Mother’s Day was canceled for one particular family this year — and it’s pretty impossible to dispute the reasoning. A dad took to Reddit’s AITA forum to share the awful exchange that led to him nixing his wife’s celebration and users quickly rallied around him.
“I (M/37) have a 13 y.o son. I was a widower when I met my now wife,” he wrote. “She has a 16 y.o daughter from another relationship. The family is often on pretty good terms.” His son is on the quiet side which has caused the user’s wife and stepdaughter to encourage him to be more sociable and join in on activities or extended family gatherings.
“My son complained about having to be forced out of his comfort zone and having his need for space invalidated,” the Reddit user explained. “I spoke to both my wife and stepdaughter and asked them to give him space and freedom to spend his time however he wanted. They apologized and promised to let him be.”
The user had a special surprise party at a restaurant planned for Mother’s Day, though the daughter informed her mom, so it was no longer a surprise. When he returned home to make the final arrangements, he overheard his wife and stepdaughter talking to his son.
“My wife was asking my son if he could convince me to let him stay home and not go with them to the restaurant to celebrate,” he recounted. “My son said why and she told him that his introverted and socially inept ‘attitude’ will make her family uncomfortable and will ruin the mood. He promised her that he’d be well behaved and would try to interact and socialize with everyone but she said that she wasn’t buying it.”
The stepmom then snapped at the son and said that he didn’t really even need to go because she’s technically not his mother. The stepdaughter also made some sort of “backhanded comment.” Then, they turned around to see the Reddit user standing at the door. Both looked shocked. “I told my son and his stepsister to go to their rooms then told my wife that the celebration was off, cancelled,” he explained. “She tried to argue asking why repeatedly and I told her why.” She told him that he was making a “tremendous mistake” and took her daughter to stay with her parents. There hasn’t been a phone call or text since, he said.
Now, the user is wondering: was he the a**hole for canceling the celebration?
The Reddit community was more concerned about his son’s mental health and safety than this mother’s day party. “Guarantee they have done this before,” one user wrote. “Circle the wagons, protect your son. Such disgusting abuse from your wife upon your son. To make it even worse, she is raising her daughter to be cruel and exclusionary. Your son deserves so much better.”
Another added that introverts face their own unique challenges in this world — and the stepmother is punishing the boy for simply being himself. “This seems like a total lack of empathy on the part of your wife and stepdaughter, and it’s not okay,” the person wrote. “Hopefully, one day, your son will realize that he’s not wrong for being himself, that it’s people who treat him this way that are in the wrong. Getting him out of this situation ASAP will definitely help expedite that realization. You are 100% NTA. A grown woman should know better and should be teaching her daughter better than that.”
Others spoke from firsthand experience as stepparents, validating that the stepmom should never have behaved this way. “NTA. This is irreparable damage, in my opinion. I wouldn’t want that woman around my son anymore,” a parent added. “I’m a bonus mom and if I spoke to my bonus son that way I would expect my husband to divorce me.”
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