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Parents On The Verge Of Separating At Odds After Mom Leaves Dad Off Their Kid’s Birthday Card

Girl making wish on birthday candles
mrs/Getty Images

Gift-giving, event planning, and holiday preparations tend to be among those homemaking activities that generally fall to women and mothers.

There’s this general consensus with cards, for example, that they’ll be signed by both parents, even if the mother did all of the selecting, purchasing, and note-writing, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

But with a relationship separation on the horizon, Redditor Low_Algae_9312 wanted to give her daughter a card on her birthday that was just from mother to daughter.

When her soon-to-be ex-husband realized she had not included him on the card, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised by how angry he became by her not doing the planning for him.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not putting both our names on the card?”

The OP got her daughter a birthday card for her fourth birthday.

“It was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, and I wrote her the following in her birthday card:”

“‘To my rainbow, happy 4th birthday. I love you to the moon, stars, sun, rain, and back again. You make me so happy.'”

“‘Happy Birthday. Love, Mummy.'”

The OP’s soon-to-be ex-husband was angry to not be included.

“My partner was FURIOUS that I didn’t write it from the both of us.”

“Her father and I are on rocky ground and on the verge of separating. It is otherwise a happy, secure, and standard nuclear parenting relationship.”

“I showed him the card earlier in the day yesterday and said, ‘Look how cute the card is that I got for our daughter.'”

He said, ‘Oh, it’s a little train, how cute.'”

The OP thought there was a miscommunication along the way.

“He didn’t say anything like, ‘Sign it for me, as well,’ or ‘Put my name in there when you sign it.'”

“And there’s also been no history of birthday cards specifically from us either way, not both signing or one signing, whatever.”

“As far as I can remember, this is the first birthday card either of us has ever even done; I don’t know if that makes this more or less of an a**hole thing, but it hasn’t been an expectation up to this point.”

“I just wanted a card from me to her, you know? He knew there was a card and didn’t ask that it be from both of us, and he didn’t get a card for her himself, so I just signed it from me.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought that the OP was being intentionally passive-aggressive.

“YTA. My family typically has my dad go out and get gifts while my mom decorates and writes on the card, and she says from mom and dad. Is it really THAT HARD to write ‘and Dad’ on it?!”

“The fact people are saying NTA is sending me, because this is super passive-aggressive.” – Ok_Order_5595

“YTA for using your daughter’s birthday as a malicious dig at your soon-to-be ex.”

“You knew what you were doing and usually separating would mean individual cards, but you used your child’s birthday to be an a**hole.” – No-Attention-3420

“Wow. I’ve never gotten a separate card for my birthday. In my family, someone would buy one, and we would pass it around until everyone signs it. It’s often really fun to work out the logistics, especially when we live in different states. When I say family, I mean my parents and siblings.”

“OP says in one of her comments that she’s always gotten two cards from each of her parents, so I can’t say anything based on tradition.”

“But I think it’s worth asking what was done for the previous three years. If they used to get one card and then things changed this year because they are separating, then things should really be conveyed clearly.”

“It really feels like the kid is being made into a tool for revenge. Or to make a point. I’m unsure, but in my opinion, it just doesn’t feel right.”

“YTA. Don’t use your kid as a prop in whatever spat you and your partner are having.” – NoGuarantee6075

“YTA. Even if you are separating, you’re still together enough that you showed him the card beforehand, and it’s unlikely that your toddler understands or knows that you’re separating. There was no reason to purposely leave him off the card, especially without saying anything to him when you made it a point to show him the card before giving it to her.”

“I never once got separate birthday cards from my parents until after they were officially divorced when I was 17. Even the two years that they were separated and lived separately, they jointly picked a gift, purchased it, and signed a card.” – Inevitable-Truth2528

“YTA. No wonder you’re divorcing, you have zero communication skills. That probably goes for both of you. But when one parent gets a card, whichever one it is, you expect it to be signed from Mom AND Dad…” – VikingBorealis

“YTA. This really feels like point scoring, if you had let him know at the time you showed him that you planned to be the only one to sign it, you would have at least given him an opportunity to get a card himself.”

“But in my opinion, showing him the bought card without clarification was saying, ‘I’ve got this card for our daughter from us, do you like it?’ It didn’t say, ‘I’ve got this, now you need to go and get one.'”

“Shouldn’t your effort really be in making sure your daughter feels loved by both of you, not scoring points? Adding his name to the card was an easy way to do this.” – TheMightyPopz


“When my children eat dinner at home that my wife cooked, they say, ‘Thank you, Mom and Dad, for dinner.'”

“When I take the family to a restaurant, my children say, ‘Thank you, Mom and Dad, for dinner.'”

“When I took my family to Hawaii, my children said, ‘Thank you, Mom and Dad,’ even though I purchased everything.”

“I don’t understand why you’re being so selfish. It’s like me demanding my wife not to take any ‘credit’ for a family vacation or anything else I purchase. We’re a family.”

“YTA. Grow up.” – RompehToto

Others thought that the father shouldn’t have expected the burden to be on the OP.

“NTA. I get that gifts are often from both parents, but in general, moms tend to bear the burden of gift-giving and celebrations. My mom would write all the cards and put them from both parents, though it wouldn’t have made a difference since I know my dad didn’t contribute.”

“I definitely agree that the communication is overall heavily lacking (this could’ve been solved by asking, ‘Do you want to write something?’ or her partner asking, ‘Can I write something?’) but for him to be furious about it is really strange and demonstrates a generally assuming attitude.” – sudsyotter

“So many people are like, ‘How could you even think to NOT put his name down, he’s the FATHER.’ Like, okay? Could the father also not buy his own card or sign his own name or take an interest in the card beyond just making sure his name is on there?”

“Is it not a bit embarrassing the amount of women that have to do all the gift buying and card signing because their male partners just don’t give a s**t? And then they throw temper tantrums when they realize their laziness and indifference are actually pointed out?”

“There is a large mental load in these gift-giving situations, so the least a GROWN MAN who is FULLY CAPABLE of signing his own name or just writing ‘and Dad’ at the end can do, is just that.”

“At the end of the day, communicating as partners and splitting the mental load of these activities could go a long way in making OP and her partner both feel included and appreciated in their family. NTA.” – last-doughnut-1004

“NTA. He could’ve taken the initiative to spend five extra seconds writing his own name down to show that he cared. Or even better yet, he could’ve bought her his own card that he thought she would like.”

“I personally could always tell growing up that it was just my mom signing for stuff and that my dad couldn’t be bothered to spend the extra five seconds writing his own name down to say that he loved me.”

“We as a society need to stop making excuses for these lazy husbands not putting in the effort for their own kids.” – Legal-Ad-1454

“NTA. Men need to step up more and put in effort to help plan events. My mom always signed the card for my dad and I knew it. It was obvious that she was the one who actually put thought and consideration into making sure my birthday went well while he just went along with things.”

“Your daughter might be too young to recognize that now at her age, but eventually she will.”

“Hopefully, this serves as a lesson to him that he should help pick out cards or at the bare minimum, ask to sign. When she gets older, she’ll appreciate seeing a little message from both of her parents instead of two names signed in the same handwriting.” – Sleepy_Panda_90

“Ugh, NTA. My mom always had to do everything, figure out the gifts, cake, party, card, whatever. She signed it from both of them, but I was extremely young when I realized it was just from her. Kids aren’t stupid. He should buy his own card or, better yet, take thirty seconds to write in the card himself so his kid can see he gives a s**t.” – Chaiykri

The subReddit was as divided over this card signing as the couple seemed they would be in the future. While some thought that the OP had set a trap for her soon-to-be ex by showing him the card, which might suggest that she was involving him in the gift-giving, others felt that it was time for the father to step up and play his part in the gift-giving, rather than expecting his soon-to-be-former wife to do everything around the holidays.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.