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New Mom Upset After Family Won’t Help Babysit Due To The ‘Overbearing’ Texts She Sends

woman texting while holding baby
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The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” refers to support systems for parents and guardians.

Some of those support systems are government or community programs.

Others are comprised of friends and family members.

But what if friends and family start refusing to help out?

A parent whose daughter found herself with fewer and fewer volunteers to help out, turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback after they told their daughter the reason why people are giving her the cold shoulder.

Silly-Sweet2776 asked:

“AITA for telling my daughter the reason she doesn’t have a village is due to being overbearing?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My daughter (29) has one child named Sally. We have a large family with a lot of aunts and uncles.”

“At the beginning everyone was super happy to help out and be the village. The problem started when my daughter started having issues with every single thing they did when helping her out.”

“At first, it was big things that should be respected (like respecting nap time), but over time, it started to get smaller and smaller. It got to the point where she was nitpicky just to nitpick.”

“Whenever someone would babysit or help her out, she would be texting them constantly or basically be hovering over their shoulder.”

“Some examples: Aunt Jen’s basement isn’t safe (the kid doesn’t go into her basement), washing the dirty baby clothes with the wrong softener, food wasn’t correct (always too hot or too cold). The list goes on and on.”

“To make it worse, she has an attitude that she is the one doing us a favor by letting us near Sally and not that we are helping her out since none of us need to help out. I have talked to her about this before.”

“I understand she is a first-time parent, but it is very frustrating. It’s all her way, and she won’t accept anything else.”

“It got to the point where they don’t help her anymore; they were tired of her nitpicking everything they do and where it’s done.”

“She was complaining that no one was helping her, and basically they all suck. I told her the reason she doesn’t have a village anymore is due to being overbearing.”

“She called me a jerk and hasn’t answered my texts.”

The OP summed up their conundrum.

“I told my daughter she doesn’t have a village due to being overbearing. I could have been a jerk for telling her that, even if it is true.”

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. Sometimes you just have to tell people the truth without sugarcoating it.”

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Don’t be rude to the people that are helping you.” ~ KronkLaSworda

“NTA…if they are babysitting, how does she even know if the food is cold or hot?”

“Also, don’t worry. When she cannot get anyone else to watch her child, she will call you.”

“You called her out on her behavior. She should own it.” ~ Worth-Season3645

“NTA. It does take a village, but people get to decide if they want to be a part of the village.”

“Your daughter did this to herself, and you told her the truth.” ~ Vandreeson

“It takes a village, but we don’t forcibly draft the villagers.”

“It genuinely sucks that this parent would rather alienate the numerous people willing to help her and her child and toss them out because they’re not willing to be totally micromanaged.”

“Yes, there are DEFINITELY things a parent should have total say over and that caregivers/babysitters should not overstep, but NO ONE short of highly paid nannies would be willing to follow a step-by-step list of Do/Nots that this mom has.”

“Meanwhile, there are families growing up without a village who would kill for that many people willing to chip in and be around their children. NTA.” ~ ThatDiscoSongUHate

“NTA. The solution to this problem is your daughter hiring someone paid to follow her instructions exactly.”

“When people are ‘favor babysitting’, as long as the baby is safe and warm, clean and fed, your daughter has nothing to complain about.” ~ Active-Anteater1884

“NTA. My mother and grandmother both were/are like this. Nothing could ever be done well enough or correct for them.”

“I’m talking loading the dishwasher, cutting the grass, taking out the trash/recycling, wiping down the counter, laundry, etc… There was nothing that you would do that wouldn’t get notes on how you didn’t do it to their exact specifications.”

“To clarify, this was not like everyone else being incompetent; you could set the table, and they would come along behind you and move each fork a millimeter to the left.”

“My mother was so overboard that she started going through OTHER PEOPLE’S recycling! We had a small apartment attached to our house that we rented out when I was younger, and for a while, it was rented to a young guy in his 20s (I was maybe 13-14) at the time.”

“My mom was convinced he wasn’t recycling everything correctly, so she took it upon herself to tear open his trash bags in our trash cans outside to sort through them for extra recyclables. Everyone told her it was over the top, and she said it wasn’t.”

“One day, she reached into his trash bag and pulled out a very large, very used sex toy. You would think that would teach her a lesson, but nope, she just started wearing long gloves.”

“She also insisted on cutting our neighbor’s front grass because they didn’t do it on the same schedule as her, and since they butted up directly to each other, she thought it reflected badly on her. To be fair, they were happy for her help, but still…weird.”

“It was incredibly disheartening as a child and wildly frustrating as an adult to be around people like this. Eventually they were just left to do everything themselves and then complained how overwhelmed they were because ‘no one else does anything’.”

“Now that I’m an adult, my grandmother will sometimes stop by to let my dogs out while I’m at work and will fold laundry or put a load in while she waits. I always say its not necessary, but thank you, I appreciate it.”

“One day, she told me she just couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to know why I never complain about how she folds the laundry because it is different than how I do it. I was like, any day I’m not folding a fitted sheet is a good day, I don’t care how you do it, I’m grateful for your help.”

“She could not comprehend it. Also, ironically, both my mom and grandmother also complained about how fussy the other one was.” ~ marspalm

“NTA. The only person who should have an obligation is the father. If she didn’t like the help as provided, she isn’t entitled to the help.”

“Yeah it sucks doing the hard work of parenting, but she’s old enough to know what she signed up for. When she complained, you were allowed to explain why.” ~ thewhiterosequeen

“NTA. She can blame the messenger all she wants, but that doesn’t change how the rest of the family feels.” ~ SickDelirium

“NTA. One of my SILs was like this with their first kid—lectured me and my husband (a pediatrician) about childcare despite all our three kids being older and doing pretty well.”

“Luckily, she clued into how ironic the situation was the first time my niece had a fever, and she rang my husband.”

“Hoping she reflects and apologizes. I can be a pretty overbearing mother sometimes, too. I once badgered my husband (again, a pediatrician) while I was away on a work trip so much that he cussed me out.” ~ hardcandy8923

“NTA. She needed the truth. She’s ungrateful, and if she’s going to just complain it’s all not good enough, why would anyone want to keep offering help?” ~ Antelope_31

“NTA. Sometimes, people just have to hear the truth.”

“Don’t be an overbearing parent, and then be surprised when people don’t want to watch your kid. Hover at your own house.” ~ Keenzur

“NTA. She can be as picky as she wants. It just means she stops getting free childcare.”

“WE choose our tradeoffs. If she wants people to follow everything to the letter, hire someone.” ~ cuervoguy2002

“NTA. I think the issue is that she expects 1) free, unlimited childcare assistance and 2) to be able to insist upon things that seem nonsensical.”

Aunty Jen’s basement isn’t safe for a baby—but Aunty Jen isn’t taking the baby to the basement. Nana helped with the laundry—the response is ‘Thank you,’ not criticizing her.”

“At MOST the response is, ‘Thank you so much for cleaning her clothes, but I have my own laundry supplies so just put the soiled clothes in a plastic bag next time and I will take care of it’.”

“You cannot have it both ways. If you want your way meticulously followed, then PAY a PROFESSIONAL. If you want free labor, you gotta be more flexible.” ~ agawl81

As many pointed out, free labor needs to be free of excessive demands.

If you want strict control, you need to put the person on your payroll.

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.