Is your love language acts of service, or physical touch, or receiving gifts? Or is it getting a formal performance review from your partner outlining all of your strengths and weaknesses as a parent in fine detail?
One husband thought that he could gently let his wife know what she was doing wrong as a stay-at-home mom by playing manager and literally writing her up. Spoiler alert: It did not go well for anyone. Do not try this at home.
After the fallout, the well-meaning but completely clueless man hopped onto Reddit’s infamous “Am I The A—hole?” Forum to go over what went down and have the court of public opinion decide if he had misstepped.
The man explained that he lives with his wife, her 13-year-old daughter, their 15-year-old niece, and their 6-year-old daughter. He feels like his wife is constantly siding with her youngest daughter while disciplining the teens too harshly.
“My wife has taught the youngest, she can blame others for her actions to avoid consequences,” he says. “She just says the word, one of the teens will get punished without question. There’s no doubt, she is my wife’s favorite. I love her, but she’s becoming nothing more than an entitled brat.”
He then shared an example in which all three kids broke a house rule (swimming in the pool without adult supervision and then lying about it) but only the teens were punished while the 6-year-old was not.
This all sounds like an opportunity for some serious communication, or even some couple’s counseling. Or, in the poster’s twisted mind, time to play boss and write an actual performance review.
“We’ve have had countless, tiring arguments. She’d either not see her faults, or we’d agree to do this and that, but it was never actually done,” he said, explaining that he tried every single other avenue. “I decided to write her a performance review, as a SAHM. Her areas in need of improvement, well it was a lot. But I touched on how she needs to listen better, stop being biased. Be fair in all her decisions, stop making rash decisions without taking all three kids into consideration. I recommended her to give each child the same amount of one-on-one alone time to speak, or just be with one another.”
I bet this guy is also the worst back-seat driver.
His wife did not take the review kindly. And there was no HR department to handle what happened next.
“I guess I felt this would work best, because I could organize my thoughts on paper without her interjecting,” he mused. “However, it quickly backfired in my face. She was quiet the first hour after I handed it to her. Then she completely exploded on me, said if we’re going to do this type shit she’ll get a private bank account and take half my paycheck every week. She further said the review was abusive, and a manipulative sexist move.”
Who wouldn’t love getting an utterly crappy performance review for a job you do 24/7 completely for free?
Down in the comments, readers gave the husband his own performance review, and it was not good.
“ESH [everyone sucks here]. The concerns you have are legitimate and it needs an urgent solution,” one commenter wrote wisely. “But, the way you went about it is really unhealthy. The parenting of your children is not a project. You are not her boss, you are her husband and the father of her kid. Giving her a performance review comes across as really condescending and as she said, manipulative.”
Another person was a little more straightforward.
“Are you her EMPLOYER, because employers give performance reviews. Partners do not give performance reviews,” they said. “Your family, INCLUDING YOURSELF, needs therapy. A lot of therapy. A LOT of therapy.”
Even more succinctly: “What’s he going to do, fire her?”
On the other hand, more than a few people were siding with the wife, either, citing her refusal to get therapy or calmly talk it out with her partner.
“OPs wife is being emotionally abusive towards her step daughters and everyone here is calling OP an asshole for carefully writing his criticisms down in letter format,” one person argued — with a few people agreeing.
One thing is for sure though. It might be okay to write your partner a letter about a conflict, especially if talking face to face isn’t working. But to frame it as a performance review implies that your partner is a subordinate who can be managed and punished by you. And that stuff should be saved for sexy role playing and not your actual relationship.