Disputes about parenting are some of the greatest challenges faced by people in relationships.
Those varying approaches and decisions all determine a child’s destiny, their emotional reality. So it’s no surprise that the stakes often feel very high.
One Redditor recently glimpsed just how high those tensions can run. He discussed the whole ordeal in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
Right in the post’s title, the Original Poster (OP), known as DE1DRE on the site, shared how far the spat reached.
“AITA for telling my girlfriend to grow up?”
OP began with some backstory about his family situation.
“Me [23-year-old male] and my girlfriend [27-year-old female] have been together for about 5 years (4, but literally a week from 5) and 3 years into the relationship we had a child.”
“For context, he wasn’t a planned child by any means, as we had taken birth control measures. Early on I wore protection, and then she started taking birth control. Neither of us know how the child happened, but we accepted that it happened and moved on.”
“I finished up the last little bit of college I had and found a job before the baby arrived, she stopped working as my income was now enough and now stays home with the baby as we discussed that was what would be best.”
Then a subtle shift began to take place.
“In the following years since the birth of my son, my girlfriend has grown increasingly more intolerant.”
“At first she was elated, wanted to show him off and was happy to deal with everything.’
Then it grew to her being annoyed by small things. She wanted me to change every diaper (we split them once I’m home and during off days) and was annoyed by everything our son did.”
Then OP set the stage for what was to come.
“Flash forward now, and contrary to the saying ‘terrible two’s’ he tends to be very well behaved. He doesn’t cry that much, he adapted to potty training quickly and well, and he doesn’t really fuss.”
“My girlfriend has been going out a lot, I don’t have a problem with it because everyone needs time to have fun and relax. This night was a night she went out.”
Things began to unravel when a confession was made.
“A few nights ago, my son came to my side of the bed. He woke me up and told me that he peed in his sleep. I told him it was okay, I woke up my girlfriend and told her, and asked her to clean him up quickly while I went and cleaned it.”
“She took a minute to wake up so I went ahead and left to go clean it up, in the middle of it I heard her screaming at our son.”
“I go in there and ask her why she’s screaming at him, and she responds that it’s because he peed the bed.”
OP was not a fan of her approach.
“I told her he’s two and that accidents happen, this shouldn’t be a moment to scold him and scream.”
“She said that since I could be better I should do it, so I helped him get cleaned up and then cleaned up in his room and by that time he fell asleep on the couch. I covered him up and went back to my room.”
But the back and forth only continued after that.
“When I got back is when the argument started. I told her that I shouldn’t have to handle that alone because she can’t control her anger.”
“She told me that since I was such a good parent I should quit my job and stay at home and she should go work, since she’s so horrible.”
“She went on with this for about 5 minutes, before telling me she regrets having our son.”
“A little shocked, I told her she didn’t have a way of finding a job capable of supporting us and that she proposed the idea of her staying home when he was born.”
“I told her she needed to grow up, because the way she was acting will be something he remembers.”
“Ever since we’ve barely spoke and now I’m wondering if I took it too far.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors took OP’s side.
They agreed his girlfriend should not have responded the way she did.
But they also brought up some other motivating factors.
“I think rather than posting on Reddit about this one argument you need to see the bigger picture. Your girlfriend is struggling and clearly is not coping well as a stay at home mum.”
“You two need to figure this out, perhaps she needs some therapy to work through her anger towards her son (could well be Post Partum Depression), perhaps you two need to find a way for her to return to work.”
“This is much bigger than one late night argument and it needs resolving ASAP.” — redditor191389
“NTA, but I think there may be different things involved.”
“Your gf may be regretting the lost years of being pregnant + having a child. Perhaps she wants to pursue a career; can you afford to send your kid to a daycare center if she looks for a job?”
“Maybe she’s looking to find her identity and not just as a mother. It may be a bunch of things.”
“I’d suggest talking about it, about what you both want, what you’re both able to do given the circumstances, and what things you both need to negotiate/give up because you both decided to have a child.”
“(And, I know it’s a moot comment, but congrats on being pretty grounded and growing up so quickly. Not every guy I know would’ve reacted like you did.)” — JessicaJones2
Some suggested ways to address those bigger issues.
“Um, PPD can appear up to two years after the birth of a child.”
“I don’t think this is an asshole question. I think that your girlfriend needs a doctor. She is literally saying the trademark PPD spiel right now – especially if she was excited to be a mother before now.”
“I think you need to prioritise getting her to a doctor. Treat this seriously, and as an urgent condition that needs attention right away.”
“Take sick leave from work if you have to, and consider finding alternate care for your son until you can get her into her GP.” — diagnosedwolf
“This is beyond being TA or not. You guys, your GF in particular, need to be in family therapy.”
“She’s clearly bitter about having your son and I don’t see how this gets better without therapy.”
“And in truth, if she doesn’t agree to it then you need to consider breaking up with her and getting full custody of your son in order to protect him.” — vincoug
“Family. Counseling. Seriously, get your gf in front of a doctor so she can work through her issues.”
“Resentment can happen for a ton of reasons, and if approached properly she will feel much better and can hopefully let go of these feelings.” — nocoben
Here’s hoping the Reddit feedback will be enough to get this young family all it needs to keep growing up healthy.