Society’s expectations frequently set up parents for failure.
Parents are expected to be their own person while being thoroughly involved in their children’s lives.
But what qualifies as too involved? And at what point have the parents prioritized their own needs too much?
One mother asked herself these questions and wrote into the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit after a mom friend questioned her judgment and called her a bad mom.
The Original Poster (OP) “aitathrowaway3892” asked the sub:
“AITA for leaving my child one month a year?”
The OP explained she and her husband always enjoyed traveling.
“My husband and I (30s) have always loved to travel. When I got pregnant with my kid (Sally, now 5) we agreed we weren’t going to stop.”
“Ever since sally was born, twice a year, my husband and I take two weeks off to travel. Grandma A stays with sally the first week and Grandma B stays with her the second.”
“It’s a great situation. Sally gets quality time with both grandmas, the grandmas love spending time with their only grandchild, and we love it because we get to travel and spend time with each other.”
The OP explained how they accommodated their daughter with further travel.
“We often go to countries that are not super kid friendly, and we like to do things that would bore Sally to death. She just doesn’t have the stamina for a long trip or 15 hour flights.”
“Before any of you ask, once a year we take a week long trip with her to somewhere nearby and kid-friendly, like Legoland or a beach.”
Despite how well this works for the family, one of the OP’s mom friends didn’t approve.
“Anyways, I mentioned to a mom friend of mine how we travel one month of the year, and she couldn’t believe how we could ‘abandon’ Sally for a whole month out of the year.”
“She said that I was a bad mom for leaving my kid for that long.”
“She told me she could never do that and my other mom friends agreed with her.”
“So reddit, am I the a**hole?”
Redditors from the sub commented anonymously on the parents’ choice using the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some affirmed continued travel did not make the OP the a**hole.
“NTA, ill bet the kid even looks forward to it. I used to spend nearly the entire summer camping with my grandparents and I loved it. Families raise kids, not just the direct parent or parents.”
“And ill bet these trips energize you to be a better parent. Hopefully, when she is older, and interested, you can take her along” – WalterL1983
“Having kids doesn’t mean your life is over, continue enjoying it. Your kid is well taken care off while you are away. I assume she is happy with her grandmas? And you pay good attention to her when you are around, this is what makes good parent.”
“Don’t listen to your mom friends, they are sad people.” – ToughGodzilla
“My parents went on vacation by themselves for two weeks every year and my brother and I stayed with my grandma. They got to recharge kid-free and focus on their relationship, we got to see our grandma, who lived fairly far away. My parents are still married after more than thirty years, and we talk to each other at least once a week.”
“Your daughter is not going to feel abandoned, taking a break from her helps you be patient and caring the rest of the year, and taking care of your marriage is important.” – neurealis
Others also had something to say in response to the “mom friend.”
“NTA that mom can just shush. I once had a female tell my friend she was a bad mom for going to a concert once out of the whole year for one night. They can zip it.”
“Also for them to straight up say your a bad mom is terrible and I’m sorry you had to hear that. Your in no way a bad mom. I hope you continue to travel safely and enjoy romantic adventurers with your husband. I know grandparents love one on one time with their grandchildren so they can just spoil them to bits.” – xiamtronx
“Don’t let people guilt you into giving up your hobbies because you have kids.”
“Little kids don’t care about trips, older kids might. When she’s young like this she won’t appreciate the trips as much as she appreciates structure and familiar surroundings.”
“I think people who make their entire lives revolve around their children frequently indulge in jealousy towards those who do not. You and your husband need to keep having a marital life and if travel is your great joy you deserve to do it, even if it doesn’t include your kid.” – mellow-drama
“NTA, your child is not abandoned, she is cared for by her gradmothers, and you are probably a better parent the rest of the yeat because you get to take a break and explore your own interests. It is incredibly rude to make baseless accusation of someone of being a bad parent.” – lincra
A few also stressed the impact their mothers’ individual life had on their upbringing.
“I think it’s a bad mom who is so obsessed with her kids that she can’t even be an individual human anymore. What a terrible example, especially for little girls!”
“I never got the whole ‘my kids are my identity’ thing. Seems super toxic. And a little pathetic.” – Carbonatite
“My mom played softball whirl pregnant with me and when I was a baby, made time to watch her shows/ read, worked full time at a job she loved, and went to the bar (socializing, like a neighborhood pub, not getting drunk) about every other weekend.”
“What I remember is a dedicated and loving mother who took great care of me but also stayed her own person.”
“I’m pregnant with my first and feel so connected to it already. But I refuse to give up my hobbies for it. I’m still making time for me, for my husband, and for fun.” – ChipmunkNamMoi
“One of the best examples my parents set for me was becoming your own person and achieving things regardless of your family situation. They had whole lives; I was just one part of them.”
“It’s honestly enraging to me, to see women completely throw their identities into the garbage like that. Your worth as a human doesn’t cease to exist when you gestate.”
“I don’t have kids, but I’ve been yelled at by people just for suggesting they get a babysitter so they can do adult stuff without making everyone around them miserable with a screaming toddler. I think the response was something like ‘only parents that don’t care about their kids pay for babysitters’. Gross.” – Carbonatite
It’s hard to strike that balance between being your own person and being a parent, but according to these Redditors it’s vital to find your own balance.
Redditors from the sub said the situation was not inherently wrong just because the OP’s arrangements would not work for everyone.