It’s true that families come in all shapes and sizes: one parent, bonus parents, grandparents and aunts instead of biological parents, adoptive parents, working too much, not working enough, and the options go on and on.
While this is perfectly okay and natural, things still need to change if the situation is affecting the kids of the family in a negative way, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor DangerousSnow9878 was excited to hear that his good friend and wife were thinking about starting a family.
But when he asked them how they were going to navigate around their extremely busy work schedules, the Original Poster (OP) was deeply concerned when they said their plan was to depend largely on a live-in nanny.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my friend that hiring a live-in nanny would make him less of, or not, a parent?”
The OP was happy for his friends who were thinking about starting a family.
“My friend and his wife have been talking about getting pregnant now that they’re married.”
“They both work very long hours seven days a week, as they’re both workaholics (we’re talking 80+ hours each), and they’ve been like this for the seven years they’ve been together.”
But he became less excited when he heard more about their plan.
“When I asked who is going to work less, my friend said they’re going to hire a live-in nanny to take care of their child while they work all day.”
“They make around $200k to $250k a year together and could easily spend less time working given how much money they have saved.”
“When I asked how much time they expected to spend with their child, he said he’d probably get around one to two hours a day.”
“He also said that neither of them liked the idea of changing diapers or waking up at night to take care of the baby, so they’d be happy to pay the nanny to essentially be the caregiver 24 hours per day, seven days per week.”
The OP couldn’t help but wonder if this was what was best for the future baby.
“As a father, I was taken aback.”
“Part of being a parent is quite literally taking care of your child. Poopy diapers, tantrums, and BEING THERE.”
“I asked how his child would feel growing up without his or her parents, and he asked what I meant.”
“I told him he’s not really a parent if he rarely ever sees his child and never actually does anything a parent does.”
“Just because your wife gave birth and you happened to be the reason she had a baby doesn’t make you parents; it’s the act of being a parent that makes you a parent.”
The couple was furious with the OP for his feedback.
“He got really upset with me and hasn’t talked to me much all week, and his wife has been posting passive-aggressively on Facebook since the day I said it.”
“I really don’t feel like I’m in the wrong. They act like they want to be parents but would rather pay someone else to do all the work. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The OP later clarified his feelings about his friend’s parenting plans.
“For those asking if he wanted my opinion or if it was unsolicited, he did ask what I thought as I’m the only parent he knows, other than his brother whom he doesn’t speak with, and I told him my exact opinion on it.”
“He’s a very stubborn person and hasn’t changed since I met him several years ago, and as I’ve said, he’s very addicted to work.”
“He openly talks about how dumb it was that I took time off work to go to ultrasound appointments when my fiancee was pregnant, how I should spend more time working rather than raising my daughter since I’m the man of the house, etc.”
“I hope his opinion changes, but the fact he’s giving me the cold shoulder over this seems ridiculous since he’s the one who asked my opinion.”
The OP disclosed more about his involvement with his own daughter.
“I spend two hours a day with my daughter Monday through Wednesday, then have about eight hours divided Thursday through Saturday, and I spend all day Sunday with her where I take her on daddy-daughter dates, on adventures, and teach her whatever I can that coincides with her current learning level.”
“I am as involved as possible, and while I don’t expect that from every parent in the world, I would expect a parent to want to spend time with their child especially if they have ample opportunity to do so.”
“I love taking care of my daughter and spending time with her, she knows me as her father and we’ve spent countless hours on weekdays and weekends bonding and doing things together.”
“I’m extremely patient and unbothered by tantrums, poopy diapers, and common mishaps that come along with having a young child, and helping my daughter through tough times only strengthens our bond.”
“I feel as if their child is going to be closer to their nanny than them, and they’re choosing to spend less time with their child for money they don’t need. They both love to work, and it’s almost all they do.”
“They can afford to buy their child anything he or she wants, but is that what a child would choose if given the chance to spend time with their parents?”
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 criticized the OP for judging a family that came in a different shape than his own.
“YTA. Families come in all shapes.”
“Also, people like to believe their life won’t change before they have a kid and it inevitably does. Let your friend and his wife find their own path.”
“Stop being so judgmental and raining on their excitement.” – Conscious-Owl4014
“YTA. No one asked for your approval, and you’re being really judgemental and disingenuous. It doesn’t matter who cleans up the baby s**t, it matters who is there for the kid as they grow up and provides for them.”
“You think rich people change the diapers and clean up the blowouts? Having domestic help is a privilege for some and a given for others. What, they don’t have weekends? Do you think really poor people working more than one job to make ends meet get a bunch of quality time during the week?”
“You have no idea how they will change when they have kids and neither do they. If they work really hard and retire early, great. But you don’t get to tell someone that they’re not worthy of being parents just because it looks different than your parenting.”
“You owe them an apology and you should decide how much of this is your own jealousy.” – External-Hamster-991
“YTA. Plenty of people have live-in nannies and still raise their children. My parents both worked full-time when I was a kid. They were usually gone 11 or 12 hours a day.”
“We had an extra basement bedroom so their childcare solution was live-in babysitters who got a smaller paycheck and room and board (which wound up being cheaper than other options).”
“My parents 100% raised us. We spent a couple of hours together on weeknights but always had dinner together. We spent weekends together. Our family is super close. The babysitters were like fun bonus adults.”
“Don’t judge other people’s parenting decisions. You make the ones you want. Other people can make the ones they want. That doesn’t mean that yours are better.”
“Also, it sounds like this couple loves what they do, which can also be an amazing thing to model for a kid!” – Straight_Career6856
“I think kind of YTA. As a father, you should know that a lot of the big ideas you have about what parenthood is going to be like before you actually become a parent are so far off. Probably when the couple actually does have kids, they will love that little baby and want to be (at least partially) hands-on.”
“I think you should have laughed it off and let them figure it out on their own. Diapers and midnight feeds are so daunting until you’re doing it. If they feel like they need a night nurse and nanny to help get them going, that’s on them.” – Stock-Ad-7579
“People used to have servants for every domestic job, but it’s so bloody expensive now.”
“Would you say the same to a single mother working two minimum wage jobs, who barely has a chance to spend time with her children? The reasons for spending less time with the kids are different, but the effect is still the same.”
“YTA.” – DareNotSayItsName
“Ahhh, the Daddy Wars have arrived. Okay, then!”
“Please enjoy tearing each other to shreds for every choice you make and fighting over whether you are more fulfilled or important or valuable or harder working or better than the other dads. It’s a super great way to spend your time as a young parent.”
“Seriously, man. YTA.”
“You think you’re immune from judgment because you spend the amount of time with your kids that you think is enough, but there will always be someone else who spends more or better or more thoughtful time than you do.”
“Denigrating other parents, saying they’re not ‘real parents’ because they’re not like you is s**tty and dehumanizing. Unless you’re in the territory of abuse or neglect, let people figure out what works for them.” – mewley
“The thing that makes you the AH is judging them. It’s not your place to tell someone else how to live their life, spend their money, or raise their children. And how would you feel if you were told that your style of parenting made you a helicopter parent with children incapable of doing anything for themself because you can’t let go of controlling their every move?”
“Put this in reverse, someone thinks they will have a child and dedicate every moment to said child. Then they have a breakdown because they have no adult interaction, they are frazzled, and they are always unkempt.”
“Having a baby changes everything and you can’t say what’s going to happen later. You overstepped and your friend is setting a boundary.”
“YTA.” – DaniHockey
But others agreed with the OP and felt the couple’s priorities were misaligned for parenting.
“Yeah, I was ready to say YTA, but after reading more, definitely NTA.”
“Those people, though? Wow. What’s the point of even having a kid if they’re going to outsource all the care to a nanny?”
“This reminds me of that episode of ‘Downton Abbey’ where Granny Violet brags about how she was such an involved mother because ‘I had a nanny bring the children down to spend time with me for one hour every day (over tea).'”
“They don’t want to change diapers or wake up in the middle of the night? That’s basically an essential part of the experience of having a baby… Why do they even want one to begin with? I understand your confusion, OP.” – littleladym19
“I read the title and thought, YTA, no question about it, it doesn’t matter whether the village you have is paid or not. And then I read the post…”
“NTA! There will be no single nanny out there taking on a live-in 24 hours a day, seven days per week, position with this scope of work. This is a rota or shift position, and even with a live-in nanny, probably not affordable.”
“Not to mention the ‘when are they going to spend any time with the kid’ concerns.”
“You can’t have your cake and eat it! Not with this attitude!” – LonelyHyena
“NTA. You have a point. A live-in nanny by itself doesn’t make you any less of a parent, especially if you really need the extra help. But hearing about how often they work, how they can easily afford to take time off to be with their newborn child, and how they both just aren’t willing, yeah, you’re right.”
“The kid is going to grow up thinking the nanny is their parent and mom and dad are just people they see a little bit before bed. They are not going to have a proper bond.” – ZoeZerns
“Oh, look. It’s ‘Downton Abbey’ where you see the kids at tea every day.”
“What you should be asking them is why they even want a child. It seems like they’re doing it because it’s the expected thing to do, which is a h**l of a bad reason to bring another life into this world.”
“NTA.” – Dana07620
“NTA. Someone needed to tell them, even though it’s a truth they didn’t want to hear. They’re having a kid for very selfish reasons and are a**holes for doing so.” – theubster
“It’s a choice, and kids are not stupid; they can pick up on a parent wanting to be there but can’t, and a parent who is choosing not to be there.”
“So many low-income families or parents with demanding careers manage to find the balance. They miss things, but the kids know why they can’t be there. And those parents who can’t be there because they have to work, make the most out of the moments they have.”
“These two just don’t want to parent at all, it feels like a kid is just on their adult checklist, and they won’t value or appreciate the moment they have.”
“My parents worked long hours to get us out of poverty, and we were extremely close because even if they couldn’t be there, they later showed up and made the most of it, and I knew when they weren’t there it was for a good reason.”
“They are actively choosing not to parent versus people having no choice to be at work. NTA.” – AGirlHasNoGame_
“NTA. Why have a child if you are not going to spend time with them?”
“I think this is a status symbol thing. Your friend wants a child to pull out and parade around for appearances.”
“Tell him to get a cat and get a nanny for the cat. The cat will fall in love with the nanny, and he and his wife can work all day, with the same outcome.” – donnamayj1
The subReddit was hugely divided over the situation the OP found himself in and the opinion that he shared with his good friend.
While some totally agreed with the OP and felt someone needed to share this perspective with the couple, others felt that the OP had no place in offering his perspective, as families come in all shapes and sizes, all perfectly capable of raising healthy and happy children.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment below.