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Dad Asks if He is Wrong to Take an Extra 20 Mins Driving Home to Decompress After Stressful Job as a Triage Nurse

Regardless of whether you are the primary carer for young children, or are employed to work outside your home, one thing that is super important is managing your stress levels and taking steps to protect your mental health. When we are overwhelmed or running on an empty tank it is very difficult to show up as the best version of ourselves for our loved ones. However, things can be tricky in a relationship if one or both partners feel as though their need for a little downtime to rest and reset are not being met. Often couples end up in an endless resentment-filled loop, competing over who has the most stressful job, rather than finding a solution.

Spending all day at home with small children can be exhausting, and we can wholeheartedly relate to looking forward to your partner coming home from work so you can have a moment to yourself, even if it’s just to use the bathroom, or start preparing the dinner. One man has taken to Reddit to ask whether he is in the wrong for driving the long way  home just so he can have an extra 20 minutes to himself.

I(37M) work as a triage nurse. My wife is a stay-at-home mom and takes care of the house and chases after our 6-year-old daughter.

I’ve been working in my field since 20 starting as an EMT, so after a decade and a half I became pretty desensitized to most gore, blood, death, and other horrific things. It wasn’t ever really a problem with me until about a year ago. I’m not sure why but something in me changed. I’m pretty sure it has to do with fatherhood and my daughter being in school now and away from her mother’s watchful eye and possibly a danger we can’t save her from. Now seeing children come into the ER hits me different.

A few weeks ago I had a particularly rough day after having a 7 year old patient and I decided to take a longer way home just so I have time to compartmentalize it all before getting home and going on daddy duty. I told my wife I missed my exit and had to go a long way around which turned my 15 minute commute to a 35-40 minute commute.


I felt so much better getting home and seeing my daughter after this time. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to help me not take work home. I started doing this for days I had to see children, then to bad days in general, and for the last week, every day.

My wife doesn’t like it as it means she had to make dinner while entertaining our daughter which gets hectic. I feel that this benefits me and my daughter, I don’t come home with what I saw fresh on my mind when talking to her so I feel I’m more attentive and much less emotionally drained/withdrawn.

My wife called me out on it recently and told me that she knows I’m intentionally taking longer to go to work. She’s been watching my location when I get off and sees me going the scenic route home. I tried to explain to her why I’m doing it but she doesn’t want to hear it. She told me that I’m being selfish as she doesn’t get a break all day and when I take extra time getting home, I’m not helping her out like she needs to so she suffers.


Admittedly, I do feel bad about not helping her, but I feel that I really need this time. I don’t want to devalue what she does, but she’s talking about a breather after folding laundry and running errands. I need a breather after people come in with severe burns, car crash victims, bullet wounds, stabbings etc, so I don’t think it’s fair to compare.


As you’d expect from Reddit, there was no shortage of people that had an opinion on the situation.

HARD NTA. Your wife is a stay-at-home-mom. She has her daughter’s school time to decompress (even though she also needs to do some housekeeping during that time but it’s hardly something that requires 5 hours a day). You do not have your daughter’s school time to decompress.

I absolutely understand that she HAS a job, and it’s being her daughter’s mom and housekeeping. But you have TWO jobs, your money-earning job and your job as a dad in the evenings. She’s being thoughtless and inconsiderate of your needs. You literally have a job from the minute you get up till the minute your daughter goes to sleep whereas your wife has time in the mornings.

You deserve those 20 minutes off your workload, and I’m saying that with all the respect I have for her as a SAHM. (darya42)

Not everyone agreed that he had things harder than his wife though, or that he was more deserving of downtime than her.

Uhh studies have shown that the work of a stay at home mom is equivalent to working 2.5 full time jobs. Also being a stay at home mom is more than just cleaning, it’s very likely that she’s running errands or grocery shopping during that time too. I don’t understand how you figure that his wife isn’t working from the time she wakes up too? (Hungry_Anybody_9411)

But can her job as a stay-at-home parent be compared to two and a half full time jobs if their child is at school during the day? Some even suggested she likely had time during the day to socialise with friends.

I’m sorry but no. Most of my friends are SAHMs and I’m currently on a break from work so we all hang out a lot when our kids are in school.

OP is a triage nurse! He sees things most of us can’t even fathom. Wanting 20 minutes extra to decompress is nothing, especially if those 20 minutes makes him into a calmer, more present father in the evenings. (yesnomaybesoju)

NTA. Both parent’s mental health is important, and as long as she is getting a break, I don’t think adding an extra 20 or so minutes to your commute is a huge deal. I am a medical receptionist, and we have a few EMT patients that have mental health issues due to the things they’ve seen. It’s horrible. (CrabbiesrAsp)

Others pointed out that he wasn’t at fault for needing twenty extra minutes to himself to decompress, but that likely wasn’t what was really at the core of his wife’s annoyance. It was more likely to be his dishonesty that was the true crux of the matter.

YTA for lying about it. Your reasons are legit, but you should have learned as a child that lying about something is almost always worse than telling the truth.

This is your life partner, you should be able to talk about the issues you are working through. She shouldn’t be pushing back so hard about it, but when you start the discussion with a lie it’s normal for the other person to come in hot. (RB1327)



Yes, your communication could have been better/more transparent.

But 20 minutes for self-care at the end of a shift is super cheap insurance against burnout and needing to find a new career or developing a more serious issue with mental health where you can’t work at all. This is a known risk in your profession and needs to be taken seriously.

On your spouse’s end, she doesn’t seem to be giving herself permission to take care of herself either and/or has too many self-imposed constraints. She’s TA for not seeing any other solution here and not acknowledging that your job is also a pretty relentless one just like hers. She’s needlessly making this a zero-sum where one of you has to suffer. (KoalaOriginal1260)

What do you think? Was taking the long way home an a-hole move on his behalf? Was lying about it?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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