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Mom Refuses To Leave Kids With Mother-In-Law After She Feeds Them Fast Food Against Her Wishes

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Redditor hronologos is a 28-year-old mom to three children.

Like any mother, she wants what’s best for her young boys.

But when her mother-in-law repeatedly challenged her kids’ dietary restrictions, she was forced to make a decision out of spite that led to drama.

When she was accused of overreacting, she visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for not leaving my children with my MIL unsupervised because of fast food?”

The Original Poster (OP) asked:

“I used to have a great relationship with my MIL(58F) until my children started growing up. I have three boys, 4y, and 6y twins.”

“My MIL wants the boys over the weekend to spend time with them and I am grateful she takes them so I can clean, relax and go out with my husband.”

“I am very peculiar about the children eating fast food like McDonalds and KFC. KFC, they’ve had along with Subway and some other fast food places but I avoid ordering from those places.”

“When they get older, sure, I will be unable to stop them from eating fast food but when they are this young and eat what I give them I rather they don’t know McDonalds even exists.”

“My MIL rolled her eyes the first time I mentioned this and asked her to not order it. She told me she thought I was being ridiculous because my husband ate McDonalds every day after school and he turned out fine (insert him having the most delicate stomach I’ve seen on a human being).”

“I told her she can think it’s silly, just to please not order it for the boys. She agreed. A few weekends ago surprise surprise the twins came back talking about ‘their secret meal from mummy’ giggling around.”

“I took them to the mall and they were frantically pointing at the big M begging me to go.”

“I asked them how they knew it was so good and they said because they ate it but I can’t know (FBI will draft them for their lying abilities for sure). I called my MIL told her I did not appreciate it and she should at least tell me next time.”

“She said okay, it was a one time deal.”

“Next weekend, same thing, except the kids ate a ton of snacks, drank only sugar drinks and stayed up till 12a.m. That includes the 4yo. I tried to talk to my MIL again and told her we can make compromises but she needs to be willing to work with me.”

“Again, okay sure. Kids come back the third weekend giggling again and tell their dad they ate McDonalds 3 times over at grandma.”

“I got pissed off at this point and next weekend just kept the kids. My MIL came over and asked me if something was wrong. I told her I was disappointed she was completely ignoring me.”

“She said it was her house her rules, I was controlling and needed to get myself a hobby. She also called me an a-hole when I said from now on she is welcome to visit them at our house but they won’t be going over to her house.”

“My husband backed me up which is nice but AITA?”

“My mom said I overreacted.”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

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

Plenty of Redditors sided with the OP as not the a**hole.

“NTA. I’m honestly shocked so many people aren’t on your side or can’t decide. If my child ever told me that someone told them to lie to me or hide things from me we would have problems. You gave her so many chances.”

“Do I think you may be a little strict about food & that someday your children will grow up to want nothing but junk food? Of course I do. But I still wouldn’t let someone like that around my children alone either.”

“Edit to say- OP I think you’re a great parent. When I said you may be a little strict I really did mean a little & with your edit I don’t even think that anymore.”

“Your comment about grandma making these foods unicorn foods that they now think are amazing fun things they can have when someone breaks moms rules was definitely a big part of what I was thinking.”

“I also have to deal with a mother in law that loved to try and prove that she’s the best mom ever by not following my rules with my kids, I responded with a year of no unsupervised time with them & it helped so much & also has shown her son that it’s okay to stand up to his mom.”

“She still tries to argue sometimes but in the end she doesn’t undermine us. I doubt it will last long but if she goes back to it she will get another time out.”

“Stand your ground with your boundaries, it may take a while for her to get it but if you don’t she’ll never respect you as a parent. And ignore the people that say you should just deal with it because she’s willing to babysit, that’s ridiculous.” – herdingsquirrels

“It’s so so so dangerous. What’s the difference in a little kids mind of grandma telling them to lie and a stranger telling them to lie?”

“The food would piss me off, the lying is unforgivable.” – cloud_designer

“Because she knows it pisses her DIL [daughter-in-law] off. Notice she escalated once she got a reaction?”

“You are NTA. There is a difference between getting special treats with grandma and grandma using the children as a tool against her DIL.” – Few-Cable5130

“NTA. Can’t drop the ‘her house her rules’ line and then get mad when you say ‘my kids my rules.’ You gave her multiple chances to even just compromise with you, what did she think was going to happen?” – usnmisnotwittyngham

“NTA – MIL is undermining your authority as the parent and teaching your kids it’s 1. Ok to not listen to you 2. Ok to not respect what you tell them 3. To lie to you 4. To keep secrets from you.”

“All of those issues are waaaayyyyyyyy bigger than the happy meal. Plus that food is disgustingly unhealthy. If you don’t want them to eat that garbage she should respect that.” – Senorita-Hot-Pants13

“NTA. She doesn’t respect your boundaries regarding the health of your children. She doesn’t get to disrespect your boundaries and then cry about the consequences she’s now dealing with.”

“There were three strikes – she’s out. Also, r/justnomil will likely be a great source for you. They’ve dealt with it all.” – baobab77

“NTA – it’s not about the food so much as about the deliberate breaking of rules and getting kids to keep secrets from you, their parent.”

“Kids should never be encouraged to keep secrets (apart from temporary nice ones like not telling daddy what he’s getting for his birthday because it’s a surprise).”

“Abusers weaponise secret keeping so it’s important for everyone around kids of that age to always be aware that the only secrets you have are nice, temporary ones.”

“As someone who did exactly what you did with my kid when they were little (didn’t get McDonald’s until they wanted to try it because they were the only kid in first grade who hadn’t had it) you have my sincere sympathies.”

“I would have been ropable. But since I assume you want your kids and their grandma to have a relationship, after you’ve had a discussion about boundaries and secrets, could you roll back and allow one McDonald’s meal a week with grandma, so that’s their thing? Fully understand if you don’t want to, but thought I’d throw it out there.” – ZippyKoala

In an update, the OP wrote the following:

“Thank you all for validating my emotions. I was beginning to think I was being petty and going crazy. I do know the lying is a bigger issue and that was discussed the first time and was cleared so far. Kids came back and we asked them what they ate and they told us everything.”

“For everyone saying stfu if you want a babysitter for the weekend, well, I can watch my kids and I can call a babysitter. I won’t screw with what I stand for because I want someone to take my kids for a day or two.”

“To those that went crazy that I am creating picky eaters and withholding certain foods, I can only laugh. They’ve become picky after eating so much junk and now refuse healthy foods and keep begging to get the same ‘cool’ nights they have at grandma.”

“So yeah, she made fast food to be this unicorn food and I have to spend 20-30 minutes trying to explain why we cannot have cheeseburgers for dinner and candy and stay up late.”

“They have fast food at birthdays- KFC, Chick-fil-a.. whatever the host serves they can have. This is about food habits and preferences. Please stop assuming everything is black and white. They are not prohibited from having certain foods, but they are fed healthier options.”

“How am I the villain for saying ‘Hey, since they spend so much time with you, how about working on a compromise on the food they get?’ Did I say completely no to junk food? No.”

“I said I wanna work something out. I am willing to let her incorporate it in their schedule, just not two days out of the week. There is a golden middle people.”

Overall, many Redditors thought it was the OP’s prerogative to decide what’s best for her children to eat, and they believed the MIL disrespecting that was unacceptable.

Hopefully, the OP’s compromise is something the MIL can work with.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo