Vacations are a time to reset and recharge, and stop worrying about work or other annoyances for a week or so.
Though when traveling with one’s family, vacations can often be anything but relaxing.
Particularly when there are young children involved.
Redditor Unusual_Squash9119 certainly had her hands full on a recent vacation with her five children, plus one on the way, but not her husband.
As a result, she’d hoped that her eldest child might step up to the plate and help.
When he didn’t, however, she had no trouble letting her frustration and displeasure in the matter be known.
Wondering if her behavior was inappropriate, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my son that if he can’t help me then he can pay for his own stuff?”
The OP shared how she was disappointed that her eldest son didn’t step up and help out more with his siblings while on vacation, and wasn’t afraid to say so to his face.
“I am a mother of 5 and a half, (46 F[emale]).”
“I am five months pregnant, I have twin girls who I’ll call Lisa and Sophia (10 F), my youngest boy, Joshua (17 M[ale]), my baby girl, Emily who is one, and my oldest son, Danny (21 M).”
“We were on a trip to Hawaii a few weeks ago, my husband didn’t come because of an unexpected work emergency, but he told us to have fun.”
“My twins cried, A LOT, so my son Joshua and I comforted them.”
“But Danny stood doing nothing.”
“We had so many fun things planned to do with their father, but since he couldn’t come we didn’t end up doing much, but what ever we did, except eat, Danny was absent for it.”
“Like for example, going to the beach, banana boats, Luaus, and watching his younger sisters when they just wanted to go to the pool, he’d stay in his room on his phone, chatting with his friends.”
“The next week of vacation I was stressed with Danny.”
“I hated having to put most of the work on Josh because he wanted to have fun too, and my daughters helping with the baby.”
“I called him down to help, but he said he ‘wanted to relax and chill’.”
“When we literally came here to relax, chill, and have FUN, though we weren’t having lots of fun with less help, a crying baby, two ten year olds who wanted to go to the pool but had to do what I had capability of doing while carrying, and my other son who wanted to get away from his sisters for at least an hour.”
“It was a mess.”
“I shouted at him ‘If you can’t step up and help the woman who gave birth to you, lets you live in her house rent free, while giving you a job, whose money you just spend on silly games instead of getting an apartment, then you can get out of my house and pay for your own stuff’.”
“He looked shocked and left, and just about an hour after, my SIL, and my in laws called, asking me why I’d shout at my son when he did nothing, I told them, ‘Yeah he’s been doing nothing except eating and chatting in his room with his silly friends, instead of helping his mother and siblings’, and hung up.”
“When we got back from our vacation, my husband yelled at our son for not helping, and sent him up to his room.”
“Lots of our family are on my side, but my in laws think I was in the wrong, so AITA?”
“I should’ve added more details to avoid confusion.”
“Danny does minimal work, I am not that type of parent.”
“He babysits all day for one or twice a month when his dad and I want to have sometime alone.”
“Josh also steps up as frequently as Danny too.”
“Danny does also have a job I gave him, but he is an introvert, stays in his room all day, everyday when he doesn’t have work which is only twice or three times a week, only gets out to eat or go out to parties to hang out with friends.”
“Other than that, I expect nothing less from him than, him keeping up good work in his job, and helping out every once in a while with his sisters, just as Josh does.”
“But his dad and I do on a daily.”
“Mostly weekends because of school.”
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 OP found little to no sympathy from the Reddit community, who all but unanimously found her to be the a**hole for the way they spoke to Danny.
Everyone agreed that if the trip was too much for the OP to handle without her husband then it should have been canceled, while also feeling that if Danny was expected to be constantly watching his siblings during the whole vacation, he should have been told so in advance, which they didn’t feel was fair to Joshua either.
“Your older kids aren’t responsible for helping with the younger ones.”
“IF the expectation is that the 21 yr old is being included on a vacation to help with the little kids that needs to be expressly stated and he needs to be given the chance to opt out.”
“Cuz he didn’t chose to have 5 kids.”
“You and your husband did.”
“If you needed help on this vacation, you needed to organize it.”
“Either by hiring a nanny/mother’s helper for the trip.”
“Making sure the hotel had a kids club.”
” But that’s on you.”
“And you need to figure this out asap because you’ve got another kid on the way and seem at least partially reliant on the older kids to help out.”
“That said, it isn’t unreasonable to expect a 21 yr old- who isn’t in school, isn’t paying rent/financially contributing, to help around the house by doing things like helping with their younger siblings.”
“It has to be explicitly stated but it isn’t crazy.”
“Now it isn’t clear from this that Danny isn’t in school.”
“And it doesn’t sound like you’ve previously told Danny, ‘hey, in exchange for living in the house with no financial contributions, these are the expectations’.”
“And I also have massive issues from the fact that you made Joshua help.”
“Just expectation, Joshua will do this.”
“And maybe Joshua wants to help.”
“But maybe Joshua feels it’s expected and that opting out isn’t actually an option.”
“And while you acknowledged that he needed a break, your solution to that was another child instead of say a professional.”
“And fyi, you can’t ground a 21 yr old.”
“Not and still have a relationship with them.”
“There is so much wrong here.”
“21 and 17 year old can look after themselves, and you couldn’t handle two 10 year olds and a toddler?”
“How are you going to look after next baby?”
“Why do your 10 year olds scream so much?”
“They are 10, not 4.”
“Why are you treating your 22 year old like a young teenager, giving him a part time job and being happy with that?”
“How will he earn enough to become independent like that?”
“Expecting him to coparent?”
“These are not his children.”- E1431
“Sounds like he stays in his room to avoid being forced to take care of his siblings.”
“Which is not his responsibility.”
“They are your and your husbands children.”
“If you need that much help, hire a nanny.”
“Your kids deserve their own life outside of taking care of your other kids.”
“Your boys aren’t the ones who left you with 5 kids to handle on a trip, alone.”
“That wasn’t their call, they didn’t have any input.”
“Stop having kids, ffs, you can’t even handle the ones you have!”- Thelmara
“Not for Danny’s living situation.”
“That’s a completely different situation.”
“But if Danny is expected to babysit in exchange for you paying for his vacation, that needs to be said before you pay for the vacation.”
“If Danny is expected to babysit and help in exchange for living rent free, that needs to be established before living there rent free.”
“Cause what happens when he does get out of your house?”
“You’re still shit out of luck, with 5 kids you can’t take care of.”- ndcollector
“‘We’re going on this dope vacation to Hawaii, but you have to work the entire time and thank me for the opportunity while you do it’.”
“These are YOUR kids. Stop parentifying your other children to do childcare for you.”
“If you can’t handle your own children you shouldn’t have had so many.”
“If you couldn’t handle them alone on vacation you shouldn’t have taken the vacation.”
“It is not your oldest child’s job to be your slave.”
“If you want them to pay rent or something, that’s reasonable, but they didn’t keep popping out more and more kids, you did.”
“Those babies are no one’s responsibility but yours and your husband’s.”- imothro
Raising children certainly isn’t easy.
Which is also why it’s important to know one’s limits as to how many children people think they could handle.
Something the OP and her husband clearly did not take into account.
If it’s understandable how the OP hoped their older children might help with the younger ones, it shouldn’t always be expected.
Particularly not after this vacation.