The tradition of birthday presents became the subject of family drama for Redditor KawaiiCottonCandy.
The Original Poster (OP) is a 20-year-old woman who gave her father five presents on his birthday.
But what should have been a day of celebration quickly turned sour when the mother strongly objected to the manner in which the tradition was carried out.
The OP visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for not wrapping my dad’s birthday present?”
The OP indicated this was her first post and said she was getting emotional revisiting what happened.
“So this just happened this morning and I’m extremely upset about it. Started crying again while writing this.”
“So, today is my dad’s birthday and I bought him 5 presents. One of them was a new flavor of sauce that he likes. Instead of wrapping it like I did the other 4, I put the sauce right by where he eats.”
“This is not an uncommon thing, on one of my family’s birthdays we usually put a food present right at their place at the table – sometimes wrapped and sometimes unwrapped.”
“My dad saw the sauce and was very happy – he literally jumped up from his chair (and he’s an older guy!) and hugged me with an excited grin on his face and said thank you.”
“However, the minute he left the room, my mom starts yelling at me, asking me if I would like it if she just ‘dumped all my presents unwrapped in a pile’ and how rude it was to do that. I was very shocked and started crying hard – I get extremely anxious at any confrontation.”
“My dad heard me crying and came back in to ask what was wrong and my mom puts on her sad face and says ‘Oh I made her cry again, like I always do’. My dad’s pretty obviously worried but he has to work from home today and had a meeting so he went to his office.”
“My mom then said to me that she didn’t want to ruin my dad’s day so she’d tell me later exactly why it was so rude to leave unwrapped presents when he wasn’t around (I think she just knows that he’ll take my side because he usually does when she gets mad over stuff like this – she yelled at me the last time I gave either of them a present as well).”
“Again, this isn’t an uncommon thing to do with food presents in my house – on my birthday I’ll often find an unwrapped special food by my place. Also, I wrapped the other 4 non-food presents, this was literally the only one not wrapped.”
“So, AITA here?”
Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Many Redditors declared the OP was not the a**hole in the situation.
“NTA: No, your mom is the asshole. Your dad loved the present and that’s what matters.” – GoobWizard
“NTA. Your dad loved the gift, that is all that mattered. Kindly tell your mom to mind her business.” – BSnIA
When a Redditor asked if the mother tended to overreact, the OP responded:
“Yes she does. Another recent incident was when I gave them a Valentine’s present on February 13th because I was too excited to wait, and she got mad at me and said I made her feel like she had to give me mine then too.”
Others continued to weigh in.
“NTA. Your mom is causing drama for unknown reasons, which is especially out of order when she knows how easily upset and anxious you get in such confrontational circumstances.”
“Please try to ignore your mom and know that you did nothing wrong here. Your dad was happy with his gift, nobody else’s opinion counts. I hope you are able to work on your anxiety so you are able to stand up for yourself more in situations like this.” – Academic-Panic
“NTA you followed what happens with food. You’re mum is looking to upset you. And she is making threats about it for when your dad isn’t around.”
“Please text or email him or pull him aside when he is free and tell him everything. How you did what’s always done with food and how your mum’s taking out on you and will continue to do so later when she knows he won’t be there.” – BlueBellpond
“NTA and your mom has ISSUES. I don’t know what or why. A gift is about being thoughtful, not ripping paper. Pay no attention to her. Your dad obviously loved the gift.”
“And if your mom is saying she made you cry like always… sounds like she just picks on you for a lot of stuff. Try to tune her out and don’t react.”
“When someone is getting confrontational with me and I don’t want to engage, I’ll pick a spot to look at behind their head so it looks like I’m looking at them, but really I’m letting them yell and in my head I’m going ‘Huh, I never noticed that nick in the paint before. I wonder how that happened. Maybe when I was moving my bookcase? I wonder if we have any of that paint left so I could patch it. If not I could probably get it color matched. How do those color matching machines work?…'”
“I just keep my own narrative going and let her do her yelling and when she’s finished just go ‘thanks for your opinion’ in as neutral a voice as you can and walk away. Hopefully she’ll get bored with trying to attack you.”
“If you’re feeling bold, just walk away as soon as she starts yelling. If she follows you, stop, turn around, tell her she’s welcome to talk to you when she can behave civilly, and then keep walking. React as little as possible. And enjoy what sounds like a good relationship with your dad.” – HarriedHedgehog
“NTA, your mom is ruder for yelling at you. You wouldn’t even be the A if you bought zero presents. At least then, you wouldn’t have to hear your mom’s screeching about a rule that doesn’t exist.”
“For your mom’s birthday, wrap the same exact sauce in saran wrap and give her a birthday card with a bow on the card. Instead of ‘Happy Birthday’, write ‘I wrapped this for you.’” – thaillmatic1
The general consensus was the OP was not in the wrong, and that making her father happy was most important in the situation.
They also encouraged her to work on her issues with anxiety so she can confidently defend herself in future confrontations.
In an update, it appeared the OP took many of the suggestions to heart.
Relieved over all of the NTA judgments, she wrote:
“Thank you everyone for all the support, I’m feeling better now. I did tell my dad about it, and he was on my side, telling me that he loved the present and didn’t care at all (since we always do this with food presents, duh).”
“However he’s even less confrontational than me so he just told me to apologize to calm her down, and that he’ll make it up to me later.”
“Answering some questions:”
“Yes, my mom does indeed overreact to stuff like this. I try not to let it bother me but again I’m not good with confrontation and am generally kind of timid.”
“I’m disabled and cannot drive so I don’t really have too much of an escape from this sort of thing and that’s why I don’t stick up more.”
“Some people have suggested therapy and believe me I’ve brought it up, but unfortunately my mom is one of those ‘you don’t need therapy you need a priest’ very religious people.”
“I am looking to move out within a couple of years however as I am very close to getting a job.”
“I’m just happy knowing I’m NTA honestly. Thanks a lot everyone! I’ll update if anything further happens.”
“Ok, so I actually sat down and talked to my mom, and she’s apologized for becoming upset over this. I also explained that I think this is a very ridiculous thing to get upset about and that I was following what we always do with food presents.”
“She said that she shouldn’t have gotten upset over my decisions with my gifts and that if she does this again to tell her immediately that she’s in the wrong.”
“Overall we made up on this issue and I’ll be more assertive in the future. Thanks for all of your comments and advice!”