The Redditor made a rule that only family members who pitch in to make or clean up dinner get to eat it.

By Maressa Brown
February 09, 2021
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Overwhelmed by the mental load and doing their darnedest to raise their kids in the best possible way, moms everywhere are coming up with new ways to balance domestic duties at home. A mom on Reddit recently explained how she came up with a new rule for her household: "You have to somehow be a part of dinner in order to eat it."

The original poster (OP) shared that her 13-year-old son has recently gotten into cooking, and he's "amazing at it." And when he's experimenting or making food just for himself, he cleans up after himself. But he's also started helping her with meals, and two days out of the week, he actually prepares the family meal solo.

The OP's husband insisted that his son wash all the dishes after cooking, regardless of the fact he's preparing the meal for the family. But the OP said she usually just winds up doing them. "I don't particularly like feeling like I'm doing nothing," she wrote.

A few nights ago, her husband insisted that their son "shouldn't be getting away with" not doing his own chore. His logic: "He made the mess, so he cleans it." To that, the OP asked, "Why does he have to wash up, but I don't?" The husband didn't reply and ended up "huffing off," but he came back later and insisted, "We have to make him realize how hard life can be."

That's when she came up with her new rule. Now, in order to eat dinner, everyone has to have done something to contribute to its prep or clean-up. "My husband was angered by this rule, and I replied by telling him to put his rubber gloves on and get cleaning," wrote the OP.

Credit: Getty Images.

He responded by going out of the house to eat elsewhere. The OP shared that she's fine with that, because their funds are separate, and her son thinks "it's pretty cool," because he prefers her over his dad and wants the bonding time. But the OP's family thinks she's being too harsh and agree that her son should do more chores.

That's when she turned it over to the Reddit community to weigh in. And overwhelmingly, commenters sided with the OP, rolling their eyes at the father's assertion that his son has to "see how hard life can be."

U/Alert-Potato wrote, "The goal of parenting is to raise a child into a functioning adult member of society. The goal is not treat children like slave labor so they learn how goddamn hard life is. There is a lot of time to learn how hard life is. He needs people to model good behavior, stand up for him, and teach him basics of how to care for himself, his belongings, and his home when he leaves. You are doing that, you had his back when his dad was being an ass**** to him. You stood for fairness, instead of letting someone come in and treat your son poorly specifically, because he's a child."

Another commenter, writing under the handle u/Here_for_tea_ observed, "Your husband is being wildly immature."

And u/Norceuil_182 wrote, "Yeah, the whole 'life is hard so I'm gonna be an ass**** to toughen you up' is BS. Life is hard, and the best way we get through it is exactly like you and your son are doing it: You realize we are all in this together, and we chip in to the best of our ability."

Still, some commenters pointed out that there might be more going on here than equal chore distribution or disparate parenting styles. As u/annonyandro wrote, "Sounds like these issues run deeper than dinner and dishes. Your husband is showing your son that rules and 'being right' are more important that his family. You are turning your son against your husband. All in all: dysfunctional."

As straightforward as the OP's rule might be—everyone pitches in for dinner—here's hoping this family benefits from communicating more and addressing underlying concerns. Ultimately, it wouldn't hurt to remember that they're all on the same team.

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