It’s a universal truth that there will always be someone who has more of something than we do. Even if we have more money, they may have more happiness or free time.
But that was a truth too difficult to accept for someone on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor aitafriendsdaughter went so far as attempting to hide her friend’s possessions from her children to avoid a difficult conversation.
But when she received pushback for this, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was being petty.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for asking my friend not to dress her daughters up so much when our kids have playdates?”
The OP had a friend who lived a very different lifestyle than she did.
“My friend’s (36 [female]) husband (40 [male]) is a pediatric neurosurgeon, and my friend has a successful online bakery.”
“My husband (37 [male]) is a manager at a grocery store and I’m (35 [female]) a teacher’s aid. Needless to say, there’s a big difference in what we can afford.”
“My kids are 5 [female] and 7 [female], and hers are 3 [male], 4 [female], 6 [male], and 7 [female], and they get along great, so they have play dates often.”
The OP didn’t appreciate the questions her children began asking.
“The problem is, her girls are always dressed up in these adorable little dresses and have the cutest accessories.”
“My kids always ask if they can have clothes like my friend’s girls.”
“Then there’s their backyard. They have a massive pool with a water slide, a playground bigger than the one at our local park, and a bounce house.”
“My girls never want to leave and always spend the next half-hour or so asking why my friend’s kids have better stuff than they do.”
The OP then attempted to level the playing field, at least visually.
“When we were arranging another playdate, I offered to have it at my apartment.”
“She said we should just have it at her house again because there was so much for them to do.”
“I asked about taking the kids to the park and she agreed.”
“Then I asked if she could not dress her daughters up so much for the next playdate.”
“She said her daughters dress themselves (which I highly doubt) and she doesn’t want to tell them to dress down when they’ve never had to before.”
“I told her that my daughters always ask why her kids have better stuff than them after playdates and said that telling her kids not to wear their $70 dresses isn’t a big deal.”
“She snapped at me and said that that’s what her girls want to wear and she’s not going to make them change if they don’t want to.”
But this led to consequences the OP wasn’t expecting.
“She eventually said if I can’t handle my kids playing with hers, then we probably shouldn’t have playdates anymore.”
“She’s refusing to set up another playdate if her kids will have to ‘dress down,’ so I wanted to know if I was the a**hole.”
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 thought the OP was being incredibly petty.
“YTA. Her kids can wear whatever they want. That’s none of your business to ask her something like this. You should’ve already discussed with your kids that sometimes other people have more things than you etc. Every kid lives through that.” – WatercressSimilar557
“That’s the saddest part to me, costing her kids their friends bc (because) of her petty jealousy.” – Dewhickey76
“I’d actually recommend just being honest with your kids. Sure buy what you can second hand but I doubt OP has the time to learn to sew at this point in life.”
“My family was hard up when we were kids, not outright poor but no extra money for fancy toys and clothes, most of what we had was second hand.”
“My parents were just honest with us. We couldn’t have it because we couldn’t afford it, other people had it because they could. We understood that and never thought less of them.”
“My family focused on quality time together and free activities, and I never really felt like I missed out on anything, even if I didn’t have the latest toys or clothes.”
“Just be honest with your kids, OP, and don’t make demands of your friend. The fact of life’s inequalities is something we all learn at some point, might as well be now!” – ZealousIdeal-Set-592
A few expected the children didn’t even care about the apparel differences.
“What’s going to happen when they go to school, she’ll ask parents to make their kids get lower grades so hers don’t feel bad?”
“But we all know this is not about the kids and how they feel at all, it’s about OP being envious and resentful and too immature to understand that it’s her responsibility to deal with such emotions, not others’ responsibility to enable her.”
“Just as it’s her job to teach her kids about the differences in the world and how to deal with the unfair aspects of life and the negative feelings we might all have at one point or another. Which she should have done the first time they asked why other people have ‘better stuff’.”
“All we need to know is the sad outcome of this situation: her kids now lost their friends, because OP cannot deal with other people being more successful than her in a mature manner.” – SeldomSeenMe
Others also offered suggestions to improve on the OP’s concerns.
“While YTA, OP, I think you can actually address your problem easily and cheaply.”
“I buy my kids lots of nice clothes secondhand on local buy swap sell groups, eBay, and Facebook marketplace. You can probably get the $70 outfit for $10 if you shop smart and you can resell it after.”
“Instead of being envious and controlling, be creative. You could also consider sewing. Most of the best-dressed people I know get their stuff at thrift stores or make it themselves.”
“Also, kids don’t need fancy toys to enjoy playdates. At this age, a good blanket fort can be hours of entertainment.” – Cat_got_ya_tongue
“Plus they don’t even have to be designer clothes at this point. It’s not like the kids are teenagers and understand labels. Her kids are 5 and 7.”
“OP could spend a few bucks at Wal-Mart for something that looks cute or fancy. Sure, the quality would be a lot worse than what the other kids have, but kids her age will have no idea.” – SiriKillJenna
“This is what I came here to say. My 3yo girl DOES dress herself and always picks dresses. She loves this brand that’s a little expensive but I buy them second-hand (I use Kidizen and FB group etc) and I’d be annoyed if someone asked her to change what she’s wearing.”
“We don’t have tons of money so second-hand shopping is the best. I also shop sales of the brands we love. Also, some fancy brands really do wear better than target/Walmart/old navy (which we also use, especially for basics).”
“Also, we don’t have a fancy yard or the most expensive toys. Kids like to come to our house because our toys are different than theirs. My kids feel the same visiting their friends.”
“I’d try to find some fun activities to do at yours – water balloons, water fight, running through the sprinkler, etc if you have yard space. Also if inside like a fun craft. Or a tea party, making special necklaces, etc.”
“Overall, taking them to the park is a great idea. Asking them to change their clothes is not.” – Engineer-Huge
Though the OP seemed to be struggling with some of her own insecurities about what she has, the subReddit was quick to put her into place and to help.
She may not be able to suddenly go out and buy her kids all the same clothes and toys their friends have, but she will be able to do the better thing: make more quality memories with their friends.