Parents want what is best for their children. But what happens if your idea of a secure future is rejected by your child who has other plans?
After giving her daughter an ultimatum, she sought the input of strangers on the "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) subReddit and asked:
"AITA for telling my daughter that I absolutely do not support her ONLY wanting to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM)?"
The Original Poster (OP) clarified she wasn't entirely opposed to the concept of SAHMs.
"I don't have a problem with the idea of parents who stay home with their kids. It's not like that. I get that childcare is expensive, and that often times it just makes sense."
"What I have a problem with is my teenage daughter literally planning her life to only become a SAHM. As in, no college, no jobs, no certifications, nothing at all to support herself until that time might come."
"I told her that it doesn't have to be college, that not everyone needs college. But that she needs to do something to start making money to put away so that, if anything goes wrong with her plan, she has a way to support herself and the potential kids."
"Her feedback was that her backup plan was me and my husband -- she would move in with us and go from there. We would help them survive."
"I told her then, what happens if we die, or we're incapacitated? She said 'I don't know, Mom, this is ridiculous, none of it is going to happen.'"
To emphasize her point, the OP mentioned the popular TV series Weeds in which the female protagonist was forced to unethically make ends meet after her husband suddenly died of a heart attack.
"I told her bluntly that I don't want her becoming Nancy Botwin 2.0, that if something happens, she needs to have a backup plan and something behind her other than relying on other people."
"I emphasized that again, it does not need to be college. She can start working retail to learn customer service skills that she can carry onto doing call center work from home if need be."
"She can start working as a receptionist somewhere, she can do any number of things. But she says no, she's going to plan to be a SAHM.
"With that all in mind, I asked her, when she graduates high school, what is she going to do? She said 'Just try to find a husband. Maybe marry someone in the military.'"
"I asked her again, in between that time, how is she going to pay her bills? Her rent?"
"She said she assumed she would be living at home."
The OP put her foot down with a conditional proposal.
"I told her no, and that she would be moving out. She could live at home if she gets a job or tries to get some kind of community college degree or certification."
"But that if she insists on being a deadbeat loser and waiting for a man to come and rescue her, she's on her own."
"This didn't go over well, and I am now being held up as totally unreasonable, mean, a huge b*tch, etc."
"I don't think I'm wrong at all. I want to set her up for a lifetime of success and happiness. If this wonderful man who comes and whisks her away, knocks her up, etc, gets injured or dies, I don't want to have her come knocking at our door because she can't afford to take care of herself."
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked their opinion by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
Most Redditors declared NTA.
Those who planned for a SAHM life—like the OP's daughter—expressed their disappointment and regret when their lives didn't turn out the way they expected.
"NTA, she is being delusional. You are being perfectly reasonable." – tuppence_a_bag98
"NTA. In high school, I also wanted to be a SAHM. Unfortunately, that's not where my life took me. I'm 33, single, and childless."
"Sometimes our plans don't work out and that's ok. She really needs to make a plan to be able to take care of herself regardless of becoming a SAHM." – acreativeaccountant
"Agreed. I'm 33 and I just became a mom. If you had asked me when I was 18 I would have guessed I would have become a mother sooner."
"Being a SAHM is a blessing, but it's something you potentially plan for once the baby is on the way, in my opinion. I got my degree, worked multiple jobs throughout my twenties, opened a business, etc."
"It's unrealistic to just wait until SAHM status presents itself... plus I feel like she'd be hard pressed to find a guy that supports her desire throughout the (I assume) years of dating/marriage that typically takes place before a baby enters the picture." – laranita
"Exactly. You can't be a SAHM without a kid. I'd also assume there would be a while before that happens with a partner. I don't want to know the type of dude who would be willing to just let her float through life on his dime until she had his children." – acreativeaccountant
Those who planned their lives with multiple options expressed their contentment.
"I wasn't planning to be a SAHM in high school, but I sure as hell thought I'd be married by now."
"At 28, I've got two degrees, a career, and can comfortably support myself. If I was sitting around waiting for someone to take care of me this whole time, I'd be pretty disappointed." – AntebellumEm
"At 17 my life goal was to be a SAHM with 12 kids by the time I was 30. I realized how unrealistic that was before the end of my first semester of university lol."
"Now I'm 35, I didn't have my first kid until I was 30, I have a career and am getting my Masters. My life now is unrecognizable to my 17 year old self, but I'm happy with the direction my life took."
"And I also know now, as much as I love my children I don't have the temperament to be a SAHM to my kids, at least when their young."
"I was desperate to return from my first 1 year Maternity leave (Canadian) and I actually ended my second Maternity leave early last month and returned to working (from home). If I become a full time SAHM, it won't be until my oldest is close to high school age."
Hopefully, the OP could make her daughter understand that keeping her options open and being self-sufficient will go a long way, even if she ultimately does become a stay-at-home-mom.