I don't know if you've ever heard of a subreddit called Am I the Asshole?, but it's the internet's best-kept (non-)secret. If you're unfamiliar, it's basically a forum where people vent about their interpersonal conflicts, and then other users can vote on which person was wrong in the given situation. Well this week, a woman is wondering if she's the asshole for calling out her mother over a family birthday tradition, and I NEED to know what you all think.
"I have three siblings between the ages of 10 and 18. I'm the oldest at 25. Every year, on every single one of our birthdays, we're expected to celebrate my mom as well. We've done it since we were little. It was taught to me as 'giving thanks for carrying and giving birth to us,' which I'm all for — I am grateful, as we wouldn't be here without her. The issue, though, is that it becomes less about our birthday and more of an anniversary for the day our mom gave birth to us," she said.
"Every year on our birthday our mom gets gifts too. Since we got older, we're now expected to get her monetary gifts (and not cards or homemade stuff). Just recently, it was my birthday, and I was gifted some much-needed clothes and dishware for my new apartment. My dad, however, got my mom a new MacBook," she continued.
"My sister pulled me aside before my birthday and said she was sorry she couldn't get me much — she got me a sweater (I love it!) — and that she wanted to get me more, but our mom was pressuring her to gift her a certain necklace. Apparently my mom had been dropping hints for a month, and my sister was worried our mom would be upset and feel under-appreciated if she didn't get it," the Reddit user said.
She went on to say, "I asked how much it was, and my sister said it was $300. I honestly lost it on our mom and chewed into her later that afternoon when my mom opened her gifts after me. I think she's ridiculous for even wanting my sister to spend so much on a gift! My mom started crying, and my dad kicked me out. My mom won't answer calls, but my aunt (mom's sister) called and said I was a POS (piece of shit) for not respecting my mother and that I'm a selfish, narcissist child for being jealous of the gifts my mom got."
"I thought I was in the right, but now I don't know. It's been over two weeks, and Mom won't answer my calls. She's been posting on Facebook inspirational quotes about letting go of the toxicity in your life, how blood doesn't equal family, and how hard it is to be a mother. Several family members (aunt, grandma, uncle, and two of my cousins) are replying to the posts and are very obviously directing vague comments at me about being a horrible daughter... IDK what to think now because of how many people are on her side," she said.
It seemed like 95% of the people were in consensus that the daughter is NOT the asshole, and that her mother was being ridiculous.
One user who goes by u/Primary-Criticism929 said, "It was her choice to carry four children and give birth to them. Your mother sounds self-centered and selfish. As far as toxicity in one's life and how blood doesn't equal family, I think you should apply that to your mother, not to you."
Another user who goes by u/mr_trick emphasized that the sheer value of gifts the mom was receiving every year was absurd.
"With four children and a husband who all get her gifts eight times a year, saying the average gift is $300 (since we know they get more expensive as with the MacBook, and she thought this was a reasonable price for her young daughter to pay), this woman is expected to get ~$12,000 worth of gifts every single year," the user said. "That’s a gently used car, every year. That’s local politician bribery money. That’s one-third of the median salary for everyone in the US. It’s like she has a part-time job where she makes passive income just by getting gifts! OP (original poster), please know your mom is ridiculous, and please get therapy."
Another person with the username u/UrsaGeorge chimed in and gave her own maternal perspective.
"NTA. I'm a mom. My son's birthday is about him. I have my own birthday. I don't get to make up my own traditions to get everybody to buy me presents," she said. "Your mom sounds narcissistic, and your family is weird for going along with this. It sounds like your mom uses emotional blackmail to get others to put her first."
After u/ThrowawayBirthdayx96 posted her story, many users asked about what the family does for Mother's Day, and whether or not the father receives gifts on the children's birthdays as well.
"Mother's Day is a huge thing in our family. We (grandparents, my maternal aunt and uncle and their partners and kids, all of my immediate family) go to a fancy restaurant, give gifts, etc.," she explained. "The restaurant bill is split by everyone there who has a job but my mom, aunt, and grandma. We don't celebrate my dad on our birthday, just our mom. According to my mom, he isn't the one who pushed us out of his loins — she did and because of that she has a special bond that should be celebrated."
Additionally, a few users asked if this was a cultural tradition. Someone who goes by u/lunchesandbentos asked, "Are you of East Asian descent by any chance? It’s a tradition in Chinese culture (and one I grew up with as well) but not to this extent. At most we just make our mom breakfast. (In yesteryears, the child would be expected to boil an egg and present it to their mother for breakfast.) Now I just send my mom a thank-you note. I think this has gotten really warped for you, so NTA, but I do want to point out the tradition itself in certain cultures — it’s not weird."
The original poster replied and said, "Nope, we're whiter than a loaf of wonder bread, LOL."
Now it's time for you to weigh in:
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Note: Some submissions may have been edited for length and/or clarity.