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Mom Shamed For Refusing To Watch Laboring Pregnant Neighbor’s Kids In The Middle Of The Night

woman answering apartment door late at night
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images

To paraphrase Robert Burns’ 1785 poem To A Mouse:

“The best laid plans of mice and men, go oft awry.”

You can plan for an event, but sometimes the unexpected happens.

But when you’re giving birth for the third time, is going into labor really a big surprise?

A mom whose pregnant neighbor asked for an impromptu favor at 3 am got pushback when she said she couldn’t help.

So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” subReddit for feedback.

No-Pumpkin5167 asked:

“AITA for refusing to look after my neighbours’ kids in a medical emergency?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (female, 26) live in a block of new build apartments. Everyone moved in a year ago, so we’re all getting familiar with our neighbours.”

“There’s quite a few families on my landing and we have a shared courtyard where the kids play in the summer, so we can get chatting while the kids are playing.”

“We’ve done favours for each other in the past like formula milk and normal kids stuff. Mainly me giving it out to be honest.”

“But I try not to get too friendly. I have two kids myself, a 2-year-old and 11-month-old. I’m currently solo parenting as my husband has gone away for a few days to spend time with his family and friends.”

“There’s a mum group chat of the mums in the building who swap kids around and babysit each others kids for a few hours and they rotate.”

“I’m just a silent watcher to be honest and don’t participate and it’s not something I’m comfortable with. My kids can’t even communicate properly yet.”

“Last night around 3am I get a knock on the door. Me and my kids were fast asleep.”

“I tried to ignore it as 1) I’m home alone, 2) I wasn’t expecting company and 3) it’s 3am in the morning.”

“Anyways, after they wouldn’t stop and my kids were starting to wake up, I look through the peephole and notice it’s my neighbour.”

“I open the door, and it’s her and her boyfriend and 2 kids. She’s 9 months pregnant, clearly in labour and they’ve got their hospital bags. They asked me if I could take the kids ’til her sister gets here in an hour.”

“I said I’m sorry, but no. I don’t want to be liable if anything were to happen to her kids under my care and I don’t want to risk waking mine up.”

“I feel like this is something you need to plan ahead and not start knocking on doors at 3am hoping someone takes your kids in.”

“I’ve already got my hands full with my 2. There’s no way I’m having another 2 running around my house at 3 in the morning.”

“They are 1 and 4 and I know they aren’t just going to sit and watch tv quietly while my kids sleep.”

“If I was childless or my kids were older, I would’ve taken them in. But I have responsibilities and needed to care for my own kids in the morning.”

“An 11-month-old, 1-year-old, 2-year-old and 4-year-old—especially when I don’t know their kids and their kids don’t know me—was more than I could handle all alone.”

“While I’m tending to the babies, the 2 and 4 year-olds could get into anything and get hurt.”

“So they called me evil and rude and the boyfriend got onto me saying what kind of mother watches another struggle. I feel like if my husband was around he wouldn’t speak to me like that.”


The OP summed up their conundrum.

“I could be the a**hole as it was only supposed to be an hour and it would’ve helped them a great deal, but now I’ve got an angry neighbour I have to live with.”

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 were split in their judgment with some deciding the OP was obligated to take her neighbors’ kids (YTA).

“Obviously she wasn’t legally required to look after her neighbors’ kids while they went to the hospital.”

“OP asked if she’s the a**hole. Yes, OP, YTA.” ~ RegrettableBiscuit

“YTA. She was in labor. It was an emergency. They said her sister would be there in 1 hour.”

“You couldn’t keep someone’s kids alive and unharmed (probably while they slept on your couch) for one freaking hour until help could arrive?”

“It’s one thing to be friendly but not participate in the babysitting rounds, but it’s another thing entirely to refuse help during a goddamned emergency.”

“It’s not like her emergency was getting unexpected tickets to a concert and the babysitting bailed at the last minute. She was in labor FFS.”

“Don’t have any emergencies. Just don’t.”

“Because I promise you everyone in the building is going to hear about this so don’t expect any of them to ever pitch in when it’s your turn to have an emergency.”

“And you WILL have an emergency eventually, it’s impossible not to with two small children.”

“Good luck to you, cuz you’re gonna need it.” ~ Swimming-Fix-2637

“YTA! This attitude of ‘it would be NICE if you helped, but you don’t owe anyone anything’ is so gross!”

“Why do people not want to be nice anymore?” ~ Sensitive-Whereas574

But the majority felt the OP just knew her limitations (NTA) and did what was best for everyone.

“Nice is not knocking on your neighbor’s door—who has never watched your kids before—at 3am demanding she sacrifice sleep and put herself, her kids and your kids at risk because you didn’t plan what to do with your kids when you went into labor.”

“And they demanded she do it. If you don’t accept no as an answer, you aren’t asking.”

“The neighbor literally had 9 MONTHS to plan and make backup plans for this.” ~ anonymouscourtjester

“Seriously, the BLATANT disregard for OP—who is also a tired mom and was SOLO parenting in this moment—is appalling. It’s 3 in the f*cking morning.”

“It isn’t rude or awful to not want four kids—seeing as her kids would have woken up from the excitement—suddenly running around your home all night.”

“Also, as others have said, this was a—to an extent—pre-planned thing.”

“If your only backup emergency pregnancy plan was to pound on a random neighbor’s door—who you and your kids don’t know very well—and dump your kids on them, that’s on you for having no real backup plan.” ~ ayoitsjo

“No. Refusing to take responsibility for a stranger’s children does not make you an a**hole. It makes you a responsible adult. NTA.”

“Those people created that emergency by not having a plan in place for an event they knew was coming, it’s up to them to cope with it, not some random stranger.” ~ loricomments

“NTA. It’s completely inappropriate and unacceptable to ask a complete stranger to watch your young children at 3am with no notice. COMPLETELY.”

“That’s without them having their own children to care for, which OP did. That’s even without the pregnant woman who’s asking having a PARTNER, RIGHT THERE, who could stay with their own children, which she did!”

“This whole situation is incredibly rude and unbelievably irresponsible. To call her names because she wouldn’t give in to their extremely unreasonable ask shows how entitled and selfish they are.”

“Thank God OP said no, but I feel sorry for the neighbor who didn’t and had to deal with the aftermath. They had so many other options before imposing on a stranger so massively.” ~ Next-Firefighter4667

“I’m not taking some random woman’s kids into my home even for 1 minute. Yeah they live in the same apartment complex or whatever, but I’m not obligated to take your kids into my home.”

“Personally, I don’t want to get to know my neighbors or ever meet them or talk to them. I’ve lived where I’m at for 7 years and I have no idea who the f*ck anyone is.”

“I’ve never been inconvenienced by this a single time, so I have no idea where the guy saying ‘good luck you’re going to need it’ because the ‘whole building is going to hear about it’ is even coming from.”

“If I were OP and people started to treat me differently after this, I’d just go no contact and live your life without concerning yourself with neighbors that are going to eventually move out anyway.”

“No one is obligated to watch your kids even in an emergency. Mega NTA.” ~ Lark_vi_Britannia

“NTA. Demanding a stranger watch your kids just because you’re neighbors, whatever the situation, is batsh*t crazy talk.. full stop!”

“Banging on a stranger/neighbor’s door at 3am when you actually have the option of taking your children with you to the hospital until they get picked up (like my husband did) is beyond batsh*t crazy.”

“Who the f*ck does that? It’s not an emergency when they had months to make a labor plan.”

“They sound like horrible people and negligent parents. Serial killers and abusers also have neighbors. Being in labor is not a good enough reason to leave your babies with STRANGERS!” ~ Resident_Waver

After getting feedback, the OP added:

“Seems like there’s a lot of entitled people here. Or parents who think it’s normal to just relentlessly knock on a virtual strangers door to dump their kids on them at 3am.”

“I think people are forgetting how 1-year-olds act. They’re usually very attached to their carer and I’m sure watching his parents leave him with me (a stranger) would’ve left him inconsolable.”

“Waking up my 2 kids and having all 4 awake at 3am sounds nightmarish.”

“I just spoke to the other neighbour who took them in and she told me the sister didn’t get there until 8am.”

“Also the kids were awake the entire time, woke up her kids and trashed her house.”

Since that one hour turned into five hours, it sounds like OP dodged a bullet.

Several Redditors wanted to know why—if the parents really thought the sister would arrive in an hour—they didn’t take their kids with them to the hospital and have the sister pick them up there.

If the kids weren’t allowed on the labor and delivery floor, Dad could have sat with them in the lobby for a little while.

Unless they knew the sister wouldn’t come until well after sunrise, and they were looking for some sucker to deal with the inconvenience.

If someone isn’t comfortable watching four children—their own two and two, they don’t know at all—then the correct answer is no.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

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