Asking your teen to watch the younger kids can seem like a no-brainer. They’re easily available, and know the kids well enough to provide supervision.
However, Redditor Humble_Kitchen_4282 has her own concerns about using her teenage daughter for free labor. This has led the original poster (OP) to fight with her husband over the situation.
OP isn’t sure if she is right and decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about what’s going on in her family.
But it all boils down to a simple question.
“AITA for wanting a baby sitter?”
What brought up this situation?
“So I 40 F have 3 children. One ‘Kate’ 17 f(emale) from a previous marriage and twins 7 m(ale) and f with my new husband ‘Ben’.”
“Me and Ben both work long hours but we managed to make it work. I work from 7-3 and Ben works from 9-5 Monday to Friday.”
“Because of this Ben is in charge of the kids in the morning and I get the kids on my way home and take care of them until he gets home. Everything after is split 50/50.”
“I recently got a promotion at work I accepted because it was good pay however I had to work more hours. Two of those hours make me go over the school day so on two days of the week I won’t be available to pick up the kids and no adult will be home for an hour and a half.”
“I told Ben about the promotion and time change and he was happy for me and excited about my pay rise. I started to look for a babysitter for the kids for those three hours.”
“Once I found quite a few who seemed like a good fit I went to Ben to see what he thought.”
“He gave me a strange look and asked why we needed a babysitter. I reminded him of the time changes and he said to just get Kate to look after them.”
“I said that was out of the question and we’re not making Kate have that responsibility. He said that Kate liked to babysit and I said on the one off not something that she would have to work her whole schedule around.”
“He then said that it would be a waste of money for a babysitter and we can use that money for fun activities for them and that I wasn’t thinking about the bigger picture. He repeated that Kate loved babysitting and that it would be a great bonding time for them.”
“I disagree and and said there was absolutely no way I was allowing this and that he should start looking for a babysitter.”
“I thought I was doing the right thing but during the week he kept making jabs at me for example I suggested that we go somewhere expensive as a congrats dinner/date for us and he said that’s a great Idea too bad we can’t afford it. He also pointed out a few expensive things and made similar remarks.”
“This made me doubt myself abit so I went to my friend. She agreed with him on the part about saving up for something bigger and suggested all the things we could do on holiday instead. So now I’m feeling confused.”
OP is worried that having her daughter do this will interfere in her own plans and seeing friends. OP’s husband is focused on being able to use the extra money to save up for family events and trips.
Is it worth it to just have Kate babysit?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for insisting on getting a babysitter instead of having her daughter babysit by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
There’s a lot to be said about forcing the responsibility of raising a child on to another child. It can be emotionally damaging when that situation is forced on someone not ready for it.
OP is doing her best to protect her daughter, and if they can afford it, why not get a babysitter instead?
The commenters agreed that OP was NTA for insisting on a babysitter.
“NTA. Kate is not a live in babysitter. And what if she has after school activities? Thank you for not parentifying your oldest.” – sickofdriving007
“You have her needs in mind. Good job Mom! 👏” – lifewithmyfurbabies
“NTA. Your daughter is NOT free labor, and it’s incredibly selfish of your husband to consider her as such.”
“If he wants her to be the baby sitter, and she’s free, fine, but she should be getting paid for her time.”
“Your husband is being a HUGE AH in how he’s handling this. Again, there’s nothing wrong with asking your daughter if she wants to make some money doing the baby sitting, but treating her as a free nanny is not.”
“At best he’s treating her like a 3rd parental unit, which also isn’t okay.” – SlammyWhammies
“Hi, I was Kate when I was high school in that I was mature, loved babysitting, and if I took care of my brother every single day it meant my mom would give me a car so I could drive him to his sports teams and stuff.”
“Which meant I never, ever got to hang out with friends after school, I didn’t get to do my own sports teams, and I was essentially working an unpaid part time job on top of school and homework.”
“I regret not saying no (I don’t know if I really had an option, but still). I regret not having friends and missing out on so much.”
“Please go with your gut and protect your daughter’s childhood (even though I’m sure she thinks she’s practically grown up). If your husband thinks it’s not a big deal, he can be the one to be backup care whenever Kate wants to go to a friend’s house or has band practice.”
“ETA: NTA” – idek7654321
“NTA. You’re doing the right thing and your daughter will appreciate it! She’s not a parent.”
“Doing free childcare is not her responsibility and if you force her to do that she will resent it. Explain parentification to your husband and stand your ground” – inliinwy
“You are 10000% doing the right thing by not allowing your oldest to be parentified Its one thing to ask kate how she feels about picking up the slack sometimes, its something else entirely to just expect and force her to do it.”
“NTA and good on ya!!” – Tiffany_Case
However, there is another aspect to all of this. The opinions of both OP and Ben are missing the input from the most important person.
What does Kate think?
If she genuinely wants to watch the kids, then it becomes her choice. If she doesn’t, then OP made the right call.
But it’s all meaningless without trying to ask her.
“NTA. The twins are your children and your responsibilities, not Kate’s. Speaking as the older sister of twins, being expected to babysit every week sucked.”
“It wasn’t a bonding experience, it caused resentment (we all get along great now). As a mom now, that’s the last thing I would expect my eldest to do.”
“Have you guys had a conversation with Kate? Maybe she wouldn’t mind but if she’s at all hesitant, I wouldn’t make her.” – vtchicky
“No not yet because I was completely against the idea” – Humble_Kitchen_4282 (OP)
“NTA. You’re doing the right thing. However, maybe you can offer Kate the money you would be paying a babysitter and see if she would like the extra income.”
“But she shouldn’t be expected to babysit on a regular schedule for free, especially if you have the disposable income to spend on childcare” – SolutionLeading
“Kate has a job she doesn’t work alot but she does have her own extra income.”
“I mean maybe she would like more but she works in a cafe and taking care of two 7 years olds is alot different especially without experience or an adult around.” – Humble_Kitchen_4282 (OP)
“Did either of you bother to ask Kate what she thought of any of this? Or are you both just assuming you know her better than she knows herself?”
“Cuz this whole point is kinda pointless without knowing what she thinks about it.” – Wolf-Pack85
“No neither of us did but I do recognize that I was speaking on her behalf so I’ll ask her” – Humble_Kitchen_4282
OP eventually realized that she should get input from the most important opinion on the matter.
“Edit: this keeps coming up in the comments. No one has talked to Kate yet.”
“I recognized that that was a fault on my behalf and will be talking to her tomorrow as she’s at a sleepover.”
So long as Kate doesn’t feel pressured into the situation, this should turn out fine. Still, even if she says yes, her parents should be willing to pay her for the service.
And most importantly, be prepared to still get a backup sitter if Kate decides she can’t do it.