We love to see healthy boundaries in place, don’t we folks? And after reading this viral Reddit post about one mother-in-law‘s absolutely unhinged holiday cookie competition, you’ll be cheering for the daughter-in-law who put her foot down.
The post, shared in Reddit’s popular AITA forum (short for “Am I the A-hole?”), describes an utterly awful scenario where his mother (the MIL in question) holds a Hunger Games-style holiday cookie audition with, of course, “all the women” in the family.
“Context: For every holiday, My mother would ask the women in the family (my sisters, sister in-law, my wife, my female cousins) to send ‘samples’ of the desserts they plan to bring to the celebration for testing and to see if these desserts could make it to the ‘food menu,'” the OP (Original Poster) begins. “My wife has been complaining about my mother deliberately rejecting every dessert sample she sent. So many times my mother has told her that she’s being honest and keeping the guests best interest at heart. Yet my wife still thought that my mother is deliberately excluding her since 2 of her dessert samples were rejected before.”
This year, the MIL is doing the same thing—but is now requesting a “sample” ahead of time so she can taste-test it and reject everyone that way.
“My wife took it as a challenge and to be honest she worked really hard to make a good sample and sent it to my mother days ago and the results just came in yesterday,” the OP continues. “I came home from work and found my wife upset. I asked what’s wrong and she told me that my mother rejected the sample she sent and decided to exclude her baking from the food list/menu for Christmas this year.”
And then his wife did the most sensible, healthy thing she could possibly do and decided to remove herself from her in-laws’ holiday celebration entirely. Because boundaries are important, and when you’ve been pushed to the brink enough to reach your limit, you have to protect your peace. Sometimes that means doing things that will make other people upset—and that’s OK.
“I called her unreasonable to decide to bail on the whole family over some cookie sample…that’s just freaking crazy and quite unreasonable.”
He ended his post asking if he was the a-hole in the situation, and Redditors came out in droves to deliver the universal verdict in this scenario: Yep, he sure is.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s the perfect time to remind us all that our partners’ needs and feelings, when not unreasonable (and in this case, they were not), come before the needs and feelings of our family of origin. It’s not always easy, but the right thing rarely is.