A stepmom took to Reddit to ask whether she was in the wrong or not for forcing her daughter to pay her back after her daughter trashed her house. Luckily The Reddit community was there for her.
She’s 43, and her husband is 47. They have been married for four years and blended their families together. One of their children, O, is 18 and lives with them full-time.
She initially had a rocky start with the OP (as a lot of stepmom’s experience), but they eventually grew close. Now they confide in each other about things O was too embarrassed to talk to her father about.
O is currently attending college and decided to save money by staying at home instead of living on campus, which is close to their house.
This would have been fine if O wasn’t constantly bringing her friends over and leaving the place a mess. Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but the OP has OCD and hired a cleaning service to come once a week since she’s been working overtime.
Things escalated recently when O and her friends made a complete mess of the house before the OP could even come home.
The cleaner had just been a few hours before, but they walked all around the house with their shoes on, made pizza from scratch, and left the crumbs on the counters, among other things.
The OP was furious because the cleaning service was quite expensive, and she liked a higher level of cleaning quality. Her husband tried to get her to let it go, but she couldn’t because of how much it cost.
When she asked O to pay her back for the cleaning service, O acted confused and said she wasn’t responsible.
Ring Video Proof
However, the OP had video proof from her ring camera showing O and her friends entering the house and making a mess.
She gave O two choices: pay for the damages or stop paying for her phone.
But here’s the thing: O doesn’t have the money to pay for the cleaning service, nor can she afford to lose her phone service. The OP was at a loss, wondering if she was being mean for forcing her stepdaughter to pay her back.
Well, the answer is complicated. On the one hand, O is a young college student who is still figuring things out. She has been struggling to make friends, and this incident could potentially impact her relationships.
On the other hand, the OP is OCD, and she paid for the cleaning service because she wants to ensure a high level of cleanliness in her home.
O is trying to make friends, and it’s understandable that she wants to hang out with them at home. However, she should also be respectful of her surroundings and clean up after herself and her friends.
She should have known that her actions would have consequences, especially since the OP made it clear that she hired a cleaning service and preferred a higher level of cleaning quality.
But it’s also true that the OP may have overreacted a bit. She could have used this as a teaching moment for O instead of immediately demanding payment.
Explained Why She Was Upset
She could have sat down with her stepdaughter and explained why she was upset and what she expected from her in the future.
She could have also asked O to help clean up the mess and make amends. After all, the mess doesn’t seem too bad – some dirty counters and a few shoe prints.
It’s also worth noting that the OP’s ultimatum of paying for the damages or losing her phone bill payment seems a bit extreme.
It’s understandable that the OP was angry and wanted some form of compensation, but there could have been other ways to handle the situation.
Lots of Discussions
For example, she could have asked O to contribute to the next cleaning service payment or take on additional chores around the house.
Luckily, the discussion surrounding this was fierce. Many people echoed these sentiments, leading to the OP rethinking her decision.
In a later update, she explained that she’d sat down with O and had a full talk with her to fully discuss how they felt about the OP’s reaction and how they were still feeling.
O explained to the OP that she was upset at her because she’s been struggling to make friends and trying super hard, and she feels as though the OP is trying to discourage her from making them.
Apologies All Round
They also talked about the house and the cleaning bill situation – the OP apologized to her for overreacting and told her she said some things in the heat of the moment she regrets.
But she stressed to O that she would like her to clean up after herself in the future.
She’s no longer going to ask her to cover the cleaning bill, and she’ll carry on paying for O’s phone bill.
A Classic Tale
Her story is a classic example of the difficulties of blending families. The situation is complicated, and there’s no clear-cut answer to whether she was right or wrong to force her stepdaughter to pay her back.
However, what we can learn from this story is the importance of communication, understanding, and compromise. Ultimately, trust and respect are the bedrock of any family relationship, and it’s up to families to nurture them.
What do you think about this woman’s story? Did she overreact, or was her daughter in the wrong?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.