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'AITA for refusing to watch my nieces and nephew in an emergency?'

'AITA for refusing to watch my nieces and nephew in an emergency?'


"AITA for refusing to watch my nieces and nephew in an emergency?"

My (29M) brother (35M) Jim, and his wife(Sue 32F) have three kids under the age of 7. Jim and Sue live around 10 minutes from me and I watch my nephew and nieces regularly when Sue goes out or needs a break.

Jim works night shifts and can’t have his phone on him due to the nature of his job. A few weeks ago Sue showed up on my door with the kids asking me to watch them at around midnight. She said her mom had been taken to the hospital (her dad was there as well) and she needed to go see her.

I said no due to the fact that I was drunk and had smoked just before they has arrived (I didn’t know they were coming). It was a weeknight but I’d had old friends in town and we had been catching up at the bar. I don’t usually drink much and not at all during the week but I’d had about four beers and was almost stumbling and obviously drunk. I also am not known to smoke socially as it really makes me tired and quiet and I usually just smoke and go straight to bed as it helps me sleep.

Sue begged me to change my mind as it was an emergency and she said her kids were all going to be asleep anyways (but at the moment they were all awake on my doorstep). I told her I couldn’t and closed the door even though she was crying as I didn’t want the kids to see me in that state.

She blew up at me via text around an hour later as she’d finally gotten ahold of Jim to come home. She’s calling me a selfish monster as her mom could have died and she wouldn’t have been able to say goodbye since I refused to watch her kids who would have just slept anyways.

I don’t think I was in any state to watch the kids and I get it was an emergency but I don’t want to be drunk and high in front of my nieces and nephews. If they needed anything I don’t know that I would have been sober enough to take care of them.

Jim is also upset that he had to leave work and come home and mad that I said no and told me he’d never be there for me in an emergency if this is how I am going to treat them. They haven’t allowed me to see my nieces and nephews since “because obviously I don’t care about them” according to Jim and Sue.


I did tell Sue at the door that I was not sober and that’s why I wasn’t comfortable watching them. AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

jfb01 said:

NTA. Jim is a father...that's his responsibility to take care of his children. Not yours, especially since you were not sober. Sometimes parents have to leave work for emergencies. That's part of being a parent.

Lunar-Eclipse0204 said:

NTA - You are not free unexpected child care, what would she have done had you not even been home? It's their jobs as parents to have a plan for these types of situations, and to make more than one option!

EnergyThat1518 said:

NTA. You were drunk and not sober and apparently the only responsible adult still. I feel like Jim and Sue are maybe used to relying on you too much if they are getting so pissy about the one time they got a no from you and are projecting a lot in saying you don't care about their kids.

I feel like THEY don't care about their own kids and are upset that parenting isn't always fun or easy or convenient. Jim and Sue sound like the type of parent that doesn't actually like the difficult situations like this of parenting where your kids are constantly dependent on you at all times, even hard difficult times, and you can't just switch off from being a parent when they are inconvenient and not fun to handle.

Sue COULD have taken them to the hospital with her and CHOSE to wait until she could get Jim to rather than trying nearby friends or just going to the hospital. You weren't the only option around, just the only pushover they thought they could force into doing it at a moment's notice me thinks.

Like, they didn't care it wasn't safe. Their attitude was that the kids are actively hinderances for needing care and adult supervision, and you should have said yes anyway, safety be damned.

fallingintopolkadots said:

NTA for saying no in your state, but did you inform her in the moment, even if it was via text message that the reason your answer was "no" because you'd been drinking and felt yourself in no condition to care for small children, not because you didn't care or lack of love.

ImaginaryStandard293 said:

Who TF doesn't at least call first? Especially at midnight. You could have been out for the night or needed sleep for work. You didn't actually owe her any explanation for not watching the kids. It is not your responsibility to take the kids at all.

For her to be fine leaving 3 young kids with someone who was admittedly drunk and high is just horrible parenting. It is also a dangerous situation as you would not have been in a state to handle emergencies had one come up. Your brother can complain all he wants. Those are HIS kids and HIS responsibility. Having to leave work for emergencies is something that happens, not only with kids. NTA.

makethatnoise said:

NTA. You are not their childcare plan. Jim is upset that he what, had to be a father and husband?

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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