Blended families can be really close without having to replace the kids’ parents. It is normal to want to establish boundaries even if you want to be a part of the family.
Especially, when it comes to a family business.
Redditor Own_RecognitionA encountered this very issue with her mom. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for not wanting to be part of my stepfamily’s business?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“So my mom married my stepdad when I was 12. Both had kids.”
“Mom had me (25f) and my siblings (20f) (19m) (18f) and my stepdad had his three (18f) (16m) (16f). We lost our dad a year before, stepdad lost his first wife three years before.”
“As the oldest I blended less well than the others. I’m fine with everyone, I get along with everyone, and I have no problems. But I don’t love them. I don’t consider my stepdad my dad or even as much a parental figure as they would like.”
“My step siblings don’t feel the same as my siblings. It’s not really a big deal. I can treat them all the same and fake a bond and stuff that I don’t feel and I have no issues with any of them like I said.”
“But I do have some boundaries. Like I kept my last name when my siblings changed theirs and for Father’s Day my card was always separate from the main one because I was not okay getting him a dad/father father’s day card. It had to be stepdad.”
OP’s mom doesn’t think that’s enough.
“Now my mom and stepdad want to open up a family restaurant and my siblings and step siblings all want to be involved. And I don’t.”
“I expressed this to them as not my thing but my mom knew I was saying no in part because of how I feel. And she told me it was making it very obvious, because I have been involved in my paternal family business since high school and that it looks like an out and out rejection.”
“I told her the simple fact is I’m not interested and they have a lot of people already involved so it’s not like it’s a big deal.”
“She told me I’m making myself look like the red haired stepchild and I told her that I am a stepchild. I have a stepparent. That’s not a bad thing and it’s not something I’m ashamed of.”
“She told me I didn’t have to be a stepchild. I could have had another dad.”
“I told her I could have but didn’t want that. She told me the family business wants and needs me. I asked her, since pictures of the grandparents and deceased relatives are going up on the walls in this idea, would the deceased parents be going up there too and there was silence.”
“My brother told me they’re sad I don’t want to be part of it and it would be such a cool family thing to have.”
“And now my mom’s words are stuck in my head. AITA?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“You can pretty much guarantee that if the business goes sideways, the first wages to be cut will be the kids. And when they argue back, it’ll be ‘look at what we’ve done for you, you’re so ungrateful, we’ve sacrificed so much for you growing up. how could you do this to family?'” ~ Wolfy5079
“Honestly this story and your comments remind me of an episode from kitchen nightmares with Gordon Ramsey. There was a Mediterranean restaurant that was staffed by the owner and his kids and the kids were treated like crap and said as much.” ~ pixierambling
“NTA. How many family businesses does she think you need to be a part of? And if you’ve had boundaries since you were 12 about how blended you wanted to be, why is she still harping on this 13 years after the fact?” ~ baobab77
“Clearly NTA, you feel what you feel or even not. It is your choice.”
“If it doesn’t feel right to participate then don’t participate. It is only up to you. You don’t need to do things just to make others feel better – do what is good for you.” ~ Responsible-Seat1082
Redditors argued the restaurant business is hard enough without adding family drama.
“Seriously stay away. If you don’t want to be a part of it, stay away from it.”
“The restaurant business has a level of volatility that’s unlike any other industry. It tears families apart. Starting a restaurant and making a profit from it is very difficult and easily failed. Rent is expensive and overheads are high.”
“I can write a whole essay as to why family restaurants can fail.”
“Edit: For this curious about restaurants, the big issues are overheads and product.”
“Overheads: staff costs are high compared to number of customers served. Most restaurants are rarely near full capacity and there is a limit to the minimum staff needed to operate. Rent, it’s pretty expensive too.”
“These factors eat in to margins massively, even a busy and popular restaurant may not be sustainable.”
“Product: Many failed restaurants sell an inferior product to a market that doesn’t want it at a price they won’t accept. At low capacity, most restaurants hemorrhage cash.”
“If anybodies interested, look at the full EBITDA and finances of a restaurant. When it’s good it’s great, when it’s bad it’s awful.” ~ Milk_is_amazing
“This!! The hours are long, the work is not fun, and everyone is exhausted at the end of the night. Most restaurants fail in the first few years because it’s so difficult.”
“Stick to your decision OP, use any excuse you can but steer clear of this mess. NTA” ~ Revolutionary-Yak-47
“The one upside is that, in job interviews, if they ask “have you ever worked in a fast-paced/stressful environment before” you can just say “I was a line cook” and stare off into the middle distance.”
“Your interviewer will have to take a swig from the flask of bourbon they keep under their desk as they, too, think back to their own restaurant experience. You get hired.” ~ Neurotic_Bakeder
Everyone can have their own life and still be a family.