Accomplishment is such a specific word.
An accomplishment might be reading a full sentence or completing your thesis.
the subjectivity of what qualifies as one of your proudest moments can vary greatly from one person to the next.
So, what happens when your greatest moment doesn’t reflect what someone else thinks it should?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) cassiecasscassi when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for saying that my kids are not my ‘greatest accomplishment’ and that I resent the assumption they are?”
OP started with a possibly bold statement.
“I love my kids, but they are not my everything.”
“I had a whole lifetime before. I ran marathons, climbed mountains, wrote a novel that was published and did moderately successful in the 00s, and have a MFA in creative writing.”
“Chatting with some folks in the neighborhood, we got to talking about our greatest accomplishments.”
Everything was fine, until…
“When it came to me, Tom said ‘Oh, well we know what your greatest accomplishment is, obviously. You have three beautiful, well-behaved children.'”
“I was honestly shocked, and I said no, that’s NOT my greatest accomplishment.”
“He looked just as shocked, and I said what my greatest accomplishment is, and then said ‘And by the way, I resent the assumption that having kids is my greatest accomplishment. You have kids, why didn’t you say that?'”
“He said how he didn’t birth the kids, and how that’s a miracle of life and all that gag-me sh*t.”
“I just rolled my eyes and said ‘Let’s not boil women down to their biological functions, kay?”’
“Jen, who has kids, chimed in and said ‘Well, my kids are my greatest accomplishment. I can’t imagine thinking anything else.”’
“Tom looked super smug, others including other moms chimed in.”
“All of the moms agreed their kids were their greatest accomplishment.”
“I kind of stewed about it.”
“After that, the woman who chimed in sent me a message asking me if I needed to talk to someone, and asked if I was depressed, because my statement was worrisome.”
“She ended up reaching out to my husband to encourage me to get help, because it seems I’m unhappy being a mom and that puts my kids at risk.”
OP was left to wonder,
“Am I really the a**hole here for thinking being a Mom isn’t the end all be all of my life?”
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
Many commenters agreed with OP’s perspective.
“NTA you are spot on.”
“These women are defining themselves by a biological function. In theory, it’s the RAISING of those offspring that would count more, and include smug faced Tom (if he has kids).” ~ chubby-wench
“Spot on! My kids aren’t my greatest accomplishments and I haven’t even written a book or climbed a mountain. I consider myself a guide on their journey not their master.” ~ ripleygirl
Some pointed out that this detracts from the autonomy of the child.
“Also, why is my son my greatest accomplishment? He’s doing the work of growing and learning himself.”
“Where is my kid’s agency and autonomy from me? Kids are not accomplishments, they’re whole people.” ~ GoodMorningMorticia
“Once your kids are past… defintely preschool age, probably before that, their accomplishments are their own.”
“You can support them and help them, and you can be proud of them, but they’re not an achievement.”
“(Also calling them an achievement or accomplishment is very objectifying, and we really do not need to encourage people to see children as things.)” ~ smolgoat
“I was just going to post the same thing.”
“I’m not taking credit for my kids hard work.”
“Those things are THEIR achievements, not mine. Am I proud of them? Yes.”
“Are they my achievement? No.”
“I am also not taking credit for their f*$# ups either. They get credit for those too.”
“I honestly have little to do with their straight A’s (or not…lol) and accomplishments in activities.”
“My contribution is gas, driving them places, paying for activities that we can afford and they are interested in, and cheering them on.”
“The achievement part is up to them.” ~ Positive-Dimension75
Other commenters insinuated that sexism was behind Tom’s behavior.
“Initially they were her greatest accomplishment because she had beautiful, well-behaved kids.”
“Then it was that OP physically birthed them when she asked him why his kids aren’t his.”
“He doesn’t think his kids are his greatest accomplishment because he has a sense of self outside of his role as father. He doesn’t think women feel the same way.”
“In his view, the pinnacle of womanhood is clearly motherhood, and if it’s not, you’re a bad woman and a bad mommy.”
“Nobody should be aghast that she doesn’t feel that way if they’re also fine with the fact that he didn’t feel that way.”
“There shouldn’t be a double standard here and the only explanation for it that I can find is that he doesn’t think women can be whole people like he is.”
“Just to add: being a parent is an amazing thing and, if it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever done by your estimation, that’s wonderful.”
“I’m just irritated that men get to be proud of their careers or achievements over their kids and women can’t.” ~ myohmymiketyson
“This points out one of the biggest flaws in societal thinking.”
“As a woman, telling someone you don’t want kids is often met with an onslaught of questions, concern, or misplaced ‘advice.’ Even trying to have an honest conversation about why it shouldn’t be THE EXPECTATION of all women to have children can be off-putting to some.”
“This expectation doesn’t befall men in the same way.”
“It sucks that a woman is pressured to say ‘I wouldn’t be anything without my children.’ Yet her male partner can claim accomplishments outside of parenthood.”
“(WHILE IN THE ROOM with the mother of his children) while others hurl judgement her way if she dares claim life achievements that don’t pertain to her children.”
“Tom needs to keep his mouth shut unless he’s talking to a therapist about why he thinks it’s okay that a woman’s role is boiled down simply to ‘wife and mommy.’ Ew.”
“OP is definitely NTA. And DH needs to man up and back his wife’s statement. Also, they clearly need some new people to hang out with.” ~ BizzyLadyLiz
Commenters pointed out how individualized the answers to such a question could be.
“I feel like your main achievement can be so individual too.”
“Like on paper my most impressive thing might be one thing, but to me my main achievement is pushing through some serious mental illness when I didn’t think I would make it, even if that’s not something you usually brag about to your neighbors.”
“Like what’s most outwardly impressive might not be your most meaningful achievement.” ~ [deleted]
“I mean, in all honesty my greatest accomplishment is walking to my hostel with an inflamed foot tendon.”
“I have a master’s and a job I love.”
“Nowhere near as hard as that walk. I’m sure Kilimanjaro would be harder, but I haven’t done that, so…”
“I agree that anyone who assumes a woman’s greatest achievement is her kids is a gross sexist idiot.”
“BUT we shouldn’t shame the women who think it IS. It’s hard.”
“I’m newly pregnant and it’s f*cking awful. I want the thing gone. But unfortunately, I want the end product lol. Growing this little parasite will be a huge achievement for me, and that’s fine” ~ Lonelysock2
Though, this comment might be my favorite.
“To be fair this isn’t just limited to women or mothers, but it’s the sense that The way I’ve done things was the best way for me, so it’s the best way for others.”
“One of my friends got married at 17 to a guy who was 18 at the time.”
“They had 4 kids in just over 3 years.”
“A few years after that we were having a conversation at a party and she said she’s sad that I was missing out on that life (because at the time I was maybe 26 and unmarried with no kids).”
“My response was pretty obvious…I’m not the one missing out.”
“I got to see the world, I never had money issues or questions, I was able to do almost anything I wanted to do without having to explain myself, and I loved it.”
“Not once did I say her experience was less than mine…her experience might have been perfect for her, but it wasn’t for me.”
“The second you attempt to tell someone else what their experience with life should be, you’re missing what makes human beings different from any other animal on the planet.” ~ dereksalem
OP did return with some final thoughts.
“Why are people sending me chats instead of posting?”
“Don’t send me chats. I’m just going to ignore them. And no, AskGoblins, I don’t want you to read my post on your sh*tty YouTube channel.
“Also, Lucia-pacciola, who crossposted this to ‘AmITheAngel’, my greatest accomplishment is actually climbing Kili and Denali the same summer I knocked off the final 14ers of the contiguous US states, with my now husband.”
“But go off with thinking it’s bad to be proud of having a MFA.”
Your life is individualistic as your fingerprint or the pattern of blood vessels in your eye.
Your achievements should be no less unique.