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New Mom Balks After Her Mother Refuses To Take Care Of Baby Full-Time Unless She Gets Paid

Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

Providing childcare has become increasingly expensive, hard to find, and blatantly problematic.

Some families are more able to lighten the load than others, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, but they’re still under no obligation to help.

Redditor erika_urrrika was preparing to go back to work and thought it would be beneficial to receive help from her mother, so she could save money on childcare.

But when her mother refused, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to be angry with her.

She asked the sub:

“AITA if my mom refused to help me take care of my baby while I go back to work?”

The OP was surprised when her mother refused to help with childcare. 

“I (29 female) asked my mom to help me take care of my newborn so I could go back to work once my leave is up.”

“Mind you, my mom is 64, has been a homemaker/stay-at-home-mom since 1992, and hasn’t been part of the workforce since then.”

“She refused, saying she was too old and that she already raised her kids.”

“She also added that if I really wanted this baby, then maybe I should have thought about staying home like she did to take care of it while my partner goes to work and provides for us like a ‘traditional’ family and that if she and my dad were able to work it out, so can we.”

The OP really felt she needed her mother’s help.

“However, we are just coming out of a pandemic, and going into a possible recession, there and there is no way my partner and I can make it financially on one income.”

“I make $55k/year, but have $39k in student loans + $20k in other debt (credit card, car loan, medical debt on credit). My partner makes about $36k/year, and has $5k in credit card debt.”

“I as the higher breadwinner, have an internal obligation to go back to work since not only I have the most at stake, I also make the most to keep our family afloat.”

“We are currently in a small, 1-bedroom apartment in a metropolitan area, and would need to save money to move to a 2-bedroom once the baby grows up in a couple of years as we will need more space.”

The OP’s mother came back with an offer.

“When I explained all the above to my mom, she then proceeded to say that she will charge me $20/hour for each hour she takes care of the baby, plus late fees if we are late for pickup.”

“She added that we must provide her with a car seat, stroller, bottles, and pretty much double of everything we have at our home to compensate for taking the baby to her house.”

“She will not step foot in my house for her own personal reasons (she’s come in once, and I’ve lived with my partner for 5 years; she’s a 15min drive away).”

The OP felt helpless.

“I want to save money to bring down our debt, and don’t want to pay her as much nor invest as much in double of everything as it will spiral into more debt for me and my partner.”

“I’m on the fence about enrolling my baby into an infant daycare instead as the cost will overall be lower and a little closer to our home.”

“Due to our jobs, we cannot work from home so we are in desperate need of childcare.”

“Everyone else in our family works full time so they cannot help us as they have a similar 9-5 schedule.”

“So, am I the a**hole for wanting my mom, who again is at home all day long (trust me, she does not do anything besides watch TV and cook meals), to take care of my baby for free while my partner and I try to fix our finances?”

The OP also shared more about having her baby in a comment:

“I’ve had reproductive issues for the past 9 years, so I didn’t know if having a child was possible for me. I always wanted to be a mother and this is my miracle baby and I’m going to take the chance now if I can’t have any more in the future.”

“I’ll never know when I’ll be able to ‘afford one’ in this economy, and maybe that was selfish of me.”

“But the baby is here, alive, and I will not be giving it up as he is my child forever and I will accept the consequences of my actions, thus why I’m asking this question if I’m the a**hole.”

“Worst case scenario, I get him enrolled at an infant daycare, no problem.”

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 thought the OP need to put more planning into her future childcare.

“OP, how much time do you have before you go back to work? Cause I think you need a better game-plan than begging an old lady to watch your kid.”

“Despite her not wanting to, there seems like many other subtle red flags regarding her.”

“But, chin up. Based on your post history, you have a MA so leverage that education and look for a higher-paying job.”

“Network your a** off, pay someone to re-do your resume, and try to get a higher-paying job. Ask your partner to do the same as they really need to earn more than $36/year when supporting a mom and child.”

“If you have an accident and can’t earn your wage, then how will you afford rent and food? They’ve got to earn more so the burden just isn’t on you.” – DrPepperSocksNow

“YTA. Your mother is under no obligation to babysit for you.”

“Why are you having a child you don’t seem to know what to do with? And why have you not worked all this put before now?” – SimplySam4210

“I am that grandma who is retired. My daughter talked to me about taking care of her children when they decided to have them. A lot of thought went into all of it. I said yes to taking care of the grandchildren.”

“The fact that I did stay home and raise our two kids is irrelevant to whether my daughter or son-in-law should do so now. It’s a different life today than 30+ years ago. Student debt is much higher, daycare is much higher, etc. The world is a different place as well. Not as safe as when I raised my kids.”

“But that’s me and all of it was talked about before they had kids. So YTA for having a child that you didn’t know who was going to take care of it after maternity leave.”

“Did you assume your just-TV-watching mother was going to step up? Believe me, she is not just watching TV. Moms put all their interests on hold when they are stay-at-home moms.”

“And if your mom chose to watch TV all day, that’s none of your concern. She didn’t watch TV for 25 years, or go to movies, read a book, etc. She didn’t have time and they couldn’t afford it.”

“You can’t backtrack and not have your baby but you now have a responsibility to take care of the baby and all its needs before you think about doing anything extra for yourself. Get your priorities straight and make some sacrifices.” – YaiYai-Maddie-Emma

“I agree with YTA but for different reasons.”

“No one plans extensive debt and you don’t know how they got there so you can’t judge them for that. Or for needing two incomes to support a family, as that seems to be increasingly a more common requirement in America especially.”

“But her mom is not being obligated to provide childcare, certainly not for free, to anyone for any reason. As she said, she already raised her kids and she deserves to spend her time how she wants to.” – maddr_lurker

“YTA: sorry to be blunt and rude, but maybe don’t have a child if you can’t afford to take care of them. And if your plan was always to go back to work, you should have discussed that with your mom during the pregnancy or even before you got pregnant.” – fafaflunkie

Others thought the OP was entitling herself to her mother’s golden years, which was wrong.

“The audacity to neglect her mother’s time. ‘She doesn’t do anything,’ BECAUSE SHE’S 64!!! Doesn’t matter if her mom is an AH in general, but who in their right mind has a baby when you can’t afford bigger housing than a 1-bedroom?” – blzzl

“YTA, OP. Your mom is 64 years old, it doesn’t matter how she spends her free time, she doesn’t want to be tied down with babysitting anymore.”

“I’m sure she put her prices up so high so you’d just put your baby into daycare like you should be doing. She’s finished with her responsibilities now, let her enjoy her golden years.” – IHateCamping

“The mother has raised her children. To expect(!) that she watches the baby just because she has time. And for free. As if she has nothing better to do. This entitlement.”

“If you plan to get a child, you plan for childcare. But you don’t plan on other people without asking!”

“YTA.” – EvilFinch

“Aye, your mother has done her bit. She’s raised you, fed you, and been in the workforce, and the end of which she wants to put her feet up and maybe spoil her grandchild every so often, not get a second job looking after your kid.”

“We can go into the deeper issue of poor pay, lack of government help with children, and indeed people giving deep thought to whether they are financially stable to have a kid later, but here and now, it is not your mother’s job to look after YOUR child.”

“YTA.” – MrJ_Sar

“My parents take our young kids for a couple of nights once a month, which is SO nice and a HUGE help. But they only do it because they want to.”

“If one month they can’t because they’re traveling or whatever, that’s fine. They don’t owe us anything.”

“Whenever they drop them back home, they’re relieved to get their life back, and I totally get it. They’re a handful!” – Kermdog15

While the subReddit could sympathize with the OP’s need to go back to work and lower her financial debt, they believed she was going the wrong way about it.

Expecting her mother to care for her child was too much, especially without pay and without consideration for what else she might want to do with her life.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.