If they’re being honest, any parent will tell you that there are parts of parenting that can be really hard, especially when someone is sick or overly exhausted.
But that doesn’t give a parent the right to show favoritism to a child out of simple convenience, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor National_Law_6665 was lacking sleep with her newborn, super colicky baby, and she was looking to get extra sleep whenever she could.
But when her choices began to impact her relationship with her stepdaughter, the Original Poster (OP) was appalled by how her in-laws lashed out.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for sleeping on my weekends?”
The OP was struggling with her newborn being colicky and awake frequently.
“I (35 Female) have a stepdaughter (13) who spends every other weekend at my home.”
“My husband and I have 3 kids (4 months, 2 years, and 4 years).”
“My baby is super fussy. It’s been really bad. The doctor said she is okay, but she is really colicky. She cries all night long.”
“The past few months have been a nightmare. I’ve been working all day with no sleep at night. I am a super light sleeper.”
But it was all starting to impact her relationship with her stepdaughter.
“I have been canceling our weekends with my stepdaughter so my husband and I can catch up on sleep.”
“My stepdaughter decided to blast us on social media. She said, ‘My dad and stepmom can’t even take care of the kids they have. Yet they keep having more.'”
“And she added, ‘So much for a reliable, loving parent.'”
“This post was followed by my husband’s family asking her what was wrong [in the comments section].”
“She let them know that we keep canceling on HER time.”
“But it’s not just HER time. It’s also her dad’s time. It’s been a very difficult situation for both of us.”
The OP’s in-laws lashed out.
“My in-laws are now saying we are the AHs in the situation.”
“They stopped helping us with the younger kids altogether.”
“Am I the AH here? I feel like it’s just circumstances. No one asked for a colicky baby.”
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 insisted the OP and her husband were abandoning her stepdaughter for their baby.
“The colicky baby isn’t your fault, but your solution IS unfair to your stepdaughter. Her father is abandoning her and disappearing from her life. You guys do need to come up with another way of dealing with this. YTA.” – KaliTheBlaze
“You do what you have to do as a parent. And the 13-year-old is your child, too.”
“OP, YTA. I am sorry. But you can’t ‘cancel’ time with one kid because the others are making you suffer. Nope. Not ok. At all.” – TangeloMain9661
“I have a daughter who just turned 17 from a previous relationship and my new husband and I have a daughter who is almost 2. My older daughter has a beautiful relationship with her half-sister.”
“There were a few times she had to stay at her dad’s longer but it was because it was when the pandemic was at its worst.”
“I never wanted my older daughter to feel like we were ‘replacing’ her, and I guarantee OP’s stepdaughter feels like that’s the case.” – Master_Afternoon7912
“Even if the 13-year-old is bored out of her mind because everyone is a zombie, and dinner is frozen pizza every day, she needs to feel welcome. This is her home too.”
“The consequences of a screaming smaller sibling are boredom, noise, lame food, and a messy house.”
“The consequences are not ‘Stepdaughter, you are not part of this family, and you are not welcome.'” – mykidisonreddit
“My 10-year-old and 8-year-old want to help with our 2-year-old and 4-month-old. They fight over who gets to hold the baby because they both want to.”
“They help with little things like grabbing a clean diaper or maybe holding or watching the baby during tummy time or if I have to use the bathroom. They read to the little ones.”
“They love their baby siblings and also like spending time With them.”
“Op, YTA. You’re neglecting your oldest kid and separating her from the rest of your nuclear family and not allowing her to see and bond with her siblings because you’re tired.” – tomsprigs
Others theorized that the OP was showing favoritism in other areas of her life, too.
“Something about the way OP keeps having a baby every 2 years and how the stepdaughter said they ‘keep having more’ instead of ‘they had another one’ makes me believe that OP has treated her stepdaughter as second rate compared to her biological children with at least 2 but likely with all three of her biological children.”
“So while it usually is normal for older siblings to want to bond with their younger siblings, I doubt the stepdaughter really yearns to play 3rd parent to the kid who seems to be her 3rd replacement. After all, 3rd time is the charm.” – JumpNo5890
“OP, this was your most obviously YTA point: ‘She let them know that we keep canceling on HER time. It’s not just HER time. it’s also her dad’s.”
“It IS her time. Parents don’t have rights. Children have rights; parents have responsibilities.”
“This is the stepdaughter’s time to spend with her father. She has a right to it. It’s her time to be with her half-siblings.”
“It’s not your husband’s time, it’s not something you can just cancel.”
“YTA YTA YTA and double YTA to your husband because he’s the parent here and he’s clearly giving his daughter a very clear message: that she isn’t important to him and his ‘new family’ means more than she does.” – activelyresting
“The in-laws were helping them, and then they found out that OP and her husband prioritized their own comfort over being parents as little as 4 days a month for their oldest child… so why would they bother to continue helping?”
“I’m guessing the in-laws are now spending that time with their oldest granddaughter on the weekends that OP and his wife are canceling on her.” – SavingsBaby
“That was a well-deserved social media blasting. YTA, OP.”
“She only gets to see her dad every other weekend, while your children get to see their dad every day. Taking that away from her is incredibly cruel and unfair.”
“You all need to come to a much better solution. Don’t punish the child. I don’t know why your husband is allowing this, to be honest.” – QuinnRaven
“I’m sorry OP, YTA. I totally understand the colicky baby… I’ve dealt with it myself, it can be h**l, but come on.”
“You’re canceling on your stepdaughter over and over. She’s hurt. She thinks you guys don’t love her anymore because you don’t allow her over anymore.”
“She’s young and sees her daddy has his new family and doesn’t want to be with her anymore. If your husband and you divorced, and your now ex-husband canceled constantly on your kids, how would you think they would feel?”
“Your stepdaughter doesn’t understand the baby keeping you from sleeping, and she shouldn’t really have to. She should still have time made for her to be with her dad and be part of the family and also be a priority.”
“I know you don’t see it, but this makes you look REALLY bad.” – Homicidal__Goldfish
Some also pointed out that a 13-year-old wouldn’t even get in the way of extra sleep.
“The kid is 13! It’s not like she is 5 and needs constant supervision.”
“13-year-olds are pretty self-sufficient. I really don’t see how having the stepdaughter there could cause any issues.” – brerosie33
“The 13-year-old may even WANT to help. I had a younger half-sibling (10 years apart) and I loved being with her every moment I could. I would have loved more little siblings to love on.”
“The strangest thing to me on here is people come in and are all, ‘I essentially ignored my stepchild their whole life and now they don’t want a relationship. AITA.’ Common sense, people. YTA.” – TangeloMain9661
“Literally, it would be so easy to include OP’s stepdaughter. Just have a chill weekend with her. They don’t need to do anything fancy. Just have a movie day or play games together or bake some cookies. She’s 13, not 3.”
“She’ll probably be happy to spend some time with her stepsiblings, too. I loved playing with babies and little kids when I was 13.” – ironic-bonding
“They don’t really even need to do anything. Plenty of families spend weekends together without doing any specific activity.”
“Unless the 13-year-old is always nagging to be taken places, doing things, etc., then I have no idea why they would think that it’s going to be difficult to have her come sit around while they watch TV, eat lunch, etc.”
“It’s not about what you’re doing but just that she’s spending time with her dad and being around him.” – DefinitelyNotA-Robot
“Surely, they have to be awake when the younger ones are awake anyway… With 3 little kids around, they have to be up? Where are they, when the parents are catching up on sleep?!”
“If the 13-year-old gets up, she can easily sort herself breakfast and things. If she’s anything like my teen though she will probably sleep later than them.”
“I don’t understand at all how the 13-year-old being there to see her Dad would have any impact on their sleep schedule whatsoever?! Or how it will cause any issue, given that teenagers can do a lot for themselves?”
“OP could sleep whilst Dad spends some time with all FOUR of his children that weekend. Then he can sleep in whilst she takes care of the little ones on the weekend stepdaughter isn’t there?!”
“I’ve not long woken up and my ADHD meds haven’t kicked in yet… But I really do not understand how denying the stepdaughter her visitation time helps in any way at all?!” – RepresentativeGur250
While anyone in the subReddit could empathize that the OP was exhausted and that living with a colicky baby can be incredibly challenging, they felt something far more precious was being sacrificed than lost sleep.
Not only did the stepdaughter likely not feel welcome in her dad’s house anymore, but she might be questioning if she even has a place in that family anymore, or if she had been effectively replaced by divorce and newborns.