Many parents have very stringent approaches to parenting these days, and some of their rules can be so rigid they’re impossible to adhere to outside their own home.
A person on Reddit ran into this trouble when they agreed to babysit their young half-sister, whose mother only allows her to eat vegan food.
When the Redditor’s stepmother was late in picking the child up, they had to resort to feeding them non-vegan food–and their stepmother was furious.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the username onerodetoasabay_ on the site, wasn’t sure about how they’d handled the situation.
So they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
“AITA for feeding my sister non-vegan food while babysitting?”
“Throwaway. My dad has a 4F[emale] daughter with his current wife, my step-mom.”
“My stepmom is vegan and extremely health-conscious after surviving cancer, and only allows my sister food that‘s vegan and organic.”
“She believes that anything else is poison and cancerous. I try to be understanding of this, although I myself am not vegan or vegetarian.”
“She asked me last-minute to babysit my sister last week and dropped her off at my apartment at around 9:00am that morning.”
“She initially told me that she’d only be gone for 2 to 3 hours, but didn’t pick her up until almost 2:00pm due to an appointment running late.”
“My stepmom packed a bag that contained only apple slices, a zip bag of cauliflower crackers, and some organic juice.”
“By noon, I was hungry and didn’t want to make myself food without feeding her, and she had already eaten her snacks.”
“My healthy food options were limited, so I made some veggie pizzas for us and gave her juice and fruit snacks as well.”
“After my stepmom came to pick her up, I told her what we had for lunch and she was upset that I gave her daughter non-vegan cheese and fruit snacks, but referred to everything as unhealthy.”
“She thought I should have either waited until she came to pick her up, or given her some of the raw veggies that we put on the pizza to tide her appetite over until she was picked up.”
“My dad has since informed me that my stepmom doesn’t want me to babysit again until I can learn to respect her wishes regarding her parenting.”
“I can see how I may be the a**hole given that I knew it wasn’t vegan, but then I also tried my best and didn’t just plop a steak in front of her. Opinions? AITA?”
OP then came back to the post to add a bit more context.
“Edit: I did not call or text beforehand because my stepmom informed me that her phone would be on silent while she was in her appointments.”
“I also did not have a booster seat to drive to the store, and food delivery services are expensive where I live, which I don’t really have the extra money for at this moment (broke college students things).”
“Anyway, I was told to add this information to the post, so I hope it provides for clarity.”
People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And as you might guess, they had absolutely no time for OP’s stepmother.
“NTA. Were you supposed to just skip feeding her daughter lunch because she failed to provide you with food??”
“‘My dad has since informed me that my stepmom doesn’t want me to babysit again until I can learn to respect her wishes regarding her parenting.'”
“First of all, you did this last minute as a favor, so it sounds to me like she’s the one who needs you to be willing to babysit, not the other way around.”
“Secondly, you don’t need to ‘learn’ to respect her wishes, she needs to provide you with food so you can respect her wishes.”
“I’m guessing her anger at you is going to last right up until she needs a last-minute babysitter again, and then she’ll remember to pack enough food.” –BeJane759
“You are 100% correct. Stepmom may be livid with OP now but, she’ll be there when she needs you. You did the best you could under the circumstances.” –Consistent-Leopard71
“I somehow feel sad for the child. Her mom would prefer her to go hungry instead eating things she doesn’t approve.”
“as if OP could knew how long it would take. And it is no allergy or dietery choice of the child.”
“The child will have serious trouble to digest meat, if she decide for herself that she wants to eat the non-veggie way.”
“And fruit juice is more unhealthy than what OP gave her, with all this sugar. Tea or water. Even water with a little bit juice.”
“Exactly this! I’m a teacher in a preschool and I had a parent like this.”
“Very health conscious and precise about what her family ate, but she was also very busy and ran her own business and sometimes forgot to bring her homemade food so I would feed her boys the food our school provided.”
“While it wasn’t the food she preferred she always understood it was her ‘fault’ and never got mad at us.”
“Or if step mom mom can’t stand the thought of them eating unhealthy food even once she would have realized by lunchtime at least that her daughter didn’t have enough food and called OP with a plan or to tell them she was sending food to be delivered.”
“Surely she ate lunch, her child didn’t cross her mind then?”
“It is on her to provide food, if she doesn’t then she should be grateful what food is available is provided and that op tried to stay as close to the moms preferred diet as she could.”
“The threat to not be allowed to babysit sounds like a reward to me. I wouldn’t want to babysit for this ungrateful woman either.” –Heyllamamama
“E-N-T-I-T-L-E-M-E-N-T. one doesn’t foist a child on someone, making no provision, last minute, and then expect someone else to reroute their lives around their rules!”
“THE BIG PRIVILEGE TO BABYSIT.”
“That’s a little like someone (family or friend) showing up, asking last minute for you to sit… You’re on your way to, say, church service, and they demand that you forego it, because it’s not their thing. ummm excuse you.” –Ok-Image-5514
“Agreeing with everyone 💯 NTA”
“Drop your kid (s) off with special needs and don’t provide all they’ll need, you can’t expect that someone else will be able to provide for their special accommodation.”
:Would you expect someone to have epi-pens just lying around? The parent has no reason to be upset. This was of her own making.” –Comfortable3099
“If she wanted her kid to have a vegan meal then she should have come home when expected or brought vegan food. Personally I do not think that a vegan diet is a great idea for small children but that’s just me.” –Chance-Ad-9952
“NTA. If that is the diet she chooses for her child then she needs to provide an adequate amount of food for her child.”
“Her being late is not your problem. She didn’t prepare properly and you chose to feed a child instead of letting them be hungry.” –EnceladusKnight
“You were feeding a child that needed to be fed. The mom should have provided more food so that her daughter could be fed vegan food even if her appointment ran late.”
“The mom failed to properly plan and you winged it with basically no notice.”
“Pretty sure her kid will survive.”
“ETA: It was a last minute ask of OP to babysit. The mom said she’d be back after 2-3 hours but instead it was 5 hours.” –Ducky818
“So the woman who needs last minute babysitting and can’t pick her child up on time is saying you can’t babysit again? Ya, I’m sure that will last.”
“Tell your Dad that you are happy to respect her parenting wishes, but you were asked to babysit last minute and were only given food for a shorter time frame then agreed upon, so you did the best you could with what you had.”
“If you are no longer on the babysitter list, that’s cool, good luck out there.”
“And, when they ask you to babysit again, because they will, decline to do so because you don’t want to make trouble like last time.” –mfruitfly
“NTA. Stepmom dropped off her child last-minute, and instead of being gone 2-3 hours she was gone for 5 hours.”
“If she wasn’t going to bring enough food for her child then she really has no right to be angry that you fed her child your own food.”
Hopefully OP and their stepmom can avoid this conflict in the future.