Parenting is filled with unsolicited advice, but when a child or parent is differently-abled… well, the comments will just keep rolling in.
A mother dealt with this recently on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit after receiving criticism from a total stranger.
Redditor WarningOutrageous872 went to Walmart expecting to do some shopping and wound up having a ridiculous conversation about her parenting instead.
But because of how she reacted, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was in the wrong.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for letting my 4YO (4-year-old) walk around a store without her legs on?”
The OP has made various arrangements for her 4-year-old daughter.
“So I (33 [Female]) have a daughter (4 [Female]) who was born without both of her legs up to her knee. She has 2 kinds of prosthetic legs, walking legs and running blades. She usually prefers the running blades.”
“Well, neither have knees because her prosthetist said it was best at her age/size so we’re waiting until she’s a bit older to get her legs with knees.”
“But she can also walk fine on her residual limbs. Although she is a bit shorter when she does.”
“She recently is getting very fussy about wearing prosthetics, most likely because it’s hot where we live so the socket bothers her. I don’t make a big deal if she chooses not to wear it as they are her legs. But I usually carry her on put her in a stroller when she doesn’t.”
Recently, the OP ran into someone who had strong opinions about her parenting.
“Yesterday I needed to go to Walmart to get a few things, I brought her and my other daughter (7 [Female]) with me. She didn’t want to put on her legs so I didn’t make her and we left.”
“I had her in the cart for a little while but she wanted to get out and walk with my 7YO (7-year-old) so I let her as long as she stayed by me. Also, she had a onesie on so it was pretty clear that she was missing legs and not just short.”
“Well then a woman came into the aisle we were in and was just staring at my 4YO. Most people do so I didn’t think much of it.”
“Then she turned to me and said ‘Is that your kid?’ (Prob because she looks nothing like me.) I said yes.”
“Then she said “Why doesn’t she have legs” and I told her she was born without them.”
“Then she asked me if she has ‘Fake legs’ and I explained she does but doesn’t like wearing them when it’s hot.”
“She started getting more annoyed and saying things like ‘Well you’re her parent, you need to make her listen to you’.
“She then asked me why I can’t just put her in the cart. I told her I did but she wanted to get out.”
“She then started yelling at me about how my kids are gonna grow up never knowing the word no and I need to be more authoritative.”
“I was kinda confused why she was getting so mad and I said ‘I’m sorry but can I ask why it concerns you?’ and she said her daughter was in the other isle and she didn’t want her seeing that.”
“I started questioning her like ‘Why is my daughter such a bad thing to see?’ and she started backtracking and saying she was just concerned about her legs on the dirty floor, which I guess makes more sense but still none of her business. I just took my girls and left the aisle.”
The OP later wondered if she handled the situation poorly.
“My girls didn’t really understand the argument and they weren’t really listening during it, so they kept asking me after, and I didn’t really know what to say.”
“I mean, I didn’t cuss or say anything I don’t stand behind but I also don’t want to have to explain this kinda thing to my 4YO.”
“Also when we were in line I saw the woman with her daughter who looked to be like 11 or 12.”
“But I do kinda feel like an AH for I guess letting her walk around without legs and not keeping her in the cart.”
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 pointed out safety concerns in the store, but highly doubted the stranger cared about that.
“Literally the only people who could talk would be the employees, and that would be more of a safety thing, since OP doesn’t mention if her 4-year-old had any kind of protective covering on the end of her limbs.”
“If she didn’t, the employees would be in the right to ask her to not let her walk, since something could have been dropped and even after cleaning, there can be those tiny shards still left behind (I broke a picture frame a few days ago, immediately swept and vacuumed, and I’m still finding the occasional shard), but otherwise I fully agree OP is NTA.” – 9r7g5h
“This is what I was thinking. I have absolutely no problems with the daughter walking around the store, she has every right to get around however she is comfortable doing.”
“My only concern would be her getting hurt because her legs were bare and there was something to be stepped on. Or if there was harsh cleaner still on the floor.” – reeseinpeaces
“If you wouldn’t let another child walk around barefoot then I don’t think this child should walk around without something protecting their skin.”
“I don’t think that’s what this complete stranger was worried about though.” – sreno77
A few valued the daughter’s comfort over anything else.
“Yeah like it’d be one thing if it was painful to walk without her legs and OP was making her do it or something, but that’s not the case at all.”
“Kiddo’s opinion is the only one that matters here, and she was perfectly happy to wander around without any aids. That was her preference and it should be respected.” – Maximumfabulosity
“NTA – the woman was an ablest b*got.”
“Sadly we see plenty of these posts here and in subs like Entitled Parents – instead of using it as a learning experience to talk about how some people are either born different or have differences thrust upon them by accidents with her child/ren – she took exception to her seeing someone who was different and having to potentially answer questions her kid/s might ask about it.”
“Good on you for standing up for your daughter’s right to be herself. Unfortunately, it’s probably a conversation you will need to have many times over and she will have for her entire life. In your shoes, I’d almost print out cards saying something along the lines of ‘Being disabled is not a wrong or shameful thing. Treating someone like it should be is.'” – Fraerie
Others took a moment to joke about what the OP could have said instead.
“Am I the only one who wishes OP would have come out with ‘we were playing a game of Got Your Nose and it got out of hand’ when asked why she doesn’t have any legs by a grown woman?”
“I don’t mind personal questions about myself, but I usually answer with a strange answer first if I think someone asking something personal is getting ready to be insulting just to gauge their reaction. Or when answering children just to have a bit of fun.”
“‘Why are you fat?'”
“‘I won the butter sculpture at the county fair and had to defend myself with a bit of toast when it came alive and attacked me.'” – shawslate
“If you’re feeling spicy, OP, you can be extra upfront and blunt: ‘So, you don’t want your daughter seeing mine. Are you trying to hide all disabled people from her, or just my child? Can I ask- what disabilities is she allowed to see?” – Willowed-Wisp
“I’d be spicy as soon as she asked, ‘why.'”
“Like, ‘Ya know, you look a lot like the lady who ran over her legs.’ Or ‘Shark attack,’ and just walk away.” – sgacedoz
“Or even ‘WHAT she had them when we left the house!’ lol (laughing out loud)” – Willowed-Wisp
“‘OMG, does your kid have legs?! How much extra did you have to pay for that??'” – sgacedoz
“If ever a situation called for spiciness, this is it. The gall of someone criticizing OP’s parenting because they don’t want to have a conversation with their own kid? Yeesh.” – babettevonbaguette
There’s such a thing as trying to be helpful, but we all have to know our place. This subReddit was not only certain this stranger was completely out of line, but they had a great time joking about it.