In Reddit’s AITA forum, a dad wants to know if he’s in the wrong for going out to a friend’s birthday party on the same night his wife is taking a rare night out — after already agreeing to watch their toddler.

“Background,” he wrote. “My wife rarely goes out with friends (~6 times/year) and has never been very social and prefers spending time with me. I am more social, but that has declined as we have focused on our family (we have a 2-year-old daughter), and I spend time with the same 3 friends once/week for games night (sometimes in person, sometimes online). I have another 3 friends that I see only once every 2 months, also for games night. If I go out my wife will tend to our daughter (I often still help with dinner/bed time, but sometimes leave earlier than this). Our daughter’s bedtime is 7:30pm, and she often sleeps through the night without fuss (wakes up fussing maybe 5% of the time). I always offer for my wife to sleep in the next day, or something similar in exchange for me going out so that It’s not a one-sided thing.”

AITA for not staying home for the night with my daughter while my wife goes out with friends?
byu/lucksterluke16 inAmItheAsshole

He continued, “My wife made plans to spend an evening this weekend out with friends, she would be out from 6pm until late. After she made those plans, I was invited to my friends birthday thing with my “second” friend group, if I went I would be gone from 5pm until late. Last time I saw them was exactly one month ago. I brought this plan up with my wife as I wanted to make arrangements for a family member to take our daughter for the evening. She was irritated by this, and argued that I should stay home. I have since spoken with a family member who is happy to take our daughter at 5pm and have her stay the night and I have communicated this to my wife.”

The dad explained that he would handle drop off and pick up, so the new plan wouldn’t affect his wife at all, but she still wanted him to stay home.

“She says that since she always covers for me that I should also cover for her,” he wrote. “She doesn’t want to ask this family member to have our daughter for the night because she thinks we ask too much of them.”

He also added, “I am covering for her as she does not have to change her plans and doesn’t have to do anything for our daughter. This family member loves watching our daughter, and my wife is often quick to agree to leave our daughter there for sleepovers plenty of other evenings out of convenience (eg: we will be there for dinner and put our daughter to sleep there so we can visit longer, then we will leave her there for the night) so I don’t see why this time its too much to ask.”

Here’s the real kicker. He wrote, “I feel like she wants me to stay home as a form of punishment for going out more frequently than she would prefer. ‘Punishment’ feels too strong of a word, I don’t think there is any major resentment behind this or anything, I just don’t know how else to describe the feeling.”


The top comment on the post really sums it up.

“YTA (You’re the a**hole),” they wrote. “Not a big one, but this is more about the emotional load than logical reasoning. Your wife is likely not going to be enjoying herself the same way she would if you had stayed at home. She isn’t necessarily going to worry all night, but she will be aware that your daughter is out of the house. She’s going to mentally check in – now they are driving over, now she’s likely settling down, now you are picking her up, time for bed again.”

They continued, “Every time she mentally check in she exerts a little effort. Maybe she glances out the window to check the weather is good for driving. Maybe she checks her watch or phone to see if you called. However, even the energy of simply having a thought adds up. If your wife is like many parents I know, especially the main caregivers, she is always alert. She’s always on. You being home with your daughter doesn’t turn that off but it does lesson the amount that it happens. The mental load of knowing your child is as safe as possible with their other parent is different from knowing they are driving around and at another house.”

This is really the only answer that matters. Because it’s the true one — this story really is about mental load. Studies show that in heterosexual couples, women carry more of the mental load for household tasks and childcare, even when both parents work full-time jobs. And in this case, this poor mom deserves her rare night out.

That sentiment was echoed in a later comment: “She barely goes out. You go out all the time! Why can’t you give your wife this one night and spend time with your toddler???”

And this one: “You see your friends far more frequently than your wife sees hers. You’re long overdue to take more turns staying home.”

That commenter also added this extremely valid point: “When’s the last time you and your wife went out together? You should save your babysitting credits with your family members for date nights, not just nights where you go hang out with your friends by yourself like usual.”

So was the dad in the wrong? The internet seems to think so, but what do you think?