'Exhausted': Dad Dragged for Making Wife Fix Toddler's Sleep Schedule Alone

Thousands of internet commenters were left conflicted after one father explained why he locked himself in a spare bedroom, leaving his wife to deal with the couple's restless 2-year-old.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Best-Video-28 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said his son's sleep schedule has become increasingly erratic over the past few months and explained why he believes his wife is to blame.

Titled, "[Am I the a**hole] for telling my wife that putting our son to bed was now her job and then moving my bed into a separate room?" the post has received nearly 7,500 votes and 2,200 comments in the last day.

Writing that he works full-time, and that his wife is a stay-at-home mom, the original poster laid out his child's schedule, including all the times designated for napping and getting a good night's sleep.

The original poster also said that, despite the strict schedule, his son has not been resting well and speculated about his wife's role in the 2-year-old's seemingly-ineffective sleep routine.

"My wife and I aim for...him to wake up at 7am, do all the typical daily activities, take a nap starting between 1:30pm and 2:00pm for two hours, then go to bed again at 8pm. This would typically give him a good 13 hours of sleep a day," OP wrote. "I'm typically in charge of getting him to sleep at night while she obviously puts him down for his afternoon nap."

"For the past several months," OP noted. "My wife has gotten incredibly lazy with putting him to bed. I understand that it's not always easy, but she has essentially worked out a new system: she waits for him to be utterly exhausted at about 4pm, puts him to bed, and then wakes him up between 6:00 and as late as 6:30."

"Therefore, when I try to get him to go to bed between 8 and 9, he's not tired," OP added. "It's basically a wrestling match to get him to stay in bed as he shrieks and cries and bites...because he's simply not tired."

Recently, the original poster said he couldn't take another second of the bedtime hysterics, so he pulled his bed into another room while issuing a stern ultimatum to his wife.

"I finally told my wife that until she fixes his sleep schedule, I'm not going to clean up her mess anymore," OP wrote. "I moved my bed into another room, locked the door, and went to bed as she put him to sleep."

"She told me that I need to be more active in helping out with him, and I responded that I'll happily do so once she actually gets him down for his nap at a reasonable time," OP added.

For many parents, the second year of parenthood can be even more difficult than the first.

The "terrible twos," described by Very Well Family as "a normal stage in a child's development in which a toddler can regularly bounce between reliance on adults and a newly burgeoning desire for independence," are accompanied by temper tantrums and other emotional outbursts.

As toddlers develop new skills and abilities, their ability to verbally communicate usually lags behind, causing great frustration and frequent mood swings.

To mitigate constantly-changing moods and make the terrible twos as amiable as possible, Very Well Family recommends numerous strategies including keeping a childproof space with snacks handy and offering limited choices to give children a sense of control.

Atop Very Well Family's list of effective strategies, however, is keeping a consistent sleep schedule.

For children between 1 and 3 years old, BabyCenter experts agree that between 12 and 14 hours of sleep per day is optimal, especially if a couple of those hours come from an afternoon nap.

"Most toddlers at this age still need at least one hour-long nap in the afternoon, which may actually help your child fall asleep more quickly and efficiently at night," pediatrician William Sears told Baby Center.

"Almost all children take only one nap per day by age 2," pediatric sleep expert Jodi Mindell advised, adding that "the best time for naps is the early afternoon. Don't let your child nap past 4 p.m., or [they'll] have problems going to sleep at bedtime."

Parents arguing about toddler's sleep schedule
Members of Reddit's r/AmITheA**hole forum were quick to react to one father who explained why he put responsibility for his son's sleep schedule squarely on his wife. fizkes/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Despite the original poster's insistence that his 2-year-old follow a sleep schedule similar to those recommended by health experts, commenters responding to the viral Reddit post largely focused on his retreating into a separate room while his wife struggled with their child.

Echoing a 2017 Fatherly article, which asserted that "couples who cannot agree on how to care for their crying babies at night are more likely to have troubled relationships," some Redditors encouraged OP to be mindful of his wife's struggles while others slammed the man for turning his back.

"Toddler is a difficult age," Redditor u/Sweetsmyle wrote in the post's top comment, which has received nearly 15,000 votes. "Sounds like he's starting to transition out of the daily nap phase."

"It's a hard milestone on the parents because toddler[s] will get tired without a nap but too close to bedtime," they added. "Please be patient with each other. Raising a kid is hard on both parents."

Redditor u/Temporary_Badger, whose comment has received nearly 4,000 votes, took a more-aggressive approach.

"[You're the a**hole]. Your kid is having some typical sleep struggles," they wrote. "Your wife isn't being 'lazy' with his naps, it sounds like she's having a hard time getting him to actually go to sleep."

"You're blaming her instead of acting like a parent and trying to work out a solution together," they added. "If anyone's being lazy here, it's you."

"I know the might come as a surprise but kids drop naps as they get older," Redditor u/Ilovegifsofjif chimed in, receiving nearly 3,000 votes. "I'm not going to get into the laughably small amount of time you are actually on deck as an active parent."

In a separate comment, which has received nearly 2,000 votes, Redditor u/magship sarcastically applauded the original poster for how he acted towards his wife and child.

"Well good for you for taking your bed and going to another room!" they wrote. "The most mature way to deal with any adult situation [laughing my a** off]."

Newsweek reached out to u/Best-Video-28 for comment.