To earn extra money, many of us took on neighborhood jobs when we were in our teens, especially babysitting and dogsitting jobs.
And every one of those jobs came with a set of rules we were expected to follow, especially if we wanted to keep that job, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Little_Prompt_9887 was recently asked to babysit for her sister alone, which she was not terribly comfortable with, though she intended to try her best.
But when a stranger came knocking, the Original Poster (OP) suddenly found herself having to put those babysitting rules into practice.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for leaving a pregnant woman outside?”
The OP was recently asked to watch her sister’s kids.
“I (19 Female) am autistic and my sister (30 Female) asked me if I could come over to her house to babysit her kids while she and her husband went out on a much-needed date night.”
“I had some reservations about this and I’ve never supervised the kids alone. She usually brought them to my parents’ house and my parents mainly watched them while I did my thing but also kept an eye on them and kept them entertained.”
“However, my sister assured me that all will be well, and she’ll write me a list of instructions to follow and it will be easy.”
“I asked if I could have a friend over with me, but she said no, and under no circumstances am I to allow strangers in her house.”
Something surprising happened during the OP’s visit.
“Three hours in, a pregnant lady came knocking at the door. She looked distressed and like she wasn’t feeling well.”
“She told me she was the next-door neighbor and that she forgot her keys at home and had no place to stay until her husband came home.”
She also told me that she was dizzy and not feeling well.”
The OP wasn’t sure if the woman had other options.
“To anyone who may ask why she didn’t go to another neighbor, while I’m not sure why exactly, I’m gonna explain the layout of the houses in my sister’s neighborhood a bit. Basically, there are three houses that are close to each other: my sister’s, the pregnant woman’s, and another house.”
“There are more houses down the road, but they are kinda far behind (within walking distance but she wouldn’t be able to see her husband pull up from there I think maybe that’s why… I don’t know).”
“I don’t know, but it is possible that she went to the other house near us and got turned down there before she came to me. I didn’t ask her.”
The OP tried to reach out to her sister and parents for help.
“I felt very conflicted. On one hand, I didn’t know this woman and wasn’t sure if she was telling the truth about being my sister’s neighbor, so I didn’t think letting her in was an option.”
“I called my sister many times to ask permission to let this woman in, but she didn’t pick up.”
“And on the other hand, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her in that state outside in the cold.”
“I tried calling my parents too, but they didn’t pick up. I was basically left to decide on my own.”
The OP did what she could to help the woman without breaking any rules.
“I brought out a chair to the porch and told her she can sit there and wait for her husband if she’d like. I also offered her some water and food, but she politely declined and decided to wait outside her house.”
“She proceeded to wait two hours until her husband came back, and I saw her crying at some point.”
“I felt soooo bad, but I felt like my hands were tied. I tried calling my sister and parents many, many times, but no one picked up.”
The OP was later ridiculed for her choices.
“When my sister came home later that night, I told her what happened, and she lashed out at me, calling me an id**t, and saying when she told me not to allow strangers in, she didn’t think that she needed to tell me her seven-month pregnant neighbor in distress was an exception to the rule.”
“My parents also later reprimanded me for taking everything so literally and being an id**t.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were frustrated by the sister’s and parents’ reactions.
“Uh, actually yeah, she did need to specify that you should let her ‘seven-month pregnant neighbor in.’ She told you no strangers, and she was a stranger to you. How would you know if she was actually the neighbor, you don’t live here.”
“Let’s be honest, if something happened to the kids because of her she would have blamed you for letting her inside, pregnant and distressed or not. NTA.” – Vixen7-9
“It was unfortunate that this turned out to be an exceptional situation, but you really didn’t have the information you needed to make a judgment here, so what you did was the best choice you could make to keep your responsibility to the kids.”
“You made every effort to get information and to make the person comfortable, too. This was just an unusual, unfortunate event. I’m sorry this happened your first time babysitting by yourself! That’s really bad luck.” – Greenelse
“When you babysit, the parent should be available.”
“Call your sister back say, ‘You’re the id**t who didn’t pick up her phone while knowing someone was watching her kids.'”
“Then follow up with, ‘To me, this neighbor is a stranger. You said no strangers and to me, my friend isn’t a stranger. So get your logic straight.'” – Vegetable_Bee_7545
“NTA, and I’d tell your sister that if she’s not going to answer her phone when you are responsible for her kids, you will not be watching them again.” – kimmie1223
“No, honey, you did what she asked and it’s not your fault. You could apologize to the lady but your sister did this, not you.”
“Also, don’t babysit again. If one of the kids had broken an arm and you had called, she wouldn’t have answered, and that’s concerning as f**k.”
“NTA.” – Pasdusername
Others applauded the OP for taking precautions.
“OP should be proud of how they handled the situation, yes. All due respect to the neighbor, but they are a stranger to OP, who is watching small children in a house that isn’t theirs.”
“OP is smart to be weary of this person they’ve never seen before given the circumstances, and it’s totally unreasonable of OP’s sister to expect them to recognize and let this person they’ve never seen before into the house.” – Somefunmaths
“I think you did everything exactly right. You were given a hard rule to follow. A possible exception literally showed up at your door, so you attempted to confirm if this was indeed an exception. Nobody picked up (they should have, and that they didn’t is not your fault).”
“You offered the woman a chair, food, and water, which is a compromise I probably would have been too flustered to immediately think of. I’m genuinely baffled why anyone is mad at you.”
“You were respectful to everyone in this situation: your sister and her kids by not letting the woman in without permission, and the woman by offering her what accommodations you could. I’d say give yourself a pat on the back.” – artsyjabberwock
“I remember the first time my parents left us home alone, they told us that if anyone came to the door we were supposed to grab the dog and get out of sight of the windows and not to answer the door for anyone. They had one of my stepdad’s co-workers drop by to ‘test’ us and later told us we did a good job for following their instructions.”
“Later, when I did a babysitting certification at the local fire department, they specifically told us never to open the door when babysitting unless it was to someone the parents pre-approved and we’d met before (like if a grandparent or family friend was taking over) or if it was a first responder who showed us their badge.”
“OP did the right thing here, if the sister wanted exceptions to her rules she should have answered her phone.” – Wynfleue
“She’s never met the neighbor! Imagine if she’d just believed that woman and it turned out she was there to rob them wearing a fake belly to gain entry. OP was told not to let any strangers in under any circumstances. This woman was a stranger to OP.”
“NTA and your family needs to back the f**k off.” – BelkiraHoTep
“So I’m autistic myself, so maybe my view is skewed.”
“But it seems to me that you went out of your way to accommodate everyone as well as you possibly could while adhering to your written instructions.”
“It shows responsibility, problem-solving behavior, a cool head, and a kind heart.”
“You did your very best with the tools and rules you were given.”
“This: ‘When she told me not to allow strangers in, she didn’t think that she needed to tell me her seven-month pregnant neighbor in distress was an exception to the rule’ …doesn’t fly.”
“And ‘I’m giving you specific instructions, in which I am completely 100% black-and-white, but then I’m going to berate you for not realizing there are shades of grey’ …also doesn’t fly.”
“How were you to know that this woman was her neighbor?”
“You did exactly right and I wouldn’t babysit for sister again until she apologizes to you.” – cottondragons
While everything turned out okay and the pregnant neighbor turned out to be a legitimate, safe neighbor, the subReddit was still grateful that the OP had gone with her instincts and followed the rules as they had been given to her.
If she had opened the door, the situation might have gone a completely different direction, and it might have been one that the family would be much less happy with, if not devastated by.