Members of a popular internet forum have defended an uncle after he explained how he goes out watching a group of children at every family event.
In a viral Reddit post posted to r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Low-Ad-1414 — otherwise known as the original poster, or OP — said he served as the designated babysitter for his nieces and nephews. for years before devising a foolproof plan to blame it on someone else.
Entitled, “[Am I the a**hole] for intentionally drinking at family events so you don’t have to babysit?” the post has received nearly 6,000 votes and 1,000 comments since July 20.
Writing that he is 30 years old and has no children, the original poster stated that between his brother and sister, he had five nieces and nephews.
The original poster also stated that whenever their estranged families got together, it had long been their duty to make sure everything went smoothly with the kids, allowing their parents to mingle with the “adults.”
“Whenever I spend time with my brother and his family, it never fails that he finds a way to get rid of his [three] kids on me,” OP wrote. “Plus…my sister’s kids also want to hang out with their cousins, so I’m sitting there all alone watching 5 kids ages 4-8.”
“It’s gotten so egregious…my brother will give me a paper list of parenting duties, a backpack with stuff for the kids, then turn off his phone in front of me,” OP added.
Lamenting that he also attends gatherings to interact with his loved ones and catch up with his loved ones, the original poster stated that he was purposely childless and recently found a way to not get stuck as a baby- de facto family sitter.
“I don’t go to these family events to babysit so I just started drinking a little before I showed up and I drink a little regularly enough to safely say I shouldn’t have [five] grandchildren in my care,” OP wrote.
“As these times are really the only times my brother sees me, he thinks I’m drunk and [is] spread rumors as such,” OP added.
Although family members are often willing to help parents with child care, waiting family members to do so is a whole different story.
Across many forums, including Quora and the parent-specific BabyCenter, parents and loved ones have discussed family child care, reaching a near-consensus that while help from grandparents, uncles, aunts and other relatives are always helpful, expecting family to intervene (often gratuitously) childcare roles are unfair and likely to cause tension and resentment.
“I don’t expect family to babysit,” one mom wrote in a BabyCenter thread. “I ask and hope they say yes.”
Recently, Newsweek reported on several Reddit threads detailing insistent parents who believe it’s their family’s duty to watch their children, including a couple who forced their stepdaughter to babysit every time they were together and another childless couple who, similar to the original poster, used alcohol as an excuse to avoid looking at all the kids at a family gathering.
And like the parents who draw the line by asking the family to babysit, rather than insisting or demanding, many Redditors responding to the original poster believe that family expectations are a primary source of contention.
“You can do whatever you want at family parties BECAUSE you don’t have kids,” wrote Redditor u/mynameisfritz in the most popular comment on the viral post, which received over 8,000 votes positive.
“I would say maybe [your brother] that you are not available to babysit at parties and should plan accordingly,” they added.
Redditor u/NatashOverWorld, whose comment received more than 2,000 upvotes, echoed that sentiment.
“[Not the a**hole]they began. “It’s just your brother using you without any thought for you as a person. Take your drink.”
“You are not the family babysitter,” added Redditor u/HistoricalInaccurate. “They can watch their own kids.”
In a separate comment, Redditor u/UnencumberedChipmunk informed the original poster that while his drinking strategy has been working lately, he will eventually have to face his sibling.
“If need be, be frank,” they wrote. “Tell him, ‘I’m not their babysitter…I won’t be babysitting today.’ And walk away.
“You are not a glorified babysitter, and you are not a little brother hanging out with other kids,” they added. “You’re an adult and he doesn’t treat you like one.”
Newsweek contacted u/Low-Ad-1414 for comment.