Parenting is tough. Some say, “it takes a village.”
But the problem with a village is that invites more people into the picture.
Redditor CharminUltraSoft316 recently learned that lesson the hard way when their mother-in-law was babysitting their sick baby and after a series of unfortunate events more family members got involved.
The original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” to ask if their ultimate reaction was warranted.
“AITA for cancelling my son’s birthday party because my Mother-In-Law left poop on my toothbrush”
How did the poop on a toothbrush lead to a cancelled birthday party?
“My mother-in-law watches my three kids. They are age 5, 3 and 7 months. My mother-in-law usually watches them and drops them off from school.”
“The kids are battling a stomach virus so everyone was home on Monday. The little one had a poop explosion so my mother-in-law washed her butt in our bathroom sink.
“However, she did not clean up after and there was poop all around the sink, on the toothpaste, on the toothbrushes and the little cups that the kids use when brushing their teeth. I have pictures if you guys really want to see.”
“This has happened before but it’s the first time we said anything. My wife called her mom to be more careful because it’s absolutely disgusting and gross.”
“My wife is Hispanic so her tone can definitely be aggressive, especially to a gringo like myself, but her mom seemed to understand the frustration.”
The story, unfortunately, did not end there.
“However, once her sisters (both in their 30s and single for good reason) caught wind that my wife ‘belittled’ their mother all Hell broke loose.”
“The sisters began defending the mother, calling out how dirty/messy our house is, calling my wife fat and basically just saying how lucky we are to have the MIL [mother-in-law] in our life and it’s no big deal. In fact, we’re the a-holes for being upset about this.”
“I guess the sisters got to my mother-in-law because then MIL came back and started parroting the same talking points about how messy our house is, how ungrateful my wife is and how my MIL cleans our house and cooks for the kids all of the time.”
“My 5-year-old son was also at her house this weekend and had an accident where he hershey squirted on the bed cuz he’s sick. That was also thrown in our face multiple times.”
“They also referred to watching our kids as FAVORS which is weird because they always ask to take them. My mother-in-law says she won’t come ever again to watch the kids.”
“She no-showed today so I had to call out today to watch the baby which is fine. However, I don’t like how the MIL is affecting my job and career with her pettiness as I had some important stuff scheduled today.”
“Keep in mind, we pay her $300 (cash) a week to watch the kids. Now I’m going to pay about $150 more per month for someone to watch the kids which is no big deal really.”
“However, my son’s birthday is tomorrow. They had a big ol’ party planned at my mother-in-law’s for Saturday.”
“However, I have told everyone that we will not be attending the party and we have barred her family from seeing, giving gifts or even speaking to the kids for the time being.”
“AITA for cancelling my son’s party and not allowing my wife’s family to celebrate his birthday on Saturday?”
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
The overall consensus from Reddit released the OP from the burden of being the a**hole.
“Your MIL didn’t bother to clean up unhygienic material from your house and is blaming you for having an unclean house? No, that’s on her.”
“Your kids could have gotten sick from her behavior. Oh, wait, they are. Hmm.”
“Your kids are sick, and the mess they make is somehow your fault when MIL is the one doing the caregiving? No. It’s not.”
“This isn’t the first time such things have happened?”
“Get better caregivers. MIL isn’t competent. If she can’t prioritize safety issues like cleaning up after such things happen, she’s not being safe for your children.”
“Makes me wonder how often they have gotten sick because of her unsafe lack of cleanliness.”
“When your wife complained about MIL’s incompetence in childcare, MIL went out and got herself some enablers to support her incompetence? And they attacked your wife and you, insulted you both, etc…?”
“NTA. This is about not spending time with the people that blame and insult you for the things that someone else did. They behaved badly, and are blaming you.”
“That’s not people who are healthy to have around your children. I wouldn’t want to have them around to do more of the same thing on your child’s birthday, either.”
“Protecting your child and having a birthday that doesn’t include people that blame you for the behavior of your MIL, that’s just being a good parent.”
“Having such people around for a birthday would spoil the birthday. And it would teach your children to blame others for their own behaviors.” – blueberryyogurtcup
“NTA … mostly…. be VERY careful about using your kids as pawns in a power struggle with relatives though. I agree you should cancel the party at MIL, but have one at your place and extend the invite (hint, they won’t come but you look like the bigger person).”
“Don’t bar them from sending gifts, it’s not your kids fault your MIL is LITERALLY TOXIC.”
“I would consider the extra $150 a month a small price to pay to not have to mix family and money. It sounds like your MIL and family could pull the child care rug out from under you at any time and hold it over your head as bargaining leverage to get what they want.”
“It may cost a bit more, but the stability and peace of mind you’d get with outside child support is worth it. If you miss just one or two days of work a month because MIL refuses to babysit, you’ve lost more than $150.”
“I would go even further to say I would NEVER trust your MIL to watch the kids unsupervised ever again. The lack of judgement she showed by thinking a shit-sink isn’t a big ol’ health hazard is staggering… who knows what other lapses in judgement might be waiting around the corner.” – Kidd_Gloves_
“NTA. I’d happily pay a little extra for childcare to not have to deal with that nonsense. You pay her to watch your kids and she leaves literal human sh*t all over the place?”
“There’s no excuse for that. Sounds like she went crying to her daughters to get them to gang up on you.”
“It sucks your kid’s birthday is caught up in this mess, but honestly I don’t think being around them is smart right now. What’s worse, not attending the party or going to the party and having a fight break out?”
“’Hey MIL, could you please not leave sh*t all over the place? Thanks’.”
“’W-well, your house is dirty! You’re fat and ungrateful!’”
“Astounding that anyone thinks you’re the AH here.” – PearlStreetBlues
“E.coli isn’t the only thing you can get from feces. C. diff[icile] is a thing and I can guarantee you that your kids will be vulnerable to it if they need antibiotics and she continues to take care of them.”
“Is it common outside of hospital or long term care settings? No. But that doesn’t mean it’s never acquired outside of the hospital.”
“A lot of people have C. diff in their digestive tract naturally. It generally only becomes a problem when antibiotics kick your digestive flora out of whack.”
“(There are other ways to get it, but that’s the major cause of it.) If your MIL is not taking care of your kids’ a**es properly, do you really trust her to be washing her hands after she sh*ts?”
“I had C. diff when I was in a nursing home for rehab when I had my back fused and it is absolutely horrible. You think a baby blowout is bad?”
“Imagine a massive baby blowout like 6+ times a day, but with the smell of Satan’s a**crack in the middle of July. It is not fun and leaves you at serious risk of dehydration, at the very least.”
“I cannot imagine what that would feel like for a poor child. Also, C. diff is highly contagious.”
“Everyone who came in to see me while I had it was completely covered up with protective pants, gowns, gloves, and masks—imagine what people wear when they treat COVID patients—and all that went into the trash when they left. So if she passes it on, it’s entirely possible that your whole family could end up with it.”
“Stand your ground and do not let this woman take care of your children. Put them in childcare, where there are actually sanitary standards that won’t put your children at risk.” – worlds_of_smoke
“NTA … the sisters in laws made it a big deal. Per your post, you have had issues in the past with her watching your children.”
“I agree with canceling the party at her house, BUT, I would host the party at your own home. BTW, put your kids in daycare, they’re much more sanitary. Good luck.” – mmabear1966
It’s unfortunate the parents’ concern for their children’s health and safety caused a rift in the family.
But it sounds like finding new childcare might be the best solution for everyone.