There are a lot of things that need to be done before a newborn baby is brought home. There are all the safety projects (anchor those heavy objects!), the furniture that needs to be built (stop putting off the crib!), and whatever else will make the newly grown family feel safe and at ease.
And when we say, “whatever else,” we mean absolutely everything and anything. No matter how silly or unnecessary it may seem, it’s not silly or unnecessary if it’s what the family needs. Or, hey, if it’s what they want! And do you know what no new parents need or want? To be shamed before the baby even arrives. Especially since we know the mom shamers are just waiting in the wings, ready to pop out as soon as the baby does.
Which is why a recent post on the “Am I The A-hole” subreddit has people all riled up. Tens of thousands of people, that is. An unsuspecting woman whose sister-in-law is pregnant posted on Reddit and got 5.1K upvotes, 6.5K comments, and 30K upvotes on the top comment.
And it begs the question, “AITA for telling my SIL that she doesn’t have to wash everything before her baby is born?”
How It Started
The woman who originally posted on Reddit (the “OP”) said that her sister-in-law is expecting her first baby in a few weeks. OP, on the other hand, has three kids.
“I have a lot of baby stuff (baby swing, clothes, toys, etc.) that we don’t need anymore,” OP said. “Instead of donating them, I thought it would be nice to let my SIL and her wife look at them before.”
OP brought the baby clothes and gear over and her SIL picked what she wanted. She then put the clothes in the washing machine.
“I’m a very clean person, and all of the baby stuff was clean, so I confronted my SIL,” OP said. “I asked her why she needed to clean my stuff if it wasn’t dirty, and she knows I’m not dirty.”
The SIL then rattled off a list of things she’s been cleaning for the baby, including sterilizing bottles and pacifiers and washing blankets and clothes.
“I told my SIL that it’s pretty stupid to wash everything because what if she wants to take something back,” OP said. “And it’s not like cleaning everything in her house is going to make her prepared for her baby. Nothing prepares you for your first.”
“My SIL took this as me being mean, but I was trying to be helpful,” OP said. “She should enjoy her last few weeks of pregnancy instead of cleaning everything.”
OP’s sister-in-law’s wife told her that they are “allowed to do things differently” with their children. “I pointed out to them that they’ve never had children, so she’s going to feel silly for doing it,” OP said. “I also told them that when I was pregnant with my first I didn’t want to listen to anyone, and I regretted it later. They will too.”
OP edited her post to acknowledge a legitimate phenomenon that a lot of Redditors pointed to: “nesting.” Basically, it’s a parent’s instinctual urges toward the end of the pregnancy to start cleaning and organizing the house in preparation for their little one’s arrival. Just like a bird prepares their nest for their babies.
“Obviously I know what ‘nesting’ is, and obviously I wanted everything clean and perfect too,” she said. “However, when one of my family members gifted me something, or if someone I KNOW is clean and takes care of things, I didn’t throw it in the washer.”
“I might be coming off as nitpicking, but when someone throws something in the washer that came from your house like it was something dirty, you would be annoyed too.”
Of course you’re coming off as nitpicky, OP! And Reddit says you’re “incredibly condescending and judgemental” and need to stop.
“She’s nesting. You’re being petty and insulting. YTA,” the top comment (again, 30K upvotes!) said.
“Right? And even if it wasn’t a well-known pregnancy behavior, these things have presumably been in storage for at least a few months. I don’t know about you but I always wash things before I use them if they’ve been in storage for a while, even if they’ve been in dust bags.”
“You made a whole thing out of nothing.”
“Seems like you immediately took her washing your stuff as a passive-aggressive comment on your cleanliness, and then went reaching for reasons to justify yourself instead of just backing off and letting it go. She’s a first-time mom, and you’re calling her stupid and telling her that she’s doing everything wrong! Back the hell off!”
“Why does it matter? She’s a first-time mother, she’s washing things. There is no need to call her stupid.”
“Get off that imaginary high horse of yours just because you have 3 kids. Let the expecting mother go through pregnancy her own way.”
General nesting aside, maybe this mom-to-be wants to use a specific detergent, maybe she has pregnancy-related anxiety that OP just made worse by calling her stupid, maybe it was just force of habit, and maybe —as one Redditor hilariously pointed out — a toad crawled into the clothes. That would definitely warrant a rewash. You never know!
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