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Parent Balks After Ex-Wife Berates Them For Neglecting To Remind Her About Daughter’s Birthday

A girl resting her head in her hands surrounded by birthday presents.
Jovanmandic/Getty Images

There are certain dates that will always stick with us.

Some dates we remember because they are holidays, such as October 31 or December 25, or might have historical significance, like September 11 or January 6.

Then there are dates that are a bit more personal to us, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Try as we might, remembering every friend or family member’s birthday can be difficult, but we’d like to think that the birthdays and anniversary dates of those nearest and dearest to us will be permanently etched in our memories.

Redditor Thick-Act-1444 went through an acrimonious divorce with their ex-wife, leaving them in full custody of their children.

When the birthday of the original poster (OP)’s daughter came round, they were upset that the day passed without so much as a message from their ex-wife.

However, the ex-wife proved to be even more upset about forgetting the day, though she blamed the OP for her error.

Wondering if they had dropped the ball, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not pretending that a gift was from my ex wife or reminding her it was the kids birthday?”

The OP explained why their ex-wife felt they were responsible for her forgetting their daughter’s birthday:

“I used to be married a few years ago.”

“It was not a happy marriage and we divorced.”

“She needed to go back to work after the divorce and her quality of life isn’t where it was when we were married.”

“Due to this she hasn’t handled the transition well and I got primary custody.”

“She sees them on weekends.”

“It was my middle child’s birthday yesterday.”

“She got zero calls from mom, no present was dropped off and she didn’t go tot he party.”

“She was invited.”

“[The OP’s daughter] is12 years old and noticed right away.”

“She was not happy at all and apparently she promised her that she would at least call.”

“My daughter sent quite a mad message to her and is ignoring any messages form her mom at the moment.”

“She gave me a call pissed.”

“She called me an a**hole for not reminding her at the minimum and that I could have pretended a gift was from her.”

“I told her it is not my problem and it’s not my fault she can’t remember basic things.”

“I don’t know if I went to far.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for not reminding their ex-wife about their daughter’s birthday.

Everyone agreed that not only was it not the OP’s responsibility to remind the OP what day their daughter’s birthday was, but technically speaking, they did remind her, by sending her an invitation.

“How is it your fault she hasn’t got her own daughter’s birthday locked in?”

“Hell, I can remember bdays from distant friends and old colleagues.”


“Remind her that parenting is a 50/50 job you did your half.”

“She’s just angry she dropped the ball and is looking for someone to blame due to guilt.”

“For your daughter’s sake it would help to maybe let her know Mum is stressed with working like most of us now and an adjustment to her lifestyle has affected her ability to be present sometimes.”-Werm_Vessel


“You are no longer married, nor her social secretary, nor her ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

“She’s an adult, and if she disregards her kid’s birthday, it’s on her.”

“I feel for your daughter, but it’s not her or your fault.”

“If her mom wants a relationship with her, she needs to do at least the minimum – which apparently she’s an utter failure at.”- BefuddledPolydactyls


“How does someone who carried a child for 9 months and birth her, forget the day their child was born!?”

“She’s TA.”- UngainlyRhino


“I’m raising a grandchild whose mother has been indifferent to him his whole life.”

“I spent a long time protecting him, and reminding her, of events and deadlines and what was going on his life, including buying presents to be to her from him.”

“He was about your daughter’s age when he asked me to stop all of that – he knew full well that his mom wasn’t all that interested in him, and me trying to remind her of everything left him not knowing what she did care about and what she didn’t.”

“So I did what you did – and I stopped.”

“If this is typical of your ex-wife, keep a good track of your kids’ feelings.”

“It’s not unusual for kids to blame themselves when a parent is neglectful like this – they think if they were a better kid, mom would love them the way she is supposed to.”

“It might not happen with your kids at all – but you need to be aware of the possibility so you can help address that if it comes up.”

“This one is entirely on your ex-wife.”- Own_Lack_4526

“She was invited to the party and is mad you didn’t remind her to show up?”

“How many others received reminders?”

“NTA, but she sure is.”

“Therapy for your daughter needs to start soon, and for your other children if it hasn’t already.”-stitect


“It’s not your job to cover for her.”

“If she can’t remember when her own child’s birthday is, then she deserves whatever ire her kid throws at her for that.”

“It take ZERO effort to put a calender reminder in her phone.”

“She even got an invite to the party, which should have been all the reminder she needed.”

“Ex is just mad that her daughter has ‘receipts’ for any future claims that she wasn’t there for her kids when they were growing up.”- Fluffy_Sheepy


“It’s not your job to cover for her.”

“If she can’t remember when her own child’s birthday is, then she deserves whatever ire her kid throws at her for that.”

“It take ZERO effort to put a calender reminder in her phone.”

“She even got an invite to the party, which should have been all the reminder she needed.”

“Ex is just mad that her daughter has ‘receipts’ for any future claims that she wasn’t there for her kids when they were growing up.”- Fluffy_Sheepy


“Divorced parents aren’t each other’s secretaries.”

“She needs to get her sh*t together enough to remember her own kids’ birthdays.”- C_Majuscula


“I am sorry as a mom I remember the dates I had my kids as it was one of the most important days of my life.”- Artistic_Tough5005


“I don’t believe one parent should offer band aid solutions for what the other lacks to spare the child.”

“Because it doesn’t really spare the child, it just takes the kid longer to find out their one parent isn’t that great and it would probably be harder to get over.”

“Your daughter is 12, yes this probably hurt but I think you did the right thing by not leading her into a false sense of who her mother is.”- Catcon95


“I’m confused how do you forget the day you pushed a human being out of your body, I can see why you have custody.”

“How is it your fault that she is neglectful towards her kids, is this how it would be if she had custody?”

“Why should you be responsible for keeping her birthday calendar, of all the birthdays you would think she wouldn’t forget HER OWN KIDS birthday WTF!”

“If you bought your kids gifts, why would you give her credit for it when she hasn’t put anything towards the gift.”

“I could understand if the two of you were still together, but unless it is an emergency regarding your kids it’s not your job to keep her social calendar.”

“Let her catch the consequences of her actions, perhaps she will be more vigilant regarding her kids milestones (birthdays, graduations, weddings things like that).”- Icy_Doughnut_4241


“She was there.”

“She should be the first person to remember!”- WomanInQuestion


“Terrible show by your ex.”

“It’s disgraceful to forget your child’s birthday, but to try and make it somehow your fault that she forgot is appalling.”

“Having forgotten, she should have been taking responsibility for her neglect of this important occasion in a child’s life and trying to make up for it, not blame you.”-  Pleasant_Birthday_77


“But I’m going to play devils advocate here… depending on how stressed she is with all of these changes, brain fog can play such a huge factor.”

“Its not as simple as ‘if you cared you would remember’ we are all human beings.”

“She could’ve put it on her calender, but if she is used to a less stressed brain where she WOULD have remembered before, it might not be ingrained in her to actually do that yet.”

“Regardless of your responsibility, or lack there of, to your ex wife, you do have a responsibility to your kid.”

“And you probably aren’t enough for your kid psychologically speaking.”

“Idk if mom cares or not.”

“But your whole life didn’t flip upside down, hers did.”

“I’m assuming by how you wrote this that she had to find employment or is struggling to get by and had to find a new place to live while your finances remained mostly stable as well as housing.”

“You don’t have to remind her, but maybe in the future grant her some grace for your kids sake.”

“You know.. so they don’t feel abandoned.”

“Now if she doesn’t care and slowly fades out of their lives entirely, you can’t really do anything.”

“But sticking to your guns about this stuff will hurt your children in the process.”

“Children who don’t know yet about adult responsibilities and burn out.”- enjoyingtheposts

Insecure or unhappy people tend to always look for a way to blame others for their own shortcomings or mistakes.

Something the OP’s ex-wife clearly seemed to be doing for forgetting her own daughter’s birthday.

After all, as many pointed out, all she needed to do to remember her daughter’s birthday was take another look at the invitation to her party.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.