'Just Started Drinking': Uncle Backed for Using Booze to Avoid Babysitting

Members of a popular internet forum defended one uncle after he explained how he gets out watching a gaggle of children at every family event.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Low-Ad-1414—otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP—said he served as a sort of designated babysitter for his nieces and nephews for years before he devised a foolproof plan to push the responsibility to someone else.

Titled, "[Am I the a**hole] for intentionally drinking at family events so I'm not forced 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 childless, the original poster said that between his brother and sister, he has five nieces and nephews.

The original poster also said that whenever their separate families come together as one, it has long been his job to make sure everything goes smoothly with the kids, allowing their parents a break to mingle with "the adults."

"Every time I do spend time with my brother and his family, it never fails that he finds a way to dump his [three] kids on me," OP wrote. "Plus...my sister's kids also want to spend time with their cousins so I'm sitting there by myself watching 5 kids aged 4-8."

"It's gotten so blatant...my brother will give me a physical paper list of parental duties, a backpack with stuff for the kids, then turn his phone off in front of me," OP added.

Lamenting that he also attends gatherings to interact with his relatives and catch up with loved ones, the original poster said that he is childless on purpose and that recently, he found a way to not get stuck as the de facto family babysitter.

"I don't go to these family events to be a babysitter so I've just started drinking a bit before I show up and drink a little bit consistently enough to safely say I shouldn't have [five] small children in my care," OP wrote.

"Since these times are really the only times my brother sees me, he thinks I'm a drunk and [is] spreading rumors as such," OP added.

Although family members are often willing to assist parents with childcare, expecting family members to do so is an entirely different story.

Across numerous forums including Quora and parenting-specific BabyCenter, parents and their relatives have discussed family childcare, reaching a near-consensus that while help from grandparents, uncles, aunts and other relatives is always helpful, expecting family to step into (often free) babysitting roles is unfair and likely to cause tension and resentment.

"I don't EXPECT family to babysit," one mother wrote in a BabyCenter thread. "I ask and hope that they will say yes."

Recently, Newsweek has reported on multiple Reddit threads detailing pushy parents who believe it's their family's duty to watch their children, including one couple who forced their daughter-in-law to babysit every time they were together and another childless couple who, similar to the original poster, used alcohol as an excuse to avoid watching all of the children at a family reunion.

Man overwhelmed by nieces and nephews
Members of Reddit's r/AmITheA**hole defended one uncle who said he was forced to devise a plan to get out of babysitting his siblings' children at every family event. fizkes/iStock / Getty Images Plus

And like parents who draw the line at asking family to babysit, rather than insisting or demanding, many Redditors responding to the original poster believe that familial expectations are a main source of contention.

"You can do whatever you want at family parties BECAUSE you don't have kids," Redditor u/mynameisfritz wrote in the viral post's top comment, which has received more than 8,000 upvotes.

"I would maybe tell [your brother] that you're not available to babysit at parties and he should plan accordingly," they added.

Redditor u/NatashOverWorld, whose comment has received more than 2,000 upvotes, echoed that sentiment.

"[Not the a**hole]," they began. "This is just your brother using you without any thought to you as a person. Get your drink on."

"You're not the family babysitter," Redditor u/HistoricalInaccurate added. "They can watch their own kids."

In a separate comment, Redditor u/UnencumberedChipmunk advised the original poster that while his drinking strategy has worked recently, he'll have to confront his brother and sister eventually.

"If need be, be blunt," they wrote. "Tell him, 'I am not their babysitter...I will not be in charge of watching the kids today.' And walk away.

"You're not a glorified babysitter, and you're not a kid brother who is hanging out with other kids," they added. "You're an adult and he's not treating you as one."

Newsweek reached out to u/Low-Ad-1414 for comment.