For parents, having people they can rely on to babysit in a pinch is important. And often some of the most trusted people in their lives are their own family members.
But knowing you are someone’s last pick to babysit their kids can make put a damper on your desire to help out.
Redditor brokentrustahole recently sparked some drama after refusing to babysit his brother and sister-in-law’s son during an emergency, so he turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if he was wrong for doing so, asking:
“AITA For refusing to babysit for my brother and SIL after they previously told me they don’t trust me?”
The original poster (OP) started by explaining his lifestyle.
“I (28M[ale]) have an older brother (31M) and SIL (30F[emale]) who have a 3-year old son and SIL is about 7-months pregnant with their second child.”
“I am a single man in my 20s and live by myself. As such, I live a fairly typical bachelor lifestyle.”
“I enjoy going out to bars and clubs, in the past I have attended music festivals and dabbled in drug use, and I do not apologize for it. It’s the way I am choosing to live my life right now.”
“But I am also working full-time for a Fortune 500 company and making well over 6 figures. All in all, I like to think that I have my stuff together pretty well for a person my age.”
This, however, did not sit well with the OP’s sister-in-law.
“When my brother and SIL had their first kid, SIL pretty much told me in no uncertain terms that she would never trust me to watch her son by myself.”
“She told this to me completely on her own and when I asked my brother about it, he pretty much just sided with her and shrugged.”
“Now, I admit that some aspects of my lifestyle are not kid-friendly. But I also understand there is a time and a place for everything and I would never do anything to put my nephew in any compromised situation.”
“I have never pressed the topic with SIL or my brother and until recently it has never been a problem.”
But suddenly the OP became their only babysitting option during a recent emergency.
“A few weeks ago my brother called me in the middle of the night and asked if I could watch their son. SIL was having stomach pains and they needed to go to the hospital but they had no one else to watch their son.”
“SIL’s parents were quarantined after [virus] exposure, and every other option they had couldn’t do it. I was literally a last resort.”
“I asked if SIL was ok with it, and my brother said she didn’t know he was asking me and he was desperate.”
“I told him the only way I would be ok with it was if SIL asked me herself because I didn’t want to cause an issue. My brother told me they didn’t have time and they would drop off my nephew on the way to the hospital in an hour.”
When his sister-in-law realized what was happening, she snapped.
“When they got to my apartment I went down to meet them and SIL saw me and recognized where they were and started screaming at my brother.”
“She started yelling questions at me like whether or not I have drugs on the counter, or if I have a girl up there with me.”
So the OP decided to back out right then and there.
“So I told my brother I was sorry, but this wasn’t going to work. I told him I love him and hope everything works out and I told SIL the same but she ignored me and told my brother to take her to the hospital.”
“Everything at the hospital ended up being OK and SIL and baby are healthy. She wasn’t going into early labor and they were back home the next day.”
That decision has since sparked some major tension with the OP’s family.
“However, my brother called me after that and said I was a huge a**hole for not helping.”
“I said it wasn’t really my decision as SIL made it pretty clear in the moment that she didn’t want her son staying with me. He said I should have just taken my nephew as SIL was in no condition to make a rational decision.”
“My mom called me the other day and said I should apologize to my brother and SIL for what I did, but I don’t think I was even in the wrong.”
“Was I an a**hole for not helping them?”
Redditors were then tasked with giving a verdict by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They assured the OP that he was in a lose-lose situation, no matter what he chose to do.
“NTA. That’s insane.”
“You literally were going to get screamed at and have been the bad guy no matter what you did. That’s not fair to you at all.”—Chairmanca93
“Yes exactly. OP you did the right thing and honestly your bro and SIL are the ones who owe you the apology.”
“In fact less your SIL, who had already made her thoughts clear, than your brother.”—Jay-Dee-British
“He was in a no win situation. Brother or SIL would be mad at him no matter what choice he made.”
“I kind of feel SIL is being judgmental toward him. He’s a young, single man with no kids. He can do what he wants.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s going to act the same way when babysitting.”—ExcitementGlad2995
“And I mean, how is he supposed to even apologize to SIL? ‘Sorry for doing what you wanted me to do and not lying to you’?”—DramaticBeans
“NTA, I personally believe you went about this the right way.”
“You were willing to help, you knew SIL wouldn’t so you asked for her permission. I don’t think you owe anyone an apology.”—DoyersDoyers
For many, it was tricky to pinpoint who exactly was the biggest a**hole in the situation—but it certainly wasn’t the OP.
“Yeah at first I thought this would be a stubborn ‘oh you said you didn’t want me to’ thing with the SIL asking for help. But it obviously isn’t at all.”
“What the hell did his brother expect him to do … take the kid while his mother was there screaming she didn’t want him to?!”
“Both parents get a say and a veto in who can watch their child and she clearly wasn’t comfortable with it.”
“Plus the brother is an a** saying she wasn’t thinking straight – SIL has always said she isn’t comfortable with it, it’s not new! NTA”—lunchbox3
“NTA – I got really mad on your behalf when I got to the part where your mom called you and told you to apologize. That takes some giant balls. Do NOT apologize.”
“Your brother needs to sort this out with his wife. If he wants to be mad at anyone, he should be mad at her. He’s just taking it out on you because he can’t take it out on her.”—idrow1
“NTA – you would have helped if you had the mother’s approval. SIL is the a**hole.”
“Edit to add: many of you have made great points! I’m seeing now that maybe the brother is the a**hole…”
“SIL was clear in that she never wanted her child watched by OP. Brother didn’t respect her wishes, or OP’s request to ask SIL first.”—jkl545454
After all, the OP was just trying to be respectful of his sister-in-law’s wishes, as irrational as they may seem to him.
“Honestly, I think SIL should thank OP for respecting her wishes instead of his brother’s pleas.”
“If she’s going to continue having this irrational prejudice, she should at least be appreciative that OP isn’t ignoring it even when his brother is telling him to.”—RedditUser123234
“Exactly! She set a clear boundary: OP is not to watch her kids alone.”
“OP is respecting that very clear boundary. He won’t watch the kids alone unless is it the clear wish of SIL.”
“Honestly – Good job respecting your SIL OP! Brother is the A here for going behind his wife’s back and trying to force her to cross her own lines.”—amirosa3
“Yeah this, also grossed out by OP’s brother claiming his wife was in no place to be making ‘rational decisions’.”
“Like, she already said she wasn’t cool with it, and unsurprisingly, she’s still not cool with it when she’s in pain and panicking. Good job OP, you made the right call.”
“I hope SIL has the presence of mind to thank you for refusing to cross her boundary, and to give her husband an earful for encouraging you to do so.”
“Smdh if my partner ever encouraged someone else to cross my boundaries… there’d be a reckoning lol.”—RWSloths
We’re guessing the OP won’t be volunteering to babysit any time soon. And his brother and sister-in-law likely won’t be asking.
Perhaps that’s for the best.