A mother went viral after recounting a situation with her brother, sister-in-law, and 4-year-old daughter in which they tossed medicine for her stomach flu in Reddit’s popular “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) forum.
The anonymous Redditor, known only as u/aitastomachflu posted her situation Tuesday night and received more than 21,000 upvotes and 2,100 comments in less than 20 hours.
In the post, the woman explained that she is a recovered alcoholic and that after her daughter Emma was born, her brother became her court-appointed guardian from 15-months to before her third birthday. She also mentioned that she is two years sober.
“I had to fight for almost a year to get her back,” the post said. “My brother and SIL are still upset that I ‘took Emma from them’ and have called CPS on me numerous times and make it clear that they don’t trust me to take care of my own kid.”
The woman explained that her brother and SIL have a close relationship with her daughter so she tries to let them visit with each other often.
In the post, the mother said her daughter got a stomach bug from someone at her preschool. The woman explained that she is in school full time and had a midterm to take so her brother said he would watch Emma.
“They said they were happy to take her so I brought her to their house that morning with her medicines, a schedule saying when she’s supposed to take which medicine and the dosage, a bottle of Pedialyte, and a few changes of clothes,” the post explained.
But when the woman went to pick up her daughter, she noticed that her clothes, Pedialyte, and half the medicine were gone. She said when she asked her brother and SIL about their whereabouts, they told her they threw them all away.
“When I asked about it they said they threw away all of her medicines and the pedialyte because they were liquids and they were already opened so I could’ve put something in there to make her sick/sleep,” the post said.
She also explained that she would never hurt her daughter or give her anything not recommended by her pediatrician. The woman’s brother and SIL also said she shouldn’t be giving her daughter Motrin or Tylenol, even though her doctor recommended it.
Her brother and SIL also said they didn’t think Emma needed a prescription for the stomach flu even though the doctor prescribed the nausea meds. The woman also said that her brother felt Emma’s clothes weren’t “good enough for her” so they gave them to their neighbor and took her shopping for new clothes.
Unsolicited parenting advice is common, especially from family members who feel it is okay to offer their opinions. Elizabeth Pantley, the author of “Gentle Baby Care,” recommends listening to the advice and trying not to get defensive. It is totally fine to listen and disregard the advice afterward just to let the person say what they need to, especially if there is no convincing otherwise.
If the unwanted advice keeps pouring in even after a discussion with the family member, sometimes it is a good idea to find an objective mediator. It is also important to be honest and tell the family member that you are thankful for their advice but that you want to parent your child in a different approach.
In u/aitastomachflu’s case, she decided to distance herself and her daughter from her brother and SIL due to the unwanted advice on her parenting.
“I left with Emma and haven’t spoken to them since except to tell them they will not be allowed anywhere near my kid unsupervised,” the post said.
The woman also explained that she is working on Thanksgiving and that she was going to drop Emma off with her parents but is leaving her with a babysitter instead so her brother can’t see Emma without her present.
“Now my family is giving me a hard time for not letting my brother and SIL see Emma and are excusing what they did by saying they were just worried about her,” the post ended. “AITA for not letting my daughter see my brother and SIL?”
In the comments, the Redditor also mentioned that she and Emma are moving cross country in February and that her family has not been made aware yet. She said in the comment that she thinks the move will provide much-needed space.
More than 2,100 people commented on the post, many of them in support of the mother’s decision to distance her and her daughter from her brother and SIL.
“NTA. Your brother and SIL are sabotaging your recovery and relationship with your child. I wouldn’t be surprised to see then talk negatively about you and your history as she gets older. You may need some distance to feel safer and have the mental capacity to deal with them.”
Many also mentioned that she should move cross country without giving her brother and SIL any heads up. u/Aitastomachflu replied that she would “send them a postcard when we get there” and others suggested not putting a return address.
Some were quick to mention that the Redditor should contact her case worker and notify them that she is moving with her daughter across the country. Otherwise, people noted that her brother might attempt to call CPS on her and say she disappeared with Emma.
“They aren’t worried about Emma,” one commenter mentioned. “They are trying to sabotage your parenting efforts so they can regain custody of your daughter. It was lovely that they gave her a safe place to be when it was needed, but you’ve earned your daughter and deserve to be her mother without these people treating you this way.”