Having kids is a major life decision that has a profound impact on your personal life in ways you cannot fully anticipate. Once you make this decision, there is no turning back.

Both you and your partner may need to sacrifice some of the small joys in life, especially when your child is young.

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for continuing to work out after kids?”. Here’s the full story for your context.


Couple fighting in front of child.
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The Original Poster (OP) (30M) and his wife (30F) have 2 small kids (2 yrs and 3 months).

Ever since having their first child, it has been a continuously sore subject that OP still goes to the gym multiple times a week, when he could be at home instead.

OP’s Usual Routine

Couple having a heated discussion
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OP works a pretty demanding full-time job, and his wife stays at home with the kids and works part-time remotely. OP usually goes to the gym in the afternoon after work. On the weekends, OP only goes when the kids are napping.

“Sometimes, I’m even just trying to use our stationary bike inside the house, which provokes the same angry or passive-aggressive response.”, says OP.

OP’s Wife’s Comments

man apologizes to his wife, wife chastises her husband for his antics. young caucasian married couple argue on bed in the morning
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The response when OP says he’s going to work out is usually a variation of “Well, I was going to ask you to do {chore} but whatever, just leave instead” or “It must be nice to be able to go workout whenever you want”.

Does OP Not Allow Her Some Me-Time?

Upset young asian woman touching her head, thinking about divorce, angry middle aged man husband shouting at his wife, kitchen interior. Domestic abuse, violence in marriage concept
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OP has offered many times for her to do the same and leave the kids with him while she goes, but she usually doesn’t feel like going at the times when OP is available to do so.

What Does OP Say?

Couple Fight And Quarrel. Man Arguing With Frustrated Woman
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“I’ve given up pretty much all of my hobbies since having kids in order to focus on the family when I’m not at work, so I don’t feel like it’s unreasonable to ask for 4 or 5 hours per week in order to take care of myself physically and mentally. Am I a jerk?”, asks OP

Some Additional Information

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OP later edited the post and added the following information:

“Housework is divided based on who is watching the kids. If she is, then I cook and clean and vice versa.

Our infant sleeps in our room and whenever she feeds them, I do the burping and re-settling. Not 100% of the time because I do sleep through some of the feedings and my wife will feel guilty and not wake me up.

My wife’s job does not interfere with her sleep for the most part (9 pm is the common time for Zoom meetings and they are <1 hr). The rest of her work can be completed at her own pace throughout the week whenever I am home and watching the kids. She has a home office setup for this.

I don’t work out in the mornings because I get up with our 2-year-olds anywhere between 5:30 – 6 and do breakfast/spend a few hours with the kids before work. It would be possible to go to the gym very early or late, but I haven’t tried due to the night schedule I mentioned above.

To clarify, my wife is specifically asking for time to work out as well, not just free time away from kids.”

Try Switching Roles For A Week

couple regret on bed
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“As a father myself, I suggest you switch roles for 1 week. It opened my eyes. YTA in this situation. On one of your days off get her a spa day and you deal with the house. This will definitely get you some grace with her and also, hopefully, let you see how you’re in the wrong here.”

You’re Selfish As Hell

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“So you get to continue spending time on yourself for yourself but leave your wife to take care of two small children while postpartum? Guess what you selfish person: she had to give up ALL HER HOBBIES TOO. Only she doesn’t get a break to go and work out for hours!

You’re selfish as hell. Leaving your wife to do all the labor while you continue to take care of your body and mental health. You’re the jerk.”

Your Wife Is Drowning!

couple regret on bed
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“You’re the jerk. Your wife is drowning. 3 months old means she’s dealing with cluster feeding, sleep regression, and screaming that can’t be comforted and in the middle of this, you’re off at the gym instead of coming home after work.

An extra hour and a half are FOREVER when you need a break and your spouse just won’t come to hold the baby when you just need 15 minutes to use both hands. Self-care is important, yes. But you are burning your wife out.

If you are working 8-5 then hitting up the gym means you’re not home until close to 7. At which point it’s most likely going to be bedtime. You have missed the most stressful part of the evening. You need to rearrange your workout schedule.”

You Guys Need To Talk

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“Not the jerk. You are a better parent and spouse when your body and mental health are well-maintained. However, you and your wife need to reach an agreement so that your workouts are no longer a source of contention. If you can negotiate a workout schedule that is acceptable to both of you, then her complaints should stop.

If your wife is feeling overwhelmed and needs more support, that is a separate conversation. You two need to find a way for her to feel better, but not at the cost of your health.”

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