I have two sisters—one older, one younger. People outside our family insist we look exactly alike.
People in our family don’t see it.
My older sister looks exactly like our Father’s family, my younger sister looks just like our Mother’s paternal side, while I look just like our Mother’s maternal line.
Our Mother looked like a blend of both of her parents, so neither my younger sister nor I look exactly like her, but we both resemble her slightly.
And that’s just how genetics work.
You may resemble one, both or neither of your parents. But you may be a doppelganger for another relative like a grandparent, aunt or uncle.
So what if your in-laws insist your child doesn’t look like you? Should you be offended or just brush it off?
A new mom struggling will her mother-in-law’s comments turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not defending mother-in-law (MIL) after she kept saying my daughter looks nothing like me?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“I (27, female) am not sure what crawled up my MILs (61, female) a**, but her and I got along so well before I got pregnant. She called me her daughter, came over to see me all the time, called me randomly to just talk, told me she loves me all the time, etc…”
“But after I got pregnant, something switched in her. She stopped calling. She never said ‘I love you’ back when I said it. She only came over to see my husband and 9 times out of 10, it was trying to get him out of the house to go with her.”
“She has 4 kids. My husband is the youngest—he’s 27.”
“Barely gives me a hello/goodbye in passing. She even tried staying in the labor and delivery room after she was already told no because ‘her baby needs support’.”
“She clung to my husband’s arm—several times trying to get him to go sit on the couch with her instead of standing by me where he was. She was kicked out by the nurses.”
“She wasn’t in the delivery room for her daughters or her other son. She didn’t even want to be.”
“Her daughters both wanted her in the delivery room and she said no. Her oldest son asked that she be in the room for his first 2 babies and she said yes, but then never showed up.”
“So she didn’t make any effort with her other kids.”
“Since I had my daughter 3 months ago, she has come over a good 10-15 times and has literally only held my kid twice.”
“She just follows my husband around everywhere and still tries to get him to leave with her to go do chores/tasks for her: changing tires, changing oil, fixing her computer, moving around her house, etc…”
“She didn’t raise him, so maybe that’s why she’s so clingy. She had him until he was 8 and then gave custody of him to her eldest daughter.”
“She saw my husband for holidays and birthdays until he was roughly 16—when she came back around more often. He lived with his sister from age 8 to 22 when we got our house together.”
“There were many different stories about why, honestly. It depends on who you ask in the family.”
“Her 2nd born daughter said that she was off doing drugs and drinking with different men. Her oldest however says that she had mental health issues and was ‘trying to better herself’.”
“However, they both have different relationships with their mom because their mother actually cheated on the girls’ dad—they were married—with the boys’ dad. The oldest daughter is understanding and defends her infidelity, whereas the other daughter still holds a grudge.
“So I’m not sure if anyone knows the actual story behind why she took off for that long or where she was.”
“And honestly none of that bothers me nearly as much as her comments about how my daughter looks nothing like me and looks exactly like HER and my husband.”
“For a bit of context, my husband looks nothing like his mom. He is a spitting image of his father.”
“His mom is short, blonde, brown eyes. He is super tall, black hair, green eyes.”
“You can’t tell they are related at all.”
“But she insists my daughter looks just like her and my husband and nothing like me.”
“She’s made these comments more times than I can count and I just give a ‘yeah okay Becky’ and leave it.”
“But yesterday I hosted a dinner for the family and obviously invited her. She shows up with a scrapbook album with a bunch of photos of her and my husband from birth to present.”
“She was showing/telling everyone who would listen that my daughter was ‘basically not even mine if you go off of looks’. My husband spoke up a few times with a clipped ‘she actually looks just like my wife’ but his mom didn’t acknowledge him.”
“But then she got to my mom (44, female), and my mom, being a ‘no bullsh*t’ woman, said, ‘Are you blind or are you just being ignorant? That girl looks just like my daughter and nothing like you.”
“‘Kinda weird to me that you are desperately pushing the narrative that the baby looks like your son AND you considering your son looks nothing like you either.'”
“No one in the house said anything, but a few of them were chuckling. My husband also didn’t say anything, but he looked more like a deer in headlights than anything.”
“My MIL then left. She group texted my husband and I later on saying she will never forgive us for not defending her against my mom ‘making a scene and embarrassing her in front of everyone’.”
“I don’t feel bad. My husband does.”
The OP added:
“Her two daughters have 1 child each, both 12-year-old girls. Her other son has five kids. She takes her daughter’s kids once a month.”
“She has never made a conscious effort with any of her other son’s kids, outside of his oldest (9, female).”
“She doesn’t act like this with her other kids at all. She acts uninterested altogether.”
The OP summed up their situation.
“I feel like an a**hole because, of course, she was incredibly embarrassed, but I also feel it was about time she was put in her place.”
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 unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
“NTA. Reply ‘My mother simply ended the scene you started. Funny that you think your son should have defended you from my mother when my mother was doing exactly the same thing by defending me from your negative comments.”
“And then don’t welcome her back into your home until she can respect you. And if your husband can’t understand this, then he needs help.” ~ Disastrous-Nail-640
“NTA—your MIL kept stirring the genetic sh*t pot, and your mom handed her the spoon and made her eat her creation. Your mom is my new hero!!!” ~ Comfortable-Sea-2454
“NTA—she seems like one of those weird boy moms that cling to their sons for attention their whole life and when their sons find someone else, they get angry/defensive and try even harder to cling to them.”
“Seems that the baby triggered that because relationships come and go, but a child is something pretty definitive. While in her mind a mom might be more important than a partner, she must’ve realized the kid would definitely take her spot as the most important thing in his life.”
“I’m guessing that she got annoyed that you brought into the world something that would take her (presumed) #1 spot in the heart of someone who is her #1.” ~ ThrowawayJIC000
“NTA. Your mom called a spade a spade. If you would have done anything, she would have gaslit the hell out of you.”
“However, having your mother—basically her peer—call her out in front of everyone—including none of the niceties either you or your husband would have used—put your MIL in her place.”
“Just look, she can’t even call your mother out because she knows she would not hold back and has no reason to continue to have a good relationship with her.”
“However, you and your husband do. So, she blames the both of you—probably really you—for not defending her craziness.”
“In her defense—a really small defense—it must have been hard having a son that looked nothing like her. So, in a way, this was a do-over, where she could have a piece of her in your child.”
“However, it really made no sense because she tried to loop her son into it when he looked nothing like her. But I guess she can’t handle the fact that now her son has a full family.”
“Did I mention NTA OP?” ~ throwawaynemoomen
“NTA. Your MIL deserved it.”
“I’ll never understand all this ownership over who a baby looks more like. They all look like potatoes for the first few months anyway.” ~ TheDrunkScientist
It sounds like OP’s mother-in-law is dealing with some unresolved issues—most likely related to her decision to abandon her son.
While it’s unfortunate, that doesn’t excuse her behavior or comments.