Every motherhood journey and experience is different. From parent to parent. And from child to child. One constant, though, is that it’s that mother’s experience — and whatever it is she’s feeling — is real. No one can tell her otherwise. Capiche? Well, two in-laws on Reddit didn’t get that memo.
The woman who originally posted — the “OP,” as Redditors say — is the stepmom to two kids, ages 8 and 9, and she’s been in their lives for three years now. Her husband and his ex-wife share equal custody, so the kids are with their father and OP every other week.
“But my husband is the primary parent in our home. He’s their biological parent and we worked with a therapist to figure out the best way to integrate me into his and the kids’ family and it was agreed I would take a secondary role and not a primary role when parenting.”
Which is a pretty damn mature thing to do if you ask us…
Anyway! OP conceded that as their stepmom, she doesn’t have “all the same experiences” that her husband has as the biological parent.
Six weeks ago, she gave birth to her first biological child. Her in-laws have come to meet their new grandchild, and based on how the visit is going, OP joined the “Am I The A—hole? (AITA)” subreddit to ask, “AITA for losing my temper with my ILs and asking them to leave?”
OP said having her first baby “has been challenging at times.” And we’re pretty sure every parent ever would agree with that statement. She said that, unfortunately, the baby is having a “rough time.”
“Our pediatrician is doing tests because the baby is not sleeping and is crying a little more than they would like, and the kind of cry is making the pediatrician want to check that everything is okay.”
“So we’re both sleep-deprived, and I’m not eating great…” OP trailed off.
OP said that she felt “lost” and that being a new mom was “brutal.” And instead of being met with help and compassion, she was met with major dismissal from her in-laws.
OP said without hesitation that the situation was made worse by her in-laws.
“They will show up to help me but they also invalidate the fact this is my first time having these experiences,” OP said. “My MIL told me I shouldn’t be feeling that way on my third kid and I should take all the experience I have as a mom of three and figure out a way to settle myself so I can settle baby. FIL said I was overthinking and calling myself a new mom was incorrect because I have been a mom for years.”
“I lost my temper,” OP said. “I was just so tired and I told them I was a new mom, I had never raised a baby before and wasn’t my stepkids mom.”
She explained what her in-laws should have (but clearly didn’t) know. And that’s that she came into the kids’ lives when they were school-aged. And it’s been established that she has a secondary parental role.
“Every time they insist I have done all this before I just feel more and more stressed and agitated. I told them it was not helping me and then I asked them to leave for the day because I could not hear any more of their crap.”
Her Husband’s Reaction
The ILs called their son later to ask “what the f*ck OP lost her temper” for.
“They said they were here to help and I was dismissing what I was to my family by saying I was not a mom to my stepkids,” she said. “They said I might have postpartum depression or something but I should not be angry and rude to them and I owe them an apology.”
This is the point in most Reddits where most husbands cave, but not this time! “He told them they owed me an apology and they responded that they had done nothing wrong and I was ungrateful.”
Reddit is totally backing OP and is so glad her husband is behind her. So often we are met with an extra “villain” — the partner who doesn’t stick up for the other.
“I’m glad your husband has your back. Focus on your baby and yourself as well as your little family. Leave the in-laws for your husband to handle…You need none of this nonsense in your life at the moment.”
“I like the part where they allegedly show up to ‘help.’”
“You lost your temper because these two clueless idiots lack the basic understanding of the situation. Your husband should explain in the dumbest down fashion possible where they are f*cked up in the head and the best thing they could do is to first zip it already with the passive-aggressive condescending comments and second actually be helpful instead…This has to be stopped and nipped in the bud already.”
“I just want to say how impressed I am that you and your husband consulted a therapist about how best to handle the situation with your step-kids. It sounds like you both wanted to make this as easy as possible on them, which is great. Blended families are always challenging, it’s good that you got help early on. It’s sad that your in-laws won’t respect you taking a secondary role and are ignoring the fact this is your first baby.”
“They are stating things that are factually incorrect that basically come down to ‘suck it up buttercup’. And while you might say that you HAVE been a mom for years (even if the role is secondary to his), you have never ever been a mom to a newborn before.”
“Your inlaws need a reality check…”
“Bless your husband for having your back. Even if you HAD a child before, every child and newborn experience is different…I’m sorry I don’t have advice for what you’re going through right now as they’re are so many variables but from what you’ve posted you are doing what you can and seeking help/support from a health professional. Chin up mumma bear, you HAVE got this.”
“The proper, helpful response when someone tells you she is overwhelmed and exhausted is, ‘What can I do to help you? Can I take the baby into another room so you can rest? Are there some chores I can do? Is there anything you want or need that I can go get for you?’ That is helpful. Platitudes and invalidating your problems are not helpful.”
“Kudos to your husband for his supportive response.”
“Every time we see one of these posts where the husband backs up his wife, we should have a celebratory dance.”
We will happily partake in such a dance!
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