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New Mom Refuses To Let In-Laws Watch Her Baby After Seeing How They Treated Her Dog

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Having in-laws nearby to help with a new baby can be a life saver. But what happens when you have doubts about their caring abilities?

A woman on Reddit found herself in this dilemma after seeing the way her in-laws took care of her dog left her less than confident in their capacity to care for her new baby.

She wasn’t sure about how she was handling the situation, so she went to the AITA subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by throwaway47283926 on the site, asked:

“AITA for not allowing my in laws to watch my kid after seeing how they treated my dog?”

She explained:

“Hello Reddit, tired new mom here. TLDR attached. My husband and I (28M[ale]&F[emale]) just had a baby girl. She’s awesome and I’m nearing the end of maternity leave. However I will start at the beginning of this issue with my in laws.”

“When my husband and I were 23 we adopted a dog that turned out to be really reactive and anxious. My in laws tout themselves as dog people but really only like little dogs, and made it clear they didn’t want us to get a dog. However they like to be ‘helpful’ and always volunteered to watch him when we needed it (maybe 2 or 3 times per year).”

“The dog loves them but we put a lot of time, energy, and money into his training and he needs a very specific set of circumstances to be successful in life. We always had long conversations about his needs and made it clear we could find other arrangements for him if it would be too much for them.”

“Every time he went over there something always went wrong and it always boiled down to my in laws ignoring the guidelines and rules we set up. We talked to them about it plenty of times but it never changed, and eventually we stopped sending him there since they weren’t willing to follow our rules and the trust was slowly eroded.”

“Fast forward to this year. Shortly after I got pregnant, my in laws made known they would like to watch the baby during the day instead of sending her to daycare. They are both retired and watch my SILs young kids as well.”

“My husband probably would have been okay with it but I didn’t feel comfortable, mainly because they always disregarded our rules for the dog and frankly put him in bad situations a few times. My husband agreed and backs me up on the decision.”

“After we said no a few times they started pushing for reasoning and my husband (unfortunately) told them the truth. They’re of course upset and angry and think it’s ridiculous that we think they would ‘treat our child like a dog’.”

“I’m getting texts from everyone saying that we’re insulting and hurting my in laws because a dog is different than a child and that I would rather throw money away on daycare just to stick it to my MIL. At the end of the day I just don’t trust them to follow our rules long term after they wouldn’t follow them with the dog. So Reddit, AITA for now allowing my in laws to be caregivers for my child after they mistreated my dog?”

“TL;DR I won’t allow my in laws to watch my child long term after they disregarded my rules for my dog and put him at risk. They think a dog is different than a child and I’m being rude.”

Redditors were then asked to judge who is in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

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

And they mostly found OP’s concerns understandable.

“NTA. A dog is different than a kid, but if they can’t follow instructions for a dog, why would you trust them with a human baby?” –dude_number_two

“…Dog, baby, houseplant, the in-laws’ respect for your rules and boundaries will be the same. They think they know best and that’s not a good attitude to have around your infant child.” –Alarmed_handle_6427

“The grandparents have no intention of following the instructions for the baby, because ‘they know best’. They’re going to pull the BS of ignoring the parents’ wishes because ‘they raised their kids that way and it was fine’.”

“They’re not specifically mad you’re treating your dog like a kid, they’re mad you aren’t letting them get away with ignoring your boundaries and instructions and hiding it behind the dog.” –SilverHeart1990

“…it’s not about the fact that a dog is different from a baby. It’s about the fact that they refused to follow rules and guidelines you set in place. Honestly, I would be thankful that they’ve already proven they can’t be trusted before you left your child with them.” –childofthe_stars

“NTA. Your kid your rules and a dog is a living thing dependent on your care, just like a child.” –AdrianeKay

“NTA. Your in-laws continuously disobey the rules you set for the dog. How can they expect to still be allowed back after ignoring what you say?” –ARandomDouchy

“NTA – Trust your gut. They couldn’t even watch a dog, why do they think they can watch a baby? What it comes down to is that they cannot be trusted, they have showed they follow their own rules and not the ones that you set.” –Cybunniesarebest

*EDIT: Thank you all for the kind words. I’m going to put this info about my dog here here so I won’t have to answer it again. My dog has a bite history (one minor bite, when we first got him) brought on by anxiety. The times my in laws would watch him, we would ask that they don’t bring over other dogs, new people, or have the dog and my SIL’s babies on the floor together. All happened at one point or another. If my dog would have had another bite it could be very serious for him and not to mention the person or dog he bit. (And because someone already asked, he’s not a pitbull or bully breed but no hate to those breeds)

Hopefully OP can smooth things over with her in-laws.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.