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Mom Holds Her Ground After Mother-In-Law Calls Teen Stepson’s Eyeshadow ‘Ridiculous’

Boy putting on makeup
ValuaVitaly/Getty Images

No matter how hard one tries, some people never succeed in winning over their in-laws.

Making this all the more frustrating, is that it often has nothing whatsoever to do with them as a person, but is entirely owing to the fact that they simply weren’t who they envisioned their child to end up with.

As a result, everything they do will be under their in-law’s scrutiny, turning every effort they make to please them into a fool’s errand.

Redditor awayitthrows_1234 found herself dealing with the wrath of her mother-in-law (MIL), specifically regarding her stepson.

As the original poster (OP)’s MIL felt that all of his behavior she did not approve of must have been owing to her parenting skills, or lack thereof.

Particularly owing to the fact that she let her stepson attend school dressed in a manner that his grandmother didn’t approve of one bit.

After her husband also scolded her for allowing this to happen, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my step son that his eyeshadow didn’t match his outfit instead of asking him to take it off like my MIL wanted me to?”

The OP explained how green eyeshadow brought her relationship with her MIL to a boiling point.

“I (32F[emale]) have been with my husband (34M[ale]) for 10 years now.”

“We’ve been married for 8yrs, and we have three boys.”

“Eli (15M) is my stepson, but I love him like he’s mine, and we have our two younger sons 7M & 5M.”

“I’m currently pregnant with baby number four, and this is definitely the last one lol.”

“My MIL Grace (63F) has been staying with us for a little while since her house is currently being renovated.”

“Since I’ve been in Eli’s life since he was little, my MIL more or less holds me responsible for every perceived ‘mistake’ he has ever made.”

“Anytime he disagrees with her, freely speaks his mind, or just does something she doesn’t like, I’m the one who’s ‘blamed’ for it.”

“I will be honest. I do encourage Eli to express how he feels, to be sure in what he believes, and that as long as no one is getting hurt by it then he can do what he wants.”

“I encourage my other boys to do that too.”

“All I want is for them to be happy.”

“This morning, my husband had already gone to work, and the younger boys were at the table eating with Grace.”

“I was getting their lunches packed up and put into their bags when Eli came down.’

“He was wearing an oversized pink button-down and flared jeans, and he had on some really pretty green eyeshadow.”

“Grace immediately started talking about how he was dressed way too girly for a boy, that he needed to take the makeup off.”

“Grace then turned to me and said ‘aren’t you going to tell him he looks ridiculous?'”

“So I looked at Eli and told him that he looked cute, but the green eyeshadow didn’t match his outfit that well so next time he should try pink or neutrals.”

“He smiled a little and went to put on his shoes while I got the younger boys’ backpacks so we could go to the car.”

“As soon as Eli was gone, Grace told me that I was being purposely difficult and that since Eli isn’t my son, it’s not my place to allow him to just do whatever he wants.”

“I told her that if she really felt like I wasn’t his mother, then it made no sense for her to ask me to discipline him for wearing eyeshadow.”

“I took the kids to school, and on my way back home my husband called to ask what happened this morning with his mother.”

“I told him, and he said that I could have just asked Eli to take it off instead of doing something that was going to irritate Grace further.”

“So clearly both he and his mother think I messed up, just for different reasons.”

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
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community wholeheartedly agreed that the OP was in no way the a**hole for sticking up for Eli.

Everyone agreed that her validation was everything Eli needed after being humiliated by his grandmother, with many also expressing their concern that the OP’s husband didn’t seem at all concerned with the way his mother treated his son.

“NTA, you’re great.”

“I wish more kids had Mother figures that supported them like this.”

“Your husband’s response is concerning.”- plantpotguitar


“This was hands down the best response in the situation.”

“You handled this like a champ.”

“I’m sure Grace was salivating with anticipation with the impending parental telling off, but no you handled it like an adult with a little humor.”


“Both your husband and his mother are the ones who messed up.”

“Your husband for not backing you up and Grace for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong.”

“If Eli likes dabbling with makeup, have him get his colors done at a place like Ulta.”

“Did that with the kid when she ventured into makeup.”

“Made a huge difference once she started using the colors that accentuated and complimented her skin versus clashed with it.”- BadBandit1970

“Well, you ‘could’ have asked Eli to take it off, but why should you?”

“Your MIL has a problem with boys wearing makeup, and probably also a problem with boys wearing pink shirts.”

“You don’t have a problem with either of those things and obviously I think you’re right.”

“What does your husband think?”

“Is he OK with Eli’s presentation, or does he want Eli to only leave the house wearing some kind of manly sports shirt or something?”

“He needs to make his opinion clear here, either he’s OK with Eli’s choice of presentation, in which case he needs to back Eli up against his bigoted mother, or he’s not OK with Eli’s presentation, in which case he needs to make his case, rather than passively hoping Eli will conform to his mother’s norms in order to keep the peace.”



“Next time, tell MIL that he’s definitely more your son than hers, and she can find another place to stay if she can’t keep her mouth shut.”- Aggravating_Start411


“But it is probably time for Grace to find new accommodations.”

“Your children should not be subject to homophobic abuse just because their grandma decided to remodel the basement.”

“I would be wary of continued contact between Eli and Grace since this will only get worse with time.”

“What does Eli think of all this?”

“When it comes to the future of their relationship you should be prepared to follow his lead even if it means distancing himself from her.”- moonlit_petals


“Tell your husband to grow a spine.”- Dresden_Mouse


“Too bad your husband didn’t stand up to his mom.”

“At the end of the day, Eli’s feelings are more important than Grace’s.”

“I think you did well.”- babirus


“But are you sure the green didn’t go?”

“What shade of green and pink lol.”- ProfessionalCar6255


“I could see Grace’s head spinning trying to find something to say that would remotely make sense.”

“You win mom of the year, and Eli will remember this.”

“Well done.”


“Rock on.”- jolandaluna


“You know Eli will remember who had his back and it’s his awesome (step) mum.”

“I do agree, he could match his colors better tho.”- Reasonable-Rich6650


“NB here and I think you are fantastic!”

“But I do think the green works with pink.”- wee_idjit

The OP later returned with an update, sharing that she checked in with Eli after her encounter as well as her plans with her husband, while also confessing she may have made a mistake in front of her MIL.

“I agree guys; pink and green is a very lovely combination!”

“However, he had on forest green eyeshadow and a light pink shirt, which was cute don’t get me wrong, but I just think pink eyeshadow would have been a little more cohesive.”

“That aside, I wanted to add that I talked to Eli during his lunch period at school and he said he appreciated how I handled the situation and he doesn’t mind me giving him other fashion tips lol.”

“I also will be having a conversation with my husband about setting boundaries with his mother when he gets home from work.”

It’s pretty distressing that a grandmother would be upset by their grandchild’s stepmother sticking up for them and encouraging them to be who they are.

One only hopes that following a civil conversation, the OPs husband might realize that she was not trying to upset his mother, but instead empower his son.

Which hopefully might eventually lead to another conversation that will improve the OP’s relationship with her MIL.

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'.