For a front line worker during the pandemic, returning to a calm, loving home and family makes all the difference.
One nurse, unfortunately, was denied that household respite.
She left a storm at work to find another raging at home involving a lost dog, two kids and a husband that refused to step up. Her story appeared on Reddit's "Am I the A**hole (AITA)" subReddit, the place where actions are named, explained and assessed by a vast online peanut gallery.
Appropriately named "pleaseiwanttobreath," this nurse painted a chaotic picture of her life in recent days. This woman was running around with her hair on fire.
Of course, work is nuts. But at home another emergency cropped up and an inadequate response had her juggling some interpersonal dynamics on top of addressing the crisis.
She began with some facts.
"For starters, I am a nurse (35 F[emale]) I have been extremely busy these past three months, even writing this post is a privilege and I am having to do this in bits and pieces."
"I also gave birth to my daughter 6 months ago. I have an eight year old son as well. When I am not working, I take care of my children."
Then she provided some back story.
The current fiasco began as a tiny kernel of disagreement over a year ago.
"In January 2019, my son suddenly developed this strong desire to have a dog. He begged and begged for a puppy from my husband (35 M[ale]). I protested against that because I had just found out that I was pregnant."
"My husband said that we should let our son have a puppy to teach him some responsibility and that he would have some practice to take care of his baby sibling."
"He had also promised that he would help our son take care of the dog. I was absolutely unconvinced but I had to give in eventually because my husband had already agreed and I didn't want to cause further fights."
Launching back to the present situation, her story hit the turning point.
She described a perfect storm.
"5 days ago, my son accidentally left the back door of our house open and the dog ran away."
"These 5 days were also some of the busiest, most grueling days of my work and I had to take up night shifts because a colleague had fallen sick."
"Our son first went to my husband for help, he refused to help him and said that it was his (my son's) responsibility to care for the dog and he has to do something about it himself."
The elephant in the room, the husband, was then addressed.
This is a very unhelpful elephant.
"My husband has the privilege of working from home, he works at a law firm. He works for maybe 3-4 hours a day and plays Xbox the entire time and sometimes gets up to check up on our daughter. He literally has no added pressures."
"5 days ago, when our son told me in tears that 'dad won't look for Tippy,' I talked to my husband, who said that it would teach our son some responsibility to take care of things in the future, which I found very callous since a dog is a living, sentient being and not a 'thing.' "
"He was playing Xbox when I was talking to him as well. He also said he won't look for the dog or anything."
At her wits' end, she took action to forcibly straighten out her husband's priorities.
"Yesterday, after coming home at night, the first thing I did was unplug the Xbox console and controller and throw it in the trash can."
"This morning, before going to work, my husband threw a fit when he didn't find his Xbox in the living room. I told him that I'd thrown it away because he was so addicted to it that he couldn't even get up and help our distressed son."
"When I came back from work, he told me he had found his Xbox in the trash since the garbage truck hadn't arrived then."
Not surprisingly, her move did not produce sudden enlightenment.
Instead, she received more negative stress and yet another blaming voice.
"Now, he's being incredibly snarky, giving me the cold shoulder and he's angry because his controller isn't working. He also hasn't taken any measures to look for our dog and our mutual best friend called and said my reaction was incredibly childish."
She ends the story now forced to search for a dog during all her free moments home from work on the front lines of the pandemic.
If there is an opposite to clapping from your balcony, this is it.
"Now I am spending my free day calling every neighbour of ours, making internet posters and contacting animal shelters and Animal Control to see if Tippy had turned up anywhere and consoling my heartbroken son."
Reddit had approximately ZERO patience for her husband.
They slammed his neglect in a variety of ways.
"Wow your husband expected an 8 year old to go look thru town for the lost dog, by himself, cuz he wanted to play games instead? Well. What a shi**y husband and father he is. Your kid won't forget it, that's for sure."
"I would have saved the Xbox, thrown out the husband." -- cetacean-station
"Make a lost dog flyer with the Xbox as the reward." -- doggo-spotter
"I so feel for you. Your husband's response is truly callous and shows him as uncaring and irresponsible parent and spouse."
"And it goes beyond not helping to search for the dog -- is also him not picking up the slack when you are so stressed at work and are dealing with your kids."
"Sadly, the current situation has exposed a**holes in many people." -- terpsichorebook
One common point regarded their son's young age.
Redditors found it absurd that the child should be forced to learn this lesson in this way.
"Your son will be scarred by this for a long time. When he emotionally needed his father, he did not act like a parent. Sounds like your husband is a bit of a selfish jerk." -- Lasybossstager
"Honestly, what I can't get over in this story is the fact that... look, it'd be bad enough if the husband expected your young son to look for the dog all by himself, that alone is enough to make him the a**hole."
"But he wants your son to wander the neighborhood alone looking for the dog *during a pandemic*." -- w3hwalt
"What does your husband expect an 8 year old to do to find a lost dog? He's a child, he needs an adult to help call local rescue centres, local vets, make posters etc, and your husband is being very uncaring." -- Icy-Spot
"Your husband is an idiot. And you, my brave healthcare worker fighting for people's lives, deserve better." -- hesse1380
Some went further and expressed serious concern about her husband's minimal approach to parenting.
"I'm worried about your 6 month old daughter. He just gets up to check on her sometimes? That's some serious neglect."
"There's so much development happening to her right now and he should be reading to her, spending tummy time with her, etc. You need to intervene right now." -- SydBos
"You have 3 kids. I suggest when the quarantine is over that you reduce to 2 kids. Your son is 8. He is at an age where he should be able to depend on his parents and dad just proved he cannot."
"Not only that but I don't trust him to put the baby's needs ahead of his own either. He has really poor judgement." -- MCR4520
And while these responses were comforting with their support and reassurances, like a phoenix from the ashes, Tippy returned to the family.
In an update post, "pleaseiwanttobreath" touches on gratitude and moves on to details.
"First of all, thank you everyone for your immensely kind and considerate responses. I am thankful to each and everyone of you to give me such beautiful and encouraging messages. These kept me going, no joke."
"Tippy was found 2 miles away from our house, a day after I posted ads and posters on several platforms and websites."
"A kind lady living alone had found him near her street, starving and exhausted. She responded to my calls for help on Facebook and I am utterly thankful to her."
As the post continues, the wisdom of Redditors comes into focus.
As for her son and husband, the "scarring" mentioned in those comments to her original post appear to have been spot on.
"However, my son is still wary of his father and he'll likely remain so for a long time. Now he doesn't ask him for help at all."
And regarding those genuine concerns over her infant daughter's safety, spot on too.
"Many of you mentioned that my husband may have been neglecting our daughter. It's unfortunate that you were right."
"I started to notice some tender area and red skin around my daughter's diaper area around 2 weeks ago. She was uncomfortable, irritable and put up a fuss every time I tried to change her diaper. Turns out she was suffering from a diaper rash."
"The diaper rash is gone now, but now I am scared to ever leave my baby with him when I go to work. I will have to sit down and reconsider everything and have a long talk with him soon. It's inevitable. "
The update post—and our involvement in the entire saga—closed on a positive note, a kind of love letter to the internet.
"I will never forget how a bunch of strangers jumped to help me find our dog. Thank you, you lovely people."