Fed up with being reduced to merely a "mommy" by her in-laws while her husband has been given the opportunity to keep his independent identity, she stood up against them and expressed how she felt. She took to Reddit to explain the incident and how it all unfolded.
**This article is based on material obtained from sources pertaining to social media, family research, and psychology websites, which is referenced within the narrative**
Carmen, the author of the post and a mom of two daughters aged two and four, has voiced her resentment at being labeled solely as "mommy" by those close to her. She outlines that while she receives presents associated with parenthood, such items are not given in regard to the hobbies of her husband. This disparity leaves Carmen, like other moms who are more likely to feel judged than dads, feeling unrecognized for who she is beyond motherhood.
In her own words, "Husband doesn’t face this. He gets gifts from everyone that have to do with his hobbies. Me? I get a bunch of mommy [redacted]. Tee hee, mommy needs wine!"
During Carmen's latest Christmas visit to the in-laws, she was continually addressed as "mama." She explained, "From the time we got to the in-laws, it was 'mama' this and 'mama' that. At some point, my SIL said it and I said 'You know my name is (Carmen), right?' she just looked at me funny and said 'Of course, silly?' I said 'So why do you keep calling me 'mama'? You aren’t going around calling (husband) papa?' SIL just looked at me like I had 2 heads and was like Um, okay.'"
Carmen also highlighted the inequity her husband experienced while receiving gifts that failed to address him as "papa." She voiced her displeasure with her mother-in-law, who then apologized for making Carmen feel slighted.
Carmen explained, "I gestured to the things that husband got for Christmas from them, and said 'Why didn’t you guys get him anything that says 'papa'? Everything you gave me is somehow related to me being a mom. Why does HE get to be his own person?' MIL grabbed my hand and squeezed it and said that she was sorry that she made me feel like this. She was just 'so excited' about being a grandma and she never really thought of things like that."
Nevertheless, her tirade was met with disapproval from the rest of her in-laws; one even recommended that she seek professional help for her "anger," while another insinuated that mommyhood is something that she doesn't value.
According to Carmen's account of the events that unfolded, it appears her in-laws began treating her in a passive-aggressive manner. That is, instead of getting visibly angry, some people express their hostility in indirect or passive ways designed to hurt and confuse their target.
She writes, "One of them did that whole 'Are you okay? Do you need to talk someone? You sound so angry, it isn’t healthy' faux concern thing that’s meant to shame you for having any emotional response. The other one was angry and saying that 'is being a mom somehow beneath you' and 'do you think you’re better than the rest of us?' and all that."
Carmen's husband implored her to apologize for her outburst, yet she refused until her sisters-in-law atoned for their years of belittling her.
She explained, "He nodded, but said that I’d put a big pallor on the weekend and that I need to apologize for the outburst at some point. I said sure, as soon as SILs apologize to me for dehumanizing me for years."
Carmen is at a crossroads, uncertain as to whether her refusal to back down was the right move.
What do you think?
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Thanks for reading,
"National Parent Survey Overview and Key Insights: Early Development." Zero to Three
u/OK_Corner754. "AITA for losing it and telling in-laws to stop calling me “mama” and trying to erase my identity?" Reddit
Psychology Today Staff. "Passive-Aggression." Psychology Today
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