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Stepmom Refuses To Cancel Trip To Allow Husband To Be There For His Daughter’s Prom Photos

Girl wearing prom dress
kali9 / Getty Images

I am an avid tabletop gamer.

I love sitting down with my friends and telling a story together, rolling some dice, and letting the stress of the world melt away into a quest to save the city.

As any tabletop gamer will tell you, the largest hurdle isn’t finding the friends but rather finding the time.

Scheduling a time for all of us to be together can be challenging, even with my small group of four.

We compromise, and we work hard to spend that time together because it’s valuable, and that value is worth the trouble.

So what happens when the schedule is difficult, and someone involved refuses to bend?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Extension-Marzipan86 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

She asked:

“AITA for my husband missing his daughter’s prom?”

First, introductions.

“I (36) female, have been married to my husband Josh, (40) for 10 years. We have a 9-year-old daughter Lauren together, and my stepdaughter Riley is 18.”

Then OP explained the problem.

“About a year ago I booked a vacation with my girlfriends for one of their bachelorette parties. It’s this weekend in Tennessee.”

“We leave Thursday and come back Monday.”

“This weekend, Lauren has a cheerleading competition that Josh is taking her to.”

“Lauren is required to have a guardian there the whole time, and she needs to arrive early Friday and leave Sunday.”

“We did ask the cheer director if a friend’s mom could bring her, and my husband could meet her there after but they said no.”

“And if she’s not there for the check-in time, she can’t compete that weekend.”

The overbooking continues.

“Riley’s prom is Friday.”

“Riley did not have a junior prom and her school only has senior prom.”

“We found out the date of prom after school started and the trip had already been booked and paid for.”

“My husband is now going to be missing Riley’s prom to take Lauren to her competition.”

“Riley thinks this is extremely unfair and that we’re playing favorites since she’ll never get this chance again and she wants pictures with her dad and sister.”

“She’s been messaging my husband about it.”

“Lauren doesn’t want to miss her competition and risk her spot on her team.”

“My husband asked if I’d cancel my trip, and I told him no.”

“The trip has been booked, paid for, and I also need a break. He takes breaks and trips as well.”

“My husband and I are now fighting because he feels like no matter what he does, he’s stuck. He’s already told Lauren he’ll be taking her to the cheer comp, which means he’ll be missing prom.”

In the end, OP was left to wonder,

“So AITA?”

Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors decided: NAH

Commenters found an unexpected A**hole.


“Whomever is organizing the cheerleader competition is the a**hole.”

“There is no reason they should restrict another member of the family from bringing her or simply allowing her to go with another parent and a permission slip.” ~ BrewertonFats

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the competition itself but the coach/team. But yes, they are the AH.” ~ sumerquen

There was also confusion about what the actual issue was.


“Why are adults involved in prom?” ~ MadTownMich

“They aren’t.”

“OP’s step-daughter wants them all to cancel their plans so they can spend 10 minutes taking photos with her before she goes out and enjoys the night with her friends and classmates.”

“The more I think about it, the more ridiculous and selfish the request/expectation is.” ~ GhostParty21

“Everyone saying this is gonna cause long-lasting resentment, and it’s super important for dad to be there… I do not get it.”

“I don’t have any pictures with my dad from before my prom. Why would I?”

“I have pictures with my date and my friends.”

“I’m pretty sure my mom took the photos, and I honestly can’t remember if my dad was there or not – he might have been working.”

“This sub is so weird sometimes.” ~ NecessaryClothes9076

“Yeah I was getting annoyed at the stepmom until I just read your comment, and it really sunk in for me what the stepdaughter is asking her father.”

“It is literally, at max, an hour of time spent together doing photos and organizing things and sh*t like that. Then she will be gone and with friends doing whatever.”

“It’s actually really dumb the more I think about it because while dad can’t be there, he could easily video call in and still be present.”

“Whereas the cheerleading one is actually a full-on commitment, and it wouldn’t just be letting the daughter down but her teammates and stuff as well.”

“Yeah, the stepdaughter here is just being bratty, honestly.” ~ MasterPlanPenguin

“We all know who the favorite is.” ~ noodlesaintpasta

“Prom is clearly important to Riley.”

“She wouldn’t get to take photos with her sister whatever happened – Lauren has a cheerleading competition, so she’d be out of town regardless of whether you were available or not.”

“So Riley’s desire to have photos with her sister is never going to happen – prom is important to Riley, but not to Lauren, and it would be absurd for Lauren to miss her competition just to have her photo taken next to Riley in a prom dress.”

“The truth is, Lauren can’t do her competition without a parent. Riley doesn’t need her hand holding to go to prom.”

“Probably the best plan is for the husband to go to cheerleading with Lauren and have him and Lauren take formal photos with Riley when they’re all available.”

“Are you an AH for booking a bachelorette party for May in your step-daughter’s senior year? Probably not.”

“NTA” ~ _mmiggs_

Some commenters thought there might be deeper issues.

“Also, YTA, as is your husband.”

“Prom happens once. Your 9-year-old has plenty of cheerleading competitions.”

“The focus should be the once-in-a-lifetime deal. No wonder your stepdaughter is totally pissed. Do better”


“I’m a divorce attorney and former therapist.”

“I know and deal with these dynamics on the daily.”

“Riley is obviously upset, or the stepmom would not have posted.”

“Note that Riley appears to have gone through her parent’s divorce at about the same age as her stepsister is now— maybe a bit younger.”

“Many communities and cultures have a significant tradition of parental involvement in prom, even if it is ‘just’ photos.”

“If anyone thinks this is the first time Riley felt replaced or cast aside by dad and stepmom, you’re not living in reality.”

“It’s not the actual act of the photos and prom that is the issue. It is the symbolism and very real pain of an 18-year-old girl.” ~ MadTownMich

Then there was just the logic of the situation.


“I understand that prom only happens once (maybe twice, depending on if juniors are invited to prom).”

“However, a competitive cheer competition is not something that you can decide to not participate in.”

“Routines have been made with the expectation of that athlete being present. Restrictions may make finding a replacement athlete on short notice difficult (if not impossible).”

“And if this is the competition I think they’re talking about, it’s likely out of state for OP and is a BIG deal to those athletes.”

“That’s why the coach requires a parent to attend.”

“Taking athletes out of state and to compete in a dangerous sport necessitates some policies be put in place. The parent requirement is one they’ve deemed necessary.”

“The trip was scheduled and out of your hands, OP, as were the competition & prom dates.”

“Things don’t always work out the way we want them to but doing what makes the most sense logistically does not necessarily make you T A.”

“I empathize with Riley, but that doesn’t mean her request is exactly fair.” ~ mikxed-emotions

OP did return to provide further information.


“I have decided to stand my ground that I will not be canceling my trip. I will be getting on the plane in the morning.”

“Josh just sat down with me, Riley, and Lauren to talk about the weekend.”

“He explained he’ll be taking Lauren to her competition while Riley’s mother takes pictures with her at prom.”

“He said he taught the girls about commitment, and he’s not going to have Lauren’s absence have the team Forfeit.”

“He told her we could do pictures if she wanted to put her dress on a second time, but she said it won’t be the same, and she’s upset.”

“Riley is upset with her father and thinks he’s favoring Lauren.”

“My husband just called me, and he decided to leave with Lauren to the cheer competitions after breakfast so that they could have lunch and relax before meeting up with her team.”

“They are officially safe at the hotel for the competition.”

“Thank you for all the support we’ve received and even for the negative comments.”

Whether it’s a dance or a game, or a walk in the park, spending time with each other and reforging those fragile connections can be extremely beneficial – but also extremely difficult to coordinate.

The value in those compromises, though, cannot be overstated.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.