Co-parenting is a difficult and emotionally exhausting task for many.
Working toward an agreement with someone you may not see eye to eye with, particularly when someone you love is involved, can be an exercise in patience.
So what happens when the adults disagree and on something as basic as food choice?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) OnionVinegar when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for feeding my daughter onions?”
OP got right to the problem at hand.
“My ex likes to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do on my custody days, and I generally ignore her, because there is a reason we divorced.”
“She has a list of food she doesn’t want our daughter to eat, and I don’t pay attention to her list.”
“I drop our daughter off at school Monday mornings, and her mother picks her up.”
“She called me yesterday to say she was cleaning our daughter’s lunchbox and found onion slivers and asked if any of the lunch I packed her had onions.”
“I said yes, it did.”
“She said that onions were on her list.”
“I said I didn’t care.”
“She said onions make our daughter smell bad when she sweats, and kids will bully her. I said that at my house our daughter showers, and she might try that at her house as well.”
“She called me a spiteful pr*ck and told me no more onions.”
“Our daughter likes onions, so I’m going to ignore her.”
“A part of me does wonder if I was petty though.”
OP was left to wonder,
“It p*sses me off when she tells me what to do, so maybe that is clouding my judgement. AITA?”
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: NTA.
Sometimes the only way to win is not to play.
“NTA but save yourself a headache and let your ex know you won’t be engaging in conversations about food any longer.”
“You have every right to feed your daughter what you want to in your home, so just use the gray rock method and refuse to give any energy or emotion to this topic.”
“ex: You fed her food that was on the no-no list!”
“You: I’m not going to discuss this topic with you any further.”
“ex: How dare you! You are going to cause her to be bullied…”
“You: Again, I will be ignoring all comments on this topic from now on. And then follow through and do not respond at all.” ~ HomelyHobbit
“Do not JADE:”
“You don’t need to justify your parenting decisions.”
“You don’t need to argue about details. You don’t need to defend or explain yourself. Don’t let your ex draw you into this behavior.”
“As the commenter above says, speak in short, factual statements.”
“Share only the information required for normal co-parenting.”
“When your ex tries to tell you how to parent, keep it simple: ‘thank you for your input. I will not discuss this with you any further.'”
“You are an adult and a parent with full parenting authority.”
“You don’t need the permission or approval or even the input of your ex. Just do what is right for your daughter and do not engage in JADE behavior with your ex.” ~ Eschlick
Some wanted more background.
“NTA because I just saw where you clarified in a comment that she likes onions and isn’t being bullied about it. I realize onions are smelly, but it’s not like she’s microwaving fish.”
“I still think it’s worth trying to understand the reasons behind some of the things on the list.”
“It sounds like y’all don’t communicate very well and she’s ultra-vigilant.”
“It’s like she’s crying wolf and that makes it really hard for you to know what’s legit and what isn’t. If I were in your shoes, I’d be worried I’d miss something that’s an actual problem.”
“My original comment: I N F O:”
“Has your daughter been bullied for smelling bad due to eating onions in the past? Has your ex brought up her reasons behind any of the items on the list (such as food sensitivities)?”
“Asking because I’ve got a kid with acid reflux and I could see myself making a list like that with the intention of helping her avoid the pain and discomfort certain foods cause.”
“But the key to that kind of thing is communicating the reasons and impacts so that the two of you can make these decisions together for the sake of your daughter.”
“You can dislike each other all you want, but ideally, you’re both prioritizing your daughter above your disagreements.”
“If she’s just handing over a list of demands with no context or communication and expecting you to follow along, then she’s an a**hole for that.”
“But you also need to be asking questions to make sure that by ignoring the food list to spite your ex, you’re not also causing unnecessary suffering for your daughter.” ~ Adverbsaredumb
“Do onions actually cause her to smell bad?”
“Garlic commonly comes out through pores very strongly, sometimes onion does as well.”
“I could see not feeding her too much of those if that’s a problem for her, though from your replies I kind if have my doubts this is the case.”
“It seems to me you’re NTA.”
“Reading through comments it seems like you’re quite reasonable about allergies and food preferences, so I don’t see a problem with ignoring your ex’s list.”
“She can keep those rules in her own home. (All this assuming, of course, that it’s not actually causing social issues for her at school.)” ~ regional_ghost918
Many saw no harm in what OP was doing.
NTA You aren’t harming your daughter by giving her onions. She apparently likes them so it’s good for her to have them. Your ex can’t control what you do to suit her personal preferences.
On the other hand, it would be better if the point was your daughter’s best interest rather than thumbing your nose at your ex. I sincerely hope if your daughter disliked onions, you wouldn’t make her eat them. ~ Marcuse0
“NTA what your ex says is cray cray.”
“If your daughter likes them and has no allergies or health reasons why she can’t eat them, then you shouldn’t be complicit in taking away your daughter’s freedom to eat things she likes for no valid reason.”
“Also the ‘you stink if you eat that’ argument can be so bad to say to a kid. It might cause serious insecurities for your daughter to pretend that was really a thing. ~ Schlobidobido
“If she doesn’t have allergies there isn’t any problem.”
“Never in my life have I heard of a child’s sweat stinking from onions.”
“Maybe her breath, put a travel toothbrush is her bad and call it a day.”
“It’s unhealthy not to feed your child a variety of foods.”
“My husband’s mother was really crazy about him eating sugar and different things as a child, and now he has a problem with control over how much junk food he eats.”
“I have even caught him scarfing down a bread heal in the middle of the night, and he always seems guilty like he’s going to get in trouble.”
“It makes me laugh because he could seriously eat toast with peanut butter, I couldn’t care less. But his mother was really crazy about food, and it affected him psychologically as an adult.” ~ FurBabiesAreTheBest
“NYA, but, to 10-year-old daughter ‘Honey, throw the onions out if you are not going to eat them, do not leave them in your lunchbox if you still want to get them”‘.
“Your time with your daughter is your time. Your rules. If she doesn’t have an allergy to onions, it is a preference your ex has and not a directive.”
“If the woman is obstinate and cannot be reasoned with, you need a mediator to intervene.”
“10 is old enough to make food choices, and onions (although they and garlic absolutely stink to high heaven for me) are not an unusual food to eat.”
“But also, what if she has a point and your kid does stink after eating them at recess, and she is teased? Ask your daughter if this could be true.”
“She may be getting to the point where her body is changing, and the bigger topic is that she needs deodorant. Make sure she is brushing her teeth well, too.” ~ CandleSea4961
“I’m going to be objective and not let my opinion of onions change it.”
“NTA because she knows what she likes and the only reason it should be on a banned food list is if someone is allergic to them”
“(Though I loathe onions and personally would ban them from everything).” ~ IsThisHowIName
The delicate balancing act of raising a child with someone you do not like is a challenging task.
Negotiating skills are key and patience is paramount, but at the end of the day, the child is all that matters.