When two parents come together to marry after a prior marriage, a complex dynamic is in store.
Their children from the prior marriage are forced to collide and, ideally, mix comfortably to form a new, expanded family.
For that to work, the newly married parents must be very deliberate about how they handle the attention they give, the priorities they exemplify, and the patience they show.
One mixed family recently hit a bump in the road when it geared up for even further expansion.
The mother of that family eventually consulted the feedback of the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP), who has since deleted her username, explained the thrust of the issue in the post’s title.
“AITA for wanting separate pictures of kids/step kids for baby announcement?”
First, OP mapped out the key moving parts in the recent ordeal.
“Background: I have been in a relationship with my partner for 5 years. He has 2 daughters from a previous relationship (9&10yo) and we had out first daughter together about 1 1/2 year ago.”
“I found out I was pregnant a few months ago and have been putting off making any baby announcements. I’m due in 3 months and the only people that know are our parents / siblings.”
Then she explained the first sign of friction.
“I decided to order a ‘big sister’ shirt for my daughter and snapped a few pictures to send to my extended family (aunts/uncles/cousins).”
“The pictures came out cuter than I expected, and I asked him if it was okay with him if I posted them to social media.”
“He said that not having the older girls in the picture made him feel like he has two separate families.”
OP leaned into that fact.
“I pointed out that, in a way, he does. All four of the girls are his daughters, but they aren’t all mine. The older girls are very close to their mom…”
“…and I explained to him, that although they are part of our family, I am not their mom and they will never view me as such, and being a step-mom is very different than being a mom.
She then dug her heels in further.
“At the end of day it’s not really a huge deal to me, I don’t post on social media frequently, but this whole situation has me feeling upset.”
“I feel like he wants to pretend that we are not a blended family. I mean he does have two kids with one women and two kids with another.”
“And I feel like he doesn’t acknowledge that, or the fact that, although the girls are all equal, they are different because they don’t have the same moms. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors determined that OP was the a**hole. They were outraged that OP could be so exclusionary.
“YTA. He wants he’s older girls to be included with his younger girls. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. By keeping them separate, YOU’RE the one pretending you don’t have a blended family. You have to be together to blend.”
“If its not a big deal to you, why can’t you include your step children? I mean, its no a big deal, right?” — Future-Ambition1859
“YTA… From the moment you didn’t order 3 big sister t-shirts.” — triciabobicia
“YTA. His daughters are part of your marriage, and your children are their half-sisters, not stepsiblings. And going out of your way to exclude them?”
“That makes your actions Peak Wicked Stepmother Stereotype, and will only harm the relationships all of those children have with you, and with each other.” — arizonakarenina
Some were amazed she would sign up for this situation given the way she clearly felt.
“YTA and the one who seems to be confused about what a blended family is.” — Appropriate-Energy
“YTA. When you decided be with him and have children with him, you became one family, he doesn’t have 2 separate families at all.”
“You the eldest girls might not share your blood and DNA, but they do with your other children…”
“The girls are probably closer to their mum because you won’t even give them a chance.”
“When I was 8 years old I would have been devastated if my step dad (who I now call my dad), would have rejected me like you reject those girls.” — MinuteKaleidoscope
“’I feel like he wants to pretend we are not a blended family.'”
“YTA. You’re the only one that’s like that to me. You’re not their mother but they are still your family. They are all welcoming a new sister. They are young and will grow up together. I doubt your husband differentiates between his daughters the way you do.”
“You’re essential looking for a ‘separate but equal’ parenting style – you see how that isn’t a good idea right?” — FunkyOrangePenguin
Others, using empathy or even drawing on personal experience, focused on the way it must have felt for the children.
“YTA it is step parents like you that leave lasting emotional trauma on young kids and not to mention resentment. Resentment not only directed at you but directed at their step siblings.”
“Change your attitude now or your marriage will go up in flames” — TanisSnow
“YTA. I have a different dad than my 2 younger sisters. I was pushed aside when they came and it got to the point that I was completely alienated from the family and don’t speak to any of them anymore.”
“I’m 32 now, and that stuff stays with you. I can’t stand step parents that don’t consider step children their own. Separating them from your ‘real children’ isn’t a good idea, and I would recommend fixing your attitude towards them immediately.” — Romanbuckminster88
“YTA I was one of those kids in such ‘blended family.’ Your thoughts are creating barriers between these kids that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Such a shame.” — mustbefriday
“YTA and you are deliberately going out of your way to force an emotional split between the children to match your feelings.” — Knyghthawke
If the barrage of criticism for Reddit had any impact on OP’s approach moving forward, it’s likely that photo ops in the future will be far more inclusive.