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Dad Calls Ex ‘Petty’ For Neglecting To Remind Him About Son’s Birthday After Years Of Forgetting

Little boy blowing out birthday candles.
Cavan Images/Getty Images

We’d like to think that we won’t let important days, such as birthdays or anniversaries, slip by.

Sometimes though, try as we might, we manage to forget, inadvertently hurting the feelings of some of our nearest and dearest.

Sometimes, this all is easily forgiven with a belated message of love.

Other times, though, it might take a bit more to smooth things over.

The ex-husband of Lazy-Bar-2845 was never the most present father, even when he was married to the original poster (OP).

After they were divorced, however, it became a bit more apparent to the OP’s son that his father wasn’t as attentive as he could have been.

Resulting in the OP’s ex blaming them for not keeping them up to date on their son’s life.

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

“AITA for refusing to put from mom and dad on my sons birthday card or reminding him that it was our kids birthday?”

The OP explained how their son’s recent birthday party ended up affecting the boy’s relationship with his father.

“So I will try to keep it short, my ex and I had issues and we are divorced.”

“One of the big ones was he thought he was a great father but the reality is I just presented him as that.”

“If I planned a whole party I would say it was from the both of us.”

“He would forget and then piggy back off all my work.”

“My son’s birthday is this weekend and I had the kids and did a party, got the gifts and so on.”

“Now half way through the day since there was no call from him to wish our kid happy birthday it became obvious that he forgot.”

“He absolutely noticed by the end of the day was quite sad.”

“I told him he will be seeing him tomorrow and maybe he has a surprise.”

“Well nothing he didn’t plan a thing and he only remembered after our son basically yelled at him for forgetting.”

“We got in a huge phone argument about me being petty that I didn’t throw him name on a card or even remind him when it was clear her forgot.”

“I don’t see why I should since he is a grown adult and he should step up.”

“He thinks I am huge jerk.”

“My mom got involved and told me I should have for my kids sake.”


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 unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**Hole for not reminding their ex about their son’s birthday, or acknowledging him on the card.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s ex needed to step up, and couldn’t rely on the OP to remember his son’s birthday or any other important days.


“You stopped enabling your ex’s dysfunction.”

“Good on you.”


“In the short term, it may seem that covering for your ex is better for the kids, but it isn’t.”

“It would be far better if your ex learns to be a better father from actually having to face the consequences of his bullsh*t.

“Even if he doesn’t, it’s better that your kids know who he actually is.”- GreekAmericanDom


“When I was in college one year, I forgot my little brother’s birthday, and he was very upset with me.”

“None of the adults in our family mollycoddled me and reminded me to call him. They just let me deal with the consequences and apologize to him.”

“I was 19 at the time, and I’ve never forgotten his birthday since.”

“I know it’s just a single anecdote, but every adult in my life thought a teenager was perfectly capable of remembering a birthday and should face the consequences of being thoughtless.”

“It’s pathetic that your ex’s mom doesn’t think her son is capable of the same.”- Bear_faced


“IDK why it’s always expected from women to get the men’s slack.”

“Even when divorced ffs.”

“And you can give your mom your ex’s number so she can remember to remind him of his son’s birthday.”

“It’s sad for your son but that’s the reality of who his father is.”

“His father made him sad, not you.”- Timely_Proposal_1821


“Emotional labour stops with divorce.”- theEx30


“How do you forget your own child’s Birthday? What an AH.”

“You are divorced your child knows that. He should have brought a present and a card.”- theitguy1968

“Wow, he is definitely the a**hole in this scenario.”

“It’s not your job to make your ex look good to HIS OWN KID – that’s HIS job.”

“I’m sure he has a phone with a calendar he could utilize.”

“The fact he goes even further with his ridiculousness and blames you for his mistake totally explains why you’re divorced.”

“As for mom – tell her to mind her own business, or she can pick up his slack on her own.”

“NTA Good luck!”- DLCMotroni


“And an extremely obvious one too.”

“I can see why you two probably divorced, he has no accountability, but it’s very weird that your mom thought you should have too.”

“Your son has picked up on the fact that his father is not ideal.”

“Let him.”- BoyoDee


“You are divorced – you are no longer responsible for managing your ex’s life.”

“The fact that he still thinks that you are shows how used to you doing everything he is.”

“Your ex needs this wake-up call to tell him that you are no longer responsible for him.”

“And your mother is wrong – if you keep covering for him, you will be doing it for the rest of your life and will never be divorced from him, because he will never do it.”

“After all, he gets someone to do all the heavy lifting of being a parent for him.”

“Let him think you are a jerk – chances are he was going to anyway the moment you stood up for yourself for anything.”- bamf1701

“NTA and I suggest you show your mother the top comments here.”

“You and your ex are divorced, therefore, you have no obligation to keep the peace or make him seem like a good father when he isn’t.”

“If he can forget his kid’s birthday and then fail to do anything while expecting you, his EX, to do it for him, it just shows how poor of a father he is.”

“My great-grandfather used to hide how neglectful my father was.”

“I didn’t realize how horrible he was until I was fourteen years old, a few months after my grandpapa passed, that my father had never once been involved in planning my birthday, buying the cards, the decor, or even the locker surprises that would say ‘from dad’.”

“To this day, I hold some resentment towards my grandpapa for that and resentment towards myself – because I was giving the wrong person credit for YEARS.”

“Don’t be guilted into keeping up the charade.”

“Your son will get older, and he’ll probably have the same resentment, maybe less but it’ll be there.”-FandomLuver-101

“After me and my ex split, I told him I’m not his secretary, and he has to figure these things out himself after being fed up of reminding him of things.”- Stock_Mortgage1998


“He can’t even remember his own kid’s bday?”

“But you are supposed to cover his @ss?”

“Nope, that’s a big ask, and you got divorced for a reason!”- BA_in_SoMD

“Your ex won’t do better if there’s no penalty for doing badly.”

“It sucks for your son, but this is who his dad is until his dad decides to actually do better.”

“You’re NTA for letting your son see his father without you fixing everything from behind the curtain.”-Equivalent-Board206


“You’re not married, so you don’t have to cover for him.”

“He’s an adult.”

“He should know when his son’s birthday is.”

“I’m sure your son would have known everything was from you anyways since his dad didn’t bother to call and wish him a happy birthday.”- Odd_Yogurtcloset2891


“He’s a grown man. You should not have to remind him of his child’s birthday.”

“Guessing he has a smartphone and a laptop and who knows what other devices, all capable of making a note of the kids birthdays and any surrounding events (like the party).”

“If you did it this time, he’d probably expect reminders for everything.”

“I can guarantee you that even if you reminded him, your kids would have figured out sooner rather than later that mom is the one reminding dad about their events/important dates.”- Strict-Issue-2030

Children are often hugely disappointed when even one of their friends from school can’t make it to their birthday party.

Making the idea of one of their parents forgetting it was their birthday seem an almost devastating possibility.

One can only hope the OP’s ex will eventually get his life together and get his priorities in order.

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'.