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'AITA for shutting my ILs down when they brought up issues with photos of my children's mom in our home?'

'AITA for shutting my ILs down when they brought up issues with photos of my children's mom in our home?'


"AITA for shutting my ILs down when they brought up issues with photos of my children's mom in our home?"


I (46m) have two children; Fia (13f) and Cael (10m). Their mom died five years ago in a car crash. We had been married at the time but only legally. For the last three years of her life we were pretending to still be together and we stayed married, but it was all pretending for the kids.

We did not want to divorce for our kids' sake. Both of us came from divorced families and what I consider broken homes because of how badly our parents handled the divorces. We didn't want that for the kids. We feared we couldn't do better.

The end result was us hating each other. It ran deep too. I regret that now. The last words we exchanged were not kind. Our kids deserved better than that. Better than having parents who hated each other because we were so afraid to divorce.

So after she died I was determined to let go of all that hate and I was determined to make sure the kids knew they were loved by both parents and were not burdened by the issues we'd had. Their mom and dad both love them. I truly believe their mom's love still exists for them in them. And they deserve to know that love.

That was what I focused on. So I saved everything of hers for them. It's all stored safely for them one day. And a couple of years after she died, I did remove most of the photos of our married life.

But I let the kids keep two photos of their choice out in the open in common areas of the house. The rest are either in their room or stored for them with the rest of her stuff. My kids love and miss their mom so much and it brings them comfort to have her photos out.

I make sure they can always talk about her or ask questions. They also have a very close relationship with the three siblings she spoke to. This is my children's home above all and I make sure it always feels that way.

When I met my wife (I remarried last year) I told her about the photos and said a partner of mine needed to accept this. She did. We got married. Nobody has taken the photos of my kids and their mom down. But my ILs do have a problem (and maybe they're speaking on behalf of my wife and she's not open I'm still figuring that out).

They were staying with us at the weekend and during a dinner they questioned my kids about keeping the photos out when my wife now lives with us. My kids said they like having photos of their mom they can see in the house.

My ILs began to say that it was inconsiderate of my wife and they should not be in common areas when I stepped in and shut them down and I told them that this is still my children's home too and part of that is displaying photos of their mom in their home where they can be seen. I told them it did not need to be discussed more.

The following day my ILs said I had no reason to be so rude and I had an unhealthy attachment to keeping their mom present in their lives when she's dead. They told me they should be allowed to question things about their daughter's home and I overreacted. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. Your current wife knew that they would stay up. It kind of seems like your IL are trying to erase your late wife from existence. Which is not okay. You were completely right to shut it down. If you were nicer about it, they might have just kept pushing.

I would make sure that they know, if they are uncomfortable with it, they don’t have to come back to your house but the pictures are not coming down. And IF it is coming from your wife through them, she should have decided it wasn’t okay with her and she should have moved on, not get upset later down the road and drag her family into it.

The OP responded here:


That's how it appears to me as well. The tone they used suggested that my wife should be enough for my kids to not want or need their mom's photos anymore. My wife and I are going to be discussing all this.

If she's not okay it needs to be aired and not kept and told to others for them to intervene on her behalf. And if it's not from her then I would like to think she would also tell them to stop.


NTA. I find it difficult to believe your wife wasn't asked about the photos before the ILs brought it up at dinner. That means they will have known why they were on display. They would know that it is something that you are quite adamant about. That being the case, bringing the subject up with the kids in front of you was a low, divide and conquer, tactic, since they knew they'd get nowhere with you directly.

They were bring extremely rude themselves and trading on, and hiding behind, the social norms of don't make a fuss. They were directly interfering with how your family works. You refused to play ball and their rudeness got slapped down. It's more than a bit rich of them to accuse you of being so rude, given what they were doing.

The OP again responded:


Yes, and I will be honest; I find it gross questioning children about having photos of a late parent in their home. Even adults do it, though some prefer to put them away, but we don't question them like that. But to try and convince a child that it's wrong to want them displayed or to treat it like they shouldn't want/need them now that I'm remarried, it just feels gross to me.


NTA. I think there is a big chance the IL are voicing your wife dislike because if your wife would be on your side she would have told her own parents they are being rude and need to back off.

Me and my wife lived for a few years with my parents and when anything regarding my parents i was the one telling them to back off and dealt with my parents (because they are my parents) and my wife also deals with her parents when they overstep our boundaries.

You definitely need to talk to your wife because if she has a problem with the photos, in time, will create resentment and if you going to have a child she will definitely treat the kids differently if there will be resentment between her and you or kids.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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