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Mom Called Out For Expecting Stepdaughter To Pay For Sculpture That Was Broken While She Babysat

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Parents, of course, all have their own ideas about how to raise their children.

But one rule is clear among parents: put your prized possessions out of reach if you don’t want to see them broken.

One woman apparently didn’t learn this, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor NoWorldliness7 had just recently acquired a statue that meant a great deal to her, only for it to see its unfortunate demise.

But when she received backlash, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she handled the situation poorly.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for expecting my stepdaughter to cover the cost of items broken under her care?” 

The OP made arrangements for her stepdaughter to babysit every weekend.

“My actual daughter (Willow, 6) is a good girl, but she’s very energetic, and unless she is with somebody who can pay attention, things can go wrong.”

“My stepdaughter (Ashley, 17) is well aware of this, as she usually looks after her on weekends while her father and I are out, which is why I think it’s fair for her to take responsibility for anything that does go wrong under her care.”

Something recently did go wrong. 

“I recently purchased a beautiful sculpture, something I had my eye on for a while, a unique piece that held a lot of meaning to me.”

“Ashley was reminded to take care and make sure nothing happened to it – and to cut a long story short, Ashley was too busy watching Netflix to watch over Willow, which resulted in it being completely destroyed.”

“While I’m not hurting for money, this was a one-of-a-kind sculpture, and I don’t think it’s fair for Ashley to stand by and let it be ruined and walk away unscathed.”

The OP came up with a plan that others didn’t like.

“Ashley has a part-time job and more than enough money to buy herself clothing, makeup, junk food, and a number of other things, so I don’t think this is so unreasonable a request, but her mother went ballistic after she found out that her father and I expected her to save up to cover the cost of the item.”

“I don’t personally see the problem here, but a few family friends have gotten involved and the situation has gotten rather messy.”

“Am I being unfair here? AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP should have better protected her statue. 

“I’m a stepmom and call my stepdaughter my daughter. YTA, OP. Your 6-year-old broke it. If you’re so worried about stuff being broken by your child, which s**t happens when you have kids, don’t bring that stuff into your home.”mandalarie

“OP, your ‘actual daughter’ broke it. She should be punished.”

“If you’d paid someone who wasn’t your stepdaughter to watch your apparent ‘good girl’ and the sculpture had broken, would you be charging them for the sculpture? Probably not.”

“Punish the child who broke the sculpture, and maybe she’ll start learning right from wrong. Leave Ashley alone.”

“YTA”Ok-Isopod1172

“I don’t know why TF (the f**k) you, knowing your often out of control child is likely to break fragile things, would get a precious sculpture and then be shocked when said child breaks it.”

“This sounds like a bad choice followed by more bad choices, then a sudden desire to shift the blame because it’s so obviously a string of poor choices.”

“OP YTA all day.”Pascalica

Others were disgusted at how the OP talked about her stepdaughter. 

“Yep, I got two words in (‘actual daughter’) and said out loud to myself ‘uh oh’ and kinda assumed where this was going (clear favoritism or whatever you call not seeing your stepchild as equal to your biological ones), and I was not disappointed.”

“Gross, and she calls herself a mother. YTA”Tara_love_xo

“What do you want to bet that they don’t pay the stepdaughter for babysitting? Because she’s enough of a sister to not be an ‘actual babysitter’ who needs to be paid, but not enough of an ‘actual daughter’ to be treated well?”PurpleMP12

Some also questioned the OP’s use of her stepdaughter as a babysitter. 

“I’m wondering if Ashley has a choice in this babysitting arrangement that forces her to look after a six-year-old EVERY weekend?”

“I’m a parent and I don’t leave extremely fragile stuff like expensive statues sitting out with a six-year-old I know might break it because she’s a klutz.”

“I think OP should pay for setting this whole situation up.”GreenLurka

“My Dad and stepmom rarely had anything to do with me until they had their own kids. Then they suddenly wanted me over on weekends when I was 12 so they could ditch me with a 3-month-old.”

“When my mom found out and put her foot down and said I wasn’t their free nanny and visitation was to actually spend time with my dad, do you think they could be bothered with me anymore?”

“No. I feel bad for Ashley.”CockatielConner

“On top of the likelihood that she isn’t getting paid, I wonder how often Ashley is even at Dad’s house?”

“Obviously, bio-mom is active in her life since she found out about the situation and got p**sed—it’s possible Ashley is only there (at Dad’s house) on the weekends and she spends them babysitting.”

“Not that it matters, OP, because YTA pretty much any way you look at this, but if Ashley’s mom is the primary parent, this whole thing is even worse, and Dad would be even worse than I already think he is for letting you treat Ashley this way.”Badb_1111

The OP may have been confident that she was in the right for wanting her teenage stepdaughter to repay the cost of an expensive, one-of-a-kind statue, but the subReddit did not agree.

Rather, they felt she could have been much more careful in where she placed the statue, and her husband could be more mindful of spending time with both of his daughters.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.