The distribution of cooking and cleaning is a common issue in many households. After all, most people don’t particularly enjoy these chores, or at least don’t enjoy doing them frequently. Additionally, there’s the outdated but prevailing expectation that women should take charge of the housework — even if she works full-time. Nowadays, many couples have both partners working, so cooking and cleaning are divided more evenly. After all, both partners have the same amount of hours in a day and both are responsible for taking care of themselves and the household they share. However, the sentiment of equality is not present for this pregnant mom.
Despite working overtime and being pregnant, her husband expects her to do all of the housework. And when she fails these expectations, he complains to both his mom and her mom, who both degrade the pregnant woman for being a bad wife.
Pregnant woman asks, “AITA for telling my MIL and mom I’m not here to babysit my husband?”
The post begins by saying she and her husband have been married for a year and they are expecting their first child. She adds that it’s been a “tricky pregnancy” so far.
Her husband grew up as a “momma’s boy”. His mom always took care of him, so he never learned how to cook and clean. However, during their relationship, she taught him these skills and he became independent. Additionally, she’s been working at a warehouse, very often overtime, with a two-hour commute. Meaning she’s away from home 14 hours a day. Meanwhile, her husband works from home.
However, both of their moms dislike this dynamic. “Now, my MIL and my mom call me a bad wife for not caring for my husband properly. They claim it’s my job to do the cooking and cleaning. My mom justifies my MIL intervening in our household matters. She says I’m not a proper housewife.”
To make matters worse, her husband slid back to his “momma’s boy” ways. “I’m away 14 hours a day overworking myself while he does nothing to help around the house and the few times he does help he rubs it on my face while calling me lazy and complaining to my mom and his mom.”
It all came to a head when his mom called the pregnant woman at work. “[She] complained about how her son has lost weight since he married me and how I’m not feeding him and she’d never let him marry me if she knew how sh*tty I am as a wife.”
The OP snapped and said, “her son is a grown man who’s fully capable of taking care of himself.” But then her own mom called. “…I told her I’m not my husband’s babysitter, I’m his wife and if she and MIL want to act like babysitters to him then be my guest.”
All of the responses defended the pregnant woman and berated her husband, mom, and mother-in-law. Many mentioned that a 14-hour workday gives very little time for chores, let alone maintaining a household. Plus, she was pregnant, and if anything, the husband should be doing more for her to reduce her stress.
Additionally, many people commented that the trio seemed to be stuck in the 1950s with their ideas of what a housewife should do. However, they added that the OP’s situation is not akin to the typical 1950s dynamic at all.
“I love that they are saying she is not a proper housewife…” said one commenter. “She is working 14 hours a day. Isn’t the entire definition of a ‘housewife’ being a wife who doesn’t have a job and just tends to the affairs of the house?”
Unfortunately, the comments didn’t hold many practical suggestions for the OP. Many spoke of blocking the mom and MIL and leaving her husband, however, that may not be as doable as we may hope. However, there was a suggestion for the OP to call out their double standard: “Her partner is neglecting his HUSBAND duties by forcing her to work instead of being the family provider. She needs to give her husband an ultimatum too. Either he finds a way to support their family on his own while she stays home and AND has full access to the money OR he gets on cleaning since he clearly can’t afford a traditional housewife.”
However, it’s unclear if such an ultimatum would work. It’s more likely that the mothers and the husband are aware of the contradiction of a working housewife but they just don’t care. The OP adds in her update that her MIL is a lawyer and her mother is a school teacher — both are working women. In a comment, she explains, “My mom is on their side because she’s projecting. My father treated her and my twin sister and me as maids and she thinks that’s what’s gonna happen to us too. That’s the right thing.”
The Pregnant Mom’s Update
In an update, the OP went into more detail. Many comments blamed her for being in this situation. They said that she knew what she was getting into and that she shouldn’t have married him or gotten pregnant. Some accused her of trying to change her husband and now being upset that it didn’t work.
However, relationships, especially those with an abusive dynamic, are never that cut and dry. The OP explains that when she and her husband were dating, he was improving himself. While dating and being engaged, he always helped out. “He grew up with the momma’s boy mindset but once we became more committed he started changing his mindset and behavior about gender roles and treated me as equal. Even when his mom tried to intervene certain times he’d put her in her place and defend me.”
But once they got married, he went back to his old ways — and worse. “At first it was more subtle but the signs were there though not as obvious. As time passed I also found out I’m pregnant and it was getting worse and worse. The cherry on top was now that he has been also complaining to my mom about how lazy I am.” It’s extremely common for abusers to act courteous and charming to ensnare their victims. Once they reveal their true colors, their partners are trapped with no easy way out.
Additionally, the pregnant woman added that her twin sister came to her defense, but she lives on a different continent, and their mom was furious the sister tried to intervene. She threatened the OP “that if I keep screwing up she won’t support me and I’ll end up alone so I better watch my steps. I don’t know how to feel about this and how to react, what I should do. I’m completely alone. The only person who could possibly support me is across the globe.”
Signs of Emotional Abuse
The fact that the OP had to even ask if she was in the wrong shows how terrible her case is. It’s impossible to verify the details of a Reddit post, but from the situation presented, it’s clear she’s in an abusive relationship. According to Family Lives, emotional abuse could include:
- not allowing partner to socialise and discouraging contacts from friends and family
- screening contacts via phone or face to face
- refusing to help with chores around the home
- refusing to help with children
- telling partner they are constantly useless
- taking away self-esteem and confidence
- sharing partner’s private and personal information with others
- calling a partner weak and putting them down in front of others
- making promises not to hurt them again but still continues to do so 
And with the pregnant woman’s isolation, it seems that her relationship fits these boxes, with her husband and with her mom. How to exit this situation isn’t clear-cut and often takes time. Fortunately, there are organizations like Family Lives to reach out to for support, advice, and intervention, like the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233. We hope the OP finds the proper support and care to leave this toxic situation.