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Being a single parent is no easy job. There is always somewhere a child needs to go to, and as children get older, it becomes even more of a time constraint as they want to do things with their friends versus being home and helping out.
Sometimes a teen child is asked to lend a hand in taking care of their younger siblings. But recently, a single mom of 3 children finds that even though she has a teen who can help with her siblings, it’s not always the easiest task, especially when friends and social activities are more appealing than babysitting.
The original poster (OP) says that she is a single mom of 3 kids; 16 female, 12 male, and 8 female. She says she has little to no support, that the children’s father left after their youngest was born, and that she has no family nearby. She says she has 2 babysitters that she uses as needed and always calls them before she asks her oldest for help.
She says she doesn’t ask her oldest daughter for help because she doesn’t want her to miss out on her teenage years. Before this most recent incident, she says she only asked her oldest daughter to babysit once because she had no one else and paid her $15 an hour to do it.
Over a recent weekend, the mom’s daughter was supposed to hang out with some friends, but the middle child had been sick for a few days. On Saturday, when her oldest was supposed to hang out with her friends, the child spiked a very high fever and had to be taken to the E.R. She had to ask her oldest child to watch her youngest daughter because her babysitters were not responding to her messages. She said she apologized profusely to her daughter, but there was nothing else she could do.
She told her oldest that she would pay her for her time and that she could have her friends over since she would be unable to go out with them as well. Her oldest, she said, pitched a fit and asked why she couldn’t send her younger sister to the neighbors instead. She responded that she didn’t know them well enough to do that, which irritated her daughter. She finally told her daughter that she would pay her $18 an hour and that she had to bring her brother to the hospital and then left.
While waiting at the E.R. with her son, her daughter kept messaging her, asking if the sitters had responded. She told her no and that it was their turn to be seen, and she could not answer texts immediately. Her son was diagnosed with RSV and was admitted for observation overnight. She called her daughter to let her know she would be much longer than anticipated.
Hanging Out With Friends
When her daughter answered the phone, she could hear people talking in the background and asked if she had her friends come over, to which her daughter responded no and that she dropped her sister off at the neighbor’s and went out. This infuriated her mother, and she yelled at her to get home and get her sister from the neighbors immediately and demanded to have the neighbor’s phone number. Her daughter told her she did not get a number for them. She then hung the phone up and called her mother to see if she could drive to her house to get her youngest daughter and watch the two of them for the night. Her mother agreed and made the two-hour drive to them.
The following day, her son was able to go home. When she got home, she said she lectured her oldest about how dangerous what she did was and then grounded her for two weeks. Her daughter got mad and yelled at her telling her that she could not expect her just to drop her plans just to babysit. She pointed out that she never asks for help from her, and when she does, she always offers to pay her for her time.
She also explained that this was an emergency situation and she had no choice. OP says she feels bad about the situation and doesn’t want to thrust responsibility on her daughter. She also feels that in a situation like this, her daughter is old enough to understand that it was an emergency and she should want to help out.
One Redditor said, “NTA. Let’s get this out of the way. There are a lot of posts on here about forcing teenagers to babysit, and this is most definitely NOT one of those. This was an extreme situation (emergency even), and Polly acted amazingly selfish and irresponsible.”
A second Redditor said, “Not only did she abandon her little sister in an EMERGENCY situation, but she could’ve landed someone else in the hospital.”
A third Redditor said, “Left the child with the neighbors with no way to contact mom or anyone in an emergency, even. SO irresponsible! I’d be hopping mad in OP’s place, and there’s absolutely no way I’d pay that ungrateful, immature child a dime.”
Another Redditor had this to say, “Daughter made some really bad choices. I am actually pretty concerned about her decision-making skills. I don’t think it is wise for this parent to leave either of the children in her care again until she can prove she is responsible.”
A Redditor added, “NTA, and honestly, I’d never be able to trust your daughter again RSV can kill a kid, so god forbid something happened to your son.”
Finally, a user said, “NTA Daughter left her 8yo sister with strangers so she could go hang out with friends while you were dealing with a family emergency. She needs consequences for her poor choices here.”
Redditors agreed that the mother made the right decision by punishing her older daughter and believes the daughter needs to be talked to more about the situation she put her little sister in. What is your opinion? Did the mom make the right move? Should the daughter be punished more severely?
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As a full-time working mom of three, I know what it’s like to feel like life is out of balance and out of control.
While I don’t have it all figured out, I am committed to sharing helpful tips and tricks with other mommas who are ready to break free from negativity, ditch mom guilt, & finally, live life on their own terms.