Not everyone has easy access to childcare.
Those that are lucky live in close proximity to family, who are willing to help watch their children at a moments notice, and, most importantly, completely gratis.
However, while it is extremely kind of these family members to offer their complementary babysitting service, it should never be expected of them.
Redditor still-not-sure was always willing to help out her sister by watching her young niece.
So much so that the original poster (OP)’s sister grew to depend on her, even going so far as to refuse to accept an occasion when the OP was not available to watch her daughter.
The OP would eventually find a solution to this problem, but not a solution which pleased her sister in any way.
Wondering if she had made a lapse in judgment, the OP took to to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for refusing to babysit my niece and leaving her with a stranger instead?”
The OP explained that after her sister refused to accept that she was unavailable to babysit her daughter, she was forced to take matters into her own hands.
“I (24 F[emale]) am an aunt to my 1 year old niece Ava.”
“My sister and Brother-In-Law (BIL) live close to me so I babysit for them sometimes.”
“They don’t pay me but I’m happy to do it anyway.”
“Friday was their anniversary and they asked me 3 weeks in advance if I could babysit.”
“I provisionally agreed because I had nothing else planned.”
“My plans changed however when some of my old college friends told me they were stopping by my town on Friday.”
“I haven’t seen them in nearly 3 years and really wanted to see them.”
“I gave my sister 5 days notice that I could no longer babysit on Friday, and that she should make other arrangements.”
“She didn’t respond to the text, but she read it, so I assumed it was OK.”
“On Friday however sister stopped by my house with Ava.”
“I was confused and asked why she was here, she told me she was leaving Ava with me as originally planned.”
“I said again I was busy, she replied that family is more important than my ‘silly college friends’ and I should step up to my responsibility as an aunt.”
“Before I could protest, she bolted back to the car where BIL was and they drove off, leaving Ava with me.”
“I tried to call her after she left but she had her phone off and none of my calls went through.”
“I didn’t know what to do.”
“I couldn’t leave Ava alone but I also didn’t want to cancel my plans.”
“There’s no other family members who live near me.”
“However I do have a friend, Jade, who lives near.”
“She is good with kids and does baby sitting as a side hustle.”
“I called her and explained the situation, even offering to pay her to look after Ava, but she was understanding and said she’d do it for free.”
“I thanked her profusely and dropped Ava off.”
“I texted my sister to say I’d left Ava with Jade and to collect her from her house.”
“It’s relevant to the story that neither sister nor Ava know Jade personally.”
“My sister didn’t respond immediately but after about 2 hours she started spamming my phone.”
“I turned my phone off, as I was already out by that point anyway.”
“They picked up Ava later that evening and she was perfectly happy, however my sister and BIL are furious at me for ‘dumping Ava with a stranger’, even though they know Jade is a trusted friend of mine’.”
“They accused me of endangering my own niece.”
“Many other family members have sided with them and I’ve been getting angry texts all weekend.”
“I really don’t know what to think, I felt like I acted as best I could given the circumstances.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believe 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 Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for finding alternative childcare for her niece.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s sister should have accepted that she was unavailable to watch her daughter, as the OP’s willingness to do so previously was out of kindness and not obligation, with many especially horrified that her sister ran off in-spite of the OP’s protest.
“HER RESPONSIBILITY is to be a parent and adjust HER plans accordingly.”
“This is on her.”
“And I would refuse anymore baby-sitting until she realizes she must respect you as an adult, not as a free baby-sitter.”
“As far as the other family members who have now joined in to voice their petty opinions, just reply and let them know they appear to be extremely vested in this child care, so they can start baby-sitting.”
“Your SISTER is at fault for INVOLVING other family members, shame on her for that.”- NCKALA
“Please text back, ‘I did you a favor not calling the police when you dropped off your child, knowing I was about to leave the house’.”
“‘Next time, I’ll just call the police so your child won’t be “traumatized” by being babysat by one of my friends’.”
“As for your family, I would send a group text, ‘I had plans on X night’.”
“‘My sister showed up with her baby, I said I couldn’t watch her, and my sister drove off, then shut off her phone’.”
“‘What my sister did was reckless’.”
“‘Her child isn’t luggage, she’s a person’.”
“‘If anyone thinks it’s okay for her to drop her child off, when you tell her you can’t watch her, and then shut her phone off, I’ll let her know’.”
“‘That way you guys can always make sure your plans are free, knowing she can come by at any time, and then shut off her phone, so you can’t reach her in an emergency’.”- crystallz2000
“Reply to all family msgs ‘I stated I was unavailable’.”
“‘She dropped her at my doorstep and ran back to her car then refused to answer my calls’.”
“‘She is lucky I left her with a friend instead of reporting her to CPS or the police for abandonment’.”-WhoKnewHomesteading
“It’s time to tell your sister that you don’t have a DUTY to babysit and that her behavior was so offensive that you will no longer babysit for her for free and the next time she does something like that you will not only call the police but that you will no longer babysit for her at all.”
“Too many parents have decided that babysitting is somehow a family responsibility when it is not.”
“If my brother ever did that to me, I would never babysit and he would only get a ‘break’ when I decided that I wanted to do something fun with the kids’.”- LouisV25
“Yes, your sister asked you 3 weeks in advance, but 5 days is plenty of warning that you wanted to change plans.”
“The fact she didn’t call you back or try to negotiate with you and just dropped your niece off and ran isn’t funny or cute.”
“She’s the parent, and her kid is HER and HER HUSBANDS responsibility, not yours.”
“Welcome to parenthood.”
“She seems to be confused on this point: you don’t owe her free babysitting.”
“Her antics of drop and dash, and then triangulating other family as flying monkeys to guilt trip you are childish, selfish, and disrespectful.”
“So, for the foreseeable future, no matter what, when she asks you to sit, tell her no.”
“Make her reach out to other Mommy friends, get into a babysitter coop, or gasp, her husbands family or friends can step up.”
“Only offer to take hour niece when you want to see her at your convenience, or be available as a sitter in a true emergency, like a hospital or funeral home is involved.”
“But other than that, she needs boundaries and consequences for her sh*t.”
“Give them to her.”- Myay-4111
“Sis seems entitled.”- Neat-Investment-3582
“I’m going with NTA.”
“Your sister literally handed her 1 year old off to you, ran away and wouldn’t answer calls for 2 hours?”
“You gave them 5 days notice and instead of talking to you or making other plans, they thought they could force you to babysit so they could have a night out.”- Fenriswolf_9
“It’s fairly ironic that your sister criticized you about needing to ‘step up to your responsibility as an aunt’ when it came to expecting you to cancel your plans given that she chose to ignore your messages because she and her husband weren’t willing to step up to their responsibility as the child’s parents by canceling their own or making other arrangements.”
“You displayed more maturity and resourcefulness by finding a friend to look after your niece last minute than her own mother did by dumping her off, running away and assuming that you would just do it if she created a situation where you wouldn’t have a choice.”
“Tell your sister and anyone defending her to grow up because if she and your BIL are going to have a child, having solid arrangements to assure that child’s health and safety should be their top priority, not yours.”- ShadowCoon
The OP’s sister was very lucky indeed that the OP lived close by, and was willing to watch her daughter for free as often as she did.
But after the way she treated the OP, she’ll be even luckier if the OP is ever willing to babysit for her ever again.
Something that will likely never happen, unless the OP’s sister learns to be more respectful of the fact that the OP can’t always be at her beck and call.