Kids will say the darnedest things, and it’s typically best to shrug it off.
But sometimes, what they say should be turned into a teachable moment, especially when it’s in regards to one of their family members, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
But Redditor Remarkable_Weight237 decided that he would blame what his daughter said on his wife’s insecurities, rather than how he interacted with his wife.
When his wife didn’t take the insecurities comment well, the Original Poster (OP) felt frustrated.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for defending my friend and saying my wife needs to work on her insecurities?”
The OP’s wife was not the most comfortable with their group of friends.
“I’ve been married to ‘Jessica’ for 13 years and we have two girls, 12 and 5.”
“I have a female friend, ‘Madison,’ who I have known since before I was with Jessica.”
“This has never caused much of an issue because I met Madison through her ex-husband, who is still one of her best friends, and we usually hang out in a group, so Jessica has never felt jealous or threatened.”
“She doesn’t like Madison, though, due to clashing personalities.”
“She feels Madison and our mutual friend (her ex)’s wife look down on her, but she can’t come up with any examples and admits it is just a gut feeling.”
“I don’t know what to believe there, because other people have told me they felt that it was Jessica who hated the two other women.”
The OP didn’t think his wife liked the relationship their daughters had with Madison.
“Madison has a glamorous life. She used to work in fashion and married a guy with ‘f**k you’ money, so my 12-year-old has always been in awe of her just due to the clothes and the parties.”
“This annoys Jessica, but we never thought much of it.”
“Jessica is more the girl-next-door type and looks down on Madison for some of the glamour.”
“My 5-year-old has been having some behavioral issues lately, so we are working on that, but everyone is a little tense.”
Their relationship led to Jessica’s feelings getting hurt.
“Madison and her current husband stopped by Saturday night after attending some sort of gala fundraiser, because he lent me something and needed it back.”
“Madison was dressed up from the gala.”
“Our 5-year-old heard the noise and it woke her up. We had been having a tough day with her behavior, and my wife was burnt out.”
“She saw Madison and said, ‘You look like a princess. You are so pretty and your dresses are so pretty. I wish you were my mom.'”
“Madison laughed and was like, ‘Aww, thank you.'”
Jessica didn’t take this interaction well.
“Jessica thought Madison’s response was insensitive. When they left, she went off about what a b***h Madison was.”
“I thought it would blow over, but she has been pressuring me to distance myself from the friendship.”
“I argued Madison didn’t even do anything, and it was about a dress, not my wife.”
“But Jessica says that it doesn’t matter what Madison did. She is my wife and she is uncomfortable, so that should be my priority.”
“Today she brought it up again, and I snapped at her that she needs to work on her insecurity.”
“No one did anything wrong, and I am entitled to a life and friendships which don’t get to be dictated by her insecurities. Obviously, that did not go over well.”
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 the OP should have tried to remedy the situation when it happened.
“YTA. Your child said this: ‘I wish you were my mom.'”
“And you did nothing to correct either your kid or Madison? You did worse than that, you allowed this random woman to encourage the comment and validated her over your wife.”
“Do you even LIKE your wife? Cause you certainly don’t have her back at all. Disgraceful.” – VixNeko
“Kids can say things that can hurt.”
“But this isn’t that. This is about what the other adults did after it was said. How hard is it for a life partner to say, ‘But sweetie, you love your mom,’ or ‘Your mom is special, too,’ or literally anything else?” – SlammyWhammies
“OP really glazed over how his wife actually feels about Madison. My bet is she has always been an issue, but OP likes being associated with people with ‘f**k you money.'”
“OP’s wife reacted exactly how I would expect a spouse to react after being treated this way, what sounds like repeatedly.” – Personal_Regular_569
“ESH, I think.”
“1. Your wife sucks for trying to dictate your friendships, though it does sound like she’s sort of reached a final straw kind of attitude after a lot of resentment has built up toward this woman. Even if it’s coming from a place of insecurity, that’s just unfortunately where she’s at now and it’s not the most mature.”
“2. Madison sucks for not sticking up for your wife in the eyes of your daughter. I realize that’s petty and not truly her fault, but if someone’s daughter said, ‘I wish you were my mom,’ with their mom standing right there, I would kindly remind her that her mom is beautiful and hype her up instead. I can 100% see why your wife’s feelings would be hurt by that.”
“3. You kinda suck for not better understanding where your wife is coming from and not doing more to reassure her and hype her up within your own family. In the above scenario, for example, you could have said something like, ‘Well, your mom is my favorite princess,’ and given her a kiss or something. Again, I realize it might seem silly, but that little gesture of your love and support would have gone a long way to alleviate this, I bet.”
“Just seems like lots of ongoing insensitivity and poor communication has resulted in a blow-up, and you could both be respecting and supporting each other better.”
“EDIT TO ADD: For anyone who doesn’t want to deep dive into OP’s comments. He has stated, among other things:”
“1. That he married Jessica primarily because she got pregnant and because she fit ok into his lifestyle; not because of love.”
“2. They maintain separate lives; he states he doesn’t want to lose his independence to fatherhood and husbandhood. So her friends hardly know him, and his friends hardly know her. They go out separately. He has dinner with Madison (and her ex-husband) 1-2 times a week.”
“3. Losing Madison is a dealbreaker for him. He has proposed divorce to his wife but believes she’s simply staying with him to continue to have things paid for as a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom).”
“So in short, my assessment of him sucking was pretty correct. He doesn’t like his wife very much and is prioritizing his friendship with Madison over everything else.”
“No wonder there’s some insecurity on his wife’s part.” – DorothyZbornaksArmy
“The OP’s wife sounds exhausted with feeling like she has to either keep up with or be looked down on.”
“By the way OP describes it, this sounds like just one example of the wife feeling like crap and OP dismissing it. She feels insecure and OP isn’t doing anything to help.”
“She’s at her wit’s end, so she set an unreasonable boundary.”
“Also, it might not be the case with guys, but if a woman doesn’t like you, women will know. Trust me, we know.”
“And the kid is just a kid and innocent in all of this. Five-year-olds can be unintentionally hurtful. It’s on dad to step in and raise mom up, because she’s his partner and he loves her.” – awkwardlyherdingcats
Others were also conflicted about how Madison responded to the five-year-old.
“If I were Madison, I would automatically say something about how her mom was actually the best. I don’t necessarily think her response was said with malice, but I understand how it hurts, especially since the OP didn’t say anything.” – mari287
“My son’s friends will say this on occasion and my response is always to laugh and say, ‘No, you don’t. Your mom is WAY more fun than I am. I make my kids eat broccoli!!’ or something else similar.”
“I always make sure it’s something true, so when they ask my son, he’ll say, ‘She does!'” – Jade_Echo
“If I were Madison, I would have panicked, thought WTF (what the f**k) do I say to that, and probably ignored the comment out of anxiety or said something stupid.”
“Madison isn’t at fault and shouldn’t be edged out of their lives because she didn’t have the perfect comeback to a 5-year-old being a 5-year-old and having a moment.” – excel_pager_420
“I don’t think Madison is an a**hole. I do wonder if the kiddo is having behavioral issues, and maybe the wife is feeling insecure about her mothering skills and needs more support from the husband.” – Comfortable_Stick520
“Yeah, Madison didn’t do anything wrong. It must have been super uncomfortable for her too, and so she laughed it off, said thanks, and moved on.”
“People (wife included) are acting like Madison said, ‘Aww yeah, you’re right, I would be a better mother.'”
“Yeah, OP should have addressed it after Madison left, but I don’t think they were in the wrong for not saying anything at the moment.”
“AND, OP’s wife should have responded by saying something like, ‘How Madison reacted to what our daughter said made me very upset… Please talk to our daughter,’ rather than insisting OP cut out a friend.” – dead_b4_quarantine
One Redditor very thoughtfully responded about the conflicting feelings Jessica likely had.
“To Redditor Fantastic_Deal2693 who commented, ‘It would have been better had the husband said he didn’t. Then everyone should have laughed it off.'”
“You’re absolutely right, but…”
“You’ve also had a moment while reading to think of saying that, and you weren’t personally invested in that pressure cooker moment. We’re on the outside looking in.”
“It is mortifying when a kid gives you a generous compliment, which then inadvertently insults/hurts someone else.”
“No matter WHAT you say in that moment, it won’t make it better (whether it be ‘No, your mom is REALLY the best,’ or ‘Did you know that your mom is a secret superhero?’), because even your most flattering comment won’t negate or make Jessica forget her child’s comment… which is what Jessica was really hurt by.”
“Jessica will still be hurt and insulted by her daughter’s words, and she’ll still take out her hurt feelings on Madison and blame her for the comment (even though she did nothing wrong).”
“Madison could neither do nor say anything right in that situation (and meanwhile, she was probably cringing on the inside and wishing she could disappear). Madison already knows there’s tension with Jessica, and she likely assumed that this was going to cause her friendship with the OP to implode.”
“It’s really hard to think of something clever to say in those awkward moments, and so something even more awkward usually gets blurted out due to the overwhelming pressure, and now she’s made things even worse.”
“Blaming Madison for her (maybe) graceless, but clearly unauthorized and obviously forbidden reaction (according to Jessica) to what Jessica’s own daughter said, is really a bit illogical.”
“Sure, Jessica may have some insecurities when it comes to Madison… she sounds like she’s got it made and the good life is a pretty good fit for her (meanwhile, Jessica is dealing with her 5-year-old’s challenges)…”
“And that’s where I imagine her insecurities stem from: her feelings of inadequacy as a mother (which FYI, would be completely understandable/relatable for every mother).”
“We as mothers put FAR too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, or we think that WE did something to cause their child’s behavioral challenges. There’s also so much angst and emotion tied to dealing with those challenges (and then THAT child was the one to make the hurtful comment?? ugh).”
“She’s probably also feeling like she’s being judged by every other ‘perfect’ mother she knows (whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter). Overwhelming internal pressures, insecurities, doubt, mommy guilt, and self-judgment aren’t exactly the best emotions for a positive headspace and having healthy self-esteem.”
“That also wouldn’t make her the most reliable narrator of the previous history regarding the strained ‘friendships.'”
“Look, if Jessica was lashing out due to feeling insecure as a mother, that is completely understandable, and I think every mother would empathize with her, because we’ve all been there…”
“But if that’s not it, then it does sound like she may be feeling insecure because she’s comparing herself to Madison (and as they say, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’).”
“I really hope Jessica goes to speak to a professional about how she’s currently feeling… regardless of what those feelings are really about. She deserves to be happy… and it just doesn’t sound like she really is.” – StarboardSeat
While the subReddit was cringing, knowing that there wasn’t a particularly graceful way to get through this situation, they pointed out that the OP could have done more, either by turning the situation into a compliment toward his wife, or later discussing what was said with his daughter.
But it was clear from the conversations the OP held in the comments section that he was not prepared to do that, as he was in a marriage of convenience, rather than love.
It wouldn’t be too surprising if their 5-year-old’s behavioral issues were stemming, at least in part, from the strained marriage in the household, and that his wife’s outburst was a product of years of lackluster cohabitation.