Especially during the pandemic, maybe of us have needed to turn to a friend for help.
If we aren’t totally happy with how they help, it would be better to have a conversation with them about it than start criticizing them right away, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Sea-Shirt-7883 had enough when she had helped out some friends by babysitting their kids, only for them to threaten her for offering the kids different food than the usual.
When they started criticizing her, the Original Poster (OP) decided she wouldn’t help anymore.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘starving’ and ‘poisoning’ my friend’s kids?”
The OP tried to help her friend and husband by babysitting.
“I (24 Female) have been a vegetarian for 10 years and I find that Indian food has some of the best vegetarian dishes, so that is what my diet mostly consists of, although I do love cooking vegetarian food from different cuisines as well.”
“So, for the past month or so, after my friend (36 Female) started a new job, I have been looking after her kids (6M, 7M and 9M) from 11:30-4, M-F, as she works from 12-8 PM and her husband (42M) from 7AM – 3:30 PM, and they can’t afford childcare.”
“I don’t take any money from them for this as I know they both work minimum wage jobs and do struggle, so I’m happy to help out where I can.”
The OP provided meals to the kids while they visited.
“During the time that the kids are with me, they have lunch and a snack.”
“Since I’m cooking for everyone, it’s usually Indian and vegetarian. Although I do tone down the spices for lunch since they are kids. And for a snack, I give them fruits/chips/sandwiches with juice/milk.”
“The kids love the food and always leave a clean plate, and the older one usually goes in for seconds as well. I have had no issues so far.”
The friend didn’t appreciate this, though.
“Well, yesterday, my friend came over to my house and started berating me for ‘starving’ her children and ‘poisoning’ them by not feeding them normal food with meat in it.”
“2She demanded that I start cooking them proper food with meat, only using salt, pepper, and garlic, or she would call CPS on me for child abuse and neglect.”
“Apparently, her kids now don’t want to eat the food she and her husband cook and say that it’s bland, and keep asking for my food, and that it’s all my fault.”
The OP decided to set a new boundary.
“I refused and told my friend that I will no longer be able to watch her children and now she’s even angrier with me, and both her and her husband are calling me an asshole and saying that they don’t have any other childcare options.”
“It’s not a question of being able to afford the meat, as I work from home as a software developer and have a lot of free time throughout the day as well, but the food I cook has plenty of protein, carbs, and fats and all other macros and the children have never asked for meat either.”
“AITA and should I just buy meat and let the kids make like ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch?”
“I feel guilty that they will struggle to pay for childcare if I don’t take care of the kids.”
The OP also mentioned homeschool:
“Adding this since I’m being asked this question a lot. The kids are not in regular school during that time.”
“Their parents took them out due a few months ago due to covid cases still being high, and it is impossible to have kids social distancing. They are being homeschooled is what I’ve been told.”
The OP also added a few more details about what happened in the comments.
“The thing is, when she said that her kids were not eating her cooking at home and were asking for the food I make, I offered to give her recipes and to show her how to prepare a few things, even things that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.”
“But she just scoffed and said that she works hard and doesn’t have the luxury of ‘sitting around on my a** lazing all day’ to try and cook some weird food. This comment is what truly p**sed me off led me to refuse to continue babysitting or cooking anymore.”
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 said the friend was wrong to threaten the OP with CPS.
“This woman is going to call CPS on her babysitter for feeding her kids healthy, balanced meals. Sure, Jan.”
“NTA. I would say I can’t believe the gall of this woman who complains about this when five days per week you’re providing excellent free childcare for her three young children, including home-cooked meals… but I’ve spent enough time on this sub and learning elsewhere about narcissistic behavior that it’s, unfortunately, a very familiar story.” – zepuzzler
“No, she shouldn’t cook any meat, this so-called friend has threatened to report her. Even if it’s absurd there is no going back from a threat like that.” – Tantrums_and_Tiaras
“Even if the friend offered to buy the meat or even sent the meals prepared, the moment she threatened to contact CPS and accuse OP of abuse, that is it. You can’t go back from that.”
“Do not agree to watch these kids under any circumstances. Lord knows what others threats she will come up with if you ever disagree on anything.” – noblestromana
“She’s threatening to call CPS but is also upset that OP won’t be able to watch her kids despite them apparently being in a neglectful/dangerous situation. So she clearly must not care about the well-being of her children lmao. Some ridiculous logic there.” – caesar____augustus
“H**l no. Never watch children after the parent has threatened CPS calls. OP would be foolish to start watching them again.”
“OP’s friend can learn the hard way not to just toss that phrase out like it means nothing.”
“After consideration, OP should call CPS on their ‘friend.’ Those kids are NOT being homeschooled. OP: if they were, you’d have seen the curriculum because you’d be required to help out as a full-time caregiver for them during school hours.”
“Report them. Those kids need help.” – Missfrothingslosh
“If I am providing free, safe childcare and feeding them good food, and you threaten CPS, you are on your own. I feel bad for the kids.” – Affectionate_Shoe_260
“What does she think CPS will do to her babysitter if she calls them? The worst that will happen is that they will say you can’t babysit them anymore. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. NTA – keep cooking what you want.” – dck1313
Others were appalled that the friends were upset about an improved diet.
“Lazing around!??? WTF! You’re literally the best thing that ever happened to this woman. If you’re not ‘lazing around,’ who would take care of their kids??” – PrettyChill3111
“Pretty sure that a paid (or free) caregiver (legitimately) abusing kids wouldn’t even go to social services, you would just report it to the cops as a crime.”
“Yeah, would love to see how that would turn out in this case…”
“NTA and you can’t watch her kids now no matter what – she threatened to file false charges against you. That means you have to protect yourself by cutting ties. She decided free childcare isn’t worth her kids liking your cooking better than hers – this is how she wants it.” – JuliaX1984
“Oh no she puts stuff other than salt and pepper? Ooh, cumin is too spicy, it’ll poison the kids. How dare she!”
“Some people are so entitled, it’s crazy how they even manage to have any social standing at all.” – shrutiiiiii
“It’s not just meat. She wants her kids to have ‘normal food.'”
“OP is feeding the kids food from an abnormal (non-Euro-American) culture.” – rhetorical_twix
“If a babysitter can get my two-year-old to eat a healthy meal with veggies, I would be thankful. All the kid will eat is snacks, rice/potato’s, pickles and yogurt.” – SingleDramaMama
Some also questioned how much homeschool was actually happening.
“Maybe if you prepared an extra meal each day, for them to take home with them…?”
“She’s been mom-shamed, because her kids want your cooking, and not hers. She’s reacted in the worst way possible, and rejected your friendly offer of how to maybe solve the issue, too. With extreme, unnecessary rudeness!”
“Yes, she feels threatened by how much her kids like what you’re doing, and is lashing out, but she’s doubling down when you’re persisting in being kind, considerate, and putting the kids first.”
“She’s working long hours and insecure about how she’s doing as a mum to three young kids who now won’t eat what she cooks, but, hell, that’s NO excuse for the CPS threat.”
“Tell her you can’t mind her kids anymore if she doesn’t approve of the care you’re providing. That’s it. There’s nowhere else for you to go, and you’re not losing anything.”
“Also, when are they being homeschooled, tho? That seems a bit suss.” – the_esjay
“CPS needs to be called… by the OP. Maybe (maaaaaaybe) they’re being properly homeschooled before/after being with the OP. And the state needs to confirm that.” – DelightfulOphelia
The subReddit was just as confused as the OP about the friend’s reaction to the food she provided. After all, it was healthy, and the kids had no issue eating it.
As long as their educational needs were being met elsewhere, what was the problem?