Anyone parent who suffers from chronic headaches or migraines — and, usually, partners of said parents — know how helpful a quiet home can be when a particularly bad migraine strikes. One parent didn’t feel like it would be right to tell their two children from a previous relationship to take the play noise level down a notch when their wife had a headache.
“Been with my wife for 2 years; I have two children from a previous relationship who are 5 and 8,” the parent explains on the Am I The A—hole subreddit. “Currently 7 months pregnant, been married and living together for 5 months.”
While it isn’t clear if the poster is referring to themselves or their wife as the pregnant one in this scenario, they do acknowledge “…it’s been an adaption for everyone, mostly the children.”
“During our relationship even before living together I knew my wife got the occasional headache, she takes pain killers but says they don’t help so she’ll usually spend the day in our bedroom and sleep,” the parent continued. These type of headaches they describe that leave their wife stuck in bed sound a lot like migraines, which can feel exponentially more painful when the sufferer is surrounded by loud noise.
“Kids are at home and wife has a headache, I’m working from home. Kids are doing what they normally do, playing. Wife texts me asking to keep them from making so much noise, I was in a meeting when she texted so I didn’t actually look at it till an hour later,” the parent continues.
Not seeing a text right away isn’t the most egregious offense — especially if they were particularly tied up at work during that time, but here’s where it gets cringey, at least according to the majority of Reddit users who commented: “She’s upset but the way I see it is it’s the children’s home? They’re playing, what am I meant to say “my wife has a headache go read a book?” I don’t think I’m TA, wife does. Figured I’d ask here.”
Yeah. People quickly filed the parent who couldn’t ask their two children to play something that is more quiet or, yes, read a book, while their wife had a massive headache in the total jerk category.
“‘[M]y wife has a headache go read a book?’
“Yes, that's exactly what you should say. My daughter is 3, and when I have a headache I say to her: honey, would you please quiet down, I have a headache. And then she calms down. So your kids should be able to do this too. YTA,” reads one comment with over 21,000 upvotes.
“It's almost as if that's how you teach children empathy,” another sarcastically replied.
Others pointed out how the poster seemed to downplay their wife’s headaches, which she has a history of. “...[I]t sounds like OP may not know the difference between a headache and a migraine. If they are thinking ‘it’s just a headache it can’t be that bad’ then that’s not only a lack of empathy but it’s also undervaluing the seriousness of the wife’s situation. And that’s even more a**h*lish,” noted one.
Those who assumed that the OP’s wife was pregnant also noted that she wouldn’t be able to take migraine prescription pain killers since she was pregnant, making the noise from the two kids even more excruciating.
“I ended up in the ER several times for extreme migraines when pregnant because the only safe way to stop them was to get liquid benadryl and an iv so I'd fall asleep,” shared another parent who suffers from migraines.
“OP my daughter is 5 and has behavioral issues, and even she did her best to be caring, quiet, and empathetic when I was sick last week. I can understand not seeing the text at first while at work, but your attitude towards her pain and her request that you parent your children is horrible. YTA,” the parent said, effectively summing up a majority of Reddit’s feelings on the matter.
Downplaying a spouse’s pain is bad enough. Refusing to parent your kids and conveniently forgetting that it is also said spouse’s home, and they deserve to be comfortable, too, is maddening.