Older siblings are a blessing and are helpful to a parent, but how much slack is an older sibling expected to pick up for a troubled family?
That is something Redditor aitanewbabyprob has been dealing with.
The Original Poster (OP) is an 18 year-old-male and the oldest of five siblings who suspects his mother has “severe mental health issues.”
A recent announcement from his mother resulted in an argument.
He admitted he did not react well and visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for how I reacted to my mum’s pregnancy announcement?”
The OP explained:
“So I’ve been trying to figure out how to word this post and stuff for days and I’m very tired so please bear with me re: grammar, spelling, general cohesion etc.”
“I’m the oldest of 5 siblings (not hugely relevant but they’re 7 f[emale], 9 f[emale], 9 m[ale] and 12 f[emale]). Our mum is…well, not the best lets put it that way.”
“I’m sure she has some kind of severe mental health issues but she absolutely refuses to accept that or get diagnosed. She has substance abuse issues and will go on benders for weeks sometimes and has these prolonged manic episodes where she does things like blowing all of our money on designer stuff and gadgets and even vehicles but doesn’t pay the bills or buy food or anything.”
“It’s been this way since I was little, it’s all I’ve ever really known.”
“She has this pattern when she’s had babies where for, like, six months or so she turns into mother of the year and is super attentive and stuff but then the novelty of the new baby wears off and she’s back to same old mum.”
“Since I was 7 and the oldest younger sister was born I’ve been picking up the slack. It’s meant I’ve had to give up/miss out on a lot and had to grow up very very fast.”
“We’re at a point now though where the kids are old enough that they don’t need constant supervision and can be a little bit independent and I can have something of a normal life.”
“I’ve got a boyfriend now and I’m meant to be going to university (albeit at a school close enough I can stay in the same city) in September. Or I was, until a few days ago when Mum excitedly told me she is pregnant again, and due in September.”
“I…did not react well. At first I asked if she was joking, and when I realised she wasn’t I got kind of angry. I shouted a bit that it was so so selfish of her to have another kid when she can’t take care of the one’s she’s got and I can’t believe that she’d do this to me.”
“I’m now not going to be able to move out for uni because I can’t in good faith leave a newborn alone in that situation. I’m also gonna have to give up any semblance of a social life I have and I’m basically back to square one.”
“I raised my voice and ended up crying. She got upset with me, said I spoiled what should be a good thing and said I was being a selfish arsehole who is making it all about me.”
“I’ve been ruminating on it and idk. Maybe she’s right, maybe I did kind of overreact. AITA for getting upset?”
Strangers on the internet 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 thoughts on the situation.
“The burden of raising these kids has been on you, so it seems natural that you would make her pregnancy announcement about you; if you let it happen then you will be the one raising this kid.”
“On that note, move out for university, develop a life, and report your mom to children’s services.
“You may think you can do a good job ‘taking care of’ all these kids, but you are basically a kid yourself and you didn’t make the irresponsible decision to have kids you don’t want to raise.”
“Yes, addiction is hard, she needs help, but she’s not getting that if you keep cleaning up her messes. Get professionals involved and maybe it will help your mom get her life together.”
“Worse case scenario, you get your education and develop a life and then (if you still want to) you’ll be in a better position to take on raising 5 kids. Right now you aren’t any better for them than your mom is, because you don’t have the education/finances/social support needed.”