Some overbearing relatives mean well. Others just seem to enjoying stirring up drama and sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong.
A mom of two boys with a third on the way seems to be dealing with the kind of in-laws that fall into the latter category, if her recent post on reddit is anything to go by.
u/pdway2838 explained that her husband’s stepmother, who she referred to as Leigh, has repeatedly taken issue with the fact that they gave their boys gender neutral names, to the point where she insists on calling them by their more traditionally masculine middle names whenever she sees them instead.
During a recent visit from Leigh and the redditor’s father-in-law, the couple shared the name they planned to give their unborn son—another gender neutral name.
“Leigh rolled her eyes and said, ‘Seriously? At this rate, next time you have a boy you’ll name him Grace,’” she recounted. “[Father-in-law] told her to leave it alone but she said she was just worried for our kids and that young parents these days have no shame and only see their children as dolls.”
If anyone else ever finds themself in this situation, it’s a great opportunity to point out that there are plenty of names that were once considered more specifically masculine or feminine, and have swapped to the other side over the years—as tends to happen with fashions, jobs, and plenty of other things in our day-to-day lives.
The OP didn’t take that route, but she did point out that the names are “normal” and Leigh was overthinking things for no reason.
“It’s just a very silly thing to argue about,” she wrote, but Leigh wasn’t done. “She said that I have my head in the clouds and that our kids will resent us for forcing ‘our f—ked up beliefs’ onto them. She then proceeded to call us crazy hippies and irresponsible parents. Husband was going to say something but I cut him off and told her to leave.”
The bit that made her turn to reddit for a verdict on whether or not she was being an a**hole in this situation was that after Leigh suggested she “must feel called out,” she sarcastically agreed and replied, “yes, you got me, now get out before we go all crazy hippie on you.”
She said her father-in-law ultimately apologized on behalf of his wife but “said I really shouldn’t mock people if I want them to take me seriously.”
“And maybe I shouldn’t have mocked Leigh or acted childishly but I wasn’t going to listen to her bulls—it,” she concluded. “She’s really mad though and seems to think she’s ‘won’ because she posted about the incident on her social media and I do sound pretty childish and unserious.”
Despite Leigh’s awkward decision to publicly declare victory after attacking a couple’s parenting over something as silly as children’s names, redditors admitted they felt the original poster actually dealt with the situation quite well.
Readers also shared an overwhelming number of anecdotes of people in their own lives who have gender neutral names, or names more commonly associated with a different gender than the one they identify as—and how it absolutely is not a big deal.
If the kids decide they don’t like their names as they get older, well, obviously that’s a different matter. But stepgrandma simply does not get a say in the matter. And a gender neutral naming system hardly qualifies anyone for the label of irresponsible parent.