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Man accused of being 'horrible for not babysitting ex's 5 children for free. AITA?

Man accused of being 'horrible for not babysitting ex's 5 children for free. AITA?

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"AITA for not babysitting my ex's children?"

Away-Neighborhood156

I share a 12 year old son with my ex. We broke up amicably when he was 3 months old. We got along fine just after. We were both young and never really worked together and I have zero animosity toward her for the end of our relationship. We co-parented our son well over most of the last 12 years but for 3/4 years now we've had some issues.

Following our breakup my ex has had five other children by five different men and to the best of my knowledge not one of the men is involved in the life of their child. My ex is raising her other five kids alone without help and, as of 2 years ago, she lives in a different city and I have custody of our son, with her getting monthly visitation and more time in the summer.

I used to see my ex's kids occasionally and I'd try to be kind to them. But the more kids she had, the more she would ask for me to "help" with them and I put a boundary down because I did not want to encourage her to keep having more children and to rely on me for financial or childcare assistance.

It started with her wanting money for her kids birthdays or a medical appointment and turned into requests for me to take kids overnight or for me to babysit for her. She was made homeless two years ago after her former landlord sold the house she was renting and the new owner did not intend to continue renting it out.

She left it too late to make other plans and when she was made homeless I was awarded temporary custody of our son, which turned to full custody once she moved to a different city.

Now my ex is asking me to babysit her kids during the day now that school's out and I told her no. My reasons are as follows: it's a three hour drive from her to me and I don't believe she's going to make that drive to and from here every day to pick up the kids, which means I would end up with her kids overnight.

She also expects this for free which is another reason. And finally, she is pregnant again so doing this now only adds to the concern about her leaning on me to be a father to the kids she had with other men.

When I said no we had a fight over this and she told me to think of it as showing my son how to be a kind and caring person and giving her kids the chance to see him more than they do. She told me I need to man up and help her as the father of her first kid. And she laid a huge guilt trip on me which I think has made me question my no now. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:

eye-nein

NTA - Her inability to use birth control isn't your fucking problem. While it would be nice for your child to see their siblings, it's not your responsibility to care for children you had no hand in conceiving. Keep that line in the sand or you'll become more and more liable to kids that aren't yours...

The OP responded here:

Away-Neighborhood156

That's another concern of mine. Especially if she does just leave them with me for days at a time. Plus it's a big ask to go from one kid to six even if I didn't fear she would dump them on me. I do feel somewhat bad that I can't bring myself to step up and do more. It's such a mess and I wish she she wasn't putting so much of this on me.

Immediate-Try544

NTA. You're not responsible for your ex's children with other men. Your primary responsibility is to your son and you’ve been doing that well. Your ex's choices have created a challenging situation, but it's not your job to fix it.

Babysitting her kids, esp. given the distance and her history, is unreasonable. Setting boundaries is important to protect your own well-being and your ability to care for your son. You’ve been kind and supportive, but it’s okay to say no to unreasonable demands.

LouisV25

NTA. NO ONE wants to watch that many kids. PERIOD. Your job is to show YOUR child stability. You teach your kid kindness and caring by showing him how to be on a daily basis NOT BY BABYSITTING.

There is no way you should spread your resources and time so thin that your child is lost in the mix. Your ex needs to be responsible for her decisions and kids. Any burden you take on will negatively affect your kid.

Judging from her decisions, she is not the pillar of morality whose opinions should matter to you. She is damaging her kids yet still having more. PROTECT YOUR CHILD!!!!

RoyallyOakie

NTA...Just say no. You're also showing your son how not to be a push-over. Your ex has put herself in her current predicament, and she needs to find her own way.

rationalboundaries

NTA. I would strongly encourage you to open lines of communication with your son about his mother and half siblings. Once your ex accepts you wont be manipulated into caring for her SIX (smh) other children, she'll start working on your son.

Children love their parents regardless of how little said parents deserves that love. Important to make sure your son isn't experiencing parentification during his visits with his mom. Further, keep close eye on your son's finances because his mother will try to guilt him into taking care of his siblings.

Final_Figure_7150

NTA. Keep repeating no. Don't give an inch, because she'll take a yard. None of those kids are your responsibility. It's mind-blowing she's now pregnant with baby number 7 and is unable to look after the ones she already has. Poor kids.

Trevena_Ice

NTA. It is not your fault that she has more kids with men who are not involved in the live of their kids. Good for your son, that he has you. But this doesn't make you responsible for the other children. And you teach your son to keep boundries. Instead what she teaches him - to not use protection and get knocked up by every one smiling at her.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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