Members of a popular internet forum were quick to show support for one poster who was accused of making their mother-in-law “depressed” by “making” her husband help with housework.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/ThrowawayughMIL (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said that their husband’s parents recently stayed at the couple’s house for a few days, and detailed the criticism they received from their “overtly conservative” mother-in-law.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for making my MIL ‘depressed’ because I made my husband do chores?,” the viral post has received more than 8,100 votes and nearly 1,000 comments in the last day.
Writing that their mother-in-law complained the whole time she was visiting, the original poster said they attempted to “play along,” but assured that the criticism was constant and relentless.
“During [one] lunch my husband was the one preparing the food, and this obviously enraged my MIL,” they wrote. “She kept insinuating throughout the whole lunch saying, ‘I can teach you some cooking, it is a bad omen to make your husband cook.’”
“When my husband was sweeping…she rushed to him as though he was a kid playing with fire or something, and started sweeping for him,” they continued. “Every minor chore he would do within the time she stayed over, she would either glare me down ’til I took over or she would snidely tell him ‘ask her to do it.’”
After their in-laws left the couple’s house, the original poster said they received a contentious phone call from their mother-in-law.
“She called me in the afternoon saying that it really hurt her to see her son doing the chores,” she wrote. “She said she was feeling depressed for days because he was brought up never having to do house chores…and seeing me ‘make him do chores’ is breaking her heart.”
We Have Kids, an online resource for marriage and parenting advice, reports that some encroaching behaviors by mother-in-laws can be considered more than unhealthy, and border on toxic.
Included within these toxic behaviors are clear indications that a mother-in-law does not like their child’s spouse, and expectations of subservience from their son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
“She will communicate to you, in a thousand subtle ways, that you are not good enough for her child or for her family,” the We Have Kids website reads.
“To establish her dominance, she will expect you to please her,” it continues. “That would include adopting her opinions, religion, culture, appearing at every family event, learning her ways of cooking, cleaning and just about everything else under the sun.”
Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post, Redditors called out the original poster’s mother-in-law for her toxic behavior, and made it clear that if she has such a problem with her son doing house chores, that is solely her problem.
In the post’s top comment, which has received more than 12,000 votes, Redditor u/Quadruplicate said that couples who live together should share housework as much as possible and took aim at OP’s mother-in-law.
“You should both be doing the chores and it shouldn’t be one sided with only one person doing everything,” they wrote. “Your MIL is being overdramatic.”
“Ridiculous!,” they added.
Redditor u/MiruTheSloth, whose comment has received more than 3,000 votes, echoed that sentiment and warned the original poster that they are in the midst of a thinly-veiled examination.
“If she’s so depressed her baby boy is doing chores, she should do them for him,” they wrote.
“She’s not actually depressed, she’s trying to test your boundaries,” they added. “If you let her trample over them once, she’ll do it again and again.”
“If she’s depressed from seeing how helpful [a] husband is to his wife, she needs a psych evaluation,” Redditor u/SleepDangerous1074 chimed in.
In a separate comment, another Redditor was adamant that the best way to resolve this issue was for the original poster’s husband to intervene.
“In all seriousness, I’d make your husband deal with her,” they wrote. “If he wants to do chores in his own house then he’s okay with her being heartbroken about that.”
“She needs to hear it from him, and he needs to stand up for you,” they added. “None of this passive-aggressive crap behind his back from her.”
Newsweek reached out to u/ThrowawayughMIL for comment.