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Teen Balks After Her Mother Expects Her To Help Wash And Wipe Her Post-Wrist Surgery

Woman with her arm in a cast.
Jenny Dettrick/Getty Images

Every now and then, we might find ourselves needing to step up and help our families.

This could mean doing things we don’t particularly want to do but do them nonetheless, partially out of obligation, and partially because we know our family members would do the same for us.

Even so, there are some things our family might ask us to do for them that we simply cannot say yes to under any circumstance.

The mother of Redditor anna14x1 needed a bit more help around the house following surgery.

While the original poster (OP) was more than willing to help her mother, there was one department where the OP simply drew the line and would not help.

Something the OP’s mother didn’t appreciate one bit.

Wondering if she was being insensitive, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not wanting to take care of my mother?”

The OP explained how she was happy to offer her mother help after her surgery, up to a certain point.

“My mother has an upcoming surgery on her right wrist and wants me to take care of her after the surgery.”

“As her daughter (19 F[emale]) She expects me to wash her, wipe her bottom after going to the toilet, and probably more.”

“I told her that I was very uncomfortable with that and that she could hire someone to do that or ask her husband for help.”

“After I told her that she got visibly upset because, as her daughter, it is expected for me to take care of her.”

“I am slightly annoyed that just because I’m of the ‘female’ gender I am expected to be her caretaker.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt her, but what she wanted from me crossed my boundaries.”

“Am I The A**hole?”

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 was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to help her mother after she used the bathroom.

Everyone agreed that it was more than reasonable for the OP to draw the line at helping her mother in such a delicate situation, particularly as her mother’s surgery wasn’t quite as debilitating as she was making it out to be. Others offered other suggestions as to how the OP’s mother could deal with this particular problem.


“Is her other hand/wrist/arm not working?”

“I can understand if this is her dominant hand, she isn’t used to using a different one…but I would be teaching myself how to do that rather than expecting my child to wipe my a**.”-ExcitingEvidence8815


“It is one wrist and not both.”

“And I would expect the husband to get the job of taking care of his injured wife, that’s how a marriage is supposed to work.”

“I’d be uncomfortable as well, but my mother would never expect that of me and my siblings.”-Fredka321


“It is expected by her, not by you.”

“No.”- diminishingpatience

“NTA tell her to use her other wrist.”- SnappyC


“I broke my arm at 61 and did everything myself. Got pump shampoo to make it easier.”

“Did track pants and t’s so I didn’t do buttons or zips.”

“Basically didn’t need any help at all, and the last thing I’d ever ask my kid is to wipe my a**.”

“Sounds more like an excuse to be waited on all day.”

“Let her hubby wash her and wipe her. You help with meals making tea or whatever, and keeping house clean.”

“That’s more than enough.”- F*ckivehadenough

“She can use the opposite hand for doing everything.”

“I just broke my arm and had to do it all with my left hand. I’m right-handed.”

“NTA.”- Snoo-32071


“She still has two hands, right?”

“You can also buy add-on bidet toilet seats so she can power wash her a** when she’s done.”

“There are many ways (as others have mentioned) that she can cope with her temporary situation.”

“What would she do if you weren’t there?”- RoookSkywokkah

“Her request is bizarre.”

“It is reasonable that she may need help with dressing during the recovery period.”

“Buttons, zips, etc. are tricky to do up one-handed.”

“Although, here’s a tip: pull-on tops and elastic-waisted pants are your friend.”

“But wiping one’s a** is not an action that requires two hands.”

“She will still have one functional hand.”

“Tell her to use it.”- ThisWillAgeWell


“I’m right-handed and twice in my life I’ve lost the ability to use my right hand. Once when I was 13 major laceration to my right elbow, and broke my right hand when I was 18.”

“I did literally everything on my own.”

“You have to learn to become a lefty for a couple of months, but it comes naturally pretty quickly.”

“The only thing that was hard was typing and writing.”

“Most everything else can be done with one hand.”- Sad-Explanation7327

“I had surgery on my right wrist and thumb (right is my dominant hand).”

“I just used my left hand.”

“I would be mortified to ask my daughter to wipe my butt.”

“NTA.”- scout1982

“NTA, I had surgery on my right shoulder a few months ago to get a port.”

“I wasn’t able to put on a shirt myself, because I couldn’t lift my arm and moving my hand also hurt a lot at least the first few days.”

“Beside that, I did everything myself.”

“And yes my right arm is my dominant arm.”

“So doing everything with my left hand/arm wasn’t funny, but it worked.”

“I would understand if she’s asking for help with part of the dressing and maybe cooking etc.”

“But wiping her behind?”


“If she believes she is unable to do that herself, she should hire a professional caregiver for the time or stay at the hospital.”- Tina0407

“This is weird.”

“I assume she also has a working left hand to wipe with.”- CreedTheDawg


“She really can’t wipe with the other hand?”

“It’s wrist surgery, not open heart surgery… remember you are NEVER obligated simply because ‘family’.”- Scared-Accountant288

“My sister recently fell out of a 2-story building and broke her elbow and the top bit of her arm and fractured her collar bone.”

“The only thing I had to help her with was washing her hair and putting her dressing gown over her right side.”

“Your mum is using this to make you her slave.”

“Yes old(er) people will struggle a bit more but jeezus having to wipe her a** because of a wrist surgery is laughable.”

“She has another hand!”- Special_Version_2937

“I’ve had surgery for carpal tunnel.”

“Not the greatest for sh*ts ‘n’ giggles, but showering and toileting were still accomplished solo.”

“I also know of at least one person who had carpal tunnel surgery done on both arms at the same time.”

“They managed their own hygiene.”

“It took a bit of planning and thought, but it was doable.”

“OP, you’re NTA.”

“In your place, I’d be at least dreaming of telling her to kiss my a** before I’d consider wiping hers.” CrazyOldBag

“As long as she has two hands this is a very odd request, most people don’t like the indignity of having someone else do their personal care even when it is unavoidable.”

“NTA.”- Dazzling-Health-5147


“I can only assume she has two hands – and can buy a bidet.”

“The idea children are there to take care of you no matter what is so gross.”

“F*ck our own lives and boundaries, right?”- MarvelHead


“She has a husband, unless he’s somehow mentally/physically disabled, I fail to see why he can’t take care of his wife.”

“This is a boundary you’re not willing to cross. She cannot force you to do it.”- SparklingWalnut

The OP later returned to thank everyone who gave their input while also clarifying a few things about her mother’s situation.

“To clear up some misconceptions: My Mom has a healthy and functioning left arm.”

“Thanks for everyone recommending a bidet!”

“I didn’t know that these existed.”

“I’ll definitely recommend that to her.”

“After that conversation, we didn’t really talk to each other yet.”

“I just hope she won’t bring anything up again.”

“My father is healthy and will probably help her after the surgery.”

“He would just prefer if I did it because I am the ‘daughter’.”

“And of course, I’ll help her with getting dressed up, cooking, or cleaning the house.”

“It’s just washing and wiping her genitalia that I don’t feel comfortable with.”

Needless to say, the surgery of the OP’s mother is definitely going to make things more complicated for her around the house.

It’s also easy to understand why the OP, or anyone, wouldn’t be particularly eager to help her mother in the bathroom.

Rather than demanding her help from the get-go, it might have been wise for the OP’s mother to see what she was and wasn’t capable of first.

As doing so might have avoided this whole messy situation.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.