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Mom goes on strike after teenage son said he'd be better off without her. Did she go too far?

Her mother-in-law called her "petty."

mom on strike, reddit aita, parenting

A mother with a megaphone goes on strike.

Every parent knows that sometimes their kids, especially teenagers, can say things in the heat of the moment they don’t really mean. But the mother at the center of this story took her teenage son’s outburst seriously and turned it into an opportunity to teach him a lesson. The question is, did she go too far to make a point?

A 35-year-old mom wanted to learn if she had been too hard on her 14-year-old son, so she shared her story on Reddit’s AITA subforum (we've abbreviated the forum's name to avoid printing foul language). AITA is where people vote on whether the poster was right or wrong in how they handled a situation.

“Lately, he has been acting out a little at home and school, so I decided to sit him down to try and figure out what was happening,” the mother wrote in a post that received over 800 comments. She said that the boy had been cursing out his parents as well as his teacher.


“He is my only child, and his dad and I are still together. I tried to sit him down and ask why he was acting out…but he wouldn’t budge," the mother wrote. “I asked him whether there were any issues going on at school because if there was, I would be more than happy to help him.”

But all the boy could muster was that “all 14-year-olds should act out a little.”

When the mother pressed her child for an answer, he blurted, “My life would be better if I didn’t have a mother.”

The mother was immensely hurt by her son’s words, so she decided to show him whether his life was, in fact, better without her around and she went on strike.

Spoiler alert: His life wasn’t better.

That night, the mom made dinner for herself and her husband. “When my son smelt food, he came downstairs and asked where his was,” the mom wrote. “I responded, ‘I made dinner for myself and your dad. Since life is easier without a mom, there’s some heatable food in the freezer.’”

The next day when he got up for breakfast, there was none to be found. “Where’s my breakfast?” the son asked. “Your mother would normally do that for you,” the mom responded. “But if life is easier without one, you’ll need to prepare your own breakfast. Also, take the bus to and from school.”

After “a few swears,” the teen made cereal and hopped on the school bus. The mother believes the teen may have complained about his mother’s strike to her mother-in-law, who called her, saying that she was “a horrible mother” who was “starving my child” and “being petty.”

To see if she did the right thing by going on strike, the mom posted her story to AITA, and the commenters overwhelmingly said that she was right in the situation.

"It’s not like you actually deprived him of anything," Shrimp-34 wrote in the most popular post on the thread. "He still had access to food and a way to get to school. It was definitely petty, but he wasn’t harmed in any way, and maybe sometimes you have to fight fire with fire?"

"He isn't being starved, he's 14, he can feed himself,” bahahahahahhhaha wrote in a post that received over 2,300 upvotes. “He isn't being kept home from school, he's 14, he can take the bus. [You would be wrong] if you kept this going for weeks, but doing it for a couple of days to help him realize all the things you do for him and appreciate them better is actually a really good life lesson—and its natural consequences. He doesn't want a mom? You are letting him have his wish."

A few commenters thought the mother should have taken the high road.

"I know it's hard, but you can't take that stuff personally and then retaliate like a teenager," Turbulent_Cow2355 wrote. "You have to model the behavior that you want to see in your kids, and that means taking the higher road, even when don't want to. You are being petty. Don't teach your child that pettiness is a good idea for conflict resolution."

The good news is that the mother and son were able to patch things up, and the teen’s realization helped him avoid further trouble.

“My son had a half day, so I texted him asking if he would like me to pick him up or the bus,” the mom wrote in a story update. “He texted back, saying he wanted me to get him. So I did. In the car, he immediately apologized for what he said, and he said that his friends were acting out, so he wanted to fit in. His friends got suspended today for something they did, and they wanted my son to join. My son did not, and he said he was sorry for how he was acting. I also apologized for my actions.”

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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