Babysitting is a win-win situation for working mothers and teenagers looking for a part-time job.
But this situation doesn’t work for everybody.
Redditor A-Lot-Like-Birds is a 17-year-old male who is an older brother and is constantly looking after his 14-month old baby brother.
After recently having an argument with his mother, he visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for telling my mom to pay me more or find a new babysitter?
The Original Poster (OP) provided context by describing his situation.
“I have been babysitting my 14 month old brother for about 7 months now. I live in a rural area with him, my mother (36 Female) and my brother’s father.”
“His father works 12 hours a day and my mother works 8-10 hours. I wake up 4-5 days a week at 6am and watch my brother until somewhere between 5-7pm.”
“For this I get paid $150 a week for what is essentially 50-60 hours a week where I can’t do anything I would like to do.”
“Today I had an argument with my mother and I told her she either needs to start paying me more, or find someone else to babysit.”
“Now don’t get me wrong, in no way am I implying babysitting is a hard job.”
“It’s the fact I am giving away MY freedoms of going anywhere, seeing my friends, meeting new people, and even regular daily things like exercise and laundry become 10x harder when I spend 12 hours a day trying to keep an infant happy.”
“It’s extremely stressful for me considering I’d never babysat a day in my life prior to this. I mean, I can’t even make enough to save up for a decent car currently (I live about 40 minutes from anyone I know so I need a ride literally everywhere).”
“I explained this all to my mother along with the fact I could work part time and make twice what I make in a week currently, or I could work full time and attempt to move out into my own place but all she seems to say is i’m ungrateful and I’m ‘lucky I get paid at all.'”
“She’s said that she’s going to need me to babysit until the baby can go to school during the day, which means she is expecting me to give up my freedoms until i’m literally 21.”
“It’s a frustrating situation. Her and the baby’s father fight almost constantly, so I don’t even really want to live here anyways.”
“I have multiple friends who have offered to let me rent a room in their home so the only reason I’m really doing this is to help my mom, but at what point do I have to stop being nice and look out for my best interests.”
“In my eyes I do not owe her nor the baby anything. I love my brother, but I have goals that cannot be accomplished if i’m spending the next 3-4 years giving up my freedoms with little to show for it.”
“I turn 18 in 2 months. My mother has done very little to help set me up for adulthood. Things like cancelling my appointment to get my learners permit because she ‘didn’t feel like driving me’. She never seems to try and make an effort for things I need done, and never seems to appreciate the sacrifices i’m making for her.”
“She thinks I’m ‘just looking for a reason to complain’. She just doesn’t seem to understand the fact that my brother is not my child. He is not my responsibility. I love him to death but I can’t keep doing this if I want to do anything with my life.”
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors weighed in with their mostly not the a**hole judgments.
“NTA. She doesn’t want you to get a learner’s permit because this way you’re dependent on her, which makes it easier for her to control you. That’s the same reason she’s not paying you enough.”
“And it won’t stop when you’re 21. Your brother will still need supervision when he’s not at school. Do not sacrifice your life. Your mother is exploiting you. Move out and get a better job. She’ll get mad and guilt you but she can’t control you anymore once you’re independent.” – ComprehensiveBand586
“NTA. Take up your friend’s kind offer and move out ASAP. Get your social security card and birth certificate too so you can get a driver’s license or state issued ID.”
“At your age you should either be getting an education or job training and starting your life. Your mother is using and abusing you. As other posters have said, this is called parentification. Google it and read up about it.”
“You need to GTFO and not waste any more of your time. I get that you love your brother and will probably miss him but the situation you’re in now is ridiculous and your mother is going to ruin your life.” – 666POD
“Additionally, take the money you are making now and put it into an account she doesn’t have access to.”
“She likely thinks you’re bluffing about moving out so if she gets any inkling that you actually intend to it is likely she will take steps to prevent you from being able to go, including controlling your accounts and personal documents.” – TogarSucks
“NTA, this is a form of abuse (financial and parentification). You probably haven’t been able to spend much of that money either I bet? Give it to someone you trust to hold on to it and take up one of those offers to rent a room.”
“Get your learner’s permit and a part time job. This is patently unfair to you. This is not your child and not your responsibility. Who’s to say you’re not going to end up with another sibling in the meantime?”
“Whether or not you feel safe telling your mom you’re moving out on your birthday ot not is up to you, but secure that cash where she can’t get to it before she knows you’re leaving.”
“‘Too tired’ to take you to your driving test, my a**. She doesn’t want you to be able to leave because you are a mighty convenient and cheap indentured servant, I mean live-in nanny.” – SlartieB
“NTA, your mother CHOSE to have that baby, I think it’s safe to assume she didn’t get your input on the decision? You have every right to live YOUR life as you see fit, it will probably put your mom in a bind for a short time if you move out but that’s life, she’ll figure it out.”
“She has no right to map your life out for you or to limit your time with normal stuff like getting your license and hanging with friends. Stand up for yourself and do so knowing you’ve done well by your brother but it’s really not your problem.” – GiddyGabby
“NTA – you know, most of the time, I don’t tell kids to just leave, but they have alienated you and kept you basically as their personal servant.”
“You will be 18 and you have a place to go and you are willing to work and support yourself. Just as everyone has said, quietly get through the next couple of months, saving all the money they give you.”
“Find your paperwork, and get your stuff in order so it’s easy to pack quickly when the time comes (bonus if you can have a friend come get some of it early without mom noticing). Then, when the time comes, you can leave. Good luck.” – scrapqueen
Overall, Redditors agreed the OP was being unfairly taken advantage of and encouraged him to prepare himself should he decided to move forward to leave his situation when he turns 18.