harder that is." - Music_WithRocks_In
Other Redditors agreed with this possibility but also said the husband's frustration was still valid.
"I am going to say NTA, and understand your anger, I too would be furious. However, once you calm down I would seriously be concerned. A mentally healthy mother wouldn't just leave her newborn to go to her mum's for the night, or however long she is gone."
"I'm not a psychiatrist, and shouldn't become an armchair one right now. But, I suffered PND with my first, and it is a very real and very serious condition and displays in many different ways. Sit down and talk to her about how she has been coping, what kind of emotional state she has been in lately, especially if this behaviour is not the norm for her." - MsChewie
To the contrary, one Redditor pointed out we don't know the full story about the wife's normal behavior.
Placing all of our concern on the possibility of PPD actually takes away from the husband's feelings.
"You can be both concerned and angry; I'd be worried, but I'd also be pissed off that she did it."
"We don't know that OP's wife is normally reasonable. In fact, given that OP is doing the majority of the chores while working full-time, I'd say it's somewhat likely that she isn't fully reasonable."
"Your point about mental illness is generally a good one, but you're discounting OP's (pretty valid) feelings and extrapolating stuff about his wife." - darrowreaper
Two Redditors also felt for the husband because of his unforgiving boss, especially during a weird time of self-isolating.
"I also think his boss is kind of an a**hole. Every employee with kids working from home is having to balance productivity with childcare. If you're a manager of humans, you need to realize that people are doing the best they can in an unprecedented situation."
"I take phone calls all the time now holding my infant son or having to pause to field a question from my toddler, cause what the f**k else can I do?" - jeffsang
"NTA. Your wife is pretty much an AH for not listening to you. You told her many times that you have this meeting. And she just dropped the kid off to you."
"Worst part. I have the worst feeling that your Boss is going to question you. She just embarrassed you right in front of the leader of the workforce. I hope you don't get into serious trouble." - honestblade12
Another Redditor instead cut down the OP and his wife, questioning if the couple was actually ready to have children.
"ESH. If you're not prepared to deal with this kind of stuff... don't pop out a f**king kid. Sorry. That's your life now. Deal with it, don't yell at your wife who's JUST HAD A BABY for freaking out, especially when it sounds like you're not exactly contributing to childcare ('all she does is care for our child'? ALL SHE DOES? Are you joking?)"
"Yeah, you're wife's an a**hole for f**king up your meeting, but the well being of your family is equally as important right now. Why do people even have kids at this rate? Honestly" - LemDoggo
One thing is for certain, the couple needs to talk about their situation when the wife feels ready to return home.
Hopefully after talking about the wife's needs as a new mom, and the husband's work and chore load, they'll be able to come to a solution that leaves the whole new family in a much better place.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*