Welcoming a newborn into the world can be a beautiful and joyous occasion, but it can also be stressful as hell, as one Redditor learned the hard way.
The new dad, who goes by Mission_Ear on Reddit, posted to the platform’s “Am I the Asshole” forum after both his mother and mother-in-law slammed him for being “very rude and cold” after he set boundaries around hospital visits.
“We held off on visits for the first day,” he explained in the post. “I’m a very anxious new parent, so when we decided that we’d have people come and meet our son, I sent an email out to everyone who said they wanted to come visit.”
His requests were pretty straightforward: No more than 3-4 visitors at a time; no one under 18; no strong fragrances; no gifts; limit all visits to an hour. Yet, predictably, they set off a whirlwind of “snippy comments,” backlash, and disregard for his wishes, primarily from his parents and mother-in-law.
Things were rocky from the start. The Redditor explained that his parents arrived while his aunt, her husband, and her two adult kids were in the room. Not a huge deal, he said, since the extended family members cleared out soon after to allow grandma and grandpa some cuddle time. But the niceties didn’t last long, and a once “pleasant” encounter (save for his mom taking off the baby’s swaddle) quickly spiraled out of control once his in-laws arrived.
“An hour later, my parents are still there, and my in-laws show up, their grandson in tow,” he wrote. “My wife tells them that they can’t bring him in. Their grandson starts to cry, and my MIL starts to scold us for forbidding children, so my father pipes up saying that we’re being too coddling.”
This comment sparked a fire. “Then, my mother starts up and tells us that we’ve been very rude and cold and says that as [the] grandmother it’s her right to visit the baby when she pleases, and she shouldn’t have to ‘RSVP’ to her grandson’s birth,” he adds. “She calls me impolite for sending out a ‘demanding’ email like I did and insists that if I regulate my son as strictly as I did his visitings, he’ll grow up to resent my wife and I.”
His troubles weren’t over yet. After asking people to leave, his mom and mother-in-law reiterated that he was “rude” and made threats never to visit again. His wife “changed her tune” and called him “combative.”
OH, BABY, is there a lot to unpack here. For starters, Boomers telling Millennial parents that they’re “being too coddling” is rich. The one thing people love to slam Millennials for more than their affinity for avocado toast is how they were too babied by their Boomer parents. Y’all created this mess!
Moving on. I may be biased because my husband and I also sent an email with similar expectations for visitors after we welcomed our daughters. Still, on the surface, I’m inclined to argue this guy is definitely not the asshole here. (Of course, I’m only going off of his side of the story. There’s a chance he was a massive pube to his loved ones.)
The first 72 hours of a baby’s life are pure chaos. If you give birth in a hospital, people are consistently filtering through to administer newborn vaccinations, check on mom’s vitals, and run tests on both mom and baby. In our case, someone from the billing department even came in and loudly demanded that we pony up our co-pay in front of our visitors (it’s funny now, but it wasn’t so much when I was a hormonal mess).
On top of that, you’re learning how to parent, changing more diapers than you ever knew was possible, dealing with postpartum bleeding, and trying to stay sane while utterly sleep-deprived. You’re going through one of the most significant transformations of your life, and more often than not, things aren’t going to go the way you planned. Creating boundaries is the minimum you can do to feel like you have even the slightest amount of control in your lives.
It sounds like the grandparents were struggling with their own transition — from parent to grandparent — and taking it out on this new dad. For the most part, that’s natural. However, there are so many better ways to deal with those big changes (therapy or venting over coffee with a friend are two great options). And while you might feel like you want to appease everyone and make them feel included, as I did, it’s imperative you remember a few things: No one is entitled to meet your newborn. Your feelings and boundaries are valid. You get the final say.
Parenting is hard enough as it is. Allow yourself the freedom to set boundaries — without thinking you’re an asshole.