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Mom Threatens To Shut Off Stepdaughter’s Phone After She Trashes House And Won’t Pay For Cleaning

A person tracks mud into a house with white carpeting
Andrey Popov/Getty Images

They say, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Who are “they?”

Who knows.

People who are obsessed with bleach, perhaps.

It’s understandable to want your home clean.

But are there limits to achieving cleanliness perfection?

Case in point…

Redditor throwawayy029482 wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for forcing my stepdaughter to pay me back after she ruined my house?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (43 F[emale]) and my husband (47 M[ale]) have been married for 4 years now.”

“We both have children from our previous marriages, (12 M) and (10 M) and ‘O’ (18 F).”

“My husband and I dated for three years prior to getting married but moved in altogether two years ago.”

“O lives with us full time, and it had a bit of a rocky start with mine and O’s relationship, but we managed to push through it.”

‘I told O from day one that I wasn’t her mom, but if there was anything she wants to talk about or need, she can come to me.”

“After a few months, we became quite close, and she talked to me about anything she was too embarrassed to talk about with her dad.”

“Recently, O has been trying to make friends at College since she just started in the spring.”

“On-campus residence is very expensive for the college, and it’s close to our house, so O decided to stay at home.”

“That’s not a problem. The problem is that O keeps bringing her friends over to hang out but leaving it a mess.”

“Normally, it’s not a major deal.”

“I have O[bsessive] C[ompulsive] D[disorder], so sometimes there are issues depending on the situation though because she picks up after herself.”

“But I recently hired a housekeeper to clean the house once a week since I’ve been working overtime more often and I and my husband just don’t have time.”

“It is expensive but I cannot stand it when it becomes too messy for me, so I think it’s worth it.”

“This time, she brought her friends over after the house was cleaned, and I guess they decided not to take their shoes off and walked all around the house, leaving footprints.”

“They also made pizza from scratch and left the crumbles on the counters, among other things.”

“They pretty much made the entire house filthy before I could even come home.”

“Once again, the cleaning service is quite expensive because I like a higher level of cleaning quality, so I was pissed.”

“My husband is trying to make me let it go because O has always struggled to make friends, but I can’t let it go because of how much it cost.”

“I requested the exact amount I paid for the cleaning service to her Venmo, and she acted all confused on why she had to pay for it.”

“I explained that she and her friends ruined my house that was just cleaned, but she insisted it wasn’t her.”

“I have a ring camera, and I have video proof of her and her friends going into the house, and they were the only ones home that day before me.”

“I gave her two choices, pay for the damages, or I stop paying for her phone.”

“She’s complaining, saying it wasn’t her and she doesn’t have the money to pay the phone bill.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

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

Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.

“Footprints in your house and pizza crumbs do not make a house ‘filthy.’”

“You had plenty of options other than charging your stepdaughter – you could’ve cleaned it, your husband could’ve, you could have asked her to clean it, etc.”

“YTA. Telling your stepdaughter she ruined your house is a surefire way to ruin your relationship with her.” ~ twelvedayslate

“Yeah, this is outrageously unreasonable.”

“I have O[bsessive]-C[ompulsive] D[disorder]. I’m genuinely baffled that OP felt it was anything other than manipulative to refer to footprints and CRUMBS as DAMAGE.”

“I thought this was going to be about some house party where furniture was destroyed, and items were stolen.”

“OP should consider therapy. This is some Monk-level insanity.” ~ Alarmed_Jellyfish555

“I’m with you- I was waiting for ‘they made pizza but then went outside drinking, and the kitchen caught on fire and will cost $30k to fix.'”

“CRUMBS?! As in… wipeable off-the-counter CRUMBS?!”

“I’m with you- she needs therapy and asap.”

“This is an unliveable situation for everyone.” ~ vancitymala

“I’m also confused about the footprints.”

“How dirty are their feet that they would leave footprints walking barefoot?”

“I could see if they tracked muddy shoes all over the house, but… footprints?”

“Are the floors glass or something?”

“I walk barefoot on hard floors in my home and have never left a footprint??”

“Honestly, OP, you overreacted.”

“YTA You could have just asked her to clean the crumbs off the counter next time.”

“This is mildly annoying but not ‘ruined my house’ annoying.” ~ Bloodrayna

“If you have OCD, then you know sometimes it legitimately makes you crazy over mess and germs, and you can’t help it.”

“OP absolutely needs therapy and possibly meds if she’s not doing that already.”

“I also have OCD, and the hyper-focus on things when they are not right is very, very real.”

“However, it’s absolutely ridiculous for her to expect payment.”

“Or that footprints and crumbs won’t be in a house.” ~ Slug_Queen_Tsunade

“Same! I have OCD, and posts like that make my blood boil.”

“OP needs to go to therapy and stop justifying her actions and blaming her shi**y behavior on OCD.”

“She needs to stop controlling everything and everyone around her and look into herself.”

“And get help.”

“OCD is hell, but there is help out there.”

“It’s hard work but it’s possible. YTA.” ~ Lower_Pattern6479

“There does need to be a little self-reflection here on OP’s part and a little consideration for how parental OCD can affect the kids.”

“I have a mom with OCD around cleaning, and I also have a sister.”

“We’ve responded to her cleaning obsession in 2 unhealthy ways.”

“My sister straight up inherited the OCD cleaning obsession.”

“Gets intense anxiety in a messy house, which, since she has three kids and a lazy husband, is pretty much always.”

“Me? I feel like my desire to live in a clean house is a little more normal.”

“I don’t need my house to look literally uninhabited by humans like my sis and mom, but I have a few areas where I’m a little obsessive.”

“Food hygiene is one of them, examining cutlery for stains and food remnants, etc.”

‘Before I will use it.”

“I also have spent most of my life at home making an effort to clean and then having my mother come along and ‘redo it properly.'”

“From this, I picked up a nice ‘nothing I do is ever good enough’ complex about certain things.”

“Get therapy, OP. It’s your irrational need to have professional cleaning services in every time someone drops ‘crumbs’ in your house.”

“Why should your stepdaughter pay for that?” ~ dreamham

“I came here to read about a massive house party and ended up disappointed to read about a boring afternoon of footprints and pizza.”

“I used to have house parties every time my parents went out of town when I was in high school, and I’m talking about my house would be trashed and people sleeping on couches, my parents and sister’s beds, kitchen table, etc.”

“And I, A teenager, would clean the house myself before they got home, and they would never know.”

“So you can’t tell me that your house was that trashed from your stepdaughter and a couple of her friends having an afternoon of pizza with their shoes on unless they were throwing pizza sauce and cheese at each other and drawing on your walls with sauce and using pepperonis as smiley face eyeballs.”

“Simply asking her to clean up after herself or not to have friends over anymore would have been a legitimate, easy solution.”

“But instead, you had to be a child and try to make a point and ruin your relationship with your stepdaughter in the process.”

“Good job, OP.”

“Now you’re back to square one on a relationship that took years to build. Great work!” ~ t_lee210

“I also have OCD, and there’s a part of me that wonders if this post is fake because it’s so over the top.”

“If it’s not, OP, you had the option of asking her to clean because crumbs and footprints are, y’know, clean-able?”

“But you went straight for the nuclear option.”

“You’re going to destroy your relationship with her.”

“If your OCD is genuinely this bad, you need therapy ASAP. YTA.” ~ Wonkynose

“There wasn’t even a mention of a rule about not inviting anyone and being extra careful in the house on X day until OP gets home and can enjoy an extremely clean house for at least a little while.”

“So it’s not only an unreasonable expectation (and I say this knowing it would and does bother me if I can’t even have 5 minutes at home after it’s fully clean to enjoy it), but it came out of nowhere.”

“Reasonable amends?”

“O cleans it, the husband cleans it (he gets to cover for her if he chooses to, especially if it’s to help her when she struggles to make friends), husband pays for a touch-up with the cleaning service or the total.”

“Crumbs and footprints shouldn’t take too much if the house has been deep cleaned.”

“And I won’t even mention the fact that this isn’t what I expected to read after ‘a teenager ruined my house.’ YTA.”  ~ tinaciv

OP gave an update…

“EDIT TO CLEAR CONFUSION: The cleaners came before O, fully cleaned the house, then left, and an hour later, O came in with her friends.”

Well, OP, sounds like Reddit has some issues with your issues.

OCD can be difficult to battle.

But there are better ways to deal that might not harm your relationship with “O.”

Maybe a little group therapy would be a good start.

Good luck.