Everyone has a different opinion about raising children, from how to care for them, to how many children to have, to whether to have them at all.
Who should care for the children was a recent topic on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Famous_Estimate968 was offered a special role for one of the children in her life, to which they had to decline.
But when they were criticized for their decision, the Original Poster (OP) couldn’t help but wonder if they made the wrong one.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for declining to be a godparent to my niece or nephew?”
The OP did not have children by choice.
“So I and my husband are childfree by choice.”
“We each struggle with mental illness, my husband is a recovering alcoholic, and frankly, we don’t especially like or want kids anyway.”
“My SIL knows all this.”
“She is expecting her first and asked if we’d be godparents. We said no.”
“She seems surprised and upset, but I am absolutely not comfortable with putting ourselves in a position where we would have to take a kid/kids in should anything happen to her and her husband.”
The OP had very specific reasons for this decision.
“For clarification, yes she asked specifically for our godparents’ role to be legal guardians in addition to regular and maybe extra involvement in the kid’s life. If it were just the latter we’d have said yes absolutely. But throwing in the former is simply too much for us.”
“She knows we don’t want kids, she knows our struggles with depression/anxiety/alcoholism.”
“I was honestly shocked she would ask it of us because 1) who in their right mind, knowing us like she does, would ask us to raise her kid in the event of death?? 2) she has plenty of family and friends who she seems closer with and who would be 100,000 times more qualified than we would be in such an event.”
Not everyone agreed with the OP’s reasoning.
“Now I’m not saying anyone who struggles with mental illness or alcoholism is a bad parent. I am saying we would be, for these reasons and others.”
“My parents-in-law do not understand at all and seem to think we are just being selfish. And my SIL is hurt. But I can’t in good conscience inflict myself and my husband on a kid like that. They deserve better.”
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 were impressed the OP did what was best for the child.
“NTA!! You are smart for declining this ‘honor.’ You know you are not cut out for parenthood. (And, really, not wanting kids is a more than sufficient reason, no need to justify it.)”
“Your in-laws are definitely TA for refusing to accept your decision here.”
“I hate how parents refuse to respect the CF (childfree) lifestyle.” – platypusandpibble
“NTA. There’s a reason people ask someone to be a godparent, as opposed to informing them they were chosen.”
“Done well, being a godparent is an obligation. And only you can decide whether to accept the obligation. It was honorable of you to take that seriously enough to decide not to do it.” – dipper_mudskipper
“Also, if they don’t care about OP’s and her husband’s mental health for their sake, they can argue that it would be selfish of them to accept the role of godparents when they know they could not care for the kid.”
“Having the kid means SIL and the kid’s father are either dead or in a severe enough condition not to keep custody – whatever that situation would be, it would deeply likely have OP and her husband distraught, which would fragilize their mental health and make them even less appropriate parents.
Obviously “no we don’t want to” is a valid answer that doesn’t require explanation in my book but yeah, if the rest of the family needs mental gymnastics, that’s an option of an argument.
(I also don’t think mental health issues necessarily make people unfit parents)” – Waury
“Being a Godparent is an honor but the recipient has to agree to it. Not agreeing is a testament that the offeree understood the responsibility and decided that they were not fit to be a godparent.”
“I know people who say yes but don’t really understand what it means. It could entail taking over guardianship in the event something happens to the parents. And when that time comes they no longer want to be a godparent.”
“Op gave a polite, direct answer so that the SIL has time to choose someone else and make plans accordingly.” – hello_friendss
Others agreed the OP needed to live her life the way that was best for her.
“Raising a child is a long-term commitment and a huge responsibility. It is totally your choice, they can’t guilt-trip you into doing something they want you to.” – kumar100pawan
“NTA people who don’t want kids should not have kids. You are totally in the right for knowing your limits and situation and saying no. I wish more people were self-aware.” – Contrariwisey
“NTA, your life, your choice. It’s easier to integrate a kid into an already kid-friendly family anyway.” – MySuperLove
“So they understand you’re childfree because of mental health stuff and are still asking you to be their legal guardian if they die?”
“That’s an interesting choice.”
“If this relationship is one you value, consider taking your friend out for coffee and just getting vulnerable for a bit. Explain that you are so excited to be an auntie, but that you know your limits and that you wouldn’t be able to care for the kid the way the kid deserves.”
“Unless you’ve already done that, in which case I have no advice, and I’m sorry people are acting like you’re being unkind, when actually it’s the kindest choice you can make, you know?” – Justanothergamerwife
Undoubtedly, we would all love to be able to help our loved ones out, especially when they request something specifically from us.
But the subReddit agreed, we are actually showing far more love and kindness by answering with an honest no rather than a people-pleasing yes.