One of the hard truths of parenting is knowing that child care may not always be readily available.
Not only did many child care locations close down or seriously limit their traffic during the pandemic, but some friends and family are simply less available, or willing, to provide care.
One brother found that out recently when he asked his sister for help, though with little warning, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor LowIce4769 was not interested in babysitting her niece and nephew, despite an emergency that came up, and created new arrangements for babysitting.
But when she heard of her brother’s reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to look after my brother’s children?”
The OP and her boyfriend weren’t interested in children.
“So my boyfriend and I live together in a fairly large rented house, despite the fact that neither of us wants children.”
“The house has 4 decently sized bedrooms, one of which is our bedroom, while one is an office. The other two are empty.”
“Despite the fact that that we don’t have kids, we are avid pet lovers, and we own a 3-year-old Rottweiler, a one-year-old Bulldog, as well as a 7-year-old cat.”
The OP’s brother asked her to watch his kids due to an emergency.
“Yesterday, my brother asked me to watch his children, since he had to go to the hospital due to his wife breaking her leg.”
“I was the only one available at the time, so my brother dropped his children (a 9-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl) off at our house.”
“As a side note, I didn’t really have a chance to respond [to whether I would watch the kids or not].”
“My brother phoned me while en route to the hospital to tell me that he needs someone to watch his kids due to his wife breaking her leg. Around 5 minutes later, he turned up at my house with the kids, before saying he has to go to the hospital.”
Due to plans of her own, the OP made other arrangements.
“Unfortunately, this arrangement wasn’t suitable for us, since we’d made plans to drop our dogs off at a doggy spa while we went to the mall.”
“I called my friend, who agreed to look after the kids (I compensated her monetarily, even though she told me there was no need to).”
“My brother has never met this friend, but I’d never leave any child in a dangerous position.”
The OP’s brother was furious.
“While we were at the mall, my brother called me to ask me where we were.”
“I told him that his kids were at my friend’s house. He was furious with me and hung up on the phone soon after.”
“Around 30 minutes later, my friend called to say that my brother has picked the kids up and that he was irate, to say the least.”
“My brother has tried to call me since, but I haven’t picked up the phone, since I know he likely only wants to have an argument with me.”
The OP’s father spoke up, as well.
“Today, my dad called me to ask me why I’d chosen my ‘dumb dogs’ over my nephew and niece, which irritated me.”
“I told my dad that while I feel sorry for his wife, it isn’t my responsibility to drop everything and look after children that aren’t even mine.”
“I also told him that if he’s going to insult my family, then he shouldn’t expect to walk me down the aisle.”
“I know my choice of words could have been kinder; however, I don’t think it’s fair to impose the responsibility of looking after kids on me when I’ve made the decision to not have any.”
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 child-free Redditors chimed in to say YTA.
“I have no desire to ever have children and would rather do a whole lot of other things than babysit.”
“HOWEVER, my sister and mom are both elementary school teachers and have always loved children. My sister definitely wants kids and if she or her husband were in a MEDICAL emergency, I’d be there for them.”
“They’d probably be bored outta their mind because all I have is crossword/jigsaw puzzles at my apartment, but at least they’d be safe and I know how to cook grilled cheeses for them.”
“It’s not like they were like, ‘Hey, we are going to a concert, take these kids for a few hours.’ SHE BROKE HER LEG AND WAS IN THE HOSPITAL. NO ONE PLANS THAT. OMG. YTA.” – planethoney
“YTA – I live a child-free, Pet full lifestyle and I’m disgusted with what you did.”
“This is a medical emergency, not a casual night out, and then to drop your brother’s kids off with someone they don’t know can be outright dangerous.”
“Why you focused on the size of your house also doesn’t play into this at all, he wasn’t asking you to take them in, just watch them a few hours.”
“Your lack of empathy is outstanding, then to yell at your dad and tell him he won’t be able to walk you down the aisle because he confronted you shows your level of immaturity.”
“I really hope you are not planning on getting married anytime soon because the minute something doesn’t go your way, you will be out the door. Grow up and act like a human.” – Roadgoddess
“YTA. Sorry your sister-in-law didn’t plan her leg break around your schedule?”
“I don’t like kids, I don’t like watching kids. But if I was the ONLY person available to watch them because of a MEDICAL EMERGENCY, you bet your bippity I would. And pawning your brother’s kids off to someone he’s never met before? Big nope.”
“I’d get your reaction if he and his wife wanted a spur-of-the-moment date night, but you’ve basically told your whole family that you care more for the mall than you do for them during their time of need. Nice.” – PoisonOfKings
“100% child-free. Don’t like kids and actively avoid them. OP is absolutely the AH here. OP is unbelievably immature and self-centered.”
“It also wouldn’t have been difficult to take the kids to the mall with them. It would have been a good distraction for them instead of being shuffled off to a stranger.” – Smecterbice
“I’m loving all us ‘evil’ child-free people voting very firmly YTA on this one.”
“Like yeah, I don’t have kids, don’t want kids, don’t even really like kids.”
“But FFS (for f**k’s sake), obviously in a medical emergency, 99.9% of us would happily cancel our plans and look after the kids, because it’s the godd**n right thing to do!” – whitewallpaper76
Others agreed and described what the OP could have done instead.
“They didn’t even have to reschedule [the dog spa]. Load everyone in the car, drop the dogs off at the spa, and take the kids to go get ice cream or McDonald’s and, I dunno, some other activity like a game arcade, bowling, a movie, whatever.”
“Still a spa day for the dogs, still a mall day, and kids are watched and maybe taken a mind off their mother breaking a leg. Like, geez.” – Habitat-Green
“Why couldn’t BF take the dogs to the spa by himself? Is he not able to do things on his own? I’m not a huge fan of kids either, but even I know better than to leave them with someone the parent has never met.”
“WTF, OP? Where is your head? YTA.” – cutelittleh**lbeast
“I am childfree too.”
“I would have gotten a friend to help me with the dogs while we take them and the kids to the dogs’ spa appointment. And then do something nice at the mall together. Like: ‘Auntie has to take the doggies to the Spa. We will have ice cream after, ok? My good friend is also coming.'”
“Or get someone to help me get the dogs to the appointment while I watch the kids.”
“(Paying the friend for it or taking them out to a meal as a thank you).”
“I would never leave the kids with other adults that my brother doesn’t know.”
“YTA OP.” – MarucaMCA
“I recently had to look after my nieces when their dad was hospitalized (he’s fine now), and we did a whole day of activities – baked cookies, made popcorn and watched a movie, ordered pizza. It took their minds off the whole scary situation.” – D-Jewelled
“If my mom had just broken her leg and I was an upset small child, I would have LOVED the distraction of a trip to the mall. Look around the dollar store and get them a little something, then get them a nice snack at the food court. It could have been a really nice moment for family bonding and helping a couple of worried and upset kids through a difficult event.” – MillieTheDestroyer
Some couldn’t believe how self-centered the OP was.
“She’s not even mature enough to answer her brother’s calls and talk about the situation. And then threatened not to let her father walk her down the aisle.”
“OP knows she’s in the wrong and can’t handle being called out for it. She’s being manipulative and I hope her whole family just cuts her off.” – StrwbrryKiwis
“When she began with the description of her huge house, I fully expected to read that her brother had gone for a two weeks vacation, dumping the kids at her place beforehand. But nope, irrelevant unless she wanted to show off her selfishness.” – Bleu_Cerise
“This shows that OP is extremely egocentric, selfish, and immature. I get that you see your pets as your kids, but this is over the line… How difficult would it be to just take the kids to the mall with you and maybe help them get their mind off the fact that their mom is injured?”
“YTA.” – spacegal777
“OP, YTA. You made a really bad choice here and I wouldn’t be surprised if it follows you forever.” – LakeLov3r
“YTA. You don’t leave children that aren’t yours with someone who the parent doesn’t even know. You accepted responsibility for these children and then acted in a most irresponsible manner.”
“Somehow I think you, your bf, and your doggies would have survived not going to the mall and doggy spa.”
“Can you imagine how scary and confusing it was for the children, first being rushed to your house because their mother was hurt and then having you dump them with a stranger?”
“If I was your brother, I would be going NC (no contact) with you. Permanently.” – Janetaz18
The day her brother needed her, the OP had other plans that she really did not want to cancel. While we’ve all been there, the subReddit did not agree that the OP was right to keep her plans over watching her brother’s children during a time of need. Not only did the children need her, but with a little creativity, she probably could have helped out and enjoyed her day, too.