Not to exaggerate, but sometimes it seems like kids never stop eating.
It has a lot to do with the size of their stomachs and their rate of growth, but still, it involves a lot of food, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Hot-Swordfish-4463 was shocked at just how much their boyfriend’s three children could eat, let alone how frequently.
But when cooking for the kids started to impact their work, the Original Poster (OP) decided something had to change.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘picking a fight’ about how much this guy’s kids eat daily?”
The OP was going through her first summer vacation with her boyfriend’s kids.
“Summer break started last Friday for my boyfriend-of-3-years’ kids.”
“This is the first year that we have lived together, and he had the kids every other weekend up until summer; where it is now a week on and a week off.”
“His kids are 11 (male), 10 (male), and 6 (female).”
The OP was concerned about how much food the kids ate.
“On the weekends that they were here prior to school let out, they were eating easily 4 meals a day with snacks between.”
“Their dad was here on weekends so he was the one in charge of the cooking and whatever, but I’m the one who buys groceries (bills are split 50/50).”
“So on the weekends that the kids were here, they easily ate enough food for 5 days worth of meals.”
“Now they have been here since Monday and I have gone through $450 worth of food.”
“I made a big breakfast this morning with pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, AND biscuits and gravy. Their plates were mounded over.”
“I went into the office to clock in for my shift, and within not even 45 minutes, they were in the office saying they are ‘starving’ and asking if they can have snacks.”
“Literally every 30 to 45 minutes, they are complaining about needing food. Just today they had that massive breakfast, two sandwiches, AND a huge salad for lunch, they have gone through a bag of cereal, like 3 single bags of ramen, granola bars, and a bag of apples, and now they are asking me for eggs!!”
“I told them no because I’m going to be making dinner soon and they are straight-up sulking right now saying they are hungry. There is NO way!”
The OP tried to talk to her boyfriend as well as the children’s mother about this.
“I brought this to their mom’s attention because it’s costing me so much money at this point and she went to have them tested for parasites or worms; both came back negative.”
“He said it’s possibly a growth spurt, but they have been like this for as long as I’ve known them.”
“So I just called my boyfriend, because these kids are literally biting at my ankles to feed them, and I’m honestly just beyond fed up right now because like I said, every 30 to 45 minutes, I’m getting harped on for food, so I’ve had my work day interrupted over 30 times today.”
Her boyfriend accused her of being argumentative instead of helpful.
“I told my boyfriend that not only is he going to have to start chipping in for food, but he’s going to have to find other accommodations for his kids, because I’m not watching them if they are going to be like this all summer. I have work to do and I don’t have the patience to be interrupted hundreds of times for food.”
“He says I’m being overly hostile and that I need to ‘get over’ the fact that his kids are eating and says I’m acting like I would rather they not eat anything.”
“He says I picked a fight. Which I didn’t. Maybe my tone was off, not sure.”
“But I’ve also gotten jack all done today because these kids won’t stop asking for food and start freaking out if I say no.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP shouldn’t be made responsible for these children.
“These aren’t your kids, they’re your boyfriend’s. He should be in charge of them, and he should be paying for the food they’re eating. They’re his responsibility, including financially.”
“If you can’t work because they’re pestering you, he needs to get them into some summer programs or find child care rather than dumping them on you.” – Aunty_Fascist
“It sounds like she’s making them really tasty, high-value meals and snacks.”
“Something tells me that if it was oatmeal for breakfast and apple slices for a snack, they’d be way less ‘hungry’ than when it’s a full pancake, bacon, eggs, and biscuits with gravy breakfast.”
“But at the end of the day, none of this is her responsibility, especially while she’s working. Dad needs to get his ass in gear and parent his kids.” – Wild_Statement_3142
“I do agree that this amount of eating, if accurate, is way too much, but we shouldn’t generalize about how hungry a person can be.”
“Many medical issues cause feelings of hunger despite the fullness of the stomach, and many other medical issues could lead to larger stomachs or faster food processing leading to feelings of hunger. Ignoring either can lead to malnutrition.”
“But again, if the doc checked them out and didn’t see a reason to assume some illness it’s reasonable to assume this is psychological: boredom, loneliness, or comfort-seeking.”
“They need adult-guided stimulation during the day and probably more attention from their parents (NOT OP), and if this persists they need to see a therapist as a family and individuals cause this isn’t the way.” – buttermintpies
“Those kids should definitely be coming out of his budget. That’s a lot of money and yeah that’s a good point, OP and him aren’t married. That’s so selfish of him to expect this from a girlfriend. She’s been waaay too generous.”
“It’s nice enough for her to take care of them and look after them for him. NTA at all.” – Not-A-SoggyBagel
Others wondered if there was more to the story that would help the kids.
“There are basically two options for this story, assuming it’s true in the first place: These kids are at a healthy weight and hungry a lot, and OP completely misjudges what she’s actually giving them to eat or how much exactly they’re eating.”
“If they eat that much food, it needs to go somewhere. They’re not burning several thousand kcal a day just by sitting on their ass and eating every 30 minutes, that’s not how it works. Even with boredom snacking being a thing, there’s a reason it’s called boredom snacking.”
“OP makes it sounds like they had several full-on meals every 30 minutes. And honestly, most kids that age wouldn’t eat a salad even if they were bored to death (albeit I guess maybe they’re just super lucky and somehow have kids that like eating salad at 10).”
“Option 2 is those kids being horribly overweight, which would be even worse because apparently nobody is giving enough of a s**t to even mention it.” – snorting_dandelions
“OP is definitely not accounting for 3 kids, likely being hungry or bored at DIFFERENT TIMES so it seems ‘constant.'”
“Have a discussion where meals are at set times, and a small basket for each kid with their daily allotment of snacks (fruit, veg, yogurt tube granola bar) in the fridge. Then they can eat without assistance. Doesn’t have to be ‘expensive’ snacks; if they’re actually hungry they’ll eat the celery and carrots.”
“And get them into a day camp!” – GondolaQueen
“My brother and his 3 friends would eat a loaf of bread, a large jar of peanut butter and jelly, a 1/2 BUSHEL of apples, and a gallon of milk every single day. That was just an ‘after school’ snack.”
“My sons weren’t any different. I actually had a hell of a time keeping weight on them. So they also had 3 ‘milkshakes’ a day in addition to their regular meals and snacks. They were all extremely active though so they needed the food.”
“What OP may be seeing is the ‘off days’ of activities. Kids will still eat their ‘normal’ amounts of food on days they aren’t active.” – halfwaygonetoo
“They are probably bored and looking for interaction.”
“I know a mom with 4 boys under 12, and during quarantine, she was trying to work from home AND make sure they did their school work.”
“She finally set up snack boxes. Each one had a box with their name on it. Each one got an apple, orange, 2 granola bars, and a bag of cut veggies, plus a juice box. They could eat the snacks as fast or slow as they wanted, but besides the regular meals that was it for the day.”
“Turns out the kids were mostly bored and looking for playtime with mom. She started doing 30 mins of playtime with them after lunch and they got used to the new schedule. No more 30 food requests in an hour, and the kids had access to food if they were genuinely hungry.” – thegreatmei
Though some of the subReddit could believe that the children were eating that much, they did not believe the onus of responsibility should be placed on the OP, who was not related to them even by marriage.
Rather, their food should have been provided by their biological parents, and as some suggested, perhaps summer activities would do well to assist in their appetites and likely feelings of boredom.