Frustration is a sneaky thing.
We can grin our way through grievance after grievance, letting each new irritation roll off our back until, at length, we have had too much.
So, what happens when the resentment boils out and we lash out at a loved one who pushed us just too far?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) childfreeusername when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for dropping the ‘We’re Not Having Kids, Now Stop Bringing It Up’ bomb on my MIL?”
OP began with a blunt reality.
“My husband and I don’t want kids.”
Before quickly explaining instigating situation.
“My MIL is big into family in the traditional sense. She has been pushy with us about having kids since we got married.”
“Literally the week after we got engaged, she started asking.”
“My husband has always changed the subject, and has even told her that it’s really none of her business.”
“Every time we see her, she asks.”
“Everything we do is built around the idea of use having kids. 3 years into our marriage, my husband said “We might not even have kids” and MIL would nothear it. At year 4, husband had a vasectomy and I had a tubal.
So this weekend we were all at their home enjoying some BBQ and drinks and everything.”
“When I get up to grab a beer, my MIL asks me if maybe I should drink water instead, because wink wink nudge nudge, you never know.”
“I was annoyed by this and said ‘There’s really no chance.'”
MIL, all wide-grin, said, ‘Oh come on! It’s time for you two to finally get serious! Put down the beer and tell us when we can finally expect you two to finally make your family official!”‘
“I said ‘We’ve been official for about 5 years now, MIL,’ and drink the beer.”
“Husband laughs with me.”
“MIL gets more annoyed and says ‘Well, you won’t be REAL (Lastnames) until you bless us with babies!”‘
“Husband said, ‘Mom, enough.’ MIL pushed again.”
OP then got to her concern.
“After about fifteen minutes of the usual comments, I finally snapped and said ‘MIL, Husband got snipped. I had my tubes tied. We’re not having kids. You need to stop bringing it up. Period.”‘
“Well, I thought I started WWIII.”
“She started crying and stormed off.”
“Family looked at us with disgust and stormed off to comfort her.”
“We left. Party kinda ended.”
“The social media b*llsh*t started shortly after.”
“Vague posts, links about how motherhood is a woman’s greatest calling, listicles about how unhappy childless women are, etc. Some meme about how ‘I guess I wasn’t a good enough mother and won’t be graduating to grandmother.'”
“It’s obnoxious to the point that I just muted all of them.”
“My MIL finally called me this morning and told me that she was willing to put this all behind us if Husband and I came over and listened to her reasons that we really ‘need’ to have kids.”
“I told her no, that we are tired of her pushing this on us, and then she said ‘Well then, I guess you two aren’t prepared to be REAL (Lastname)s. I’d like a refund for what we paid for the wedding.'”
“(It wasn’t that much. It was like $400 for the rehearsal dinner.)”
“I hung up on her.”
“When recounting this to my friends, a few of them said that I was the a**hole here for dropping it like that.”
“But I don’t think she was ever going to drop it if I didn’t finally make a serious, direct comment about it.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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: NTA
Some pointed out how much patience OP displayed.
“You gave your MIL several nice requests to stop asking about it, and you had to be direct.”
“She is the asshole for being so pushy about it after you stopped, and demanding a refund for her rehearsal dinner and saying all those mean things to you.” ~ ircdeft
“‘Well, you won’t be REAL (Lastnames) until you bless us with babies'”
“I think it’s clear who is TA here”
“‘I’d like a refund for what we paid for the wedding'”
“Oh! They paid for babies!”
“You had to drop it for her to stop with it, so you are definitely not TA.” ~ Swiollvfer
“It seems like you had given her enough warnings to merit the outburst.”
“I understand the frustration. Me And SO of 8 years have a bub together but have decided not to get married and I’m so sick of people asking when we’re going to seal the deal.”
“We’ve been together for 8 years, have spawned, live together… and we have a dog. I feel pretty sealed.” ~ LJ161
Others pointed out MIL’s lack of boundaries.
“NTA, I hate people that are pushy about big life choices.”
“It’s not her life, it’s not her choice, whether you guys have kids or not.”
“You aren’t an asshole for refusing to have children, nor are you an asshole for making it very clear that you never intend to have children.”
“Also, the ‘motherhood is a woman’s greatest calling’ thing is freaking sexist.” ~ SykoSarah
“NTA and I’m sorry that some of your friends have even made you question that.”
“I want to have children and I would have lost my sh*t a long time ago with all of that talk if my MIL talked like that to me.”
“It’s none of her business and she is extremely disrespectful and rude saying things like ‘you’re not real lastnames until you have a kid.”’
“Maybe you and your husband should change your last name to your maiden name and say good riddance to bad rubbish.”
“Sure in an ideal world you wouldn’t have told her that you got your tubes tied at a family event, because in an ideal world that never would have been a topic discussed at a family event.”
“But because your MIL doesn’t respect your boundaries you had drop that info to a crowd.”
“I’d send her the $400 and tell her you can afford to pay her back because of all the money you’re saving by not having kids!” ~ RhondaLeeBubbles
Some wished that OP’s husband had been more vocal.
“But, it would have been really nice of your husband to stand up to his mother and to stand behind both your decisions.”
“One of my children has chosen to remain childless and is blissfully happy.”
“Doesn’t want kids. Made certain that it won’t happen, surgically.”
“I don’t understand parents who are more concerned with reproduction, than the happiness and well being of the children that they already have.”
“I had a relative who was not a close one, do a similar thing to me at every family gathering.”
“It went on for close to two years. I had a coworker doing it at the same time. Both were clueless to the pain and discomfort that they were causing.”
“In my case several miscarriages.”
“So, when she started in about, ‘Why haven’t you two gotten pregnant yet? We’re waiting for more little nieces and nephews’, I lost it.”
“I lost it during a baby shower for another cousin. I lost it when the honoree was not in the room.”
“I said ‘Thank you X for your concern about the effective function of my uterus. I was unaware that it was a subject for public scrutiny. and,for your entertainment, I can share the details of my last three miscarriages, right here in front of God and everybody.”‘
“‘Or, can we change the subject “‘?
“She wasn’t that close of a distant relative after that”~ RicottaPuffs
“Your friends clearly don’t understand on a fundamental level the sort of assault you have been under.”
“Btw, your husband is kind of an AH for not shutting it down once and for all before you hit your limit.”
“He knew that his mother would continue to harass you and he still brought you over there.”
“I’m not usually one to say that he should have disclosed his personal medical details even if he didn’t want to, but f*ck, how long did he expect you to keep taking it with a smile?” ~ Bobalery
There were also personal stories.
“I had a vasectomy at 22 and my now wife and I both don’t want kids.”
“For the first few years we were together my MIL would talk about how she wants grandchildren from us (she has grandkids from my BIL, they’re all awful).”
“We usually just brushed it off, then on one trip to visit them MIL brings it up, she says ‘itssteakliara’ can’t get me pregnant, her response was ‘There are other ways…’ as if suggesting my wife cheat on me.”
“Haven’t had it brought up since then, but f*ck people who desperately want other people to make life-altering long-term decisions to make them feel better.”
“Also, I would highly recommend getting a vasectomy. Not pulling out is awesome.” ~ [deleted]
This isn’t to say, of course, that lashing out at someone is an acceptable form of communication.
However, when all other attempts have failed, it sometimes becomes necessary to be a bit more direct.