It can be really hard to step in as a step-parent.
But sometimes, these new parents come in with a lot of grace and make their new children their own.
But unfortunately, everyone else in the family may not show so much grace. For one stepdad who views his daughter as his own, it's really hard for him to hear when someone doesn't view him as her father.
The Redditor asked the thread:
"[Am I the a**hole] for telling my [mother-in-law] to go f**k herself because she keeps reminding me that I'm not my daughter's biological father?"
The father shared first his history with his wife and daughter.
"So I married my wife when our daughter was 4, and I started dating her when she was 1. She has no memory of anything when she was that young and as far as she's concerned I'm her dad."
"Her bio father left my wife when she got pregnant then died drunk driving."
"Our daughter is 7 now."
His mother-in-law has never accepted him as the father of her granddaughter.
"We were talking over FaceTime to my MIL because she thought she had covid(she doesn't, she's just a hypochondriac)."
"She's never seen me as her real father even though I'm a better dad than her actual father just by virtue of being alive."
"And the kicker is I'm infertile, so it's not like I was going to get to have a biological child anyway. So it's basically like I adopted a 1 year old, except she happens to be my wife's daughter."
"Anyway the point is I consider her my daughter."
While on a video call with his mother-in-law, they had their latest in a series of arguments.
"So [my daughter] came up to me yelling 'daddy' to show me a toy, and my MIL said that she shouldn't be calling me that because I'm not her real father."
"She's made comments like this in the past, and I was sick of it so I told her to go f**k herself and walked away. I had already made clear to her that I didn't like the comments."
His wife later pointed out she didn't like his reaction.
"My wife later said I shouldn't have blown up on her, and that she's already talked to her about it and she said she would stop last time. But she clearly didn't stop because she made another comment."
He's now looking for a second opinion, wondering if he was wrong.
"My wife thinks I should apologize for being rude, I don't see why I should have to."
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously to the OP's (Original Poster's) question, using the following scale:
- NTA: "Not the A**hole"
- YTA: "You're the A**hole"
- ESH: "Everybody Sucks Here"
- NAH: "No A**holes Here"
One pointed out the OP was not in the wrong, simply because it isn't the mother-in-law's business.
"NTA. She has no say in your family's dynamics, she is outside of your family unit."
"Make it clear to your wife that you will only apologise for blowing up once your MIL apologises for commenting on something that is none of her business."
"And if your wife isn't on board and allows her mother to say things like that to you, she is part of the problem, too." - fgggr
Others suggested the mother-in-law needs to rethink her priorities.
"NTA. Next time tell her 'a father is someone who raises a child. I'm raising her. I'm her father. I'm sorry you don't like it but it's not your choice.' But absolutely do not apologize."
"She said that IN FRONT OF YOUR KID! That's disgusting and especially after being told before to stop and agreeing to stop I'm sorry but your wife needs to look at why she felt the needs to defend such an awful thing." - allanblueshadows
"NTA. Not only is it extremely insensitive and disrespectful towards you, especially since it's a recurring issue..."
"But this... woman... would sooner deny your daughter a father entirely than recognize you." - GlassReverie
Some pointed out it was also emotionally abusive to the daughter for the mother-in-law to say these things in front of her.
"This is damaging to your daughter. No one deserves to have a happy family undermined like that. You are literally one of the two most important people in her life, and nothing your MIL says can change that, but she shouldn't be putting that in your daughter's head." - laffydaffy24
"And this is literal abuse! She is tormenting that child by dismissing her relationship with her father and taking badly about him in front of her. This isn't just a petty argument, it's emotionally abusive, and OP is right to react strongly to that." - elizasummerbee
Others also suggested the wife needs to learn how to be more supportive of her husband.
"NTA, but maybe your wife needs to learn how to back up her husband when he's getting shittalked by his MIL" - its_not_about_you247
"Not just her husband but her daughter too, she doesn't just say it to him. This girl sees OP as her father and she doesn't need MIL telling her "don't call him dad" just because MIL feels like it." - DoctorsHouse
"Yup. OP is NTA, but his wife and MIL are. This is some sneaky s**t a**holes pull where they pick and pick and pick until you blow, then everyone's looking at the wrong person because you finally couldn't take anymore."
"OP, tell your wife that an apology is owed to you and your daughter for saying that s**t. Also, point out that 'talking' to MIL is doing no good. So, it's time for consequences. No FaceTimes until she apologizes-genuinely. Then she's on probation. Each time she acts up, another week of no FaceTime." - teatimecats
It seems a conversation is definitely in order.
Maybe the mother-in-law needs to adapt her definition of what a father could be.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*