Blended families are often difficult for everybody involved.
There is no clear instruction manual for parents as they navigate the dynamics of multiple bloodlines under a single roof.
When one parent is asked to rear a few children of their own and, with equal love and care, others that they didn't know existed until they met the new boo, tensions can build.
For one Redditor, "SunbroForSale," things came to a head after he diagnosed some non-equal parenting from his wife.
He kicks off by laying out the family tree, and the varying emotional ties across the limbs.
"So I have a blended family. By that I mean that I have children by 2 different women. I have joint custody of the oldest and I am married to the mother of the others."
"The story is that my wife treats the oldest differently than the 'ours' kids. To an extent I can understand that. You'll always feel something a little extra for children that are your blood. I get it. No problem."
"No problem" would not last forever. It wouldn't last long at all, in fact.
Trouble began to brew when SunbroForSale's child--the non-'ours' kid in the mix--flashed some aggressive commitment to choosiness.
"My oldest has become a bit of a picky eater over the last 6 months for God knows what reason. Now my parents used to do the whole 'this isn't a restaurant. You eat what I make or nothing at all' and I tried that philosophy myself."
"Thing is that my son is incredibly stubborn like his father. This little dude went on a hunger strike for almost 2 full days. So I caved. I gotta feed the kid for Christ's sake. My wife did not like that. Got all types of pi$$y about it."
The hunger strike bow down would not be the last piece of friction. In fact, with each new parenting disagreement came an escalation of frustration between this narrator and his wife.
"My wife has been making a fuss about my son cleaning his room. No problem. I'm on board with that."
"Problem is that this past weekend the little ones went into my son's room and tore the place to shreds. Wife then pestered me about making him clean his room."
"Uh, no. You let the kids in there to make a mess (She's a stay at home mom). I'm not gonna make him clean up after them."
Then, in a case of twisting irony, the do-no-right kid annoyed his step-mom for NOT being a picky eater. This is logic no child will ever wrap his head around.
"As a growing boy he's starting to developed more of an appetite. My wife recently made a remark about how he's 'eating all the kid's food' ... 'can you give him something else? That's for the kids.'"
"Well I'd had it at that point."
"After we put the kids down for bed I kinda chewed her out. Told her she was acting like a b*tch and that it's affecting my son's relationship with her. She used to be my 'inside man' for when he didn't want to talk to me for one reason or another."
"Now it's just kinda "meh" between them. I told her that he will eat whatever the hell he wants. She doesn't get to decide what he is and isn't allowed to have."
The barrage continued after the first onslaught.
"I told her to fix her attitude and I'm tired of her bullsh*t. He's no less than the other kids and she needs to get with the program."
"Wellllll she did not like that one bit and she's been pouting for the last couple days."
"For clarity: This is not the first time I've tried to address the topic but this is the first time I've really laid into her about it. IMO enough is enough."
Evidently, SunbroForSale's conviction was driven by adrenaline. After the fight was finished, the comedown ensued and he began to second guess his assumption that he was wholeheartedly acting in the right.
Thus, the Reddit peanut gallery was tapped for its eternal wisdom.
He found some supporters in the comments section, to be sure.
"The way she says 'it's the kids' food'.. is your son not one of the kids? Like wtf? And yeah, if she let the little ones into his room and THEY tore it up, they need to clean it up (or her with them)." BlueOctopotato
"I am a step mother, too, and I get it's difficult and you don't feel the same about the 'yours' kid as the 'ours' kid all the time, but the fact remains they are all children who need to feel loved, supported and EQUAL at home, and you do that even on the days you'd rather punt them to the moon because THEY'RE CHILDREN." post_faith
"I wish my bio parents would have stuck up for me when step-parents were treating me like that!" KitchenCellist
"My dads girlfriend did this same thing to me when I was a kid."
"It really messed me up because it made me feel like no one wanted me there and I had no space of my own. I wish my dad would have defended me the way you defend your son." jhalogen16
Others felt that the narrator's wife was indeed acting out of line. But they said that he was too.
Most responses in this camp contended that the momentary emotions in the account are legitimate, though for likely different, deeper problems at hand.
"The way you talk about your wife really sucks. Your attitude is demeaning and you talk about her as if she were a child."
"It does sound like she is treating your son unfairly, but the answer here is for both of you to communicate and come to an agreement about parenting decisions, not for her to get with the program." k2dadub
"I understand the anger, but it's only serving to further tear your family apart. Your wife's behavior towards the older child is different to that of her biological children, and that is the overarching problem you should be taking issue with."
"That will create a rift in your family between your older child and his siblings as well as his step-mom. That, in turn, will put you in a situation where you must either prioritize ensuring your eldest child is in a healthy environment or prioritize keeping the peace between your wife and other children."
"That is NOT where you want to be in a family at all." Whitemagickz
"You've mentioned in other comments that your wife does the majority of the cooking, cleaning, shopping."
"It sounds to me like your son's picky eating is making things more difficult for her/making more work for her, and that's causing her stress, and that's the real problem here." manykeets
"You aren't parenting with her."
"Ultimately you aren't being a partner and while it's not fair, she's putting her resentment on him. But that resentment is coming from you."
"Blended families don't just happen. They don't just shake down together magically. He is getting older meaning you and your wife have to revisit rules and expectations and agree on what those are." Ladyughsalot1
And for many, the narrator's language toward his wife made things an open and shut case.
"Saying your wife is being pissy and acting like a bitch and to fix her attitude and you're tired of her bullshit?"
"That ain't going to get you there, dude." Eschatonbreakfast
"Stop calling your wife a bitch. She's fucking tired." Xgirly789
"When you hear people say that married couples have to communicate, it generally doesn't mean 'wait until you can't take it anymore, then blow up and reprimand your wife like she's a child, almost ensuring she will take it badly and become defensive.'" thepennydrops
As with so many Reddit stories, we only see the most chaotic fire peak of the entire tale. Perhaps communication will improve here. Perhaps it won't.
We will likely never know. Online content is so rarely a positive report on the mundane, after all.