Money does something really weird to a lot of people, impacting their priorities and their gratitude— and parents are no exception.
Some parents find themselves prioritizing things they never would have, while others question their worth because of things another parent has.
One woman recently discovered how deep these feelings can go on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor finallywilling found herself stuck between what she was able to give her family and her sister-in-law’s feelings of insecurity.
When issues repeatedly came up, the Original Poster (OP) questioned what she should do next.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to buy my kids cheaper clothes because my SIL (sister-in-law) asked me to?”
The OP lived a very different lifestyle from her in-laws.
“My husband and I have 2 daughters (14 and 16).”
“We both have high-paying jobs (I am a plastic surgeon and he is a neurosurgeon; we met in med school), so we are very stable financially and are able to have some vacations and buy stuff we like.”
“My husband’s brother and his wife are not very well off financially. They don’t have debts and they have a nice home, though.”
“SIL and I don‘t have a very good relationship but we are cordial enough with each other.”
The OP and her husband liked to treat their daughters to nice clothing.
“My daughters are very into fashion and I think they are very good at dressing up and making outfits.”
“Since they both have very good grades and are well-behaved, DH (dear husband) and I like to take them shopping when we have the chance.”
“Yesterday we hosted dinner at our house to celebrate FIL’s (father-in-law’s) birthday and many family members came, including SIL.”
“My daughters were dressed formally since that’s what everyone agreed to.”
The OP’s sister-in-law did not appreciate this.
“When SIL and her kids arrived, she stared at my daughters with a frown.”
“Later in the evening before dinner was served, she pulled me aside and asked me why did I allow my girls to wear those clothes.”
“I asked her what she meant, and she said that teenagers shouldn’t wear expensive clothing if they didn’t buy them with their own money.”
“I told her that it was okay since although they don’t have jobs, they work for it by getting good grades.”
“She told me that it was not fair and that her kids always asked her to buy them stuff from the same brands.”
“I asked her what I could do then, since honestly, I don’t think it’s my problem.”
“She said that I needed to stop buying them those clothes and everything would be fine.”
“I tried to politely tell her that I wouldn’t, but she called for my MIL (mother-in-law) and asked her for her opinion.”
The mother-in-law sided with the OP.
“MIL said that they had no business deciding what my daughters can wear and offered to buy some clothes from that brand for her kids.”
“She started calling me a selfish brat and that I didn’t know what hard work is.”
“I told her that my husband and I work our a**es off every day to be able to afford this stuff and that she was being entitled.”
“She just cussed me out and went to the table to continue eating.”
The conversation didn’t end there.
“This morning I received a message from her husband, saying that I behaved like a b***h and demanded me to apologize to his wife, as well as complying with her wishes.”
“I just said no and hung up.”
“Now, they are threatening to go NC (no contact) with us unless I apologize, but my ego is too big to do so.”
“I decided to get an opinion from unbiased sources so, AITA?”
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 confirmed the sister-in-law couldn’t expect everyone to downplay their income.
“NTA. Like you said, you work hard for your money and you can spend it like you wish.”
“She can’t honestly expect everyone in life to act like they’re at her income level because she’s insecure about it. Her kids will inevitably see kids with nicer things at school, that’s just part of life. Her reaction was totally uncalled for.”
“Do not apologize to her. Honestly going no contact sounds like a good idea.” – Upstairs_Designer886
“The only thing that is your actual duty as a parent is not to raise entitled children.”
“As long as your girls understand and acknowledge that they are lucky to be born in your family and they also have to give their best efforts to earn what they receive (whether it’s grades, chores, a job, competition results etc.), then there’s absolutely no problem.”
“As you say, you’ve worked your a** off to ensure that they live a comfortable life for as long as you are responsible for them.” – retired-penguin
“NTA. Your SIL should be doing her kids a favor and teaching them to manage their expectations.”
“I grew up poor surrounded by richer kids and although I would have loved the clothes and stuff the girls at my school had, I understood that I couldn’t have them because we couldn’t afford it.”
“Once in a blue moon, I got something expensive for my birthday, and you better believe I really appreciated it.” – Far_Administration41
“Could also be that the cousins are asking and OP’s kids are telling them without any malice or intentions to brag. If someone says to me, ‘I love your dress, where did you get it?’ I will tell them regardless of whether it was a clearance price at Costco or a custom piece specially fitted to me.”
“I know some people think it’s bragging to share where you got something if someone ‘obviously can’t afford it,’ but I don’t agree.”
“I don’t know someone’s budget or the purpose they’re looking to buy for, so I’m just honest about where I got something (and when, if it’s an older piece that is likely not sold any longer).” – Daikon-Apart
Others questioned how bothered the SIL’s kids *actually* were about the clothing brands.
“The only way you could possibly be TA is if your girls are bragging about what they have or being judgmental towards their cousins for having less than them.”
“As long as this isn’t the case, which it doesn’t seem to be, you’re in the clear and it isn’t your job to manage your SIL’s feelings.” – Karyatids
“Tbh (to be honest), I think the other kids don’t really mind. I think it’s SIL who feels bad maybe for not being able to afford better clothes.”
“My fam got good money but they always made me pay for luxuries and electronics. The way her kids see it is probably that they just have different rules.” – throwinthebingame
“I think the only issue here is SIL’s insecurity and maybe even a bit of jealousy as well. It doesn’t sound like her kids even think about those things.”
“She is the one with the issue of status, name brands, and thinking that because OP spends money on name brands that she is being elitist or rubbing her money in the SIL’s face.”
“When in fact, it is none of those things, it is SIL being insecure about her own income and has a severe case of ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses-itis’.”
“NTA. The woman is insecure and has no business telling anyone what to buy or not buy for their children simply because she cannot. SIL needs to learn life is unfair and get over herself.” – SageGreen98
After receiving comments, the OP shared an update.
“My husband and I talked with the girls, and they both said they didn’t know how their cousins felt.”
“They offered to wear non-brand clothes to family gatherings so their cousins didn’t feel uncomfortable. DH and I thanked them and told them that it wasn’t their fault.”
“DH then contacted his brother and apparently, SIL told him that our girls bullied her children, but we compared versions and realized it was a lie.”
“BIL apologized twice and made SIL apologize. She was hesitant at first but did.”
“I told her what my girls were going to do, and she said that it was good, but she was hoping for more.”
Even though the OP was already fairly convinced that she and her daughters had done nothing wrong in how they were dressed, the subReddit was ready to confirm.
The family worked hard for what they had, and as long as the girls weren’t going out of their way to bully their cousins, why would this need to be a long-lasting issue?