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Which mom is right? Kids birthday cake at a public park sparks debate

The TikTok star tells TODAY.com about the day her 3-year-old daughter was denied a slice of cake.
/ Source: TODAY

The internet is divided — or in this case, sliced — over one mom’s birthday cake conundrum. 

TikTok star Kat Stickler shared a story about her 3-year-old daughter, Mary-Katherine, crashing another child’s birthday party. 

“I’m going to mom shame. The only people I’ve ever mom shamed are myself and my own mother. But one other mother is going to be added to the list," Stickler began her now-viral video. 

Stickler went on to recount how earlier that day, Mary-Katherine, who goes by MK, befriended some kids at their neighborhood park in Florida. 

“It was us and this birthday group, right?” Stickler said, noting that MK played with her new pals for about 30 minutes. 

“I thought they were welcoming her with open arms,” she added. 

When it was time to eat cake, MK lined up with the others and reached for a plate. 

“So I, like, walk over to make sure it’s OK — as a formality. Honestly, I was like, obviously it’s OK. It’s cake. It’s a massive cake. There’s lots of leftover pieces,” Stickler recalled. But the birthday girl's parent felt differently.

“The mother takes the plate away from MK, and gets down to her level and says, ‘You can not eat this cake, OK? This is not your birthday party. These are not your friends. Where’s your mother?’”

“I was right there,” Stickler, 28, tells TODAY.com. “The mama bear in me was like, what just happened?"  

Though Stickler was outraged, she wondered if she was overreacting, or in the wrong. 

“What the F? Am I entitled or was this messed up?” she asked her more than 10 million TikTok followers. 

According to parenting and youth development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa, the cake-snatching mom should have spoken to Stickler rather than MK. 

“You don't always have to share, but you do always have to lead with kindness. She could have said, 'I’m so glad your daughter joined us to play, but if you don’t mind, we want it to be just us now,’" Gilboa tells TODAY.com. “To go to the girl and say ‘these are not your friends,’ that’s where she crossed the line. MK pushed a boundary, and somebody pushed back in a hurtful and inappropriate way.”

There is a silver lining, however.

“This is a great opportunity for MK’s mom to talk to MK about what she learned from the experience, and to explain that sometimes adults exhibit bad behavior," Gilboa says.

Stickler tells TODAY.com that after the incident, she and MK went for cake and ice cream. 

“People have been asking me, ‘What did you say to the mom?’ The mom was literally least of my concerns. I was worried about MK," Stickler says.

Luckily, MK was unfazed. 

“She was totally fine,” Stickler says. “She was excited to go get ice cream with me!”

Comments continue to pour in on Sticklers video, which has more than 9.7 million views on TikTok at publish time. Several people shared that they would have pulled their child away before dessert was served, while others sided with Stickler.

"That is soo sad BUT that wasn’t a party she was invited to so I could’ve grabbed my kid as soon as happy birthday started. It is a bit entitled," one person wrote.

Added another, "It’s an unwritten rule all kids get cake, invited or not! Especially if there is cake to spare."