For a parent, it can be tough when their own approach with their child collides head on with the priorities another parent takes with theirs.
Both parents must navigate their children’s simpler friendship, walking the fine line between sticking to their own guns and being flexible with others.
Sometimes, though, toeing that line can be a fraught experience.
One Redditor, known as Individual-Inside-23 on the site, learned that the hard way when her daughter attended a recent birthday party. She explained it all in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP) used a title that conveyed the specific issue at play.
“AITA for not allowing my daughter to get a makeover at a birthday party?”
First, OP offered some background information.
“This happened last year.”
“Because of actions my parents did when I was a kid I do not allow my daughter, Maisie [5-year-old female], to play with make-up.”
“When I was a kid my parents fu**ed up my self confidence and self worth by convincing me the only way I’d ever find love or success was if I was pretty.”
OP expanded on those traumas.
“At 8 my mom started perming my hair. By 13 I was getting highlights. By 14 she was having my brows waxed. At 16 she convinced me I needed a nose job or the boys would never like me.”
“Around 15 she was reminding me to wear lipstick and something pretty in case any boys saw me.”
“For years I defined my own worth based on whether or not I was pretty. It took years to repair that damage. I swore I’d never do that to my kids.”
Then OP moved on to the present day.
“Maisie’s classmate ‘Anna’ had her 5th birthday party and Maisie was invited.”
“The party was dance-club themed but there were also activity stations set up as well. Build your own cupcake, make your own crayons, make your own clay sculpture, finger painting, etc, and one of the stations was profession party makeup.”
“Anna’s parents had hired three professional stylists to give the girls fun makeover and do things to their hair like temporary color dye and clip-in extensions for curls and such.”
But for OP, this kind of a party presented an issue.
“My Maisie, while enjoying toys and clothes from both sections of the store, is mostly a girly-girl and she’s always been curious about makeup.”
“She sees those kid-friendly sets at the store or is sometimes gifted them by relatives and she wants to play with them but I don’t allow it.”
“When Maisie is a teenager she and I will discuss makeup and how to use it properly and when I believe she’s mature enough to wear it and not let beauty define her I will let her wear it.”
“And, once she’s 18 she can do whatever she wants.”
OP had a quick exchange with her daughter about it all.
“The stylists required parental consent before doing anything so Maisie came and asked me if she could have her makeup done and her hair fixed.”
“I said no and explained why. Maisie took it well and in a moment her favorite song came on and her friends took her away to dance and eventually the matter was forgotten.”
“Maisie enjoyed the party and we went home happy.”
But for OP, it didn’t end there.
“But, through the other parents, word got around that I refused to let Maisie get her makeup done and now the other parents are calling me some crazy helicopter mom who is trying to control her kids.”
“Apparently they think that it was an a**hole move to make Maisie go without a makeover when most of the other girls (it was an all-girl party) had their makeup done.”
“Now it’s gotten back to my husband and he said he agrees that Maisie doesn’t need makeup every day but surely I could have let her wear it at the party and washed it off when the party ended.”
“We didn’t fight, but he told me that if he’d been there he’d have thought I was being controlling, too.”
“Was I an a**hole for not letting Maisie get her makeup done?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Many Redditors did criticize OP’s actions, but gave space to understand the nuanced source of her motivations.
“This is a hard one to judge, because you are the parent and you know what is best for your child. However I do think YTA very lightly. It’s a one time thing, where she can go have fun doing all the things at a party.”
“You can tell her that makeup is just for fun and that she absolutely does not need it to look or feel pretty.” — imamoose-
“YTA but honestly a lot of it is because of your residual trauma.”
“A single case of a makeover will not impact your child the same way you were, especially if you reenforce it with support and guidance as she grows up.”
“Instead now you’re harming her in another way. You are a loving and supportive parent so don’t allow your trauma to become heriditary.” — IllustriousComplex6
“Look, I understand your concerns about makeup because there is a lot of toxic shit in that arena, but – and this is a big but – you’re taking this too far. This sounds like age-appropriate (although who has 3 professional makeup artists at a kids birthday party?!), and you let your trauma block your child from enjoying safe and age appropriate activities.”
“You need to get in to therapy, because you deserve to have healing from your childhood. And your daughter deserves a parent who will let her develop a healthy relationship with makeup instead of blocking her from even experimenting with it in an age appropriate fashion.” — aSeaPersonByNight
Others were far less delicate when conveying that criticism.
“YTA. Wow. Stop projecting your own issues onto your daughter.” — potentialsmbc2023
“YTA for being a weirdo and embarrassing your daughter in the group. You’re doing the same type of damage to your daughter as your parents did to you, just differently.” — subversivesocialite
“YTA, so you have issues with makeup and all the stuff that comes with it so you will force them on your daughter. It was a 5 years old party. Really, you couldn’t let have fun for 1 day?” — MizPrend
Blunt or gentle, the comments clearly were heard loud and clear by OP.
She posted an update that explained what she learned and how she planned to proceed.
“I’ve gotten really good answers here and also a good dose of humility and bluntness. I realize now that I’m unhealthy projecting my own trauma on Maisie and I have some work to do on myself.”
“So, I will be making a phone call to my therapist and getting back into that, and I’ve just placed an order on Amazon for a makeup set for little kids.”
“When it gets here, Maisie and I (and daddy, if he wants to join in) will spend an evening with the TV off, phones off, learning about makeup and also how beauty can make us feel powerful and confident.”
We wish OP and her daughter the very best, empowering journey forward as she continues to grow up.