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Mom Calls Husband ‘Selfish’ For Refusing To Give Up Golf To Babysit Stepdaughter On Saturdays

man on golf course after taking swing
Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Blended families have a unique dynamic.

If both biological parents are active in the child’s life, what role should a stepparent fill?

Should they even have a role?

And if their role was already defined as limited or nonexistent by the parents, can they be expected to step up if the parents want free childcare?

A stepfather found himself facing this issue, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Logical-Carpet-4381 asked:

“AITA for telling my wife I’m not going to sacrifice my hobbies just so that I can babysit?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My wife Jane (34, female) and I (38, male) have been together for five years. She also brought my stepdaughter Emily (9, female) into our marriage. We have her for four days a week (M-T) while she’s at her dad’s Fri-Sun.”

“From the beginning, Jane told me Emily doesn’t need a second father figure as she has her dad to fill that role. I was only supposed to be a trusted authority figure in case she ever needed anything.”

“I didn’t mind and try my best to respect that boundary. She’s a sweet child anyway and doesn’t cause trouble, so it’s not like I have to discipline her. Her father is also a good dad.”

“Emily’s dad recently got married and his wife has two kids of her own who are at their place Wednesday to Saturday and at their dads’ Sunday to Tuesday. Emily and her new stepsiblings don’t get along at all.”

“They’re always fighting, and it’s pretty toxic.”

“Emily’s dad asked Jane if they could change their custody schedule to match his stepkids’ to keep the children apart. It’s not a big deal in and of itself because we don’t live far from each other, so picking and dropping is no issue, and she can easily be dropped off to school no matter where she stays.”

“The issue is my wife agreed to it without consulting me.”

“Jane is currently doing a certification course for the next 12 months, and they have classes on Saturdays from 9-5pm. She asked me if I could babysit Emily on Saturdays, but I can’t because I play golf with my brother and sister on Saturday mornings from 8am-1pm.”

“This has been our tradition from before Jane and Emily came into my life, and I had told Jane from much before that this is important to me and my siblings.”

“She asked if I can move to another day, but that’s not possible either because my siblings also have jobs and families of their own, so Saturday was the best day for us. I told her she can hire a babysitter, but she doesn’t want to spend money when I can do it for free.”

“I told her that wouldn’t work for me.”

“She then got mad and said golf is stupid and I should put my stepdaughter over my siblings. That pissed me off, so I told her I’m not going to sacrifice my hobbies just so that she can have a free babysitter.”

“For the record, I don’t have anything against Emily. I’ve babysat her before and she’s a good kid.”

“If there was a family emergency or if it was an occasional occurrence, then yeah, I would cancel golf for that day to take care of her, but I can’t give up something this important to me for 12 months continuous.”

“She called me a selfish a**hole and slept on the couch last night.”

“So AITA?”

The OP defined their issue as:

“Not giving up golf to babysit my stepdaughter because my wife thinks I should put my stepdaughter first.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. It sounds like this is something that should have been worked out more carefully as a family before agreeing to it.”

“Is it possible that the dad/stepmom change the other kids’ schedule as well? That way they have her when Jane is busy with certification courses.” ~ Mountain_Score2402

“She could have refused to switch with her ex-husband, or she could have accepted only if he paid for the babysitting on Saturday.”

“And she should have discussed it with OP anyway… she is totally at fault here.” ~ Couette-Couette

“Or I dunno, ask them to split the cost of childcare since it’s his stepkids contributing to the issue? Seems like there are all kinds of options other than trying to force her husband to make the problem go away.” ~ earlysong

“I am seriously confused on this mindset—these parents see that their children are not getting along and their blended family needs work and their solution is just to, checks notes, keeps the children apart‽‽”

“How is that going to pan out long term? Why weren’t these issues addressed BEFORE getting married?” ~ Bourbon_Barbie

“Bio dad put all the responsibility on his daughter. He is solving a problem by removing his daughter.”

“The daughter will pick up on this. That she is rejected.” ~ Ecronwald

“Why do BS children get to dictate everyone else’s lives because they can’t find a way to get along?”

“The worst thing they can do is separate them. It teaches them nothing about relationships and dealing with adversity.” ~ NobodylikesAdlerian

NTA, not sure I even understand. The cost is only for Saturdays and only for the next 12 months. So the cost of 52 days of babysitting, not 365, and also probably not full 8 hours.”

“Also, didn’t she get partial custody of Emily so that she can spend time with her and not foist her off to some other person.” ~ abstractengineer2000

“‘Jane is currently doing a certification course for the next 12 months, and they have classes on Saturdays from 9-5pm’.”

“So the answer to dad should’ve been, ‘Sorry, no, I have a class on Saturdays which I scheduled based on our schedule’.”

“‘You’ll have to switch your stepkids’ schedule instead. NTA.” ~ wordsmythy

“NTA she doesn’t need your input to make decisions about her daughter. That’s why she didn’t discuss it with you.”

“But, she has the impression she can decide what you do with your free time even though she perfectly knows about your family tradition. She needs a reality check.” ~ leppac

“I do think there is a problem with their communication. You don’t change your spouse’s long-term schedule without discussing it with them and working on a solution.”

“As people have pointed out, there are multiple ways to compromise, like a babysitter, adding Saturday to dad’s custody, or a day camp, but OP’s wife just decided that he would be the solution without asking him, and won’t agree to any other solution.”

“I would feel this way regardless of gender, particularly if, like in this situation, spouse had been clearly designated as a non-caregiver. You don’t change that without talking to them.” ~ madlyqueen

“OP’s wife specifically stated to OP that her daughter didn’t need a 2nd father figure, only a person of authority. She never said anything about being an at her whim babysitter.”

“The bio dad is prioritizing his step kids over his bio daughter, and yet OP is getting the blame for not bending to the irresponsible behavior of the other adults in the situation.” ~ BuzzMaximus

“NTA. I was ready to read this and read you for filth, but this is truly an AH move from your wife. I think it’s totally fair that she asks you to help out, but agreeing to it without talking to you and assuming you’d consistently do this is wild!”

“Why did she agree and then work to loop you in after‽‽”

“It’s also interesting that now that your wife needs your help, Emily is your ‘stepdaughter’ where it seems like there was a clear boundary that you aren’t a father figure.”

“If your wife wants to revisit what your role is to Emily, totally cool, but it shouldn’t be because she needs a babysitter.” ~ LowAdvisor9274

“What solidified it for me was that he was told not to be a father figure, and now he’s being told to be a father figure (not asked, not consulted) on terms that were negotiated without his input at all.” ~ Mackheath1

“The moment OP got to the point of describing how the parents made this decision between them, and then his wife had the gall to be mad it didn’t work with his schedule that she obviously knew about, I couldn’t even.”

“Lady, what the hell.”

“Always easy to voluntell people and then get upset when the voluntold person shows that uh, yeah no, they aren’t a doormat just waiting to be stepped on.”

“He was told he wouldn’t be a part of the parental unit… is then told he should act like it anyway (he can never participate in any discussions about it tho, he should be a parental figure enough to make sacrifices but not quite enough to have a say in any parental decisions, that would be too much).”

“Even if OP was the dad or involved stepdad, his wife doesn’t get to unilaterally make a decision where he is obligated to make a sacrifice and then get mad when he stands his ground.”

“No one likes being voluntold.”

“She needs to decide—is OP a parental figure, or isn’t he? Should he sacrifice for the child he was specifically told didn’t need him as a stepparent? But then he would need to be involved in these parental discussions.”

“Wife wants all of it without having to sacrifice anything herself.” ~ OffKira

“NTA. Your wife can’t say her daughter doesn’t need you as a stepfather but then expect you to step up as a stepfather every single Saturday when she needs you. She can hire a babysitter.”

“Dad and stepmom also need to step it up and work on the relationship between the new stepsiblings and get that under control because there are going to be times they are all together in the same house. That’s just life.” ~ OkOwl2339

As someone noted, no one likes to be voluntold.

Looks like Mom and Dad need to figure out a solution to the problem they created.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metis Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.