Co-parenting after a divorce is probably one of the hardest things parents have to do. Between shuttling the kids back and forth and making sure generally things are agreed upon, it’s just a lot to coordinate.

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So would u/CaterpillarOk2828 be forgiven “for refusing to maintain a vegetarian diet when my kids are in my home?” even though the kids are vegetarian at Mom’s house?

Let’s check out OP’s full story and see if there are any lurking circumstances that might change my gut reaction of: no.

My ex and I have 2 sons that are 6 and 8. We split time 50/50, they’re with me 2 weeks a month, then with her the other 2.

OP has two kids with his ex, who recently remarried to a vegetarian. After the wedding, the new husband did not want meat in his home at all. OP thought: fine, their house, their rules, as long as the boys eat healthy food. And they were!

A couple of years ago, she began dating this guy “Saul” and they got married a few months back. I knew Saul was a vegetarian and my ex became one as well about a year into dating him. Still, she would cook meat for the boys. Once Saul moved in after the wedding, he said he didn’t feel comfortable with any meat in the house at all. I didn’t see much issue with this at first. Their home, they can do as they please. All I care about are my boys being fed and remaining healthy, which they are.

But OP’s ex realized the boys weren’t following a vegetarian diet at OP’s house too. He and his wife serve meat some nights and neither child has expressed interest in being a full-fledged vegetarian.

Then my ex became upset that our sons are not following a vegetarian diet. At her house, they have no choice, really. But my wife and I serve a variety of foods. There’s not meat every night, but at least 3-4 times a week, you can guarantee a dish will include it. If the boys stated they wanted to become vegetarians, I would respect it and find a way to make sure they were maintaining a healthy diet. However, neither of them want to be.

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The boys DO complain about not being allowed to eat meat at OP’s ex’s house, even when they go out.

I’ve heard that at my ex’s, they complain that they can’t eat meat. Even if they go out, my ex and Saul will only let them order vegetarian items.

At first, OP explained different homes have different rules, but at some point he just let them vent. This isn’t his rule to uphold, so his ex can deal with the fall out.

In the beginning, I did try to explain different houses have different rules but eventually just let them vent. I also told my ex that this is her circus to handle, because she and Saul are making the rule.

On OP’s birthday, the family went to his favorite steakhouse and when they went back to their mom’s house, the boys wanted meat again. They kept saying “but dad let us”, which stinks for OP because kids are PERFECTLY capable of differentiating between different sets of rules.

Last week was my birthday, so my wife took me and the boys to my favorite steakhouse. They went back to their mom’s on Sunday afternoon. She sent me a long rant text stating that the boys were requesting burgers and when she said no, they said “but dad let us have steak last week”.

Anyway – his ex asked him to stop serving meat for meals and not allow the boys to order it when they go out. OP said no way, unless the kids expressed an interest in vegetarianism.

She asked that I stopped serving meat in my house and letting them order it at restaurants. I said I wasn’t going to do that unless they told me that they wanted to follow a vegetarian diet. She claims that I am making her job harder. When I told her that she’s making her own job harder, she got mad and called me an asshole.

The mom got mad at OP and people are split on how much of a jerk he was. So… what’s our verdict?

The people I’ve spoken to are split. All agree that I should be able to feed my kids whatever (within reason) but some feel I should try to make my ex’s life easier. AITA?

Gosh, not the asshole. But it might be smart for BOTH parents to sit the kids down and explain the expectations of behavior, as well as hear them out. No more complaining, but it would be a good idea to let these poor kids EAT MEAT IF THEY WANT IT.

“NTA, and no do not think of making ex’s life easier. Think instead of the children. They don’t want to be vegetarians, and there’s no good reason for you to force it on them. If ex wants arbitrary rules, you’ve let her have them. There’s no way you have to descend to her level when the kids are with you,” wrote one Redditor.

Another person said, “NTA, your ex is being unreasonable. She can’t force vegetarianism on her children all of a sudden. Even if you give in they have other ways to access meat and she will just make it more appealing to them.”

Someone else added, “So NTA. Honestly it sounds like this is all coming from the new husband mostly, and your ex is not standing up for your kids. While it might be his and her CHOICE to be vegetarian, they are not giving your sons a choice in the matter. However, you are their father. You get a say in how they are raised. And if she wants to force vegetarianism on them in her house without you getting a say in it, fine that’s her choice. But then she then doesn’t get dictate how they eat in your house. She made her bed and now she can lie in it.”

So… do you agree? Jerk or naw?

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*First Published: August 9, 2023, 6:24 am