Is this mom in the wrong? She posted on Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” forum wondering if she went to far by banning her husband’s sister from family gatherings — but before you pass judgment, you’ll want the full story.
“I (38f) am married with 2 children, twins Amy and Nina (6f). We live in the same town as most of his families in the house I inherited from my grandfather. It is the biggest house in the family so we often host family gatherings,” she wrote. “Amy and Nina are identical twins. I understand when people refer to them as “the twins” but I think it is important that their individuality is respected. I always tell family and friends that now that they are 6 years old it is important for them to have their own identity and if possible please treat them as individuals rather than a pair or a unit. My girls have different interests and hair/dressing styles so it is not hard to tell them apart.”
Now for the issue. The mom wrote that her husband’s youngest sister, Jane, recently moved close by — about a half hour drive away, so she’s been coming to a lot of family gatherings. But she hasn’t been bonding with Amy and Nina at all.
“Jane always insists on calling the girls ‘the twins’ and makes no effort to distinguish them. I asked her many times to treat them as individuals, like her other nieces and nephews, and Jane would say OK and then keep doing the same thing,” she wrote.
Things came to a head during a family Christmas gathering.
“Last Christmas Amy made paper cranes and Nina painted flower pictures as their Christmas gifts to everyone in the family. They signed their names and individually handed the gift to everyone. Jane’s fiancé had to work this year and did not join us so after brunch she video called him in the living room while the rest of us did our things nearby. Her fiancé saw the crane in her hand and asked where she got it and Jane said ‘Oh, one of the twins gave it to me for Christmas. The other twin drew some flowers.'”
The mom continued, “I felt that this was a disrespect as my girls put a lot of effort into the gifts and deserve to have their private dedication recognized. When everyone left, I told Jane I expected her to call my girls Amy and Nina from now on and to treat them like individuals and know their differences. Jane said that she won’t bother as my girls are too young. So I told her she is banned from my house until she learns how to address my girls by their names. Jane just stomped off. My husband agreed with me on this.”
Um, these girls are six years old. They are absolutely old enough to be treated as individuals, as clearly evidenced by the fact that they planned and executed their own Christmas gifts for the family based on their own interests. But I digress.
The mom finishes her post by saying that until Jane shapes up and starts treating her daughters like individual human beings, she’s no longer welcome in their home.
“A few days ago my MIL called to plan my husband’s birthday in early February. I told her we could have the party at my house like usual but Jane would not be invited. My MIL was alarmed and asked why and when she learned of what happened she was mad at Jane. Jane called me a few hours ago calling me AH for making a big deal out of something insignificant. She said my girls would be known as the twins whether I like it or not and once they get older people WILL recognize them as individuals but not now when they’re young and ‘just another couple of girls.’ She said she deserves to be with her family for her brother’s birthday and I need to let it go.”
So now she’s asking for advice, and wondering if she’s being the a**hole by not letting it go. I have my own thoughts, but luckily, the people who commented on this post summed it all up pretty well.
“As the mother of identical twin girls (who are now adults), I was very intentional about clearly treating them as individuals while still enjoying the uniqueness of being twins. Creating an environment where they are treated as two separate humans, not a unit, is incredibly important,” the top-rated comment read. “They have commented more than once how much they appreciated this growing up. Stick to your guns on this.”
Another highly rated comment chimes in, “It sucks to be identified as only a relationship with another party vs your own unique identity. This is their family – you do not dress them alike. I’m assuming their hair is cut differently given you referenced it. It sounds like they do not present themselves as twins so its pretty darn rude and ballsy of Jane to think glossing over their names and only identifying them as ‘the twins’ is okay. This is your home and you are within your right to do this.”
But that commenter also offers some advice: “That said, you might be going about this wrong. And it sounds like you can get your MIL and your husband’s family on your team here to fix Jane’s attitude. From heretoforth, Jane is only known as MIL’s youngest daughter. Never a name. Just MIL’s youngest daughter. Or, your husband’s (name’s) sister. You will make the point ABUNDENTLY clear to her if you guys handle it this way because Jane will get darn sick of being ‘Nana’s youngest daughter’ or ‘Flloyd’s youngest sister’ without a name. Get the girls in on it too. No more Auntie Jane – just ‘Nana’s youngest daughter’.”
OK, that’s pretty genius.
How would you handle a situation like this?