A woman who slammed her son for not doing enough to help his wife after the child was born has been applauded for supporting her daughter-in-law.
Women have often been given the traditional role of caring for young children, and while changes in the workplace have altered family dynamics, some old habits die hard.
A 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 53% of Americans believe mothers take better care of a newborn than fathers. However, the same study also found that the belief that mothers do better jobs was more common among men (56%) than among women (50%).
Older generations seemed to share this view, with 60% of Americans aged 50-65 and 66% of those aged 65 and older saying that mothers do better jobs than only 47% of people aged 65 and over. 30 to 49 years old and 40% of those under 30 years old.
Despite this generational gap, an older mother-in-law has gone viral after choosing to thwart the patriarchal approach to childcare while visiting her son, wife and newborn baby.
Writing as SpiritualProgress938 in a post upvoted over 36,000 times on Reddit, the new grandmother noted that although “uninvolved” in her children’s relationships, she felt compelled to when she arrived at her son’s house.
Seeing her stepdaughter Megan, she immediately became concerned that “the house wasn’t clean” and looked like she “hadn’t showered in days”.
Knowing how messy things can get “especially when you’re tired”, she initially put her worries aside. However, after his son hit the gym, he decided to find out how Megan was doing.
She revealed to her mother-in-law that she was ‘exhausted’ as their baby was ‘silting every two hours’. Worried about not getting enough rest and smelling dirt, she told Megan to take a nap.
“In my 61 years on this earth, I have never seen an adult fall asleep faster,” he wrote. “I took care of the baby for four hours and cooked lunch until Megan woke up and took a shower.”
It only took him a day to realize that his son, who is on paternity leave, was not his weight. Every time the baby cried, he “did nothing” and instead asked Megan or her mother for help.
Worse still, she found she was not helping “with housework or cooking” despite the fact that her son had been delivered by C-section, meaning Megan should have avoided strenuous activity.
Wanting to do something about it, she told Megan it was used as a “doormat” and expressed concern that it smelled bad and she might get an “infection” during C-sections. He ordered him to go to bed and told his son he had to do 100% “cooking and cleaning” rather than act like a “single teenager”.
While Megan appreciated her strong words and has since made a hospital appointment to check for a possible infection, her son was furious, calling her a ‘Karen’ and saying he wanted to ‘ruin her marriage’. Despite his anger, however, the vast majority of people on social media felt he was right to intervene.
BlackAngelWings317 said: “Your son should help you. You called him for his BS and he didn’t like it”. Onlyonehoppy was equally fierce, writing, “He probably wanted his mum to clean up and help.”
“I’m glad you were so candid about being able to smell an infection because that’s why it’s overlooked,” SufficientWay3663 commented. “Your son needed a reality slap.”
Sylzsnafu said, “I hope you’ll be there for her if they break up, she looks selfish.” with Weedandjewels also criticizing her son’s behavior: “The woman hasn’t showered in days after invasive surgery, but that’s clearly not her problem,” they wrote. “He prefers to sit on her butt and expect her to do everything.”
Big_Slap praised mom for refusing to side with the family, writing, “He looks extremely immature and needs to move on and be a dad, we need more stepmoms like you calling in bullies their children *** instead of praising them.”
News Week has contacted SpiritualProgress938 for comment.