Reddit Mom Claps Back at Neighbors Who Said Her Kids Have to Be Her Greatest Achievement in Life

This mom wants to boast her wide range of accomplishments including climbing mountains and publishing a novel, saying "I love my kids, but they are not my everything."

Most new moms know all too well the very real postpartum struggle that includes adjusting to life with an extra, needy member of the family and navigating the reality that there now exists pre-baby you and post-baby you. Coming to terms with that fact, trying to juggle life, work, and fun, and finding a new norm that makes you happy isn't easy—and priorities are going to shift in the process.

For some, Baby becomes their whole world. For others, it's important to hold on to—and prioritize—the things that were important pre-baby in order to be a saner, healthier parent. There's no right or wrong option, and it's also normal to be somewhere in the middle or change how you feel depending on the day, but as this mom on Reddit found out, other parents have *feelings* about the decisions other parents make.

An image of a trophy.
Getty Images.

"I love my kids, but they are not my everything," u/cassiecasscassi wrote on the Am I the A**hole subreddit. "I had a whole lifetime before. I ran marathons, climbed mountains, wrote a novel that was published and did moderately successful in the 00s, and have a MFA in creative writing."

That's why, as the original poster (OP) explains, she was astonished when a neighbor assumed that her "greatest accomplishments" in life must be her three, well-behaved kids. Especially when the neighbor—a dad—didn't say the same about his own children.

"I was honestly shocked, and I said no, that's NOT my greatest accomplishment," the Reddit mom told her neighbor. "He looked just as shocked, and I said what my greatest accomplishment is, and then said 'And by the way, I resent the assumption that having kids is my greatest accomplishment. You have kids, why didn't you say that?'"

His response? He hadn't birthed the kids, of course. That's when OP schools him: "Let's not boil women down to their biological functions, kay?"

But don't get your slow clap on too soon—all of the other moms in the group started chiming in that their kids were, in fact, their greatest accomplishments. They even expressed concern that the OP might be depressed and reached out to her husband, telling him she's "unhappy being a mom and that puts [the] kids at risk."

"Am I really the a**hole here for thinking being a Mom isn't the end all be all of my life?" the Reddit mom questioned.

No, OP, you most certainly are not the a**hole. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the parents who are proudest of their kids. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with the parents who don't feel that way. Many parents, by the way, can't just be summed up as "Mom" or "Other." There's a very real middle ground identity that exists where parents are well-rounded and have full lives that include children, but also include work and friends and hobbies.

The real problem? Equating a woman's worth with being a mom and birthing a child. Assuming that everything must fall by the wayside once kids enter the picture. But not also assuming the same for Dad or a partner.

"If I don't have kids can I say my biggest achievement is taking a crap?" one commenter questioned. "I mean, if my worth as a woman is supposed to be determined by what I've pushed out of my body...."

Here's an idea: Let's not presume all women feel like the pinnacle of success is birthing or caring for a child. And let's not shame parents for what they do consider to be their greatest achievement. Everyone's history and experiences are different, and they're sure to change over time. What once was a highlight in your life might fade to allow room for something new, for something that challenges and fulfills you in a new way. All of that—and everything in between—is more than OK.

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