Parenting is tough.
We teach our kids that honesty is the best policy, but also that kindness is important.
Sometimes, though, the truth is unkind and those moments can make you feel like no matter what you do, it's just wrong.
One woman is facing that sort of conundrum with her daughter. The little girl wants to know why she doesn't see Grandma anymore, and mom isn't sure if telling her the whole truth would cut the little girl deeper than necessary.
Turns out Grandma says it's "embarrassing" to be seen with the little girl because of her race.
The woman's post seemed genuinely conflicted in the AITA ("Am I The A**hole?") subReddit.
"Here because I genuinely don't know where else to turn. When I was 21 I had a one night stand that resulted in my wonderful daughter. Her father ghosted me the day after we hooked up and I decided to raise her as a single mum the day I found out I was pregnant."
"Throughout my pregnancy, my best friend (we'll name him Sean) became my absolute rock. We grew closer as a result of it and was even there when I delivered my daughter. We came a couple 6 months into my pregnancy and he officially adopted my daughter 3 years after she was born."
"We've been together for 7 years, married for 1, and have recently found out we're expecting our first baby. However, this has caused some tension from his family. His family are black and while most of them have been great, his mother (my MIL) did not support our relationship, especially his choice to adopt our daughter. She refuses to acknowledge my daughter and corrects her every time she calls her grandma."
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We just had a moment there with the unnecessary cruelty to a child.
How awful do you have to be to continually and bluntly correct (see also: reject) a child from infancy every time that child tries to connect with you? And what is going on that allows it to keep happening over and over for the child's whole life?
Anyway, back to her Reddit post.
"Since finding out we're pregnant, she has been going around telling everyone she is expecting her first grandchild and how we're going to be a real family. My husband just ignores her because 'this is just what she does'."
"However, it all came to a head recently when she said she would happily babysit our new baby, but wouldn't want our daughter around. When I asked why, she started saying how embarrassing it is for her and her son to be seen with a white child that clearly isn't theirs and that she will never be part of their family."
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"Since then she's been texting updates regarding her grandbaby. I refuse to speak to her, but my daughter keeps asking why she doesn't get to speak to her grandma. I feel so ashamed to tell her that her grandma doesn't like her because of her race. I just don't see why she can't be fully accepted and part of a family just because she's white."
"I want to tell our daughter the truth and go low contact with my mother-in-law, but my husband said I would be an a$hole if I told my daughter what my MIL has been saying? Would I be the a$hole if I told my daughter her grandma is ashamed of her race?"
"My MIL is of Caribbean decent, where nobody 'disrespects' their elders. My husband has told me numerous times how she used to chase him round the house with a hairbrush if he raised his voice at her so I suppose that's why he keeps saying to 'just ignore her'."
"I know I probably would be an a$$hole, but I just don't know what to do. My daughter is such a people pleaser and she makes so much effort to try and get her grandma to like her. She keeps asking what she can do to make Grandma like her more and it just breaks my heart."
Reddit had a WHOLE LOT to say.
"They both, husband especially, should be ashamed for tolerating this racist behavior from her. If grandma isn't willing to accept her first grandchild, she shouldn't have the privilege of knowing her second. Think of the resentment this will cause between the two grandkids. Their relationship with each other is more important than the younger one's relationship with the grandmother. Also, would anyone cut this lady any slack if it was a white grandma who refused to accept her black grandchild?" - Jeffsang
"Yup. My MIL is like this and doesn't have the excuse of race. She just plain loves the kid who shares her genes better. We've restricted contact pretty drastically because she's a jerk who plays favorites.
It's better for the kids to hardly know their grandmother than to deal with her playing favorites or shunning one kid. Trust me. I had a grandmother like that. Being the unloved kid is hell and they know early who's valued and who isn't." - Shutterbug390
"Grandma needs a timeout, we can see her when she's done" or "grandma isn't being nice, she's dealing with hard things so that's why we can't visit" or "grandma is really busy with a problem right now, I'll ask when we can see her". Don't tell your daughter about MIL's views. But maybe say something to indicate that your daughter not seeing MIL isn't your daughters fault. Emphasize that your daughter isn't being punished, and it's not her fault. Kids need that reassurance. If they don't know what caused a reaction/situation, they'll feel guilty about it." - justanotheracademic
"I understand that your monster-in-law is horrible, but telling your daughter that Grandma is ashamed of her race will destroy her, please don't do this. Why isn't your husband defending you and his daughter too? This is only going to get worse from now on. What will happen when you have your new baby? Will your daughter be forgotten? He needs to be more assertive with his mother. No words for that vile woman." - teeny_gecko
"First, please don't tell your 7yr old that her grandma is discriminating against her. Focus on your MIL and make this very clear: You can't have one without taking the other. You are the mother, and you have every right to withhold contact until she either comes to her senses or your husband puts his foot down. If you're pregnant now, MIL goes on an info diet. She wants to see baby as soon as its born? Let her know that there are requirements. Tell her you will not exclude her first granddaughter from this experience. And if hubby is supportive, which it sounds like he is, tell him that he needs to take the reigns. He is the bouncer, the enforcer. He needs to tell his mother that she will NOT treat HIS daughter that way, and if SHE wants to be a part of HIS family, she better start changing the way she views children, who deserve love no matter what they look like."
"This happened to my dad when he was younger. He was the middle child, and his grandma (my Nanny) unashamedly favored his sisters. Took them places, bought them expensive toys and treats, fawned over them, but never had a kind word to say to my dad. His mom (my grandma) unashamedly favored HIM to make up for it instead of putting her foot down with her mother. She ruined her relationship with her daughters by doing that, and ruined my dad in the process. That family is so, SO dysfunctional and my father never matured past 15. He is both selfish and incredibly fragile, and was never really a father. We tiptoed around him our whole childhood, and now that I'm an adult with three young children myself, I just see him as another kid that needs taking care of.. This is not what you want for your children. Fix this now before it's too late." - pullingweightx3
"You would be the a$$ for telling her that specific reason, yes. You can tell her that grandma is struggling with being kind and with being a part of your whole family. We are mostly estranged from my father-in-law and when my kids used to ask, I would be honest but at an age appropriate level." - gwendolynFTW
"Your husband is an a$$hole because he's allowing his mom to be a jerk to his daughter and isn't standing up for his daughter. He needs to grow a spine and stand up for his wife and kid."
"Regarding you telling her, I honestly don't know. On one hand telling her will be hurtful. On the other hand she's smart enough to understand that grandma dislikes her and is asking about it so I don't know if it would be that damaging to tell her. I don't think any of us can tell you if you're right or wrong if you tell her. The best you can do is probably to talk to a professional like a children's psychologist and get a professional opinion if this should be done or not. Also I wouldn't let grandma see the baby. She either accepts both kids or she sees none." - Lifetimemoviewatcher
The comments got the original poster thinking, so she did something about it.
She updated the post to let everyone know she was standing up for her daughter.
"So I showed your responses to my husband and we had a long talk about his family and our daughter. He agreed that the comments and her attitude have been out of order and he has quietly been talking to my father-in-law to get her to stop. However, everytime his dad brings it up, she either ignores him or completely blows up."
"I put my foot down and said I refuse to subject our daughter to this any longer, especially as her behaviour is getting worse and she's already favouring the baby who isn't even here yet. I told him that this is going to damage our daughter in the long term and if he doesn't do something about it, I will not let her see either of the children. He got a bit huffy at the idea of his father not seeing them, but agreed to speak to her tonight. He's completely on my side, but I think he's a bit scared of the woman? I will update you with what happens."
No updates since then, but here's hoping all goes well for this family.
Who knows? Maybe the threat of not seeing her new grandchild will turn this Grandma around.