When we imagine grandparents spending time with their grandchildren, we like to picture unconditional love, laughter, and irreplaceable memories being created.
It’s hard to imagine grandparents having anything but the best of intentions for their youngest family members, but the lack of respect some grandparents show to new parents speaks volumes, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor saltyseasoning21 was infuriated with her mother-in-law (MIL) and father-in-law (FIL) when she discovered that her mother-in-law had gone behind her back and had her baby daughter’s ears pierced while babysitting her for the day.
When her parents-in-law expressed indignance over what they had done, the Original Poster (OP) swiftly decided she couldn’t trust them to care for her child anymore.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to let my mother- or father-in-law (MIL or FIL) look after my daughter anymore?”
The OP made it clear how she felt about babies having pierced ears.
“I (32 Female) have a daughter (six months) with my husband (34 Male).”
“My husband is from a culture where it’s not uncommon to pierce baby girls’ ears. His mother started pestering me about getting my daughter’s ears pierced from a few days after she was born.”
“I made it clear that I would not be doing that and that I’d be waiting until she was old enough to ask for it herself.”
“I don’t think it’s relevant, but we live in my country, where piercing babies’ ears isn’t common at all. It’s not illegal, but it’s certainly not common.”
But the OP’s mother-in-law decided to follow her own desires.
“My mother-in-law was looking after her at the weekend and decided to pierce them without my knowledge or consent.”
“When I saw this, I about threw a fit. She was crying in pain, and I actually took her to the doctor to get their advice on whether or not to take them out.”
“Our family doctor removed them as they were clearly bothering her.”
The OP put a new boundary in place immediately.
“I decided at that moment that my mother-in-law and everyone else on that side of the family (except for my sister-in-law, who’s on my side about this) is going to have no alone contact with my daughter ever again (or at least until she’s a teenager and can speak for herself).”
“My worry is that she’ll do the same thing again if I let them come back now, and to be frank, she’s lost my trust entirely.”
“I also told her that if she had a problem with that, I’d report what she did to the police.”
“My husband is on my side, but he doesn’t think it’s as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be.”
“Am I being unreasonable here?”
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 reassured the OP that this was not her mother-in-law’s decision to make.
“Putting aside the cultural norm to pierce baby ears… they’re not her parents. They don’t get to make decisions like that.”
“They knew you didn’t want it done. And they chose to sneak around and do it behind your back.”
“I would personally find out where they had them done and not only leave a review saying that they’ll pierce a baby without parental consent but report the shop to whatever governing body they report to. Piercing a baby without parental consent is not okay.” – janewilson90
“I’m Italian and it’s common here to pierce baby girls’ ears early on. However, this has nothing to do with this. It has everything to do with trust and duty. You are the mother, and you and your husband are responsible for these decisions.”
“Everyone else doesn’t count. If MIL and FIL keep nagging about it, it’s right for you not to trust them.”
“You’re not making a big deal out of it because trust IS a big deal. If they’re willing to step over your boundaries now, they will do it again and may force your daughter to do things she doesn’t want to do.”
“They sound like those relatives who hug and kiss children when they’re explicitly communicating they don’t want to be hugged or kissed. Keep your daughter safe.” – dwchiaraa
“NTA. Your MIL is very lucky that the pediatrician did not make a report to the police or children’s protective service.”
“She was told NO. She waited until you were not there to stop her and made a permanent modification to your child’s body.”
“She caused pain to a child who could not protect herself.”
“She decided that her opinions and her culture were more important than yours and that SHE can override you, the child’s mother.”
“Your husband should respect that YOU are the mother of THIS baby. His mother has had a chance to be a parent. This is your turn.” – Abject_Technician555
“She put holes in your child in deliberate violation of your clearly expressed prohibition. If there is a way back from this, it is entirely in their camp to even attempt to fix this. They haven’t even tried, and definitely not enough time has passed for you to even consider it.”
“I am living in a country where the cultural norm is to pierce baby girls’ ears, but even here it is completely understood that nobody other than the parents can make that decision. No grandparent would reasonably expect to do that and ever see the child again.” – Rikutopas
“MIL did not have the parents’ permission to do this, so they could be held legally liable for this. I would also find out the place that did this and have them shut down. There are good quality places that do this that make sure that the baby is of a certain age and that parents have given permission.”
“Evidently, MIL took the baby to a place that will pretty much pierce anyone’s ears regardless of parental consent, and this place needs to be shut down.”
“I myself would take it a step further and report MIL to the police for what was done.” – WMS4YESHUA
Others were disgusted by how the MIL put her wishes before her daughter-in-law’s.
“Your MIL demonstrated that she wanted to put her wishes ahead of you and your husband, and until your daughter is old enough to advocate for herself (which will be before her teenage years), it’s reasonable that MIL and FIL don’t get that one-on-one time.”
“All of that being said, if you’ve historically had a good relationship with MIL and FIL, then I would work on some plan for resolution and for trust to be rebuilt. But that needs to be communicated by your husband as it’s his family and he needs to manage them.” – coastalkid92
“For me, there would be no possibility of ever trusting her again. You told her not to do it and she did it anyway. NTA.” – rosezoeybear
“NTA. It is a form of assault. I know some cultures advocate this barbarous custom. F**k such cultures! And Granny, too.”
“She had been given clear directions and she went directly against those. Good thing that your husband is behind you. A pity, though, that he doesn’t think it is a big deal.” – FragrantEconomis386
“NTA for the breach of trust and going against the parents’ explicit wishes.”
“With regard to the pierced ears, I come from a similar culture, but my mom chose to have me decide when I want pierced ears (she herself was wearing clip-on for most of her life and pierced her ears when I was old enough to remember it happening).”
“It takes a few days for the discomfort to go away and for the pierced ears to heal properly to retain the holes. I did this as a seven to 10-year-old girl and I remember I had to make sure they remained clean, avoid infection, and even treat them with disinfectant twice a day.”
“A baby cannot do that, obviously, and it also cannot communicate properly if something is bothering it more or less. Now that the doctor has removed the medical earrings (I hope they were the medical ones that you wear at the start), there is a very high chance the holes will actually heal themselves completely.” – atealein
“They mutilated your baby. In a modern world, body modification needs consent from the person who is going to have to live with the changes. Just because infant female ear piercings have been normalized in some cultures doesn’t mean it’s okay.”
“NTA. They’d be lucky if I ever spoke to them again.” – Schezzi
The subReddit was furious on the OP’s behalf as well as her very young daughter, for whom she had attempted to advocate.
It would be one thing if the OP’s mother-in-law had expressed an interest in piercing her granddaughter’s ears and then respected her daughter-in-law’s wishes to wait until she was a teenager. Differences of opinion are understandable. But instead of doing that and respecting those boundaries, the mother-in-law went behind the OP’s back and pierced her granddaughter’s ears anyway, actually resulting in an issue at the pediatrician’s office.
The OP deciding to grant her in-laws any access to her daughter at all would honestly be a surprise to the subReddit, let alone babysitting privileges.