It all started before Reddit user RightBabyName (which is probably a throwaway account unless this guy has tons of baby name baggage) and his wife even began seriously discussing having children. “Even before my wife and I started to think about kids, her mother has wanted us to name a son after her father,” wrote the upset dad. “Let’s say the name is Sherman. It’s not actually Sherman but think of something equally… generational. Or old-fashioned, perhaps. The important thing is, from day one, I have absolutely hated the name.”
When the couple did decide to have a baby and announced the gender to their families, his MIL doubled-down on Sherman, but the couple, who gave each other “10 no questions asked rejects,” had the family name at the top of their no list. “Ultimately we named our son something we both really liked… let’s say his name is Alexander,” wrote the OP.
After welcoming their baby boy three months ago, RightBabyName’s mother-in-law has been a constant presence in their lives, in a mostly good way. She’s provided some invaluable help for the new parents by cleaning, cooking meals, helping around the house, and caring for the baby. But, she was calling the baby Sherman the entire time.
“With increasing frequency over the last few weeks, she’s taking to calling our son ‘Sherm’ or ‘Lil Sherm.’ She never calls him Alexander or Alex,” OP explained. “The first dozen times I let it slide. The next dozen times it started to grate on me. The next dozen times, I started to remind her to call him by the right now in a joking way. The next dozen times, I reminded her in a matter of fact way to call him the right name.”
After discussing it with his wife, who said she would talk to her mother, nothing changed. Lil Sherm was still this grandma’s go-to nickname and OP had had enough. “Today, I blew up at my mother-in-law. I told her how disrespectful it was to me and Alex that she continued to call him by the wrong name,” explained the irate dad. He then added that if she couldn’t use the baby’s correct name, she wasn’t welcome in their home anymore.
The overwhelming response to the thread is that OP is indeed not the asshole (NTA), though there are some ESH (everyone sucks here) and YTA (you’re the asshole) outliers.
“NTA. Calling a child by a completely different name isn’t really a nickname,” replied ObviouslyObsessed18. “What is she trying to accomplish with this? Sherman isn’t his name; it will never be his name. Did she think if she used it enough he would respond to that over his actual name?”
Redditor ActivityProof, who was leaning toward NTA, but ended up taking a midline ESH stance, wrote, “Where you started to take on some of the AH of my verdict was when you didn’t immediately correct your MIL the first time. You can’t ignore her the first ‘two dozen times,’ before bringing it up to her. No wonder [she] and your wife didn’t take it well when you lost your temper. … You allowed it initially, and now you’re starting a conflict?”
And in a new AITA category, user BeaverPup, in a long and well-thought-out comment deemed OP HTA. Here’s the short version: “tl;dr The point was valid, the way you went about it was not. I rate this HTA (half the ass).”
We’re left wondering how much extra work RightBabyName just made for his wife, since grandma won’t be welcome back anytime soon. Our opinion? ESH.
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