A father has received backlash online after confessing that he doesn’t want to babysit his daughter while his wife travels to visit family abroad for her birthday gift.
The 29-year-old Reddit user shared the dilemma to popular Subreddit “Am I The A**hole” which sees users asks the internet their thoughts on who is in the wrong.
In this case, the outcome was clear—they absolutely thought he was.
“I bought my wife two tickets to visit her grandma in Italy next week,” he wrote. “The other ticket was for our daughter [4-year-old] since I assumed she’d be taking her. She says she wants a break from kids on her vacation.”
“I told her that was unfortunate, since there’s no way that our daughter can not go if she goes, because I have work and don’t want to take time off to babysit our daughter for an entire week. I suggested we have someone else watch her, but we don’t know anyone that lives close by who’d be willing to watch her. I love my daughter, but I don’t want to take a week off to babysit her.”
The father added that his wife is a stay-at-home mom and that he is financially responsible for the family. Despite being able to take the week off, he explained that he wouldn’t be paid for it.
“I have to work so that we can have a place to live,” he reasoned. “Imagine a co-worker tries to take a week off work on a few days’ notice so that he can, ‘give his wife who’s a stay-at-home mom a break from caring for his daughter while she visits her grandma like she wanted to,'” he wrote.
In the U.S., childcare from men is on the rise when compared with recent decades. According to Pew Research Center, in 2016, seven percent of fathers were stay-at-home dads, compared to four percent in 1989.
That small rise doesn’t compare to the childcare responsibility on mothers however, who consistently rank way higher with the amount of hours spent looking after their children.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that among households with children under the age of 13 in 2020, men averaged 4.9 hours of secondary childcare per day, while women averaged 7.1.
For the poster however, the lack of childcare responsibilities were a trade-off for the financial responsibility he has instead.
“We have an understanding,” he wrote. “I’ll never expect her to contribute anything financially, and she doesn’t expect me to contribute much domestically. I’m fulfilling my end of that.”
In a 2017 survey, 76 percent of adults said that men face a lot of pressure to support their family financially, while a lower 49 percent said men face a lot of pressure to be an involved parent.
For the users of Reddit however, being an involved parent in this situation should have been a priority, as the majority dubbed him the “a**hole” of the scenario.
“It isn’t babysitting when it’s your kid,” wrote one user, in a sea of similar responses upset by the term “babysitting” used for his own family.
Another added: “‘Babysitting’ is taking care of a child, usually temporarily, to whom you have no responsibility outside that babysitting gig. So if my wife and I go out for dinner, we might ask the young high school girl down the street to babysit our little one and pay her some money.
A father looking after their child is not babysitting; that’s called ‘parenting’, and it’s not something special that you do, something out of the ordinary because it’s normally your wife’s job. It’s something you signed up to do 24/7, 365.25 days a year the moment your daughter was born. The fact that you consider being with and caring for your daughter ‘babysitting’ is a huge red flag.”
While others were left confused by the lack of discussion over childcare before he booked the tickets.
“Could you not have asked your wife what she wanted? Big gifts are nice, but they get really complicated when they’re not what the person wants, so it’s usually better to ask about them before purchasing. Especially if you attach expectations, because now it has strings attached. In other words, your nice gift is putting her in a position, which is not so nice.”
The father reasoned that because it was a present, he decided not to discuss it beforehand. He concluded that they appeared to have found a solution—one that didn’t make him the “a**hole” as Reddit marked him.
“If it’s any comfort, my little sister will most likely come and watch Savannah until my wife gets back. Which will mean she’ll end up getting her wish,” he wrote.