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teacher s salary

via Pixabay

A middle-aged woman holding a baby.

A story that recently went viral on Reddit’s AITA forum asks an important question: What is a parent’s role in taking care of their grandchildren? The story is even further complicated because the woman at the center of the controversy is a stepparent.

The woman, 38, met her husband Sam, 47, ten years ago, when his daughter, Leah, 25, was 15. Five years ago, the couple got married after Leah had moved out to go to college.

Leah’s mom passed away when she was 10.

Last year, Leah became pregnant, and she wanted to keep the baby, but her boyfriend didn’t. After the disagreement, the boyfriend broke up with her. This forced Leah to move back home because she couldn’t afford to be a single parent and live alone on a teacher’s salary.


Leah’s story is experienced by many young mothers who are facing difficulties. The father isn’t involved in the baby’s life as a caretaker or financially. Sadly, 33% of all children in the U.S. are born without their biological fathers living in the home.

babies, young mother, moms

via Alexander Grey/Unsplash

The new mother is a teacher and can’t afford to live on her own with a child. A recent study found that out of the top 50 U.S. cities, Pittsburgh is the only one where a new teacher could afford rent.

The stressors of taking care of the baby made Leah realize she needed help.

“But once she had the baby around 4 months back, Leah seemed to realize having a baby is not the sunshine and rainbows she thought it was,” the woman wrote on Reddit. “She barely got any sleep during the last four months. All the while Sam was helping her with the baby while I did almost all chores myself.”

“Now her leave is ending. She did not want to leave the baby at daycare or with a nanny,” the woman continued. “Sam and I both work as well.”

Leah asked her stepmother if she would stay home with the baby. The stepmother said no because she never wanted to have a baby and she has a job. “I asked why Leah can't stay home with the baby herself,” the woman wrote. “She said how she was young and had to build a career. I said many people take breaks to raise kids, and she broke down crying about how she was so tired all the time being a mom and needed something else in her life too.”

babies, stemoms, reddit

​A middle-aged woman with a baby. 

via Pixabay

After the woman told her stepdaughter no, her husband pressured her to stay home with the baby. But she refused to give up her job to raise her stepdaughter’s child. “Leah said yesterday how she wished her mom was alive since she would have had her back. She said I didn't love her, and my husband is also mad at me,” the woman wrote. The woman asked the Reddit community if she was in the wrong for “refusing to help my stepdaughter with the baby,” and the community responded with rapturous support.

"[The woman] should tell her husband to knock it off and stop trying to pressure her into raising his daughter’s baby. If he wants a family member to look after her baby while she works, then he can do it," Heavy_Sand5228 wrote.

"This is Leah's baby that she alone chose to have. That doesn't obligate you to change YOUR life to suit her desires. The whole business of saying you don't love her because you won't quit your job to watch her baby is manipulative and messed up, and I'm shocked your husband is siding with her," SupremeCourtJust-a** added.

Leah and many women like her are in this situation because, in many places, teachers are underpaid, rent is high, and not all dads pay child support, even those required by law.

Another commenter noted that the baby is much more the father’s responsibility than the stepmother's. "To add, Leah should consider seeking child support from her ex. Her kid should be getting that money," Obiterdicta wrote.

This article originally appeared on 10.3.23