Family trips can be a meaningful, relaxing way to reconnect with family and reforge bonds that might have slipped over the years.
Whether it’s a cruise or a trip to a nearby city or even just staying at a parent’s house for the weekend, these family outings can serve as more than just vacations.
Of course, making sure that everyone has a good time on these trips can be a challenge of it’s own, particularly when things like babysitting come up.
So, how do you spend time with your family but also make sure that the kids are entertained?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Accurate_Pirate550 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for outside opinions.
“AITA for suggesting that my brother babysit?”
OP began with a quick history.
“I have three siblings.”
“My youngest brother ‘Merck’ is 20 and the only one without kids.”
“There are six kids between the three of us ranging from 4 to 10 years old.”
They moved quickly to the scenario at hand.
“Our family (my parents, kids, siblings and spouses and Merck’s girlfriend) are going to take a weeklong summer vacation on a cruise ship.”
“My siblings and I are paying except for Merck and his girlfriend who has no money.”
“We were discussing the details and the issue of babysitting came up. Everyone was concerned about who would watch the kids if we wanted to go to a bar or have other adult stuff.”
Everything was fine, Until…
“I suggested Merck.”
“He can’t drink and it’s fair since we are paying for him and his girlfriend. It would actually be fun and something the kids will remember.”
“They love their uncle. Plus it’s good for Merck to spend time with his nephews.”
“Everyone thought it was a good idea except for Merck.”
“He’s furious over the suggestion but he’s literally getting a free trip. I even offered to get him and his girlfriend their own room with a balcony.”
OP did return with some updates.
“We are not leaving our kids with strangers on a cruise ship.”
“The kid clubs are not open past 10pm when we’d want to go to the bar or whatever.”
“Those boys are easy to watch. Literally you toss them some Legos or an iPad and they’ll be fine. My wife and I could watch all day with one hand tied behind our backs.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Some felt that OP was being unfair.
“You don’t get to hold money over Merck.”
“If you wanted to trade paying for the trip for babysitting duties then it was your responsibility to be upfront about it so Merck could make an informed decision.”
“Do you really think a 20-year-old and his girlfriend want to spend their vacation babysitting?”
“Cruises meant for families have specific child-friendly events where you can drop the kids while the adults do their thing.”
“Did you and your fellow a**hole siblings book a cruise without any real planning involved?”
“Your kids are your responsibility. You don’t get to just dump them on someone else because they are child-free. Get tf over yourself.” ~ Expensive_Warthog444
“If you and two siblings offered to cover Merck and his girlfriend’s cost of the trip, it’s sh*tty to then hold that over him to make him babysit.”
“Paying his ticket for the purpose of having a babysitter would have to be stated when making the offer.”
“Also, were you suggesting Merck babysit every night of the cruise?”
“Just because he can’t drink doesn’t mean he might want to do something in the evenings besides babysit.”
“Your kids are your own responsibility.”
“I think it would have been reasonable to ask Merck if he’d be willing to babysit one night so all the parents can go do something together, but it’s not fair to assume you can make him babysit just because of his age and because you paid for his trip.” ~ JArtV
Others pointed out the poor planning involved.
“Has the OP ever even heard of cruises before?”
“Everyone knows most of them have a super fun place where you can drop off the kids day or night that’s going to give them much better memories than walking around the lido deck with his young adult uncle.”
“Also, they are more than likely going to be in international waters, which means the drinking age is 18, not 21. So he more than likely can have a drink if he wants one.” ~ Ellelyie
There were also personal stories.
“Exactly, something similar happened in my family just pre Covid.”
“My oldest sister and me have kids, 4 between us, my youngest brother is 27 no kids.”
“I asked if he could watch my kids ONE night, not the whole damn trip.”
“In the end, we agree to take turns, I watched them one night, my sister one night and my brother one night. The rest of the trip I (or my husband did) because WE are the parents.”
“And yes, my brother asks to take them sometimes and I know I can count on him to help me if I need to.”
“How? Because I’ve asked like 3 times, my sons are 7 and 5.”
“So he knows if I ask it’s because I’m really in a pickle and because I don’t abuse or feel entitled to his help.”
“Plus, every time I ask, any family member I start my text by saying, ‘I completely understand if you can’t’.” ~ GretelNoHans
“Speaking as a dad, who has been on a number of cruises.”
“Being stuck in a cruise ship cabin with 6 little kids would be a great description of Hell.”
“No way, no how, would I agree to this. And I like kids.”
“How about going on a Disney cruise, where they have lots of child care available, at no additional charge.”
“They are really good with the kids. I know this from personal experience.”
“OP – YTA for lots of reasons. But mainly for trying to change the T&Cs after the fact.” ~ lapsteelguitar
Responses also pointed out the hypocrisy involved.
“It may be a free trip but those day off work aren’t easy to come by. No way would I want to spend my day off being voluntold that I have to look after 6 kids.”
“If it was a choice between a week off playing video games and chilling by the pool with some trips to go Legoland or three flags or whatever that popular American theme park is called.”
“Or a child friendly family cruise where you had to babysit 6 overstimulated kids, I’d stay home!!”
“OP, if you wanted him babysitting to be a condition of the free trip, you needed to tell him UP FRONT and agree fair terms.”
“And be gracious if he decides he’d rather not be involved. Promising him a free trip and then pressuring him to be the babysitter because he owes you after he’s already agreed is manipulative.”
“Clearly YOU don’t think babysitting s a fun activity that’ll ‘be good for you’ because you jumped to shove it on the one person for whom you won’t have to reciprocate the favour” ~ FlahBlast
Commenters also pointed out the true cost of the “free” trip.
“Just calculated how much it would cost for childcare for what I’m guessing is going to be the situation.”
“30 an hour per kid, for 3 hours a night for a week would be about 3,780 in pay.”
“I think 30 per kid is reasonable considering there’s 6 kids.”
“Really not sure how often these people are planning on going drinking, but it could even be 6 hours of baby sitting some nights.”
“Not sure how much a cruise costs but it really shows how this is not a free trip and if anything he should be owed money” ~ yikesafm8
“What you’ve booked isn’t a holiday for Merck.”
“You’ve booked a holiday for six kids, yourself and partner, and one other sibling and partner. You’ve also booked unpaid live-in childcare in the form of Merck and his partner.”
“Everyone knows childcare isn’t holiday, no matter how much the carer might love the kids in question or how much the kids might love the carer.”
“If it was, you would be babysitting them yourself. Because it’s fun, right?” ~ Emotional-Ebb8321
“Yep, and the Merck already figured out he will be babysitting 3/4 of the time while everyone does adult things.”
“I say a 1/4 to allow for sleeping and hygiene care.”
“Op YTA and buy your nanny a ticket with a room big enough for the kids to stay. We all know you are looking to dump your kids onto other people.”
“Edited to fix a autocorrect.” ~ Premodonna
Family trips can be a wonderful way to reconnect with relatives.
They can also be draining, stressful and a delicate balancing act.
As always, we encourage communication and planning as a way to mitigate these factors but nothing can prevent all problems.
Be direct in your expectations, and always be firm in your boundaries so that the family trip really is a vacation for everyone and not just a select few.