Surgeon Explains Why She Lets Her Husband 'Sit On The Couch' While She Cooks After Her 13-Hour Shifts

She and her husband's division of household labor sparked major backlash online, but she says it's her choice.

Surgeon explaining why she still cooks for her husband after 13-hour shifts @dr.shanmd / TikTok

Everywhere you look nowadays, there's another story from a woman burned out because of her husband's lack of help around the house. So when a surgeon recently posted a video of herself making an elaborate dinner for her husband despite her grueling doctor's hours, the backlash was immediate.

However, she says it's her choice, and that the anger her video inspired is totally misplaced.

The surgeon says she cooks for her husband after 13-hour shifts while he 'sits on the couch' because she wants to.

To be fair, TikToker Dr. Shan's (@dr.shanmd) video seems tailor-made to inspire precisely the kind of outcry that it ended up eliciting from the internet. The video shows her in her O.R. scrubs arriving home from a 13-hour shift to cook her husband an intricate meal of a whole fish with sauteed vegetables and rice because "my husband expects dinner when he gets home."


She captioned the video "my husband is a lucky man," but many online felt that his apparent expectations were totally out of line. Dr. Shan has since turned off her comments on the video because she received a tidal wave of outraged responses. 



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The video went viral not just on TikTok but also on Twitter and Instagram, where the outrage continued. One woman on Twitter wrote, "this is why God invented DoorDash and Uber Eats," going on to say that "'expecting' anything from me is insane" after a 13-hour shift.

But the surgeon says she cooks for her husband after 13-hour shifts simply because she doesn't like his cooking, and he's right to expect it of her.

In a follow-up video, Dr. Shan addressed the backlash her video received. "Accidentally went viral on Twitter today," she said, "let's talk about it."

She then addressed several viewers' biggest bones of contention with her video. "Is my husband at home sitting on the couch, watching me slave away while he did absolutely nothing? Yes," she said.



The reason comes down to something very simple. "I actually don't like my husband's cooking, and so I like to let him relax while I cook, and that's just who I am."


She also said that she purposefully used the word "expect" in her video because she sees nothing wrong with the expectation she handles the cooking, even with her long hours. "Does my husband expect me to cook for him? Yes. I'm his wife, and I cook for him," she said.

But she went on to say that her husband helps out in other ways. "Just because you guys aren't seeing him help out does not mean that he does not," she said. "He is a great husband, and I am so grateful to have him."

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Many people online were unconvinced, however, since her video seemed to clearly criticize her husband's expectations.

The surgeon's follow-up didn't do much to assuage viewers' criticisms. Many wondered why she posted the video in the first place, especially with the wording she chose about her husband "expecting" a home-cooked meal after a 13-hour shift. "You knew what the comments would be like," one woman wrote.


Others implored the surgeon to demand better for herself. "You deserve so much more," one woman wrote, while another commented, "It's still the word 'expect' that throws me off." 

It's easy to understand why people are suspicious. So-called "weaponized incompetence" has become such a buzzword lately precisely because of stories like this surgeon's, in which it just makes more sense for her to do the cooking herself, despite her grueling hours, because her husband is so bad at it.

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Studies have shown that marriages with an unequal division of labor are significantly more likely to end in divorce. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, lawyers and marriage therapists have reported that the vast majority of divorce cases they're seeing nowadays are women like this surgeon who are fed up with the extra workload.


In the end, nobody really knows the dynamics of a relationship except the two people in it. "Y'all are killing me in the comments," Dr. Shan said, laughing about the controversy.

And of course, choosing to take on traditional gender roles is totally valid, and doesn't necessarily mean the marriage is inequitable. But you can't blame people for wondering. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.