We should all be able to agree that parenting is no easy task, and since each child is different, parenting to every person should look slightly different, too.
But that doesn’t mean the parenting style shouldn’t be consistent, urged the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Easy_School_9737 was unsure what to do when his pregnant wife kept insisting that he always say no to their children, so she didn’t have to feel stressed while carrying a baby.
When his wife kept pushing the subject, the Original Poster (OP) was furious.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not helping out my pregnant wife?”
The OP attempted to give his children the same answer his wife gave them.
“My wife is 20 weeks pregnant. We have 2 kids (10 female and 7 male).”
“Ever since the beginning of her pregnancy, she has gotten into the habit of sending the kids to me whenever they ask her for permission.”
“She tells them, ‘I’m ok with it, but check with your dad once.'”
“The first time she did this, I told the kids that I was also ok with it since my wife was ok with it.”
But then he found out that wasn’t what she wanted.
“That day, she’d told me that I’m not actually supposed to give them permission.”
“She said that she doesn’t want them to think that she’s not allowing them, which is why she tells them to ask me. She said that I’m supposed to say no.”
“I initially agreed, but now the kids are saying that I never let them do anything, etc.”
The OP tried to talk to his wife about it, but she didn’t want to change the system.
“So I told my wife that this cannot continue any longer and that she would also have to learn to say no and not make me look bad in front of the kids.”
“She refused, saying she doesn’t want the stress of listening to the kids whine during her pregnancy.”
“I got mad and said that the next time she sends the kids to me, I’ll be giving them permission.”
“She started crying and said I’m being inconsiderate of her feelings and that the kids will hate her if she says no.”
“She said that I should take one for her happiness.”
“I refused and stood my ground, saying that I will no longer be the bad guy while she pretends to be the nice guy.”
The OP stood up for himself.
“Today, the 10-year-old asked if she could go to her friend’s place for a sleepover.”
“My wife told her that she was completely fine with it but daddy might not be ok with it, so she sent her to ask me permission first.”
“I was p**sed, because she threw me under the bus once again. So I told my daughter that she was free to go.”
“My daughter excitedly hugged me as she had expected me to say no.”
“When she was out of the room, my wife started to yell at me, saying I’m a jerk for not helping her out.”
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 hated the system the mother had tried to put into place.
“NTA. Your wife needs serious help. You absolutely cannot parent without telling your kids no. And that fact that she’s fine with the kids hating you for saying no is throwing up some major red flags.” – queenofchaos9963
“If it’s a yes: ‘Yes honey, that’s fine!'”
“If it’s a no: ‘It’s fine with me, but check with your dad.'”
“It’s an AH move from OP’s wife to never be looked at as the bad guy by her kids.” – spoinking
“Why should OP be the bad guy all the time? The ‘system’ is absolutely ridiculous. She’s a parent just as much as him. Sometimes we have to say no to our kids. That’s life.”
“However, to constantly say yes but try and force OP to say no, then she’s the ‘nice’ parent and he’s not.”
“That is not fair. Utter madness.”
“NTA, OP.” – NatZaJu
“NTA. It would be one thing if she was telling the kids no and just wanted you to back her up on her decisions. But expecting you to be the designated fall guy so that she can save face is completely out of line.” – strike_match
“Also, it’s not even just ‘ask your father’ – which would be bad enough, passing the buck.”
“She’s going the extra step of, ‘Well, of course I am fine with it, because I’m the cool parent,but go ask your evil cruel dad what he thinks.'”
“I really wonder if this is something new/escalated or if OP’s wife has always been like this? Their older kids are 10 and 7, but it doesn’t sound like she’s been doing this their entire lives…”
“So maybe it is something to do with the pregnancy hormones or stress or whatever, but that’s an explanation, not an excuse.”
“And it doesn’t give her free reign to throw OP under the bus, it’s a sign that something serious might be wrong with her mental health and she should probably be seeing a professional.”
“NTA.” – sarita_sy07
Others questioned what else could come of this inconsistent parenting style.
“What’s going on in this post is crazy. Imagine if OP and his wife get divorced – who are the kids going to want to live with? Awesome mom, or no-no-no dad?”
“This is screwed up.” – farahead
“Besides, it might give the kids the impression that the husband’s decision is the ultimate veto/approval. What if they start thinking dads can overrule anything mom says?”
“I know that there should almost always be two yes’s or no’s from the parents, but if it’s the case that the dad always gets the final say, the kids might start to think that’s the norm.” – Diogenes-Disciple
“Her motivation is that she’s pregnant and feels guilty for changing the family dynamic and the fact that she will spend less time with the two older kids as the baby’s needs will take all of her attention. She wants to be the cool/good cop and make dad the bad cop.”
“The problem is, this is unsustainable and cruel. She’s not going to stop after the baby comes, she’s going to get worse.”
“He needs to talk to his wife about this and make her understand that it’s unacceptable and they need to parent together rather than one playing against the other, otherwise he will subconsciously begin to over-compensate and do things to be the good cop (ex. Mommy’s busy with the baby, let’s go out and get ice cream, etc.).” – ghettoblaster78
“Honestly, your wife is willing for you to sacrifice a good relationship with your kids so that she can always have a good relationship. The wrong, wrong, wrong way to go about parenting.”
“Showing a united front is important until you have a difference of opinion, when this happens, you and your wife ought to discuss your points of view and then come to a decision and present a united front.” – Maybeidontknow99
“NTA! I don’t know how it’s possible based on the title but nope! Your wife, maybe unintentionally, is poisoning your relationship with your kids, you gotta stop this now cause once the damage is done it’s not going to be easy to undo.” – Lee2021az
Some were worried about the mom’s mental health.
“I’m also curious why mom seems to be making ALL the decisions for the kids even though she’s not taking responsibility for any of them.”
“It’s bad enough that she’s willing to throw OP under the bus so she never has to tell her kids no (so ‘they will like her’??? What the actual f**k???) but at the same time she insists on maintaining total control over what the kids do or don’t do.”
“OP is literally just a figurehead. This situation is f**ked in every direction, but the LEAST she should be doing is letting him actually make the parenting decisions she’s forcing him to take the blame for.” – kathrynlena
“NTA. Your wife is being weirdly manipulative, blaming you when you call her out on her behavior, and using her pregnancy as an excuse for you having to go on with this charade.”
“Why does she want your kids to like you less? This is unfair and manipulative. Seems like a pretty big red flag to me.”
“And the ‘during her pregnancy’ reasoning is laughable. Like she’ll tolerate their ‘whining’ any better while she’s looking after a newborn?”
“Is she unhappy being a parent? Maybe you two shouldn’t have any more kids.” – stroppo
“OP’s wife is manipulative and emotionally dishonest to people’s faces because she is a pathological people pleaser.”
“I hope OP has figured out by now that he himself probably doesn’t know she feels about even important things because she’s a dishonest people pleaser.” – rhetorical_twix
While the OP felt conflicted after his pregnant wife’s outburst over the sleepover, the subReddit was certain that he wasn’t in the wrong. Every parent should be able to say yes and no to their children, as well as have fun with them and discipline them. It should be a healthy balancing act.
There were huge concerns here, from the mother worrying about stressing too much during her pregnancy, to being concerned about her kids liking her. There might be something here worth investigating, even if it was only why the wife had such a hard time saying no.