One thing about parenting that a lot of people don’t put much thought into prior to having a baby is the constant need for childcare. If there isn’t a babysitter in place, the parent won’t be able to go to an event.
Sometimes parents act really entitled about who will provide care, and for how much money, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Yang22___ felt unable to watch his roommate’s son because of needing to study for his college finals, which his roommate did not want to accept.
But when his refusal led to his roommate missing the birth of his second child, the Original Poster (OP) felt conflicted about standing up for himself.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to take my roommate’s son for a few hours and causing him to miss the birth of his baby?”
The OP’s roommate was expecting the birth of his second child.
“I (22 Male) am in college. I live in a rental apartment with my roommate, Simon (28 Male), and his four-year-old son.”
“The mother of the child is deceased and he got together with his now ex-girlfriend but broke up four months ago. He was expecting a baby with her and the baby was born this past Wednesday.”
The roommate’s need for a babysitter led to a serious argument.
“I was in the middle of studying and preparing for my exam when Simon barged in, telling me his ex-girlfriend’s mom just called him and said she was in labor and he had to go to the hospital.”
“He started begging me to take his son for a few hours (probably until midnight) so he could be there for his baby’s birth.”
“I declined and said I had so little time left and needed to focus on studying.”
“He begged me, saying that I wouldn’t even feel his son’s presence, but the kid’s so hyperactive and hard to deal with basically.”
“He started raising his voice at me, saying I was being mean for no reason and he had no one else he knows that could take his son.”
“I told him he could have prepared for this by hiring a babysitter.”
“He started going off, saying that I was being unhelpful on purpose.”
“I told him to get out of my room.”
“He said he’d just leave the kid with me then.”
“I told him I’d call the cops as soon he did that, which made him back off.”
Exactly what the OP’s roommate feared happened.
“He was fuming. He took his son, left, and came back the next day, telling me that I just caused him to miss the birth of his baby and that he’ll never forgive me for what I’d done.”
“He’s been avoiding me since it happened.”
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 agreed the roommate needed to plan ahead for something so important.
“NTA. If he had asked you in advance or his babysitter dropped out or something, then that would be different. The fact he knew the baby would arrive at some point and didn’t make any kind of arrangements makes him the AH for springing it on you.”
“What would he have done if you weren’t home? Was that his plan all along, to just drop the child on you? Crazy.” – xMimichella
“NTA. I do think it’s fair to expect that Simon would have developed a contingency plan with his roommate, or someone, because he knew that the baby was to arrive at some point. He had months to make a contingency plan, after all. He’s not brand new on this one.”
“I feel for him. I would have given in as his roommate. But, that’s so I wouldn’t feel guilty later. It’s not like I wouldn’t have been way irritated with Simon for not planning, though. I would. That’s selfish and silly to me.” – AndSoItGoes24
“OP’s roommate was an AH for not planning ahead, especially since he had four months for that. If he hadn’t broken up with his ex and still lived with her, what would he have done? Leave the kid alone at home?” – Paindespiceauxbeurre
“I was in labor for 16 hours with my kid, and I know of others that were much longer. This situation is different than watching the kid for a couple of hours. This could be a really long commitment. How long should OP be on the hook to watch this kid?” – DodgeABall
Others thought this was too much to ask of a roommate anyway.
“Accepting responsibility for a young child for an unknown amount of time is quite the ask. It ended up being only a few hours, but OP had no way of knowing whether that would stretch into all night or well into the next morning.”
“It’s the kind of thing that you plan ahead for and ask close family or close friends to help with. It’s not something you can spring on a roommate.” – calfinny
“It seems so simple. Unless the kid doesn’t want to go to bed, or is scared and acts out, or labor lasts longer than expected.”
“This isn’t a family member, friend, or SO (significant other), it is a roommate. Why doesn’t the dad just call random coworkers to babysit, that is about where the roommate ranks on personal commitment requirements. It is just above Uber driver and mailman.” – JEXJJ
“Taking care of a four-year-old is not anywhere near as simple as some people make it sound, especially if you have little or no experience with kids that age. It’s a daunting prospect and nerve-wracking while it’s going on.”
“I can’t imagine myself at 22 having to be responsible for a toddler for an unspecified length of time. Hell, I’m 60 now and still wouldn’t want to do it.”
“Now, I have cared for a toddler in an emergency… but that was for a family member, not a random roommate, and it was an actual emergency, not a complete lack of planning. And I didn’t have a final exam to study for, or any other responsibility that would demand my time and attention.” – Wikked-Kitty
“A very good friend once asked me to watch her kid because she was called into work. I don’t know how old he was but he was still in diapers. I told her that I had absolutely no experience taking care of children and was afraid to be responsible for him.”
“She was someone I’d do anything for but honestly, I had no idea what I was doing, but I agreed because she said they had no one else.”
“I kept him alive and didn’t burn the house down and it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. However, it didn’t occur to me to check his diaper because he didn’t cry or anything. I have actually never changed one in my entire life and she laughed about how she asked me to help her once and I couldn’t tell which way to orient it under him.”
“My friend didn’t show anger towards me but they never asked me to babysit again. People shouldn’t assume that everyone can do it and that it’s no big deal. Even with the best intentions, I f**ked up.”
“I think it’s inappropriate of the roommate to pressure OP to take care of his kid unexpectedly and well past when the answer was ‘no.’ NTA.” – limperatrice
Some insisted the OP could have made it work for one night, finals or not.
“Sometimes I read this sub and yeah, people really take on these very odd ‘rules’ that wouldn’t fly in real life. Human beings aren’t computers where you punch in some data, then everyone decides your behavior is fine and there will be no price to pay.”
“Sure, Roommate had time to think up a plan for the care for the older kid. And OP had studying to do.”
“But maybe the ex-girlfriend went into labor early or there was some other reason a care plan didn’t work out.”
“Just plunk the kid down in front of a cartoon on an iPad while you study or whatever, then put them to bed. I have a four-year-old, it’s not the end of the world to throw on a cartoon.”
“The various rules are superseded by the birth of a child. Just pitch in.”
“Then ask if this living situation is right for you long-term. It’s ok if it’s not.” – rotatingruhnama
“Do you consider him your friend? If you consider him a friend, then you are 1000% the AH for not helping out in extremes like this. It’s not a trip to the store or dentist. It’s the birth of his child. He can’t just do it later. Don’t be surprised if this ruins your friendship. Friends help.”
“If you don’t care about this dude and you only really know of him because you share the house, then no, you’re NTA, because you don’t expect people you hardly know to watch your kid.” – katertot-_-
“ESH. He should’ve had a plan in place.”
“But I’m very disturbed by this genre of AITA posters who refuses to help people in emergencies. It’s really distributing to see and demonstrates the strong lack of community and care for others in society. Not even in society but people in your actual community! In your actual home!”
“It’s not your fault, but you could’ve helped. You’re well within your rights to say no and you’re not the worse person, but this is a solid a**hole move. You better not even ask him for a cup of sugar moving forward.” – SoloBurger13
While the subReddit could appreciate the importance of the OP’s college education and need to study, they were more divided on how the OP handled the situation.
On the one hand, the OP’s roommate could have planned better for the upcoming birth of his child, even if the baby came early or there were complications. However, on the other hand, the roommate may have not been dealt the best hand and maybe could have used some help from his roommate.