Coparenting is a buzzword that emerged after the divorce boom of the 1970s. It seeks to center the partnership that remains in regards to any shared children after the end of a relationship.
Some aspects of coparenting are determined by the courts—like custody and financial support—but others require a respectful spirit of cooperation between parents. When that breaks down, conflict ensues.
A father found himself in a situation with his coparent over a family emergency and a missed visitation. He turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not taking my youngest children on their weekend because my oldest daughter had a baby?”
The original poster explained:
“This is messy.”
“I—40, male—have been married to my wife Cindy off and on. We had a child together who is now 17.”
“We had a rocky part in our marriage and split for a few years, where I met a woman Stacy. We were together for a while, having twins together, ages 12.”
“Stacy and I split up, because she ended up being unfaithful. 2 years later I had reconciled with Cindy, we got my twins every weekend due to our work schedules.”
“This past weekend my oldest daughter went into early labor. It was also my weekend with my twins.”
“I had told Stacy on the way to the hospital that I would not be able to have them this weekend due to this. I had put my phone on silent and away, due to a lot going on.”
“When I returned to my phone I had a bunch of texts from Stacy saying how I needed to go home and be with my twins, and how Cindy could handle this situation.”
“I told her absolutely not, that I wasn’t missing the birth of my grandchild.”
“She then responded angrily saying how I was picking my oldest daughter over my youngest and how wrong that was since they can only see me on the weekends anyways.”
“I tried texting and calling multiple times throughout the weekend, getting no responses.”
The OP summed up their conundrum.
“I told my ex I couldn’t take my twins because my oldest daughter was having a baby.”
“She told me I was choosing my oldest daughter over my twins, and how horrible it was then wouldn’t answer any of my texts all weekend.”
“I might be the AH because I only get my twins on the weekends.”
The OP added:
“I work 12 hour shifts Monday thru Friday. I’ve never missed a weekend before this, but I have covered for Stacy when she’s been called in.”
“I hadn’t warned Stacy about anything because this was weeks early unexpected labor and I didn’t get a chance to call until we were on the way to the hospital.”
“My daughter wanted me in the delivery room with her, she made it very clear from the beginning.”
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 were firmly divided between the OP being and not being the a**hole (YTA and NTA).
“YTA and birth isn’t a spectator sport that requires a dad being there.”
“I understand that you felt a need to be there to support your minor child, you did say she was early, so it’s potentially very much an emergency.”
“However you also have two other children. You aren’t a single parent, sometimes you have to miss things.”
“If you have an emergency, then you can offer your ex to keep them, but if she’s adamant that you take them, then you need to find childcare for your children that are your responsibility during that time.”
“Even if she was early, you should always have an emergency planned person you can call, just in case. Even if your other daughter wasn’t having a baby, emergencies can and do happen.”
“Your plans and your ex’s time isn’t a contest for who has something more important going on.”
“It’s fine if you need to be with one child in a hospital, but no matter what she has planned, you have other children you are required to also care for. You failed this, do better.” ~ visceralthrill
YTA. Your kids could have come with you or you could have arranged a sitter. You can’t just turn your phone off and run away.”
“You clearly regret your relationship with their mother but you can’t just act like they don’t exist.” ~ Oddish197
“You were picking it was literally your choice to go to the hospital with your oldest daughter and not bother with your youngest twins who have been waiting to see their daddy all week.” ~ Plus_Data_1099
“YTA. Doesn’t matter what is going on, you deal with your children on their ordered time with you.”
“Find a babysitter. You don’t just get to pick and choose when you need to be a parent.” ~ FlipRoot
“YTA. It was your weekend to have your children. You can’t just shoot up a text to their mother how you can’t have them this weekend, and expect it to fly.”
“What if the mother had plans already? You just railroaded your needs over hers.”
“You also knew exactly what you were doing, texting Stacy and then putting your phone on silent.”
“‘She then responded angrily saying how I was picking my oldest daughter over my youngest and how wrong that was since they can only see me on the weekends anyways’.”
“She would be correct.”
“‘I tried texting and calling multiple times throughout the weekend, getting no responses’.”
“You remember how you shot that text to Stacy and then put your phone on silent? You’re getting back the same treatment and behaviour you practiced yourself.” ~ Cocoasneeze
But the NTA contingent was equally adamant…
“NTA. Ignore these people op, labor is an emergency, especially premature, especially at 17, especially if you’re in the US. We have awful mortality and complication rates.”
“Your child undergoing a painful, scary, life threatening procedure that could maim, kill, and mentally destroy her was something that absolutely took priority over a regular weekend with your younger children.”
“Make it up to your twins later by taking them somewhere extra fun next weekend and explain how dangerous and scary childbirth could be and how you would drop everything to be at their sides in the same situation.”
“As for their mom, having your ex have an emergency and being unable to take the kids during their time is an expected part of the co-parenting process. I’m not sure what plans she could’ve had, but frankly, emergencies take precedence.” ~ sandwichcrackers
“The twins are 12. My God, they’ll be fine.” ~ grumpyjerk1
“Why are people bashing OP for silencing his phone? Most hospitals TELL you to silence your phone if not just straight up turn it off.”
“And if OP was actually IN the delivery room supporting his daughter he did the right thing.” ~ oldbattrucker
“Congratulations on your first grandchild. Hopefully baby and mother are doing well.”
“NTA, as it sounds like there wasn’t time to pick up the twins and get to the hospital. Ultimately, what should matter most is how the twins feel, not their mother.”
“I think an apology to them and an explanation of why you missed their visitation is needed. But you did the best you could given the situation you were in.” ~ Redditor
…with one Redditor summing it all up quite well.
“NTA. I always lurk and never post but the comments on this are just ridiculous and I’m concerned about who is becoming a parent nowadays.
“OP is clearly NTA and he should have been there for his oldest daughter and he shouldn’t have to miss the birth of his first grandchild because it’s HIS weekend for the twins.”
“What? Do people think of children like hot potatoes or something to be passed around? I can just imagine the entitlement of some parents whining ‘Nooooo! It’s my weekend to be off! That’s YOUR responsibility!’ and throwing a temper tantrum or something.”
“What is this the taking care of an egg project? Are people that immature? I’m not a parent myself, but I am lucky enough to have been raised by good parents, and I know you don’t just get to ever stop being a parent.”
“That’s the scary part of becoming a parent—the responsibility of that child forever WITHOUT any guaranteed breaks.”
“To all the people bringing up it was HIS responsibility to find childcare, do you find it to be different when coparenting versus raising a child together under one roof?”
“My parents were together and I know that if Parent A agreed to take care of me for some period of time and then had some kind of emergency come up and couldn’t do it, Parent B would take on the responsibility of dealing with it because Parent A is tied up.”
“Is that not how parenting works anymore or is it somehow just different when you coparent? Do you believe you just stop being a parent because it’s the other parent’s turn? If so, I really feel sorry for your children. That’s immature.”
“To the people saying he should have planned, perhaps he should have. But honestly, he has the twins two days out of a seven day week. Isn’t the likelihood going to be greater that the twins will be with Stacy than with OP?”
“Furthermore, since Stacy has primary custody of the twins and has them the majority of the time, I would expect her to have more resources at her disposal as far as childcare for emergency situations than OP who gets them two days out of the week.
“Also, in reviewing the comments, I see that the reason OP can only see them on the weekends is because he works 12 hour shifts Monday through Friday. I’m surprised OP is still moving by the end of the week and yet OP is able and willing to take on the twins every weekend.”
“Where is the break there and yet, per the comments, he somehow found the time to take over responsibility during the week when Stacy needed help. Is this a one-way street? Do we even know exactly how much Stacy does for preplanning?”
“I do not think OP should even have to substantiate how ‘much’ of an emergency it was to be able to be there for his daughter and be present (ACTUALLY present mentally and physically) for the birth of his grandchild.”
“I don’t know what Stacy had going on that weekend, but I don’t think it can compare unless she also had some kind of medical emergency to be present for in the hospital. In that case, they could have made it a family affair!”
“Otherwise, Stacy should have just stepped it up in this case, been glad OP was being there for his other daughter going through labor, and expect the same treatment if the roles were reversed.”
“OP should not have had to find childcare while trying to be present for his daughter who really needed him at the time. We don’t even know what Stacy was doing, but I am sure she was in a much better position to line up childcare than he was in a hospital.”
“If she had to pay for childcare, then ask OP to pay and I am sure he would have done so if that was the problem. Even if there was a problem with childcare and no one was available, were the twins just at home (Stacy’s house) or something?”
“What’s the difference between OP taking them to sit in a waiting room versus them sitting at Stacy’s house where they have access to whatever they have at home as opposed to being bored out of their minds in a hospital waiting room because mom believes that dad needs to deal with it because Stacy takes the mom hat off on the weekends.”
“I’m sorry princess… do you have big weekend plans that were spoiled by OP wanting to be there for his other daughter who is IN the hospital, having a baby (the first grandchild), and anything could go wrong?”
“You always hear how moms joke about not remembering what it is like to be able to use the bathroom in peace after having kids and yet this woman apparently just stops being mom on every weekend.”
“Finally, to those who are upset that OP turned his phone off, can you honestly not see why? Telling OP he was choosing his oldest daughter, who legitimately needed him at the time, over his twins sounds like she is weaponizing the children or something”
“If that speaks to how Stacy is in general, I totally understand why OP didn’t leave the phone on for her to blow up being all petty while he was trying to actually BE THERE for the daughter that needed him. I wouldn’t leave my phone on to deal with that nonsense either!”
“Also, I would love to know how many texts Stacy left during the time OP had silenced the phone. If she had the time to text, she should have had the time to use that emergency childcare plan she has in place for if something comes up for her. You know… unless of course, she doesn’t have one and it’s just OP.”
“OP… if this is typical Stacy behavior and Cindy doesn’t mind it, now that the twins are getting older, maybe you all should rethink custody.”
“Based on how Stacy acted during this ordeal and seemed to try to twist this from clearly being her problem to you turning your back on the twins and trying to guilt you makes me scared for what the heck mom is saying to the twins all week.”
“If this is a typical thing for Stacy, please get them out of that toxic household!” ~ Porgtastic
It would be interesting to hear the twins thoughts on the weekend.
Barring that, it’s hard to know what the final fallout will be over this missed visitation.
Hopefully the twins are just happy to have a new niece or nephew and not upset over when the child arrived.