It’s a common problem for many new parents that they aren’t able to live the lives they used once they have had children.
This isn’t to say that they led “crazy” or “irresponsible” lives, but only that child care is unachievable for many, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor CaptainReptillian understood this but eventually had to put a stop to the free child care his cousin had come to demand of him.
But when he was criticized, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he should have just played along.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my cousin that the ‘village’ doesn’t owe her free child care?”
The OP’s cousin regularly asked for child care.
“My cousin (25 [female]) has a (5 [male]) child. She often asks for free kidsitting from her family, including me (40 [male]).”
“She’s been getting into the habit of asking at the last minute, and she’ll whine about or outright expect you to change your plans to accommodate her.”
The OP had plans for the next few months.
“I’m going to a wrestling show in November. This will be my first show in almost 2 years and I’ll be seeing my friend for the first time in that same period.”
“My cousin texted me, saying she expects me to cancel these plans to watch her kid because she’s ‘overwhelmed’ and that I’m part of her ‘village.’
The OP didn’t agree.
“We argued and I finally got fed up and told her that it’s not my fault that she had a kid with a loser.”
“I also said that she’s taking advantage of those around her and that childcare is her d**n job.”
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 said they wouldn’t provide any more childcare.
“Also literally ‘a village’ doesn’t mean free childcare, it means that there are more than just the parents who play a part in how the child grows up.”
“Teachers and school employees are a part of a village, neighbors who your kid interacts with, the parents of the kids’ friends who will be around the kid. Family when not directly in charge of taking care of the kid as well, whether it be family visits or talking on the phone.”
“It doesn’t mean free childcare, and paid childcare is a part of that village as well.”
“They don’t have to raise the kid for you, just be an important part of their life essentially.” – mkat23
“Jumping in with: The show is in November. It’s still October… how does she know in advance that she’s overwhelmed?”
“If that were the case, she should ASK (not demand) someone watch her child this weekend.”
“Sounds like something fun is happening and she’s going to miss out because of the kid. Agree: cut her off! Not your responsibility and definitely NTA” – icecreamorlipo
“Sucks for the kid. But I guess it’ll be good business for when the wrestling comes to town. The whole village could attend.”
“Anyway, totally NTA. Nothing wrong with asking for help, my in-laws have been excellent in helping me and my wife out with childcare whilst we’ve prepared for our latest (and last) child.”
“But we’ve always respected boundaries, we’ve never assumed they’d say yes, and we’ve always been extremely grateful.”
“Bottom line, OP owes nobody an explanation as to why their cousin should rely on them for child care.” – Invisible-Pancreas
“NTA. There’s a difference between asking and demanding. Personally, I’d cut her off after that.”
“No more kid sitting until she learns to ask nicely, to accept a ‘no,’ and to be appreciative of other people’s time.” – Haggis_with_Ketchup
Others agreed and said the “village” didn’t have to guarantee free childcare.
“NTA. Entitled parents really twist ‘it takes a village’ around to mean that people owe them free childcare.”
“I understand that parenting is exhausting and stressful, and that might be a rude awakening for a first-time parent. But the parent(s) still need to be the child’s #1, no matter what else is happening.”
“And when help is offered, the gratitude should be palpable.” – grdschlvcxvxzdqa
“It’s so funny how the people who say ‘it takes a village’ also get mad at a person who disciplines their child when the kids are damaging the person’s property, behaving dangerously, or bullying others.”
“Then it’s, ‘no, my perfect angel would never do that’ or ‘they’re just kids, they can do what they want.'”
“Parents, if you want a village, you need to raise kids that make being your village appealing.” – Numerous-Belt8702
“The village isn’t for childcare. The village is for dumping all the kids in one backyard while you booze it up and cry about what a s**t couple of years it’s been for everyone.”
“It’s for the memes about pristine houses that other people have vs the lounge chair covered in cat spew at yours. It’s for texting waving hand emojis when you race past each other at the store, too rushed and too busy wrangling kids to even say hi.”
“It’s a 9 pm call, asking if anyone in the street has kids Panadol, you’ve run out and one of your kids has a sky-high temp – and getting two yes answers and an ‘I don’t, but I’ll run to the late-night chemist for you if you can’t find any.'”
“It’s for that phone call at 3 pm, saying, ‘my dad’s dying, I can’t stop crying, can my kids visit yours after school so I don’t upset them,’ and you immediately offer a sleepover because you KNOW it would be reciprocated.”
“It’s about saying no to a casual visit request because you’ve got so much on your plate, and immediately getting a text saying, ‘send yours here for the weekend then, go catch up on stuff and we’ll have wine after!'” – Spellscribe
“Like yes, it takes a village. But, in a village, it’s generally expected that you’ll also give back—like watching their kids at some point, or if they don’t, do some type of favor as a thank you if at all possible.”
“So, what is OP’s cousin doing for her village, aside from just taking?” – hikikomari-i-am-not
Though the OP might have felt a little guilt for telling his cousin no, the subReddit understood why he did it. Parenting can be hard, especially when childcare isn’t present, but demanding it is far from the right away to go about getting support.