Kids love going to their friends’ birthday parties — but parents? Well, it’s more complicated. For many, being thrown into a situation where you have to stand around awkwardly with strangers isn’t the best time, especially if you’re not sure if you’re allowed to eat the cake or pizza. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s not uncommon to get judged just for standing around and watching your kid play.
That was certainly the case for one young dad, who was just trying to get through the party when another parent decided to involve herself in his business. His initial reaction was the drag out his caustic sarcasm, but looking back, he turned to Reddit’s Am I The A**hole group to check if he went too far.
The guy is a single dad who became a parent when he was a teenager — now he’s a 21-year-old with a 5-year-old kid. And he’s a little touchy about getting judged for it.
This is how it went down.
“This past weekend my daughter was invited to a birthday party, the parents were invited, and more or less, encouraged to stay,” he wrote. “I had nothing better to do so, I stayed. Most of the parents I knew, but there were a few I didn’t.”
Because he’s such a young, single dad, he’s used to getting some side-eye. But he tries to ignore it.
“Her mom is very inconsistent in her life, when it’s things like Christmas, birthday, she shows up and it’s all sunshine and unicorns, but otherwise, she can’t be bothered, too busy pursuing the ‘normal 20s’ she so craved,” he explained. “At this point, I’m used to watching people work out the age math in real time. I’ve explained that I know I’m young, but, I’d like to think I deserve some kudos for being 5 years in, and I’d like to think I’m not totally incompetent.”
When a fellow parent approached him at the party, they engaged in some small talk, which quickly takes a personal turn. She asked him, “So, are you an older cousin pulling chauffeur duty or a step-brother or...”
He was straightforward with his response.
“I said that I was Morgan’s dad,” he said. “Shocked look, which she quickly tried to get rid [of]. She asks if Morgan’s mom was at this party too, I said she wasn’t and told her I was a single dad, I didn’t want to get all specific and say Morgan’s mom only shows up when it’s fun days like birthday & Christmas.”
The woman responded with, “Jeez, and, you know what you’re doing?”
Dad tries to keep him cool, but the woman keeps pushing.
“I said that I take it day by day, situation by situation,” he continued.
She responded with, “You really have to know what you’re doing.”
Then it got a bit out of hand.
“I told her I understood,” he said. “She asks me what my plan is if I started to ‘slip’ as a parent. I told her my plan is to drive Morgan into the woods, tape $20 dollars to her wrist, give her a hearty handshake, wish her good luck and tell her to run free.”
This response, dripping in sarcasm, was not what the mom expected.
“Lady gets mad, tells me she asked a legitimate question and said she hopes that my clear lack of maturity doesn’t seep into my parenting,” he said. “I walked over to Morgan, gave her a big hug, told her I loved her, and kept it moving.”
Down in the comments, he was declared not the a**hole — he was just speaking with one. Tons of parents rallied to support him.
“Excellent response to a ridiculous person,” one person wrote.
“Her line of questioning, while perhaps done with good intentions, was insulting and she should have known that,” another said. “If she is the type who is going to be insulted by a sarcastic response to a rude question, she’s going to have a hell of a hard time parenting during the teenage years.”
Many people pointed out that all new parents have to deal with all of the “firsts,” regardless of age.
“Just so you know, I’m a parent, I’m on the older side and I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing,” one dad wrote. “Nobody really does. Two of my siblings were teen parents and they did great. Their kids are all adults now, well educated and making great money. Age doesn’t matter at all, as long as the effort is there. And in your case, I can tell it is, based on one factor alone: you went to the party. That’s some top tier parenting in 2023.”
One person shared their own sharp response to a similar situation.
“Nta. My oldest was also 5 when I was 21,” they wrote. “I had that exact conversation with a woman who had her first at 40. I responded with I think it’s wonderful when grandparents are involved and how young she looked. Her reaction was glorious.”
The lesson here is twofold: It’s totally possible for younger dads to do a great job taking care of their kids — but first and foremost, mind your own business. Especially when people are just trying to survive a kid’s birthday party.