It is unwise to underestimate others’ capabilities, even if we are highly skilled ourselves. Doing so can poison relationships and lead to unhappiness. A user asked the forum, “Am I a jerk for telling my wife that I would be perfectly capable of doing what she does?”
The Original Poster (OP) (30M) has a wife (30F) and a daughter (7F).
He works in finance, and his wife is a stay-at-home mom as he earns sufficient for both of them.
HIS WIFE TAKES CARE OF THEIR HOUSE
He says his wife is a great SAHM and cares for their house. He was lucky to buy a home as he earned well in a medium-cost-of-living city.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
He says he loves his wife, but his wife finds it humorous to say that he is incapable of doing household tasks.
HE DOES HOUSEHOLD CHORES
They had agreed that she would do them when they decided she would stay at home, but he does stuff occasionally when they are both home if his wife asks him to.
But then, if she says to load the dishwasher for her, she will claim he did it wrong because he does it differently. It still cleans well.
HIS WIFE SHARING HIS GROCERY SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
The other day they were eating, and she told him about her day and how she went grocery shopping and optimized the cost by buying specific items at specific stores and accounting for the cost of traveling to each store.
HIS WIFE’S REMARK
His wife made an offhand remark that he would never be able to do that and said it in a “what would you ever do without me?” kind of way.
WHAT WAS OP’S REPLY?
He replied back, saying that, of course, he could do it, added that he handles complex decisions and calculations at his work as he works in finance and that he has a master’s degree, and what he does involves more intellect than household operations even though he acknowledges and appreciates what she does.
He strongly added that he would be capable if the roles were reversed.
WHAT WAS HIS WIFE’S REACTION?
His wife got angry and seemed to think he was calling her stupid when he wasn’t and then cried, and now he feels like a jerk.
His wife said she was a very good student, and if she had graduated, she would be in his position as well.
HOW DID OP AND OP’S WIFE MEET?
OP says he and his wife met in college, but she was an international student studying physics and computer science.
She had issues with her loan from her home country and could not afford to complete it, and they got married then so she could stay.
HIS WIFE AGREED TO BE A SAHM
Initially, his wife wanted to complete her degree but later after finding the funds, she agreed to be a SAHM when he got a good job, and he appreciated that a lot as they were able to have a kid early on even while he was both completing his masters and working full time.
Now OP asks who is at fault here.
YOU MUST APOLOGIZE PROFUSELY
“You are a jerk. Oh, dear. You need to go back to your husband’s school. She was telling you about her day and probably was pleased that she’d shopped the way she did.
It might not be rocket science, but as well as sharing facts about her day, she wanted recognition of her value to you. I will say that again, as you are a slow learner, Mr Masters Degree.
She wanted recognition of her value to you. A comparison of your job skills was inappropriate. Of course, if you blether on about your fancypants finance capabilities, she will feel put down. Your attitude of “I do really clever financial stuff, so, of course, I can do your job” is disrespectful and hurtful.
Household management is a skill. It is both practical and requires specialist knowledge. It requires someone who can get things done. You just see the bit of the iceberg that sticks out above the water, and you have no idea of how much organizational skill is going into your household.
I suggest you apologize profusely, give her lots of hugs if she will have them, flowers, chocolates, and a wild night in for her. Never, never disrespect what she does ever again.”
YOU MUST RECOGNIZE IT
“I’ll be direct. Yes, you’re a jerk. The problem with men that have money is that we tend to commercialize and tie everything to money.
You ignore the companionship, the sacrifices, and the love your wife and mother of your kids provide you even after getting bogged out with housework.
You feel, for example, yes, I can cook, or I can hire a chef, but forget there’s a difference between someone who cooks because they love you and the one who you pay them to.
However, the reason you’re a jerk is that you fail to recognize how much work goes into the housework she does because you do it once in a while. Take a hint from the fact that when you do it, she complains, but when she does, you don’t. Most likely, it means you’re not doing it properly.
Housework is hard work, and you should recognize that. But often time, until men have to do it frequently, we don’t understand how hard it can be.”
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