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Woman REFUSES to help stepdaughter with her baby; 'This is not my cross to bear.' AITA? UPDATED

Woman REFUSES to help stepdaughter with her baby; 'This is not my cross to bear.' AITA? UPDATED


When this woman is upset with her stepdaughter, she asks the internet:

"AITA for refusing to help my step daughter with her baby?"

I (F38) married my husband Sam (M47) five years ago. Sam always knew I did not want to have children of my own. He was fine with it.

He has a daughter Leah (F25). His wife died when Leah was 10 years old and I met him when she was 15. I didn't meet her till after a year of dating. She was a sweet young adult and we got along great. I did not move in with Sam till Leah left for college though.

Leah got pregnant last year. Her boyfriend did not want to keep the baby but she wanted to keep it. He broke up with her. Leah moved back in with us cause she could not afford her lifestyle without him. She worked as a teacher and he was the bread winner.

I had concerns about how she was going to raise a child on a teacher's salary by herself. I suggested getting him to pay child support. She did not want that. Sam thought I should stay out of it. Fine.

But once she had the baby around 4 months back, Leah seemed to realise having a baby is not the sunshine and rainbows she thought it was. She barely got any sleep during the last four months. All the while Sam was helping her with the baby while I did almost all chores myself.

Now her leave is ending. She did not want to leave baby at daycare or with a nanny. Sam and I both work as well.

She asked if I could stay home with the baby. I said no. First, it is not my baby, and I never wanted to raise a child. Second, I have work.

She asked Sam who asked me to do it instead. I refused stating the reasons again. Sam couldn't stay home because he earned more than me and covered more bills.

I asked why Leah can't stay home with the baby herself. She said how she was young and had to build a career. I said many people take breaks to raise kids, and she broke down crying about how she was so tired all the time being a mom and she needed something else in her life too.

Sam feels bad for her and thinks we should help her. I suggested she pay for nanny with her income but Leah doesn't want strangers looking after her baby.

Both of them are pressuring me to stay home with baby so she can go to work. I am standing firm on my decision. This is not my cross to bear.

Leah said yesterday how she wished her mom was alive since she would have had her back. She said I didn't love her and my husband is also mad at me. AITA for refusing to help my stepdaughter with her baby?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

felttzzz writes:

NTA. This is Leah's baby, that she alone chose to have. That doesn't obligate you to change YOUR life to suit her desires.

The whole business of saying you don't love her because you won't quit your job to watch her baby is so manipulative and messed up and i'm shocked your husband is siding with her.

If I were you i'd sit down privately with husband and remind him that Leah is the one that chose to have this baby and she is solely responsible for it; that you never signed up to be a full time babysitter and it's unreasonable to expect you to quit your job and that you're disappointed and hurt that he is not understanding of that.

NTA. Leah needs to put her baby daddy on child support and take off the rose colored glasses. She chose to have a child by a deadbeat. Why would you stay home to raise her child? She’s getting more than enough help as is. Her mom was a SAHP. Maybe thats why.

GA087 writes:

Im going to go against the grain and say YTA (kind of). Too many people here on Reddit are selfish and childless and don't seem to realize raising a kid on one's own is extremely hard.

You've definitely had years to see this kind of situation coming, and seems you kinda stuck your head in the sand hoping it wouldn't happen. In the end, it takes a village to raise a kid, and like it or not you're a major part of this family now and you need to help out.

Sure, it's not your responsibility to quit your job and take over predominant child-rearing responsibility, but you certainly should help out and you should feel a little bad for trying to avoid it at all costs

I would think otherwise. People are not childless, they are child free. They CHOOSE to not have children. They REALISE how hard raising a child is and don't want to take that task.

It is self serving. But I doubt people who are having children are doing that for selfless reasons. Unless a person is adopting a child to provide for the child, people having children are having them out of their own SELFISH DESIRE to have children.

Its two sides of a coin. Choosing to have a child is a choice the parents make. No one else made that choice. Parents need a village. But no one else is obligated to provide the village. Choosing to be each other's village is good.

But forcing people who CHOSE to not have children because they REALISED how hard it is to help raise YOUR child that YOU CHOSE to have is more selfish.

If "that's her home too" then she's effectively stepdaughters mom, too. And any mom that turns to run from her daughter during her time of greatest need is a deadbeat f~g mom.

If "She is family" than she should be a contributing part of the family and help raise the new addition to said family. That isn't what OP's doing though...

OP replies:

You are right. I was not physically caring for the baby. You know what I was doing? Every single chore in the house including cooking for them, cleaning after them and their laundry.

After working entire days and splitting almost all bills. I did not pay for baby items or furniture. But I was splitting bills for groceries, electricity and water. The stuff they both, Leah and her baby used and Leah did not pay anything towards.

I have bought numerous clothes and toy sets for baby. I didn't add it in baby cost because I consider that gifts.

Help comes in many forms. Her meals that she did not have to cook, laundry she had done, cleaning up and grocery shopping she never had to worry about was all help that I gave. I wouldn't have pointed it out except for this comment.

I never had a mom daughter relationship with her. I am just 13 years older than her, never been a mom or parent myself. Chose not to. We were friends. She never treated me like a parent either. And as part of her family I helped out in any and all ways that I can. Until they demanded I sacrifice my life and career for them.

So if you think that equals a deadbeat stepmom, no one can correct you.

difficultsuf writes:

NTA. She didn't ask you to help she asked you to pretty much give up your career and raise your step grand child! Help would have been if she said, "Can you see about maybe watching the baby when my school has evening staff meetings?"

or "Can you and dad maybe work out your schedules so the baby spends as little time in day care like doing a late start for work and dropping her off on the way to work and I can pick her up after school?"

Many day care centers give discounts to teachers because they know how hard they work and little they get paid. Also, once she knew she was going to keep the baby, that was when she should have started asking her coworkers and friends for child care recommendations. (I wouldn't say that to her now as I am sure she knows it).

Explain to her that you are not refusing to help with your granddaughter but that you need to focus on your career as well and that you will help her come up with a plan. She needs to find reliable child care for when she is teaching during the day and I am sure someone at the school can help her.

She needs to get child support from her ex to help pay for the costs (it's his child too, and he can pay child support without having visitation rights).

You and your husband should then sit down with her and figure out a good childcare option for when she is working and what emergency plans will be if say she has to stay late for a staff meeting or travel overnight for a conference.

I can 100% guarantee you her late mother would agree with this. Also don't take to heart what she is saying: post partum depression can be very difficult to cope with and I promise she still likes you and is just dealing with a lot right now.

knickss764 writes:

NTA. Your husband knew your boundaries before you got married. That he’s trying to push you into this shows what you want doesn’t matter. You need to remind him constantly when he tries to push you that he is not respecting your boundaries, that he was fine with when you got married, and nothing has changed in the interim.

And stepdaughter needs to understand that having a baby is taking responsibility for another life, something she signed up for but you didn’t. It doesn’t matter that she’s over it already, it’s what she decided. If she wants a life as well, then that’ll happen in 18 years (if she’s lucky).

This child is not your responsibility. Stepdaughter can still go for child support to help pay for daycare/nanny/babysitter. Stepdaughter can still put the child up for adoption. Child is young enough that a childless couple would beg to take her, since babies are in demand by adopters.

Stepdaughter obviously can’t cope on her own, but that’s also not your responsibility, based on the fact that you never wanted kids.

Make sure to never babysit. I’d also suggest not even helping feed or change the baby. Any little crack in your resolve will lead your husband and his daughter to keep pushing you to what they want.

It may come down to an ultimatum with your husband. It may end your marriage, but this is your hill to die on.

auntimama writes:

NTA, but your husband and step daughter are for putting pressure on you to give up your life so your stepdaughter doesn't have to take responsibility for hers. Even if you wanted to, it would not be smart—these are still important earning years for you, why should you be set back like this?

Should you get divorced you could easily be impoverished—this is how it happens to older women, they don't have enough social security, enough retirement savings in their own names because they took a break mid-career.

Your stepdaughter should get the father of the child to pay support so she can hire help, so that she has a life, has a chance at a career. You were right when you suggested it in the first place, and it really is as simple as that.

coldadelphi writes:

NTA. Of the four adults involved, OP, you are the person with the LEAST obligation to look after the baby. I am sympathetic to Sam's daughter, but both she and Sam are being very unreasonable here. Her telling you that you don't love her is a manipulative tactic.

Yes, giving up paid work to look after a baby is a big risk to a woman's career. It causes her to lose her power over her future and put that power in the hands of whoever is earning the household income.

It makes one very vulnerable. But why should you be the one to do it? Her moral compass is off kilter and needs recalibrating.

Sam's position is also very problematic, as Sam would rather see you give up your financial independence to help Leah, even though he knows you would be very unhappy giving up your career and that you chose not to have a child for that very reason.

There's no pressing life-or-death reason here why ANY of you should have to give up your careers, as daycare is a thing in the modern world. Sam is being very unreasonable in how he balances his loyalties to you and to Leah. Basically, he is throwing you under the bus for the sake of Leah's nonessential preferences.

Apart from the financial problem with you giving up work to look after the baby, it also would be unfair to you emotionally. You would not be getting the benefits that a mother gets from giving up her career to be with her baby, because you would not be free to enjoy the baby the way a mother is.

You would not be able to decide the baby's schedule or deal with his needs in the way that worked for you. You'd have to obey Leah's instructions, and from what you describe of Leah's attitude to you, she wouldn't be considerate of your needs, nor would she be appreciative.

I think the whole experience would be miserable, you would be the "bad guy" no matter how hard you tried to follow Leah's instructions.

I do not think Sam would defend you if there was a conflict between you and Leah over how you nanny the baby, because Sam has already shown that he will be unreasonable towards you if it's what Leah wants.

If things went sour in the relationship between you and Leah, Sam could divorce you and you would have neither his financial support, nor your career.

There are also some practical things here that are unreasonable. Why on earth does she not want to get child support from the baby's father? Also, financially, Leah is benefitting from free housing at her father's home.

Why does she feel so hard done by? She wants free housing AND a free fulltime nanny? Wow, entitled. Also, refusing to put the baby in daycare or have an outside nanny is unreasonable.

The vast majority of mothers in the western world put their babies in daycare. Daycare in the USA (I assume you are in the USA?) is highly regulated to ensure babies' safety. From every possible angle, this proposal is unfair to you.

And now, OP's update:

First of all, thankyou for your support. I needed it more than I realised. Your replies, advices and suggestions gave me a lot to think about. I was taking this situation independently and not really seeing the whole picture.

I had some tough conversations with my husband and step daughter. I showed my husband the post and replies. He was upset I posted about this in social media but I convinced him it's anonymous and we would not have any ramifications.

The sad truth is, even with overwhelming number of NTAs he refused to see the point. He accepts I have always been true about my boundaries. But he still needs me to step up and help out more. Be more understanding.

I realised the fact is he sees his daughter as his babygirl and me as the adult in this situation. So he needs me to act like an adult and support the child. I tried to make him realise she is not a child, she made her own decisions and she needs to be an adult. He says I won't get how a parent would feel and he needs to be there for her.

I realised his long term plan is to keep supporting her as long as he can and she wants it. To be frank, I sort of respect his stand. A father wanting to be there for his daughter and wanting to live for her is admirable.

But that is not the life I envisioned. Loving grandmother that babysit occasionally? Sure. But raising Leah AND her baby? Nope.

Before we decided on anything extreme we had a talk with Leah as well. To know what her plans are. We revisited the topic of Child Support and this time her dad was adamant to know why. Your replies made him concerned, I think.

Well apparently the reason is Leah is still in love with him. She is scared pushing a court case and responsibility on him, on a decision she made will scare him away. She is still holding on to hope he will come back.

We don't think she is being realistic. But have decided to table that talk for later since Sam is anyway ready to fund the baby's life. And child support can be demanded with back pay when she decides to follow up.

We offered her multiple solutions. Such has lesser work hours, career change, nanny, daycare. She did not accept any offer. She loves the school she works at and does not want to leave it.

She claims reducing hours will impact her career trajectory and since she wants to work, she might as well work full time. She does not want to leave baby with strangers (nanny/daycare) and is refusing to hear it.

She wants her baby to grow up with family feeling loved and she can't be at peace unless she knows one of us is with the baby.

Sam is refusing to cut down hours himself since he can't afford bills himself. Let me clarify. He had refinanced this house to pay for her college education, did not want her to have any loans.

I had suggested we downsize from this three bedroom house to a one bedroom one, we can both afford. He wanted to have space for his daughter. I understood that but I couldn't afford to pay for it.

We came to a understanding I wouldn't pay for it and won't have any rights to the house either. That is his biggest payment. We split rest of expense proportionate to our income till Leah moved back in.

She doesn't help financially. I contributed to normal day to day expenses but all baby related expenses are being met by Sam. If Sam stops working or reduce hours, he won't be able to do all these.

I would take up being bread winner but we would have to downsize and Leah would at least have to cover all baby related expenses herself. Neither of them wants that.

The conclusion of all discussions were the same. They needed me to stay home with baby. Sam wouldn't be putting anything to my savings or retirement funds cause he won't have funds for that. He also thinks it isn't necessary since I can just go back to work when baby starts school.

Long story short, I left. Packed all my clothes and stuff, out everything I have heard in my car and is now crashing at a friend's home. I don't have any rights to the house or own any furniture there so leaving was easy.

I have booked an appointment with my lawyer. I think this is the best decision I can take for myself. Both Sam and Leah called me selfish AH for leaving. I guess it will have to be this way.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

gothh5 writes:

So sorry this is ending this way for you, but you are not being the selfish one here on any terms. Your husband should've put your name on the house regardless of your ability to pay for it; when you become a couple everything becomes (ours) and not just (his), even if he is the bread winner.

So either way, you were going to end up out and without anything in the end. Too me that says that the love he supposedly had for you was superficial and he didn't think of you or your needs in anything. Couples are supposed to look out for each others needs and take care of each other unto death.

This means what's mine is yours and what's your is mine. Sadly, you probably made the best choice you could've made, and I'm sorry that your husband wasn't more understanding of your needs as he is his daughters.

Unfortunately your husband is obviously easily manipulated by his daughter and refuses to see that she is an adult and should have the common sense to look after herself.

This will not bode well for the daughter down the road, as she will have no abilities to be responsible for herself or her child once her father passes, and only God knows when that will be, hopefully not for a very long time, but one never knows. I wish you all the best.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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