All parents love their children equally.
Even if it doesn’t always seem that way to their children.
It can take only the smallest action to make one child think that their mother or father are prioritizing their siblings.
This can get particularly murky when both their children need their help and/or support at the same time.
Redditor AdeptFox3466 had agreed to help out her daughter on a recent school trip.
However, upon realizing that her son also had an event that day the original poster (OP) made the decision to back out of the field trip in favor of being there for her son.
Something her daughter did not appreciate one bit.
Worried that she didn’t handle the situation as well as she could have, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for backing out on daughters school trip because disabled sons play is this same day?”
The OP shared why she decided to support her son instead of chaperoning her daughter’s field trip.
“I (38 F[emale]) am a ‘room mother’ at my NT daughter’s (11 F) school.”
“Room mothers do oversight on field trips as available.”
“They are taking a field trip next week and I promised my daughter weeks ago that I’d go.”
“However, I have a high needs nonverbal son (9 M[ale]) with autism, who is developmentally around the age of 2-3.”
“It turns out his school is doing a play on the same day.”
“His regular teacher just started maternity leave and the substitute did not inform us until a few days ago because she thought his regular teacher sent out the announcement.”
“If I am not there, my son will not understand why and he will become inconsolable.”
“My daughter is angry with me for canceling on her no matter how much I try to explain to make her understand.”
“I said I would make it up to her as soon as possible but she’s too upset with me.”
“Her father can’t go she has to work and we have no family in the area that we’re close with.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
While the Reddit community generally sympathized with the OP’s predicament, they ultimately agreed that she was, indeed, the a**hole for choosing to go to her son’s play over her daughter’s field trip.
Though just about everyone understood why the OP felt she needed to see her son’s play, they also expressed how he couldn’t always be a priority, agreeing it could lead to her daughter having a complex.
“In addition to what everyone else is saying about you canceling on your daughter because ‘your son wouldn’t understand’, you made a commitment to the class.”
“There is probably a certain number of adults that need to be on the trip, and now the teacher needs to find another parent who can go.”
“Get a video of your son’s play and watch it at home with him and Dad.”
“Watch it a few times.”
“Point him out.”
“Tell him how great it is.”
“Use it as a bonding activity.”- Usrname52
“My youngest is autistic and has other disabilities as well.”
“If I promise my oldest that I will do something, I do it unless there is an emergency.”
“A meltdown isn’t an emergency.”
“I assume his school knows how to handle them.”
“If you constantly choose your son over her, you are going to lose your daughter and your son will never learn that things don’t always happen the way he wants.”
“I get that it’s hard, but it isn’t fair for your daughter to lose out every time there is a situation where he will have a meltdown.”- amlosthere
“Your daughter is already inconsolable and will resent you for many more years than your son will do for missing the play.”
“I’m guessing here that this prioritization of your son is a regular occurrence and she is told to just suck it up.”
“Do better for your daughter.”
“You have a prior commitment, stick to it.”
“Husband can ask for the day off work if it’s that important.”
“Does your son have a lead role in the play?”- AggravatingPatient18
“Horrendous situation to be in, but your daughter will remember this forever as a moment of ‘favoritism’ if you cancel on her.”
“I get that your son will be unhappy that you aren’t there, but your daughter is equally unhappy that you won’t be there/ have cancelled.”
“She will see it at ‘mum’s fine with me being unhappy but not my brother’ if you choose to go to the play instead.”
“Also, she will lose trust and stop believing any promises you make in the future, which could have serious ramifications as she grows.”
“I’d guess your daughter makes a lot of sacrifices for her brother, please let her have a guilt-free fun day on a trip with her mum and without her sibling.”- Think-Professional-2
“Are you planning on being there whenever your son has a meltdown?”
“You made a commitment to your daughter.”
“Yet you are now showing/telling her that your son is more important and that you HAVE to be there for them.”
“I’m sorry, I know you think you’re doing the right thing, but YTA.”- mdthomas
“You had already made a commitment to not only your daughter, but her class.”
Her teacher is probably now scrambling to find a replacement for you.”
“Neurotypical/non-disabled kids often lose a lot of parent time and attention to their siblings even with the most well-meaning parents.”
“This probably isn’t the first time she’s been pushed aside for your son.”
“Your son is cognitively 2-3 years old.”
“He probably won’t care if he sits the play out.”
“Your daughter does care about you missing her trip.”- 0biterdicta
“I’m a mom who was in your exact same shoes.”
“Over and over again, just like you.”
“You know what happened?”
“I found my daughter’s diary.”
“I read the first few pages.”
“That was enough.”
“Then a conversation just like this happened.”
“Son, I’m so sorry I won’t make your play.”
“I promised your sister I would go on her field trip weeks ago, and I can’t break my promise.”
“I’m sorry you’re going to be upset.”
“I’m sorry I won’t be at your play.”
“From now on you and your sister will be taking turns.”
“She needs me just as much as you do.”
“I love you both and it’s important I show that to her too.”
“It’s way past time you have this conversation, Mom.”
“You need to do this, and keep your promise to your daughter.”- crazykatmom
“It sucks that you have no other options but you made a commitment to your daughter and you’re bailing on her.”
“It is understandable that you feel you have to prioritize your son but that’s not fair to your daughter.”
“Sometimes as a parent you have to bite the bullet and be the A.”- RatioNo1114
“Your daughter always gets the crumbs of your attention since her 9-year-old brother functions as a 2-3 yr old.”
“You are dead wrong to not go on her field trip.”
“This is a great opportunity for her to have your undivided attention, for once in her life, without you having to deal with her brother.”
“So you remember anything from when you were 2 or 3?”
“Most people don’t.”
“Your son won’t remember whether you attend his play.”
“Your daughter will remember that you again pushed her aside to show up for your son.”
“If you continue down this path, your daughter will cut ties with you when she is older.”
“I understand it is difficult to be in this situation.”
“But just because your son has special needs doesn’t mean he deserves the vast majority of your attention all the time.”
“Your daughter deserves some of your undivided attention as well.”- Gladtobealive2020
“Because you promised her and now you’re backing out for your other child’s play when the info came last minute.”
“He may NOT understand but your daughter sure AF does and you shouldn’t constantly shove her off to the back seat for him ESPECIALLY when you’ve made a promise.”
“Can’t your husband call off sick that day and go to the play instead?”- jammy913
“I understand the predicament you’re in, but I’m sure your daughter is exhausted and I’d be willing to bet this isn’t the first time where her brother came first.”
“You committed this to her and now you’re bailing and if this happens often you’re going to eventually lose her.”
“As a possible solution, who knows if it’s realistic, a play can’t last more than an hour, why can’t his dad take his lunch break to be there?”- IamAustinCG
It’s hard to fault the OP for her decision, as she made it purely out of love and concern.
It’s also understandable why the OP feels that on certain occasions, she will need to make her son a priority.
Even so, there will be some days when, in spite of her son’s condition, she might have to make her daughter a priority.
If only to show her that she loves and cares about her every bit as much.