The word ‘family’ brings up lots of different ideas.
Work-family, found family, the family you were born to.
So, what happens to the responsibilities you have toward your family when that family suddenly becomes bigger?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) deleted when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment in a now deleted post.
“AITA for not taking my daughters when my ex gave birth?”
OP began with a quick introduction.
“My ex-wife (Emma) and my wife (Lara) were pregnant around the same time.”
Lara was about 10 weeks ahead of Emma.”
“In November, Lara gave birth to our son a few days after his due date.”
Everything was fine, until…
“Three days after he and Lara came home, I received a panicked call from my SIL asking if I could take my daughters (9F twins) as Emma had been taken to hospital the night before and was being taken for a c-section.”
“SIL and my brother had taken the girls in overnight but weren’t able to take them for long due to lack of space as they have 4 children themselves.”
“SIL said that Emma was looking at a minimum of 5 days in hospital and then the baby would need to stay in hospital for a while – the baby came home just before Christmas.”
“I told my SIL that we couldn’t take the girls because we had just had our son and we were wanting to spend the time just bonding as a family of three.”
“SIL angrily told me that having my new son didn’t cancel out the fact I already had two daughters.”
“I apologized and told her that I couldn’t take them in right now, but I would send her some money to help out while they have the girls.”
“If we hadn’t just brought him home, I would have taken the girls in, but Lara and I had already decided that we didn’t want any guests for the first few weeks and I had told Emma this.”
“While Emma was in the hospital, the girls stayed with SIL and my brother another night before they went to stay with Emma’s husband’s parents.”
“While the baby was in the hospital because Emma and her husband were spending most of their time at the hospital, they were cared for a lot by Emma’s in-laws or my SIL and brother.”
“After a week or so, Lara and I offered to take the girls, but they told us they didn’t want to stay because we were more focused on our son.”
“It did feel like they were just parroting what they had heard from the adults around them. Though admittedly with the sleepless nights I did forget some things such as the video call with the girls.”
“After the baby came home and everything settled down with Emma, she sent me a long email in the middle of the night explaining that she was disappointed in my actions and thought that I would see this as a medical emergency and I wouldn’t need to be asked to take them in.”
“I told her that we had just had a son and I had to think about his needs as well, especially when there were plenty of people around them to care for them.”
“Emma told me that any communication is to now go through the lawyer because she’s fed up with dealing with me and is going to take me to court to get full custody instead of 50/50.”
“I didn’t think it was unreasonable to not take them in given we had just had a baby. Lara wants me to fix it as we can’t afford my child maintenance more than doubling if Emma gets full custody.”
OP was left to wonder,
“AITA for not taking my daughters in?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Some saw this as hypocrisy.
“INFO: if you and Lara have a second child together, will you send your son to stay somewhere else for a few weeks so you can bond as a family with the new baby?” ~ ka-ka-ka-katie1123
“This is the reply. Kudos.”
“OP YTA, sorry your child support is about to go up 😢 at least those two inconveniences will be out of the picture soon.” ~ daynne
Others felt it necessary to remind OP of what a family is.
“‘We were wanting to spend the time just bonding as a family of three.'”
“That right there.”
“You also just handed your ex the ammo to take you to court to revise custody.”
“You are not a family of three.”
“You are a family of five.”
“And 9 years old is old enough to take care of a lot of basic needs with minimal supervision.”
“You don’t need your eyes on a 9-year-old 100% of the time like you would a younger child, it’s entirely possible to get the 9-year-olds quickly settled with a meal or an activity and tend to your wife and baby.”
“9 years old is plenty old enough to remember that dad chose the new baby over me.”
“That feeling is going to stick with them for years. And Lara should want to ‘fix it’ because you fractured your family, not because of the money.”
“She’s an AH for that too.” ~ Ok-Aardvark-6742
“YTA – Guests…GUESTS!!!”
“These are not guests, they are your daughters!”
“They are also part of your family. How you handled this emergency and didn’t consider them family enough to have them there speaks volumes as to the type of father you are.”
“Be better.” ~ Ok-Acanthaceae5744
“Did you just call your DAUGHTERS guests?” ~ Slimjimshorty_
“Your daughters are quite old enough to realize that your ‘bonding as a family of 3’ means they’ve lost status even if you didn’t say those words to them. They get it.”
“You proved it by not being there for them when they didn’t have their mom.”
“I was seeing so red that the last bit didn’t register.”
“You’re apparently okay with not seeing your daughters except Lara doesn’t want you to have to pay more child support…”
“Holy hell, I hope your ex sees this post and deduces that this is her family being discussed and nails you for it. You’re the AH of the year to date.” ~ereignishorizont666
There were also personal stories.
“My first sibling was born when I was 9. We also share the same dad but different moms.”
“Unfortunately he was an emergency c-section and I didn’t get to be there when he was born or see him right away. But as soon as I was able/allowed to be around him, all I wanted to do was help.”
“I would have been absolutely heartbroken if I wasn’t allowed around him for the first ~week because my dad and stepmom don’t want me around.”
“Holy sh*t.” ~ BigBerthaCarrotTop
“I had close to the same age gap with my older sister and we watched a ton of home videos over the holiday.”
“Everything, until I was ~2, was my parents telling my older sister to put the baby down!”
“My sister basically thought I was the world’s best dolly and lived to dote on me. When I started walking, she followed me around and gave me whatever I pointed to.”
“Basically I can’t imagine what is going on in OP’s head in the slightest.”
“OP is gonna be hella confused when his girls are minding Emma’s kid and doting on their stepbrother on Emma’s side and whatnot and come screaming that it’s just not fair” ~ little_grey_mare
Some even pointed out that this will have long-standing consequences.
“This will forever stand out in these girls’ minds, even if their mom’s family members are too polite to bring it up.”
“They’re old enough.”
“When I was 13, my older brother suffered a traumatic brain injury and shattered vertebrae in his neck. He almost died, like within 20 minutes of dying by the time he got to the hospital.”
“This was during the week of spring break which happened to end on Easter Sunday.”
“After they transferred him to a children’s hospital out of town, my younger brother and I were alone.”
“My dad refused to come over and watch us or let us stay at his (girlfriend’s) house because he had to prep for Easter mass as he was leading the chorale all weekend.”
“My mom’s cousin, the only family we had in the state, drove up from two hours away with her toddler twins and two older kids sans husband (he was away on a business trip) and still managed to make Easter baskets for the two of us.”
“It was the first time I truly saw my dad for who he was, and I haven’t looked at him the same since.”
“Medical emergencies trump all other responsibilities when it comes to your kids, whether it happened to one of them or their other shared custody parent.”
“This guy is such a major f**king AH, it’s insane.”
“And the fact that his wife is standing by his decisions tells me everything I need to know.”
“Those girls will not be safe in their home, ever.”
“Harm and abuse is not just physical.”
“I hope their mom, recovering from a c-section with a NICU baby and miraculously able to also handle her twin daughters and working with a lawyer gets full custody.” ~ aigret
The word ‘family’ brings up lots of different ideas.
We should remember to be kind to all of them.