Internet Drags New Mom Asking Step-Daughter to Make Breakfast for Siblings

Would you ever ask a step-child to make breakfast for the family so you can get some extra sleep? Well, one mother did—but she may be reconsidering that decision after a horde of Redditors called her out on Reddit's AITA (Am I The A**hole?) subreddit.

In a post that has since gone viral, Objective-Cry-9118 asked "AITA for asking my step-daughter to wake 20 minutes early so she can make breakfast?" The OP (original poster) began by explaining that she and her husband recently had their fourth child together; in addition, he has two kids from a previous marriage. She also notes that her step-daughter "isn't really that involved with me, but she's really close to her younger siblings."

"I've never asked something like this before," Objective-Cry-9118 wrote, "during my previous pregnancies my husband was there to help me out since he had a more flexible schedule, but now he has a new job that requires him to be there al 6 am minimum, when our kids mostly wakes at 7-7:30, lately I've been really tired since Joshua is a big crier and I decided to take the long nights since my husband needs to sleep well or he might've an accident at his job."

A mother and baby napping.
An exhausted mother gets a quick nap on the sofa, while her newborn child sleeps soundly. DGLimages/DGLimages/Getty

The OP claimed the situation has left her with migraines, due to the lack of sleep. But she thought there may be a simple solution to this problem.

"My step-daughter is very chill, I take almost no care of her since she's pretty self-sufficient, during mornings she prefers not to eat breakfast since most times it makes her feel dizzy throughout the day," OP wrote. "So while she wakes up with the kids, she just stays in her room getting ready."

As such, OP recently asked her step-daughter if she could wake up 20 minutes earlier in order to help make breakfast for her siblings. OP wrote that would allow her to sleep a little longer, but still be up in time to take all the kids to school.

"This would give me one more hour to sleep and feel ready for the day," OP wrote. "She said no because her siblings are pretty energetic and she doesn't feel she can't take care of them or get Louis to eat all of his food, and it also means that she has to make sure Jason and Mia are ready for school, dress them and make sure everything is in their bags so I can just grab them and take them. I tried to explain how I've been feeling really bad because I'm not sleeping well and she just shrugged and said ''I said no, I'm not their mom, ask dad to help you or get a babysitter. I also stay up until late doing homework but I'm not asking you to make me breakfast every day or drive me to school'' and she left."

OP went on to note that, when she spoke to her husband about the situation, he sided with the step-daughter. In fact, OP's husband said that she shouldn't ask her step-daughter for any more help and should ask him instead.

"I'm confused, I only asked her to help and wake up 20 minutes early, she lives with us after all, so I don't know why is that a big deal," OP wrote.

The post has attracted over 9,600 upvotes and more than 3,900 comments—which almost exclusively side with the step-daughter.

For example, CaptSpacePants wrote: "YTA. Your step daughter was 100% correct. You are the parent. She is not. She isn't just 'making breakfast'- you're asking her to do the full morning routine for all of her siblings. Totally not okay."

Likewise, ReactionEuphoric5362 commented: "She didn't ask the daughter to heat up a breakfast casserole she had premade or throw something in the toaster. She asked her to do EVERYTHING to get ALL those young kids ready to go in the morning. Feed them, dress them, get all their stuff ready, she knew it would all fall to her. And the daughter came up with very real concerns that were completely brushed off. She's a kid you are responsible for too."

Some Redditors were more sympathetic to OP, like farsighted451, who wrote: "I agree that OP is TA and trying to parentify her stepdaughter. But also, when I was exhausted with a newborn, I was ready to punch anyone who said "sleep when the baby sleeps" like that was a solution that I had never heard before. It is hard to fall asleep during the day with new mom hormones, and if you do manage to fall asleep it can feel worse and groggier than if you don't nap."

Some Redditors are probably being a little over-critical of OP, particularly given the findings of recent research (published in the journal Sleep Health in 2021) on the impact of sleep loss on new mothers. Researchers examined the health of 33 mothers during pregnancy and the first year of the newborn's life. By analyzing DNA in blood samples, they were able to roughly track the "biological age" of the mothers. They found that, a year after giving birth, mothers who slept less than seven hours a night had aged by 3-7 years more than those who got seven hours or more. They concluded that the sleep-deprived mothers had worsened their risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other conditions.

Some Reddit users appear to have taken this into consideration, including thatsnotmyname_ame, who wrote: "I think that OP is sleep deprived & obviously not thinking very clearly since the thought of asking her husband for help at night, didn't even cross her mind. I truly don't think she's being malicious towards her stepdaughter."

But most still declared OP to be the A. dumbname1000 wrote: "Your step daughter is a child, not a parent you should not be asking her to take on parental responsibilities AND the specific thing you are asking of her would require giving up an extra hour and half of sleep in the morning when studies have shown that teenagers need extra rest in the mornings, a later start time to their day is crucial for their well being and success at school, so not only are you asking way to much of her what you're asking for would have a major negative impact on your daughter just from the loss of sleep alone."