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Mom Called ‘Unfair’ For Refusing To ‘Swap’ Kids With Brother’s Girlfriend Over The Holidays

Two children sitting by a Christmas tree, covering their eyes with Christmas ornaments.
Johner Images/Getty Images

Despite our best efforts, no one is able to completely avoid being jealous at some point or another.

Wishing we had someone’s house, car, skill set, beauty.

Then there are the parents who find themselves jealous of those who seem to have better behaved, more gifted children than their own.

Redditor kidswaps was pleased to discover that her brother’s new girlfriend got well with her four-year-old daughter.

With this in mind, the original poster (OP) had high hopes for an upcoming family holiday in which her brother, his girlfriend as well as his girlfriend’s daughter, would all be attending.

The OP’s excitement dampened considerably, however, when her brother’s girlfriend offered a child care suggestion which the OP found confusing, and less than enticing.

After hurting her brother’s girlfriend’s feelings by declining her request, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for saying I won’t ‘kid swap’ over our Christmas holiday?”

The OP explained why she had zero interest in partaking in her brother’s girlfriend’s child care idea at an upcoming family vacation:

“I (32 F[emale]) have a brother, ‘Charles’ (38 M[ale]) who has a girlfriend, ‘Claire’ (35 f[emale]).”

“Claire has a daughter, ‘Ruby’ (8 F[emale]), who has additional needs (this will be relevant), and I have a daughter ‘Bea’ (4).”

“We are all, along with my mine and Charles’s parents, going to be on a family holiday over Christmas.”

“Claire was originally not bringing Ruby as she was meant to be staying with her father but her dad is a flake and cancelled so Claire is now bringing her.”

“For some context, Claire loves my daughter, which is great.”

“She will volunteer to babysit her (I don’t need babysitting as I’m a SAHM and my mother is nearby for emergencies) unprompted, and whenever we see her at events she always wants to play with Bea.”

“Bea loves her and it’s nice to see, but it is noticeable how she will spend a whole afternoon fussing over Bea even when me and my husband are perfectly capable of looking after her.”

“But again, she’s great with Bea so we don’t mind.”

“A couple of days ago Claire and I were texting about what to pack for the trip as I was lending her some clothes.”

“During this, I sent her a picture of what I was packing for Bea to give her some idea of what Ruby would need, and Claire said she was really looking forward to seeing Bea.”

“She then suggested for a couple of days during the holiday we do a ‘kid swap’ where we babysit each other’s kids for the day.”

“I was immediately not keen on this idea, as I have only met Ruby twice and I know nothing about her needs or how to properly look after her.”

“Also, I come on holiday to spend time with my child, not farm her out to other people.”

“I skirted around the issue, saying we could definitely do things together but Claire kept pushing me to agree.”

“She wanted her and Charles to take Bea for a day to go ice skating.”

“This back and forth went on for a while before I finally said no, I’m not letting you borrow my child, you already have one.”

“Claire said I was being unfair and that she deserves a break and to have an enjoyable holiday, too.”

“She then said she didn’t want to borrow my clothes anymore and stopped texting me.”

“Charles is now saying she’s very hurt that I won’t let her take Bea out, and that Claire adores her.”

“I said that’s not the point, I’m not comfortable caring for Ruby on my own and frankly I find it a bit odd that Claire’s idea of a break from parenting involves babysitting.”

“Charles says I’m massively overdramatising and that babysitting Ruby for a few hours doesn’t need a degree and I should just help Claire out.”

“Now I’m wondering if he’s right.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

The Reddit community firmly agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to do a “kid swap” during her upcoming vacation.

While there were those who sympathized with Claire, and understood her wanting a break from watching Ruby, everyone otherwise agreed that a “kid swap” was a strange suggestion, and the OP was more than justified in expressing her discomfort in watching Ruby.


“Claire wants to spend time doing parental activities with a child who doesn’t have any special needs.”

“It’s not /babysitting’ as such – it’s substitution as she’s unable to do them with her own daughter.”

“I have a great deal of sympathy for her.”

“She’s watching everyone else get the Kodak moments that we all picture before becoming parents, yet they’re denied to her with her own child.”

“However, you are in no way required to help her get those moments at your own cost – not to mention you would be enabling her to exclude her own child in favor of yours.”

“It’s a tough situation for Claire, but ultimately one she has to deal with herself – and not by doing this.”

“I could see her getting possessive of your daughter as well, so you are doing the right thing by nipping it in the bud straight away.”- WestLondonIsOursFFC


“The problem is not only that Claire wants to borrow Bea for a while, the problem is that she wants you to take care of her child with special needs, a child who you don’t know (and Ruby doesn’t know you and could be uncomfortable around people she doesn’t know well) and don’t know how to care for.”

“Now, without wanting to sound too cynical, do you get the impression that Claire somehow resents Ruby in any way, and would like to have a daughter like Bea instead?”

“Her attitude around your child is strange, at best, and it looks like that Claire has something to unpack with a professional therapist.”

“Frankly, I’d be quite uncomfortable too, leaving my daugjter with a woman who seems slightly obsessed with her.”- 000-Hotaru_Tomoe


“I know some people may downvote this, as we can all empathize that a parent who has a child with mental or physical needs/support is naturally exhausted (especially with a deadbeat ex involved who doesn’t share the parenting load), but it’s unfair to throw a tantrum because you’re not getting your own way regardless of the situation.”

“We see far too many posts, especially on this sub, where family bullying others to conform or submit seems to be the norm.”

“If you aren’t comfortable doing something, and for valid reasons, that should be the end of the conversation.”

“Your brother is seeing his partner’s raw emotions and not the full picture, don’t let his reaction influence your opinion.”

“Have you discussed this with your OH/mum/close friend?”

“What’s their reaction?”

“Are you being supported?”- spookobsessedscot


“This is a gut reaction: Claire wants to play-act that Bea is her daughter.”

“I’m willing to reveal my superpower is elastic arms for the length of this reach, but that was my immediate gut reaction to your story.”

“You’re 100% right, a break from childcare wouldn’t involve babysitting someone else’s child while someone babysits yours.”

“If she had suggested to take Bea with her family one day and you take Ruby with yours a different day, that would equal a break for each of you.”

“Her tantrum and the constant focus in her negotiation of wanting to flat out switch children could be that she knows Ruby would be too much for you to handle on your own.”

“To prevent you from calling up and cancelling the swap after an hour she could be planning to guilt you into keeping Ruby for the day with ‘how upset would Bea be if you cut her day short’ type manipulations.”

“And that is far more reasonable a speculation.”

“But her tantrum showed you that she doesn’t cope with raising her child easily, nor does Ruby’s father, he’s probably not as flaky as she makes out just that he’s equally challenged by raising her.”

“But with the extra info of all the unprompted offers of babysitting when you’ve never needed her to.”

“So she doesn’t cope well with her own daughter but wants the responsibility of adding another child to her load?”

“My gut remains on she wants to play pretend.”- Professional_Ruin953

“NTA at all.”

“This is straight up weird.”

“Doing things together with both kids?”

“Sure, that’s something one could agree to.”

“But for a mother to actively leave her own child behind because she needs a break, but then getting another child for the outing, is just strange!”

“Sounds like she’d rather just take Bea home after the holidays, too, and leave Ruby to you.”

“Stand your ground on this!”- backyardchick

Being a parent of a child with special needs certainly comes with more than its fair share of challenges.

Even so, spending more time with another child is not the answer.

Especially not on a vacation intended for families to spend quality time with one another.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.