Parenting isn’t easy, but holding your child’s cancer against them seems like a pretty easy mistake to avoid.
Reddit user the-cynical-human was ready to go hang out with her friends, having already done a bunch of chores, when her mother said she had to do extra to make up for the chores she missed while she had cancer as a child.
Angry, the Original Poster (OP) lashed out at her mom, but now wonders whether she was wrong to shout. She asked the anonymous users of popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” (AITA) to assign guilt by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
She told the whole story in a post titled:
“I literally cannot believe I’m writing this, but here goes.”
“I (17[Female]) was diagnosed with stage 4 ALL as a kid. Wasn’t supposed to live. Parents decided to put me through chemotherapy to extend my life for a few months. I ended up surviving and it’s been about a decade since my initial diagnosis. I’m cancer-free now.”
“My parents own 2 houses. For one, they hire people to clean it, and for the other, we take care of it. My parents are pretty well-off, but they believe in hardworking values and want my brother and I to know how to care for ourselves and our future houses, which I think is great.”
“The last time we were at the second house (the one we care for), we had an all-day cleaning of the whole house and yard. I wanted to call my friends later in the day, so I decided to get up early and do my end of the chores first so that I would have time to talk with my friends.”
“There was a list of chores on the table. I spent a few hours doing half of the chores on the list. To reiterate: I did half of the chores myself, leaving the other half to be split between my mother, my father, and my brother.”
“I didn’t choose the ‘easiest’ ones or anything, I just went in order from top to bottom on the list. And I stopped when I got halfway down. Weeding, raking, pressure washing the driveway, laundry, clean bathrooms, dishes, vacuum basement and main floor, clean the boat, put the covers on the jet skis, and a few others I don’t remember atm.”
OP’s mother had a problem with her calling friends, however.
“Anyway, when I was done I called my friends. Mother walked in and saw me on the phone and got mad, and I told her I already did my share—actually, more than my share—of chores. She then said something along the lines of ‘it’s still not enough because you have to make up for all the chores you missed when you were sick’”
“I’m literally so angry typing this. Sick is what she refers to as the whole cancer deal. I can’t believe she’d use that against me, like it was my fault. I told her that she had a lot of nerve considering that I was literally f*cking dying at the time and that she hadn’t done a single chore on the list.”
“She was really upset and went into her room and slammed the door. She did end up doing a few of the chores, but me and my brother and my father picked up the rest. She was passive-aggressive the rest of the day.”
“This happened a few weeks ago, but she still brings it up whenever I’m doing something that’s not chores, saying I’m lazy and that I need to ‘make up’ for the ‘lost time’ during my cancer period. I haven’t said anything to her about it since. I ignore it now.”
“AITA here? I did go off on her, and in the heat of the moment I was pretty loud. I probably should have handled it in a more calm manner than I did. But I also think it was wayyyy out of line for her to use my cancer against me.”
“EDIT: many have asked if I can talk to my father about this. I can’t because he wasn’t there to hear it and it’s my mother’s words against mine, and there’s no proof so he would take neutral ground, which I don’t blame him for. I wouldn’t believe this if it hadn’t happened to me.”
“EDIT 2: I’ve still got at least another year here. When summer is over I start senior year of high school. Then another summer at home and then college. Also I am considering staying at home longer so my brother doesn’t have to deal with this sh*t.”
“He’s younger than me and he is more timid and cries when people yell at him (I don’t blame him tho). If I stay I can sort of shield him from that. But he’s the only thing keeping me on the fence. I really want to move out. Idk I haven’t decided yet but for now thanks for the advice!”
OP didn’t just miss chores while she had cancer.
“NTA. If your mom is just bringing this up all of the time out of the blue, there is something going on with her where one of the symptoms is severe AHolery. It would be wrong if she told you that you had to make up for the chores you missed when you were sick last year.”
“It is double wrong of her to say you are somehow still paying off the chores you missed TEN YEARS AGO. And even if you had chosen the ‘easiest’ chores on the list, that would be your right since you did them first.”
“Next time she calls you lazy, tell her you’re still making up for all the relaxing you missed when you were sick.” –JeepersCreepers74
Perhaps this situation calls for diplomacy.
“Also 10 years ago OP was 7! A baby going through that. There’s a common phenomenon of the opposite of OPs mom, like their child has to be wrapped in cotton wool and can’t pick up a broom because they were nearly gone.”
“OP your mom is being crazy and so far out of line. Get dad involved, I know you said he’d be neutral but make an agreement in front of him about what chores you have to do – make sure the split is fair and everyone is in the room to hear and agree. It’s a good way of handling conflict, rather than arguing.” –Fox-Smol
Many also thought OP’s dad should be doing more to get involved.
“If you can’t say this to your father in confidence and he just wouldn’t believe you, then I think there is a larger problem here. Talk to your dad…this is just fucked up on so many levels.”
“Keep your brother in mind, but live your life also. Find the balance. Personally, I think anyone who can beat a DEATH SENTENCE like cancer, then there is something special inside of you. You’ll be successful in anything you do.” –mickymau5_
It’s time to catch up on all the fun OP missed as a child with cancer.
“NTA and just for argument’s sake: You probably missed a lot hanging-out-with-friends-time while you where ‘sick’, so you need to make up for that now.”
“You also probably missed a lot of playtime, so you have to make up for that now. Maybe you have a hobby or sport you couldn’t do back then? You need to make up for lost time now! –> Sorry mom, no time for chores with all that!” –FrinnFrinn
This is the kind of interaction that shapes a relationship into the future.
“NTA even one iota. This is the kind of sh*t you might forgive but you will NEVER forget. Relationship altering kind of sh*t. ‘I made my kid feel guilty about having cancer in order to pressure them into doing extra chores after they got up early and did twice as much as every other person in the house.’ So f*cked up.”
“I’m sorry OP. Just remember this moment when she tries to guilt trip you about other things in the future. Don’t fall for her nonsense, you’re a great kid with a great work ethic and I’m sorry you have to deal with this.” –gunnyhunty
What could possibly be going on with this mother?
“NTA. The amount of quiet resentment she has is absolutely disturbing. I’m very happy for you that you beat cancer, but I have no idea why a parent would try to guilt trip their child over a disease that they had no control over. D*mn. Much luck to you” –pzreich
It’s surprising that after the initial outburst, OP’s mom didn’t see the error of her ways.
“NTA. Weird that she doubled down after the initial remark. I can’t for the life of me understand where that comes from. But if it happened to me I’d have a WTF sit down with her and work through whatever it is that spawned such a sh*tty remark.” –YorkPepperMintPaddy
According to Reddit, OP has nothing to be ashamed of.
Maybe, with time and patience, her mother will come around and start behaving a little bit better.