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Mom Sparks Drama After Refusing To Help Son’s Special Needs Friend Use Bathroom At Party

A young red headed boy stands in his bathroom about to wash his hands.

Supervising a child’s birthday party can be stressful.

It’s meant to be fun… for the kids The adults can have their hands full.

Parents try to plan every detail as precisely as possible.

That’s why extra, surprise, last-minute responsibilities can be an issue.

Case in point…

Redditor Secret_Cellist_iii  wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for refusing to take care of a special needs child during my son’s birthday party?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Hello all, this has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.”

“My son is in elementary school, and one of his friends is special needs; we will call him Elliot.”

“He’s a very sweet boy but needs extra help with a lot of things, including using the restroom.”

“I am very, very close with his parents, and they have been family friends for years.”

“Our whole family hangs out (including grandparents) often.”

“It was the day of my son’s party, and about half of the kids were dropped off, and the other half had their parents leave.”

“This is about the time I should mention I did go to school for nursing for a bit but ended up dropping out, so I do have some experience but not a lot.”

“I’m running around helping all the kids do their activity, get food, and so on.”

“Elliot comes up and tugs on my shoulder, saying he needs to go potty and needs my help.”

“Because of his individual needs, it takes around 20 minutes to help him use the restroom.”

“It’s not a quick thing at all.”

“I said ‘Oh sweetheart I can’t help you, so you will need to go to your parents ok?’”

“He told me that they were gone and to ask for you.”

“Que my m[other]-i[n]-l[aw] walking up.”

“She said, ‘I told them you had a handle on it, and they should take a few hours to go and have fun, so they left. I’ll watch the kids; you go do what you need to do.'”

“And she handed me his bag full of bathroom stuff.”

“I was furious with rage and embarrassment and pity for this child.”

“I kept it calm for Elliot, but it’s my son’s birthday party, and all I can think is…”

“1. I didn’t volunteer for this. And I want to watch my son enjoy his party…”

“2. I would be furious if I left my child with somebody I knew and trusted and came back, and they were gone for 20 minutes with a stranger watching my kid…”

“And 3. My mother-in-law did not have the right to say I’d do something I’m not comfortable with.”

“I told Elliot I’m sorry I can’t help you today.”

“Then I turned to my mother-in-law, took her out of earshot, and told her she would have to figure it out or call his parents to come back.”

“That I could not do this today and leave the kids that I’m responsible for.”

“Elliot looked a little shocked when I told him no, but then he just looked at my mother-in-law.

“My mother-in-law was beyond shocked and furious.”

“She eventually was able to get ahold of his parents with my husband’s help but she has been very short with me since.”

“She told my husband that since I was basically a nurse, I shouldn’t have a problem doing that for Elliot, and she could have watched the kids just fine.”

“My husband told her that she shouldn’t have assumed I would be able to help Elliot.”

“Elliot’s parents were annoyed but apologetic to me; they had assumed it was my idea.”

“I do feel horrible.”

“But I don’t feel comfortable doing this for Elliot and stepping away from the party for so long.”

“I also want to clarify that for some of the kids, I was the ONLY adult that they knew at the party.”

The OP was left to wonder:

“So, am I the a**hole for refusing to help a special needs child during a party I was running?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. Your MIL is, though, and seemed the logical person to help Elliot with his bathroom needs since she invited his parents to leave.”

“I would, however, like to suggest you not phrase it as Elliot ‘is special needs’ as if it defines him, but rather say Elliot ‘has special needs.'” ~ tinyd71

“I found nothing wrong with how you worded it.”

“It was respectful.”

“Right now I think saying disabilities or disabled no one has come up with how it’s offensive yet.”

“I’m not disabled, but I have special needs that I can handle myself.”

“You came to ask about were you an a-hole.”

“And NTA at all.”

“Naming the child’s needs to partygoers would have been very offensive.”

‘You didn’t do that.”

“The parents seemed to take it well once you stuck to protecting your boundaries.” ~ pensaha

“Hi OP, I’m going to piggyback on this.”

“I’m Disabled, work in disability support and activism, and I’m working on a PhD in special education.”

“Most Disabled people actually really don’t like special needs as a term.”

“Special Education is also on very thin ice as well.”

“You clearly have a good, compassionate head on your shoulders (and you’re NTA at all!) and honestly, what you said about deserving all the same experiences is close to why we don’t like it as a term.”

“Everyone has support needs.”

“I can’t run for 50 miles for my commute for work, so I need a vehicle of some sort to do it.”

“Disabled people often have different sets of support needs, but they aren’t really special.”

“Calling them special is a way to basically push the reason they are an issue onto us, versus accepting the broader context of disability as often based on the choices of others.”

“I can explain a little more about this as well if you want but frankly, you’ve hit the nail on the head – your MIL’s choice here is the issue, and caused the problem.”

“Generally, back to language though, person-first language (person with a disability), while not preferred by a lot of folks, is the standard.”

“A lot of communities (and the Disabled community in general) prefer identity-first language (Disabled person), but it’s an individual choice, and in most cases, person first is fine for most people.”

“Hope this helps explain this a bit and feel free to ask any questions!” ~ romannumbers96

“I think Elliot’s parents are a part of this too.”

“WHY would they trust anyone else at a party to make sure that Elliot was taken care of, especially since not hearing it from the host was volunteered but not part of the conversation?”

“My kid has food allergies.”

“His safety was more important than my relaxation time, even if we brought safe foods and his EpiPen.” ~ Umm_is_this_thing_on

“NTA – But your MIL is sure a pip, that one.”

“You did the right thing here as it was in no way your responsibility for Elliot.”

“I would have flat out told MIL do you ever offer my service to anyone and since you promised it, then MIL dearest you can just do it.”

“There are violating ‘soft’ boundaries from time to time and irritating but this was violating the Berlin Wall of boundaries that should never be violated.”

“Demand of your husband that MIL apologizes immediately to all involved, including Elliot or she will never see your kids ever again.”

“You need to put your down hard on this one as it is simply unforgivable.” ~ Mustng1966

“I’ve never had a catheter, but I have had a urethral stent placed and later removed.”

“There is no f**king way I would let someone who is only ‘basically a nurse’ take care of my child’s bathroom needs if the needs are a catheter, and if MIL had suggested that to me I would have thought she was crazy.”

“OP is NTA, but MIL definitely is, and the parents, at the very least, should have checked with OP before leaving.” ~ GarfieGirl

“NTA. I honestly can’t imagine tossing a little boy at virtual strangers and telling them to take him alone to the bathroom for an extended period of time.”

‘That seems like it could go south real fast with the wrong person.”

“When most kids are… well, it’s someone they know.”

“Also, is there something wrong with your MIL that she couldn’t take this virtual stranger to the bathroom?”

“What makes you so special other than NOT being a nurse?” ~ LeamhAish

“If I were Elliott’s parent, I wouldn’t leave unless I had an understanding with the person who was going to be responsible for his bathroom duties if it’s something complicated like a catheter.”

“And MIL should never have assumed that OP could handle it in that situation and then happily volunteered her.

“OP is NTA, but I just feel so bad for poor Elliott for being put in that situation!” ~ Maine302

“NTA, firstly his parents should be there.”

“A normal person, when offered something like this, would have declined.”

“Even if your evil mother-in-law wanted you to have a crappy experience.”

“She should be wiping his a** for 20 minutes or changing a colo bag.”

“The audacity of the parents and your mother-in-law.”

“I don’t even want to know how the poor boy felt.” ~ icepeak12222222

Well, OP, Reddit is with you. You had several children to look over.

This is something your MIL should have handled with Elliot’s parents.

It sounds like his parents were understanding of the situation, though.

It may be time to have a detailed chat with your MIL about responsibilities.

This way there isn’t a similar repeat in the future.