There’s that age-old phrase that always helps parents justify maybe getting a little extra when it comes to their young kids (see: trips to Disney, lavish vacations, and over-the-top birthday parties): “They won’t remember it, but I will.”
One dad doesn’t really see the point in even creating the memories for himself when his kids are so young. He took to Reddit’s popular “Am I The A—hole?” forum to poll whether or not he’s in the wrong when it comes to refusing to give his 3-year-old son a blow-out birthday party.
The original poster (OP) begins by explaining that his girlfriend has asked to throw their son a large birthday party every year, but he’s successfully managed to talk her out of it for their kid’s first and second birthday.
However, he explains that she’s now frustrated with him for, once again, putting his foot down about a large birthday party, noting that it’s pointless to waste resources on because their child will remember nothing.
“This year she told me about her plans and again I told her to just do something small, but this time she was frustrated and told me to let her do something bigger for our son for once,” he wrote. “I explained that it is ridiculous to have such big parties for toddlers, they will not remember anything.”
He cites a time when his parents threw him a “huge birthday party” that he has “no recollection of.”
His girlfriend still insisted that this was the year for a big party, but the OP fought back. This time citing that their son sleeps a lot and wouldn’t even be able to fully enjoy the party. “I told her again that it would just be having fun at his expense, the little guy is a heavy sleeper who plays and runs for 30 minutes and then falls asleep on a sofa or a chair or his bed,” he wrote.
“She still doesn’t understand my point of view, it’s not like he won’t ever have a birthday party, we should just wait until he’s like 6 or 7, you know, when he can actually remember.”
When he and his girlfriend remained at a standstill, he reached out to her mom, hoping that she could “talk some sense” into her. However, that did not go as he expected.
“I tried talking to her mom to see if she could talk some sense into her, only to be verbally slammed by her, telling me I’m depriving my child of a childhood. My mom says I should just do what my girlfriend says because Dad’s word is not that important and I should know my place as a father,” he continued.
“I feel like I’m going crazy over this. Am I the asshole?”
Reddit users were quick to jump in with the thoughts on the birthday party dilemma, with most users marking the OP as the “a—hole” in the situation. “So you shouldn’t do anything fun with your kids until they’re old enough to remember? Why bring them to the park? Why read them books? Why watch movies with them? Why do anything fun at all until they can have a memory of it? Do you see how stupid that sounds? YTA,” one user wrote in a comment upvoted almost 5k times.
Another echoed that sentiment, noting that the OP sounds like he doesn’t really allow his girlfriend to make decisions on what to do with her own kid.
“YTA. You got your way for two years – if she likes planning events like these, you should not take it away from her. Some day you might regret not having those cute pictures to share. For now, you kind of just sound like you are close minded to what she wants to do for her child. And, going behind her back to talk to her mom (to try to get your way) is a real jerk move,” they wrote.
Others commented that, sure, the kid probably won’t remember the birthday party, but is that a reason to never do anything fun with your kids? “YTA. I HATE when people say the child “won’t remember it”. Does it matter, or is it if he has fun? Yes, he can do other things to have fun, but as long as he could enjoy it who cares! And it shouldn’t be what you will “allow”. If you guys can’t afford it or another logical reason to not throw a huge party I get that, but just because you “say so”? Go somewhere else with that,” another user wrote.
When met with tons of backlash, the OP posted an update, defending his opinion and arguing that no one in the thread understood his point.
“Ok, I see that you think I’m the asshole, I see, ok? But NONE of you understand what my point is,” he wrote.
“All of you say that birthday parties should be done anyway because the other people will remember. That’s what I say in the post. Its an excuse for adults to have a party at the expense of the toddler who wont remember it. It’s a selfish reason.”
Doubling down, he then notes he is going to “let” his girlfriend throw the party.
“… I already told her to do whatever she wants. I’ll just stay out of it and just be present at the party. I hope she realized in the future how pointless it is to throw parties for toddlers,” he said.
Though the majority of Reddit users overwhelming thought this guy needs to shut it, there were some in the majority that agreed in the OP’s idea that the party is being put on for selfish reasons.
“NTA. I read people’s points about ‘why do anything for a young kid, they won’t remember?’ Sweeping generalizations…LOL. Really, having parties for a young kid is just about having a great reason to get family and friends together and celebrate another year of making it through as a parent. Also to take cute pics that the kid can see later since they won’t remember,” they commented.