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Mom Snaps At MIL For Questioning ‘Parenting Skills’ Since Her Daughter Folds Laundry ‘Wrong’

girl folding laundry
CasarsaGuru/Getty Images

/GettAh, yes, the absolute joy of being criticized by someone who utterly failed to do the thing they’re criticizing you for.

Throw in the fact it’s an in-law, and what they’re criticizing is your parenting, and fun for all is decidedly not what ensues.

But who’s in the wrong—the hypocrite or the hypocrite’s target that points out their hypocrisy?

A mom dealing with her mother-in-law’s unsolicited feedback turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback she actually wants.

Defiant_Pay7923 asked:

“AITA for arguing with my mother-in-law (MIL) over laundry?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“This seems like such an insanely petty argument, but it’s causing some friction in my family.”

“My daughter (Brandi for the purpose of this post) is 13 years-old and last year started doing her own laundry. I showed her how to do it a time or two, and she has taken over from there.”

“Over Christmas break, my in-laws took my older kids on a ski vacation. Brandi said MIL offered to do her laundry, but Brandi told her it was fine; she would do her own.”

“Seems like a non-issue, right? You would think so!”

“When they came back from the trip, MIL pulled me aside to talk to me. She said she noticed Brandi didn’t turn her clothes the proper way before folding them, so everything was inside out when she folded it and put it away.”

“I said, ‘okay’ because…okay?”

“Apparently, this was the most egregious thing to MIL. So much so that she mentioned it every time I saw her.”

“I told her that Brandi is doing her laundry, so the way she does it is her business. So long as it’s clean and put away, I don’t care if it’s turned inside out.”

“This was not good enough for MIL. She went to speak to Brandi about it.”

“Brandi’s stance was: 1. why does it matter if she puts them ‘outside in’ before folding them or wearing them? It makes no difference and 2. She likes picking a shirt to wear at random, not knowing what the design of it is, and building an outfit around it.”

“She called it ‘outfit roulette’.”

“Again, MIL thought this was unacceptable. I’ve told her to stop.”

“My husband has told her repeatedly to stop, and after he said if she didn’t stop, she wasn’t allowed over, she stopped mentioning it. Until today.”

“She brought it up again. It’s not proper. It’s lazy. It’s a bad habit. Then she said, ‘if you were a good mother, you would teach her to do her laundry properly’.”

“I snapped back, ‘Your son is 44 years old, and I have been doing his laundry for 17 years. Before that, he paid to have it done for him. If we want to talk about parenting skills and teaching kids to do laundry, maybe we should start with YOU. Mind your own business’.”

“My husband cackled, but my MIL was furious and stormed out. She also told everyone else in the family, and while many of them are on my side, more than I would expect are not and have said I was unnecessarily cruel and unkind, and now I’m not sure if I went too far.”

“And for the record, yes, I do my husband’s laundry because he hates doing it himself. But he cleans all the toilets, and we have two teens and two potty-training toddlers, so I’d argue I have the better end of the agreement, to be honest.”

The OP summed up their situation. 

“Arguing with my MIL about laundry and implying judgment of her parenting skills.”

“Some family members have said I was unnecessarily cruel to ‘an old woman’ (she’s 64, not that old!) and I have been told by more than one person that I should apologize.”

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 the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

NTA, of course. By the way, I love the way you went about it. I mean, she had it coming, right?”

“Maybe that poor ‘old’ woman (I’m ten years younger than her, and if you ever tried to call me old, I would be very embarrassed) is one of the old-fashioned thinking that a male family member should do ‘male’ things like mowing the lawn, maintaining the cars, but not ‘female’ things like cooking, doing laundry and so on.”

“If so, does she know her precious son knows how to clean the toilets? If not, you for sure should tell her (and take a picture of her face and send it to me).”

“My mother is like that. She always did all the household chores, and if she did not feel like it, it was my turn, but never my brother’s.”

“I do remember when my brother was doing his apprenticeship years ago—he would come home occasionally with big suitcases full of laundry she would do for him. She would complain to me how much work it was to do that.”

“I remember one time he did that when I was home for summer break—I spent two days of doing his laundry (including 8 hours of ironing his white shirts) because poor MommyDearest had a bad back (something that only ever happened when I was around to take over).”

“I talked to my brother—who was about 20 at that time—and told him he was old enough to do his own laundry. He was like, ‘yeah, sure, can do’ and never brought home any more laundry.”

“Guess what she was complaining about then? Yes, him not bringing his laundry anymore.”

“A few months ago, she complained about my father being useless when it comes to housework.”

“I mean, she’s not wrong; he is, and he’s the kind of man who would starve in front of a full fridge, but he’s 80 now, and they’ve been together for 55 years, so that’s her doing, and I told her so.

“She was not happy.” ~ redsoxx1996

“NTA. Honestly, I applaud you both for realizing what’s important (the child doing their own laundry) and what’s not (the child doing their own laundry to stupid, unimportant standards). And kudos for clapping back at your MIL.”

“She was straight up being sexist, wanting you to teach your daughter to be a proper housewife.”

“My grandparents were furious I couldn’t set a proper multi-course table setting. I’m 44, and I am doing just fine without that precious skill.” ~ Ok_Register3005

“NTA. I am so confused as to why it is OK for one person to belittle and berate someone, but when you answer back, people tell you to apologize.”

“She called you a bad mother. You pointed out that by HER definition, so is she.”

“I am of the school of don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.” ~ Reddit

“OP is NTA. The fact that MIL was repeatedly asked to stop, didn’t, and then WAILLLLEEED to the rest of the family about how SHE was wronged tells us pretty clearly that MIL is the a**hole.”

“OP should find the ‘Don’t Rock The Boat‘ post, cut and paste it into EVERY TEXT from someone taking MIL’s side, and then block them.”

“And then turn everyone’s laundry inside out. OUTFIT ROULETTE FOR EVERYONE!!” ~ Abject-Technician558

Don’t Rock The Boat is a Reddit post from six years ago in which Breakfastpotato stated:

“‘Don’t rock the boat’. I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot lately, about how unfair it is.”

“Because we aren’t the ones rocking the boat. It’s the crazy lady jumping up and down and running side to side. Not the one sitting in the corner quietly, not giving a f*ck.”

“At some point in her youth, Mum/Mum-In-Law gave the boat a little nudge. And look how everyone jumped to steady the boat! So she does it again and again.”

“Soon her family is in the habit of swaying to counteract the crazy. She moves left, they move right, balance is restored (temporarily). Life goes on. People move on to boats of their own.”

“The boat-rocker can’t survive in a boat by herself. She’s never had to face the consequences of her rocking. She’ll tip over. So she finds an enabler—someone so proud of his boat-steadying skills that he secretly (or not so secretly) lives for the rocking.”

“The boat-rocker escalates. The boat-steadier can’t manage alone but can’t let the boat tip. After all, he’s the best boat-steadier ever, and that can’t be true if his boat capsizes, so, therefore,, his boat can’t capsize. How can they fix the situation?”


“And the next generation of boat-steadiers is born. A born boat-steadier doesn’t know what solid ground feels like. He’s so used to the constant swaying that anything else feels wrong, and he’ll fall over.”

“There’s a good chance the boat rocker never taught him to swim either. He’ll jump at the slightest twitch like his life depends on it because it did.”

“When you’re added to their boat, you’re expected to help steady it. When you decline, the other boat steadiers get resentful. Look at you, just sitting there while they do all the work!”

“They don’t see that you aren’t the one making the boat rock. They might not even see the life rafts available for them to get out. All they know is that the boat can’t be allowed to tip, and you’re not helping.”

“Now you and your husband get a boat of your own. With him not there, the balance of the original boat changes. The remaining boat-steadiers have to work even harder.”

“While a rocking boat is most concerning to those inside, it does cause ripples. The nearby boats start to worry. They’re getting splashed! Somebody do something!”

“So the flying monkeys are dispatched. Can’t you and husband see how much better it is for everyone (else) if you just get back on the boat and keep it steady? It would make their lives so much easier.”

“You know what would be much easier? If they all just chucked the bitch overboard.”

People concurred with the advice.

“And there’s nothing wrong with chewing out a 64-year-old (I’m 64!) who is violating boundaries!” ~ Intermountain-Gal

“NTA. MIL sounds neurotic and seems as though she doesn’t agree with anything that doesn’t fit her standards. This is so trivial it’s hilarious.”

“She needs to grow up. This was none of her business, and is it even really ‘business’?”

“It’s so irrelevant. Why does it matter how your daughter does her laundry? It’s honestly stupid.”

“What you did wasn’t mean or overreacting at all. You simply put her in her place.” ~ lightscameraaccion1

“NTA, but your MIL is!! Good for you for pointing out that she didn’t do her job!”

“Outfit roulette is hilarious, and I share the who cares which side is out. I just turn it right side out when I put it on. It’s not a crime—if it was, I’d have been thrown in laundry jail years ago.”

“It would also have had my Mom thrown in laundry jail! I remember learning to do laundry at 10 using a wringer washer!” ~ StormyMcGee68

While OP’s mother-in-law and her enablers are unhappy, Reddit was down for outfit roulette.

They assured OP that both she and her daughter were doing just fine.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.