Children are just delightful, right?
The laughing, the playing, the wide-eyed innocence.
Of course, not everyone feels that way.
What happens when you make the choice to avoid the younger generation and not everyone is a fan of the decision?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) hug-a-cat when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for avoiding events when my friends’ kids are attending or arriving late so they’re already in bed?”
OP began with the background.
“This is a situation where I genuinely didn’t consider I might be being an asshole until several of my friends laid into me about it.”
“I’m in my early 30s so quite a few of my friends are settling down and starting families.”
“This isn’t something I ever plan on doing, but I want to be super clear that this isn’t because I hate kids.”
He explained the reasons for his childfree stance.
“I’m just very aware that I’m not equipped in any way to provide a child with a stable upbringing and it wouldn’t be fair. I actually get along fine with kids and they tend to like me.”
“Because I’ve chosen not to have kids myself, I’ve always assumed I can choose whether I spend time around them or not.”
“This is important to me because (for a lot of reasons) I’m not always in a good frame of mind and putting on a kid-friendly facade takes a lot of energy.”
“I also have sensory issues relating to ADHD and lots of kids yelling and talking at once is intense, even when they’re just having fun.”
“I don’t want to end up getting impatient about something that isn’t their fault, so if I’m feeling on-edge I’d rather steer clear.”
“If I could go to kid-friendly hang-outs and just chill with the other adults while the kids do their thing that would be ok, but that never happens.”
“The kids want to play with me because apparently I’m more fun than their parents (or it could just be novelty value) and if I try to gently explain that I’m in the middle of a conversation, my friends end up guilt-tripping me for not being super enthusiastic about it.”
“Since there was apparently no acceptable way of saying no to the kids, I wound up getting tactical and started either avoiding gatherings that kids were going to be attending or arriving after their bedtime.”
Everything was okay until…
“Unfortunately a couple of my friends picked up on this pretty quickly and called me out on it.”
“I explained my reasons (which they were already fully aware of) and it went down SO badly.”
“They accused me of hating kids, hating their kids specifically, being selfish and putting myself above the happiness of a child, you get the picture.”
“They mentioned that they don’t get to just avoid their kids when they’re tired or not in the mood – I reminded them that I never chose to have kids or take on that responsibility and they said if I gave a sh*t about their kids I would want to.”
“Like I said, I didn’t think I was in the wrong but a few more of my parent-friends have brought it up and some are really laying on the guilt “
“(‘[kid] loves hanging out with his fun uncle [me], but I guess you just hate every second!’).
“I also don’t want to be the ‘childfree’ a**hole who can’t tolerate being kids having fun.”
OP was left to wonder.
Having explained the situation and his reasoning, OP turned to Reddit for outside perspectives.
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: NTA
Some put the blame back on OP’s friends.
“NTA – what the heck with those comments???”
“No, you’re making the smart choice by not being in situations where you know it’s a no-win for anyone (you’re miserable and the potential for the kids to be upset/hurt is there)”
“- your ‘friends’ are being jerks about this.” ~No-Policy-4095
Others suggested ulterior motives.
“Sounds more like they pawn the kids off on you at events.”
” ‘They mentioned that they don’t get to just avoid their kids when they’re tired or not in the mood’.”
“That’s what that statement tells me… they want to and when the ‘fun’ uncle shows up, they get a break.”
“I was in this cycle.”
“I just stopped feeling bad about saying no. Even with the guilt trips ‘no, I’m good’.”
“We’re not obligated to entertain kids we didn’t even have, so don’t let them put that on you.” ~ hdkb824
“They just want OP there so they have a babysitter or someone to entertain the kids while they relax.” ~ DaokoXD
It is important to respect your own boundaries.
“You clearly understand what your boundaries are and your friends are guilting you to behave contrary to what you know to be best for your mental well-being.”
“As a fellow redditor with ADHD, I also get overwhelmed with loud, chaotic environments even when they are supposed to be fun and I limit my time when obligated to attend such functions.”
“I also tend to attract other people’s kids (although I’m not sure why) and despite having a few of my own, I do not like to entertain other people’s kids.”
“I suspect your friends with kids enjoy having the pressure taken off of them to constantly be on with their spawn and welcome having Uncle hug-a-cat to distract them.”
“You know your limitations and are acting accordingly.”
“Do not let your friends guilt you into doing something you’re not comfortable with.”
“Stick to your guns and do not apologize.” ~BooBeans71
“I have three kids and I don’t always want to be around them.”
“When people are around, I ask if the kids are bothering them and remind my kids that adults need time to relax too.”
“Even though it’s rare I can hang out without the kids, I look forward to kid-free time too.”
“You SHOULD be able to tell kids no.”
“You SHOULDN’T have to be the group babysitter every time you’re around.”
“You SHOULD be able to avoid kid events when you want to.” ~ crystallz2000
Children can be wonderful.
However, surrounding yourself with them is certainly not mandatory, always remember that the people you surround yourself with is your decision and no one else’s.