New Mom Asks Reddit If She's a Jerk for 'Testing' Family Members Who Want to Babysit
The Redditor butted heads with her brother- and sister-in-law after judging a brief interaction with her newborn.
Figuring out the ins and outs of childcare is a big hairy deal for most families. In addition to budget concerns, parents often grapple with the question of who is most qualified to watch their little one—family members, professionals, neither? For one mom on Reddit, the most trusted childcare provider is the relative who manages to pass her "test." Writing in the "Am I the Ass****?" subreddit under the handle PoisonedFlowers, she explained how this process lead to butting heads with her husband's brother and his wife.
"My husband and I recently had a baby girl, and everyone in both our families keeps asking to babysit," she wrote. "I decided on a simple 'test' to see who's ready, where I ask family to watch her for a bit while I go do something in another room, like fold laundry or take a quick shower. Sometimes it goes bad, like my grandma turned off her hearing aid so she wouldn't be bothered by the baby crying. But other times it goes fine, and we've got a trusted new sitter."
Things went awry recently when the original poster (OP)'s brother-in-law and sister-in-law came to visit. She said they "wanted to babysit, so we tried the test. They didn't even have the baby for two minutes before coming to fetch me for help. I figured that meant they failed for now and just aren't ready to babysit a newborn yet, but we can try again when baby is older."
Following her "test," the OP's BIL "ended up heading home early, alone, saying he needed to work." A month later, her SIL "asked my husband why we didn't let them babysit. He told her about the test, and she got mad. SIL then said that we actually failed THEIR test, and that they had counted how many questions we asked them about themselves during the visit, and the answer was zero, so that was why BIL left."
PoisonedFlowers recalled, "I was thrown—I was sure I'd asked them about their flight, their jobs, a wedding they'd attended that we missed because of the baby- all the usual polite small talk. But we're exhausted, so it's totally possible I didn't. But even so...maybe cut the tired new parents some slack? TLDR: AITA for not trusting family with the new baby, or should they cut a new mom some slack?"
She later added that her BIL and SIL "had never changed a diaper before and didn't seem interested in learning. And we're not asking anyone to babysit for us! It's family that keeps insisting we go out and give them alone time with the baby."
Since being shared on Friday, September 6, the post has wracked up nearly 300 comments, the majority of which concluded that the new mom is, indeed, the "ass****" for "testing" family members in this way.
A Redditor named ProgressiveLens wrote, "YTA (you're the ass****) for telling them that you tested them, and they failed. If you do something like that you keep it to yourself. Nothing good is going to come from saying 'well, we gave you a little test you didn't know about and you're not up to snuff.' I don't know what they asked for help on, but there are lots of things I'd figure out on my own if alone but no point if a parent is home. I might ask where diapers are or bring a crying baby to Mom if I thought it needed feeding. Doesn't mean I'm not to be trusted alone. You get to leave your kid with whomever you want and if you want to set tests fine, but don't be surprised when people are offended that you are rejecting their offer of help because you found them wanting."
K2dadub agreed, writing, "Babysitting is not rocket science, and you are being extremely demeaning to your family. Of course you can choose who watches your baby and who doesn’t, but this 'testing' loved ones without telling them is ridiculous and rude. Just hire a professional if you really feel like your baby is so much more fragile than every other person who has managed to survive infancy."
Another Redditor named Jenemb concluded that the OP's test was "ridiculous," writing, "You expect them to have all this knowledge, when you yourself haven't shared it with them. Maybe they assumed that once you agree to let them watch the baby, you'll run them through everything they have to do. Until then, why should they be bursting at the seams to ask about it all? And why shouldn't they come and get you after two minutes if you're still in the house? They weren't babysitting then."
That said, not everyone believed the OP was acting out of hand. One Redditor whose handle is LifeAlert_ said, "You're allowed to vet anyone who will be taking care of your newborn including family," but they did believe that she could have "been more open about testing you're family. There's no need to try and be sneaky, but it's clear that some of your family members are NOT prepared to babysit a newborn."
CrankyandHangry wrote, "You are perfectly entitled when someone asks 'Can we watch the baby?' to say 'Sure! Here's the baby!' and see how 10 minutes go. If they can't manage 10 minutes, then how could they manage a half hour even?"
But ultimately, the community voted that the new mom was in the wrong. Updating her original post, PoisonedFlowers thanked her fellow Redditors for the verdict and said she'll be sending her BIL and SIL an apology. Here's hoping this family finds common ground and peace around this baby girl's care—and that their story might inspire others to bolster communication and trust. After all, building on both of those things is key to a happy, healthy childcare arrangement.