Dad was downcast for asking to go on a retreat while his wife was struggling to look after the kids.

In a November 17 post on the popular news website Mumsnet, user walkinthewoodstoday shared his concern and asked for advice.

“My husband just texted me that he would like to spend a few nights in a quiet retreat and write dates,” she said. “We have a 9 month old and a 7 year old. I haven’t gone back to work yet, but I’ll be back soon. I don’t know if I’m lazy or struggling with mental health, but some days I just find things really hard.”

A photo of a stressed mum with her head in her hands on the left and a photo of a man meditating on top of a mountain on the right. The Internet strongly criticized the father, who asked to go on a retreat, leaving his wife at home with two children.
globalmoments/Everste/Getty Images

Clearly struggling, Mom explained how anxious and stressed she felt.

“I function in the sense that I feed a 9-month-old, play with him and put him to rest. With the older one, I feed and give my best. I don’t often bother with food. force myself to get up and go with the both of them for an 8am school run and then I’ll just get through it,” Mom said.

“However, some days are fine,” she added. “I think I’m just mentally burnt out from being ‘on’ all the time. His request for a few days off just makes me sad.

Gilza Fort-Martinez, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of the Resolution Counseling Center, said Newsweek: “Unfortunately, mums face such problems quite often. While there is uncertainty as to where this mom is located, the consensus is that parenting is now done alone, whereas historically parenting has been more of an extended family situation. This mum also seems to be struggling with postpartum depression: fatigue, lingering sadness and loss of pleasure from her usual activities.”

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that parents may experience after having a baby. Symptoms include constant sadness, lack of energy, and difficulty caring for yourself or your baby.

Research shows that around one in seven women will develop postpartum depression, and the condition can seriously affect a woman’s ability to function normally.

With over 300 responses, Mumsnet users rushed to share their thoughts and advice with the struggling mom.

One commentator said, “Oh man, I would love a quiet retreat. Looks like you need a break too. Can you make it easier for him by offering something of equal value or effort planned for you in return?”

“Looks like you need seclusion even more than he does,” another response suggested.

Meanwhile, other commentators did not have time for her husband’s request and accused him of asking for a break.

“Your husband is a selfish asshole,” was one response. While another Mumsnet user wrote: “You have absolutely no respite while he has them when he’s at work. I can’t believe he’s so selfish.”

“Parenting is a difficult, often misunderstood job,” said Fort-Martinez. “My initial suggestion would be that the two of you talk about how she feels. Talking openly and honestly about what both of you feel and need can clear the air – then you can respond to the request more effectively.”

“I think it’s important that he takes care of himself. But it’s also important to you. I would talk to him about how you feel,” said another Mumsnet user.

Fort-Martinez agreed and said: “How to balance what we as mom and dad need with what we want and still show our kids is a challenge. I believe parents can best support each other through honest and open conversations, compromise and forgiveness.”

Newsweek was unable to verify the details of the case.

If you have a similar family dilemma, please let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice and your story can be featured in Newsweek.

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