Finding and hiring a babysitter is a pain in the a**. We know. We get it. Once you (hopefully) make it past the vetting process with a winner, there’s the matter of payment. And if they should be reimbursed. And who is (or isn’t) allowed to use the babysitter for free. And even if parents have family members who are willing to provide childcare, we’ve seen so much drama over whether or not loved ones should be paid. And which family members are allowed to watch the kids. (Remember the woman whose in-laws weren’t allowed to watch the kids?)
The latest babysitter query on the “Am I The A-hole? (AITA)” subreddit has our jaws on the floor. A dad hopped on there to talk about a neighborhood babysitting system. He and his wife have two kids under five, panadol schedule and the same is true for the couple next door.
“The way our street is set up, our ‘front’ doors face each other (they’re on the sides of our houses), and are only separated by about 15-20 feet. You can easily see inside one house from the other if the doors are open.”
What’s apparently not so easy to see is what is wrong with the proposed “babysitting” plan.
Setting A Deal
The man who originally posted (the “OP”) explained that his wife and the neighbors had a conversation about childcare when he wasn’t around. And yes, alarm bells are already going off, because why wasn’t he involved?
His wife told him the three of them agreed that if one couple wanted to go out after the kids were asleep, they would give their baby monitor to the other couple. The houses are in range and that way they could easily “watch” the other couple’s kids.
OP instantly said no to the idea. A reminder that the other three adults took the time to think this through and landed on their decision. But immediately OP was out.
“What if there’s a fire or some other emergency? What if the monitor’s signal gets disconnected and we don’t realize it?”
Or, as OP also said, what if the kids wake up to find an empty nest? Could you imagine how scary that would be? Let’s say one of the kids wakes up and goes to find their parents, and the couple with the monitor doesn’t notice. That kid would probably (understandably!) freak out when they realize no one is home.
“My wife begrudgingly told the other couple the deal was off, and they’ve been cold to me ever since,” OP said. “So reddit, AITA?”
Reddit also had an immediate reaction: No, OP, you’re not the AH! But WOW. The other three certainly are.
“That is an extremely terrible, dangerous idea,” the top comment (with 9K upvotes) said simply.
“Wow, that is possibly the worst idea in the history of bad ideas … I can’t believe any competent adult would believe this was OK.”
“Your concerns are valid. Whenever I hear people say stuff like this I always think of Madeleine McCann.” (For reference, 3-year-old McCann was kidnapped in 2007 when her parents left her asleep in their vacation resort room while they dined at a restaurant just 180 feet away.)
“Holy sh*t, how are you the only sane, responsible parent between the 4 of you? This is a huge no-no. So dangerous.”
“What is so freaking important that any parent would leave their kid unattended?”
“Wow that’s a way of cheapening out on your kid’s safety. Absolutely NTA for being a responsible person and parent”
“I know someone who did something similar. They would put their kids down for a nap and then go to a neighbors house to hang out while the kids napped. Well the screen froze and she didn’t know it. Some maintenance workers heard the kids crying and called the cops. Needless to say they had fun with CPS for awhile.”
So what now? Well, they can all look for actual babysitters or have sleepovers if one of the couples wants a night out. But what OP should not do is back down. No matter how cold people are being.
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