This Reddit Mom Refused to Foot the Bill for Her Niece's Birthday Party & Her SIL Is Livid
“Blood is thicker than water” just might be the number one way to get a family member to bend to your will. But you know what’s not thicker than blood? Frosting. One woman on the AITA subreddit tried to explain this somewhat-lopsided metaphor (but you catch my drift, yeah?) to her family, and got reamed for it.
Her daughter and her niece were born 10 days apart, she said in her original post. As such, her SIL has always pushed for a “shared” birthday party. And while the girls may have shared the day, the adults never shared the cost. After several years, this woman realized it was always up to her and her husband to pay for the food, decorations, location, etc. — and they (rightfully) decided they were tired of it.
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“When my husband and I told SIL and my brother that we won’t be doing the shared birthdays anymore, they we really upset and it started a huge fight,” OP wrote. “They said they can’t afford to throw a nice birthday for my niece but we can, so it makes sense that we pay for it since we’re ‘family.'”
“So to OP’s SIL, “family” = ATM,” one commenter pointed out. “Sorry lady, bank’s closed.”
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This was “not gonna fly” with this woman and her husband, so they stuck by their guns and haven’t hosted a shared birthday party since.
This year, the families got together at the grandparents’ house for a joint pre-birthday dinner. OP’s parents asked the girls if they were having parties, and OP’s daughter said she was having a Formula 1-themed birthday party since she and her dad love watching it together. SIL then said they wouldn’t be having one for their daughter, since “things were tight.”
“The conversation was left there,” OP said.
But of course, this is Reddit, where things are never “left there.” At the Formula 1 birthday party (What a cool theme, by the way!), everything was going great until cake time. When the OP pulled the cake out of the refrigerator, SIL looked confused and asked if this was “the girls’ cake.”
“What do you mean ‘the girls’ cake?'” OP asked. “The cake is for my daughter.”
“Well,” the SIL started, “I thought since I mentioned that things are tight this year, that you’d include my daughter in the birthday.”
This woman asked her SIL why the idea of a shared cake was “never once mentioned,” and SIL insisted this was “common sense.”
“Now my daughter isn’t going to have any kind of celebration for her birthday this year because you and your husband are so selfish,” SIL said before “making a huge scene” by storming out of the kitchen and yelling at her husband and niece to say it’s time to leave.
So who was the a-hole? More than 2,000 Redditors joined the discussion, and we have yet to see a single comment saying it was OP for not including her niece.
“First of all, it’s simply not your job to make sure your niece has a party,” the top comment said. “That’s up to her parents. If things are tight, maybe they need to be creative but it’s still on them. Secondly, it’s ridiculous for her to think that hinting around will get her daughter added to the party. If it was as important to her, she should have had a frank conversation with you and simply asked. You could have still said no but there wouldn’t have been the confusion. This is on them, not you.”
People do feel bad for the niece, though. On top of not having a party — which again, was not OP’s responsibility! — she must have been so embarrassed by her mother’s outburst. If OP wants, she can consider doing something for her niece apart from a birthday party.
“Maybe a special cousins’ day out in the near future?” one person suggested. “One that won’t include her mother perhaps?”
“Yes!” cried the internet. Buh-bye mom!
While we don’t know the specifics of the brother and SIL’s financial situation, things might have been different if the couple had helped out in the past when (presumably) things weren’t as tight. If so, OP and her husband might have been inclined to help this year. Also, commenters were quick to provide cheap and hopefully-attainable birthday party ideas for the niece.
Brother and SIL could take their daughter and her friends to a playground, they could pick up a $20 sheet cake at Walmart, they could host a simple slumber party complete with a dance party and movie night, and they could get decorations or favors at the dollar store.
It’s all about creativity, the internet agreed. And so they went down memory lane, sharing their favorite budget birthdays.
“I grew up dirt poor and my parents threw me some amazing parties,” one person said. “I remember my dad making us games out of cardboard and paint, playing things like the spoon on the egg race, getting family members to bring food, etc.”
“When I turned 16, my parents didn’t have a lot of spare cash, but my mom still wanted it to be special,” one commenter said. “I’ll never forget what she did, she made me a scavenger hunt, 16 gifts in all with a clue leading me to the next one. I held onto the little pieces of paper [until adulthood]. I told my mom several times what a fun thing that was to do and how much I enjoyed it. I don’t even remember the presents I got, but they were probably just little things I liked, like a tube of lip gloss or a candy bar, nothing fancy.”
“I threw a full-blown Minecraft birthday party for under $125,” another said. “I made all the decorations from construction paper and cardboard boxes I collected from behind the local liquor store. It was tedious but it looked fantastic! I had cheap pizza and sodas, a piñata, and dollar store party favors. My 18 -year-old still says it was his favorite party. We are much more comfortable now and they’ve had more extravagant parties but they remember the effort and magic you put into things.”
“It’s about the memories, not the money,” one user wrote — effectively pinning the tail on the donkey.
Before you go, check out these wild stories about Reddit’s most horrific mother-in-laws.
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