Everyone loves their pets.
As anyone should, for pets are a great responsibility, and require, and deserve, endless love and attention.
Some even treat their pets as if they were their children.
A trait many people find noble, but others find somewhat extreme.
Redditor macawww345 wanted to ensure her adopted macaw was given all the love and care they were deprived of in their previous home.
So much so, she even felt afraid to travel away from it for long stretches, resulting in her declining to travel to her stepdaughter to help her plan a significant day in her life.
Something the original poster (OP)’s stepdaughter didn’t appreciate one bit.
Wondering if she was being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for prioritizing my parrot over my stepdaughter’s wedding?”
The OP explained why she felt uncomfortable traveling to her stepdaughter and leaving her macaw behind.
“So I’m the owner of a wonderful rescued macaw.”
“She is a wonderful bird but has a lot of issues due to an abusive former home.”
“I’ve had her for 3 years and since then haven’t taken any vacations or trips away as it would be too disruptive for her.”
“She distrusts everyone and is very reliant on her routine.”
“I love her deeply and I’m happy to make sacrifices for her.”
“They are permanent toddlers and very intelligent birds.”
“I met my husband by the time his kids were older, my stepdaughter was 16 at the time.”
“We married when she moved away for college.”
“Nevertheless I thought we’d managed to have a decent relationship, until now.”
“My stepdaughter is getting married in March, and naturally there’s a lot of preparation involved.”
“They’re wanting a huge traditional wedding and she is stressed out of her mind.”
“They live out of state, and she invited me recently to come visit her for a week to help make wedding plans and spend time with their 2yo.”
“I declined and she insisted to know why, acting very hurt, and I explained the parrot.”
“Well it all went downhill from there.”
“She caused a massive fuss with her dad, saying she never got a mother figure and I never accepted her as my full blood daughter and this is the ultimate snub for a silly animal.”
“That I’m cold and emotionless.”
“I feel really hurt and I can tell he agrees with her even though he’s refusing to take sides.”
“But I don’t see why I should be expected to take holiday time off work to babysit and ‘bond’ all of a sudden and I don’t see how I’m a monster for this.”
“Am I the a**hole here?”
“Context of our relationship, we don’t usually talk at all and she hasn’t visited home in 4 years.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community generally agreed the OP was not the a**hole for prioritizing her pet macaw over helping plan her stepdaughter’s wedding.
Just about everyone agreed the fact the OP’s macaw was rescued from an abusive home and can’t handle being alone for long periods of time made the OP’s decision not to travel understandable, as well as the fact macaws require more care than the average pet.
“Unless you know parrots in general (and how people finicky they can be, especially abused ones), this isn’t an animal you can simply drop off at a pet sitter.”
“OP could lose the previously abused birds trust if the bird thinks OP had abandoned them.”
“Same time, you are already associating ‘bonding’ as being a free babysitter.”
“Also, a last minute one at that.”
“Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not.”
“Just sounded a little callous, but then again you are NOT obligated to be her babysitter.”
“I’d normally say you were an a**hole for putting a bird before family, but you’ve made it clear she’s been pretty distant with you.”
“The thing about relationships (all relationships) is they require effort and attention.”
“Just because you’re related (by blood or law) doesn’t mean someone is entitled to your presence, especially if the relationship isn’t exactly a good one.”
“You aren’t the a**hole.”
“I assume if your relationship was better, you’d make more of an effort.”
“You’re still going, so it isn’t like you’re skipping the wedding.”
“NTA, I don’t blame you.”
“Also, my sister has twins and more often than not, ‘spending time’ with the kids means babysitting them, this doesn’t sound like a vacation, but a desire to put you to work.”- Ka-Ka-Master
“Macaws and parrots are not just ‘birds’ like budgies where you can ask a pet sitter to feed and water them all week.”
“Macaws are like gifted children who scream and can rip your fingers off.”
“They are an 80 year commitment and often only bond to a single person.”
“Birds in general are extremely sensitive to any environmental changes so someone who doesn’t know what they are doing can hurt or even kill the macaw.”
“Shame on everyone for saying ‘choosing an animal over family’ like it’s a bad thing.”
“The macaw seems more like family than her stepdaughter.”
“If it was that big of a deal then stepdaughter would help make accommodations rather than just want a babysitter.”- wolfpupower
“NTA, because it sounds like she was trying to get free childcare and labor out of you rather than wanting bonding time.”
“Your title made it sound like you’d be missing the wedding.”
“You definitely need to go to the wedding, because at that point you’re taking it too far putting the bird over family.”
“Maybe offer if there’s anything you can do to help prepare from home, if that’s something you want to do.”
“If you are going to make sure to make it to the wedding, you need to clarify that in the post, because I think a lot of people are reading this as you saying you won’t be going to the wedding.”-Artsy_Shartsy22
There were those, however, who did sympathize with the OP’s stepdaughter and felt the OP could have made more of an effort, even if they ultimately understood her decision.
“I actually agree with both sides but you need to sit down and decide what your stepdaughter is to you.”
“Do you want her to call you grandma?”
“Do you want to be around your grandkids?”
“Do you want her in your life?”
“I don’t agree with dropping everything for a week but what’s preventing you from doing zoom calls and being a part online?”
“From what you wrote, you aren’t even trying to be involved.”
“That’s ok, it’s your choice, but it will change your relationship with your husband, stepkid and grandchild.”
“Is it worth that?”
“Cause those are humans that will support you til you die.”
“Your parrot, while extremely important, will not give you a life outside their cage.”
“I’m gonna say NAH as long as you figure out what you want for the future and set clear and appropriate boundaries.”- UniversitySoft1930
While others were less sympathetic and felt the OP couldn’t always prioritize her bird.
“I am in a family of bird lovers.”
“I have a rescue myself, and my mom has a very hormonal cockatoo.”
“Birds are so incredibly demanding, but you need to weigh that with your actual family.”
“Hurting your relationships for the sake of the bird is not healthy.”
“I would strongly advise you to seek out a qualified avian veterinarian, one who specializes in behavioral issues.”
“I would seek out a prescription of Halidol for the bird, temporarily, and make the trip to see your stepdaughter.”
“She is reaching out and pleading for your affection.”
“You joined her family much the way your bird joined yours.”
“She needs you now.”
“Don’t make a mistake in priorities here.”
“Your stepdaughter matters more than your birds ongoing recovery.”
“Put the bird on hold with a mild prescription for a week and go to her.”-rompydompy
The OP later returned with an update, sharing she and her stepdaughter had a heart-to-heart.
“I called my stepdaughter and told her that I understand this is a big moment in her life and she wants someone there to help and support her, and I’m still willing to help her in any way I can to plan the wedding via zoom and virtually.”
“We talked a bit and I asked her why she hadn’t accepted me reaching out in the past and she apologized and said she didn’t want to accept someone as a stand-in, ‘fake’ replacement for her bio mom, but now she regrets it and would like a closer relationship, especially seeing how close her SO is with his mom.”
“We ended the conversation positively and I’m hoping things can improve going forward.”
“I told her I’m a crazy bird lady and asked her if she still wants a relationship knowing that and she said that after the wedding she’s willing to travel to visit us if we have room.”
“Which we do.”
“I’m glad the feedback here motivated me to make the call.”
Caring for a macaw, particularly one rescued from an abusive home is no easy feat.
However, it isn’t too difficult to understand why the OP’s stepdaughter felt hurt by the OP’s decisoin.
One can only hope the OP can find a way to give her bird all the care and support it needs, but also be there for the important people in her life.
Not to mention live a life of her own.