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Mom refuses to 'kid swap' with brother over Christmas, 'I’m not letting you borrow my child.' AITA?

Mom refuses to 'kid swap' with brother over Christmas, 'I’m not letting you borrow my child.' AITA?

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"AITA for saying I won’t 'kid swap' over our Christmas holiday?"

I (32f) have a brother, “Charles” (38m) who has a girlfriend, “Claire” (35f). Claire has a daughter, “Ruby” (8f), who has additional needs (this will be relevant), and I have a daughter “Bea” (4).

We are all, along with my mine and Charles’s parents, going to be on a family holiday over Christmas. Claire was originally not bringing Ruby as she was meant to be staying with her father but her dad is a flake and canceled so Claire is now bringing her.

For some context, Claire loves my daughter, which is great. She will volunteer to babysit her (I don’t need babysitting as I’m a SAHM and my mother is nearby for emergencies) unprompted, and whenever we see her at events she always wants to play with Bea.

Bea loves her and it’s nice to see, but it is noticeable how she will spend a whole afternoon fussing over Bea even when me and my husband are perfectly capable of looking after her. But again, she’s great with Bea so we don’t mind.

A couple of days ago Claire and I were texting about what to pack for the trip as I was lending her some clothes. During this, I sent her a picture of what I was packing for Bea to give her some idea of what Ruby would need, and Claire said she was really looking forward to seeing Bea.

She then suggested for a couple of days during the holiday we do a “kid swap” where we babysit each other’s kids for the day. I was immediately not keen on this idea, as I have only met Ruby twice and I know nothing about her needs or how to properly look after her.

Also, I come on holiday to spend time with my child, not farm her out to other people. I skirted around the issue, saying we could definitely do things together but Claire kept pushing me to agree. She wanted her and Charles to take Bea for a day to go ice skating.

This back and forth went on for a while before I finally said no, I’m not letting you borrow my child, you already have one. Claire said I was being unfair and that she deserves a break and to have an enjoyable holiday, too. She then said she didn’t want to borrow my clothes anymore and stopped texting me.

Charles is now saying she’s very hurt that I won’t let her take Bea out, and that Claire adores her. I said that’s not the point, I’m not comfortable caring for Ruby on my own and frankly I find it a bit odd that Claire’s idea of a break from parenting involves babysitting.

Charles says I’m massively overdramatizing and that babysitting Ruby for a few hours doesn’t need a degree and I should just help Claire out. Now I’m wondering if he’s right. AITA?

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

000-Hotaru_Tomoe said:

NTA. The problem is not only that Claire wants to borrow Bea for a while, the problem is that she wants you to take care of her child with special needs, a child who you don't know (and Ruby doesn't know you and could be uncomfortable around people she doesn't know well) and don't know how to care for.

Now, without wanting to sound too cynical, do you get the impression that Claire somehow resents Ruby in any way, and would like to have a daughter like Bea instead? Her attitude around your child is strange, at best, and it looks like that Claire has something to unpack with a professional therapist.

Frankly, I'd be quite uncomfortable too, leaving my daughter with a woman who seems slightly obsessed with her.

spookobsessedscot said:

NTA. I know some people may downvote this, as we can all empathize that a parent who has a child with mental or physical needs/support is naturally exhausted (especially with a deadbeat ex involved who doesn't share the parenting load), but it's unfair to throw a tantrum because you're not getting your own way regardless of the situation.

We see far too many posts, especially on this sub, where family bullying others to conform or submit seems to be the norm. If you aren't comfortable doing something, and for valid reasons, that should be the end of the conversation.

Your brother is seeing his partner's raw emotions and not the full picture, don't let his reaction influence your opinion. Have you discussed this with your OH/mum/close friend? What's their reaction? Are you being supported?

WestLondonIsOursFFC said:

NTA. Claire wants to spend time doing parental activities with a child who doesn't have any special needs. It's not "babysitting" as such - it's substitution as she's unable to do them with her own daughter.

I have a great deal of sympathy for her. She's watching everyone else get the Kodak moments that we all picture before becoming parents, yet they're denied to her with her own child.

However, you are in no way required to help her get those moments at your own cost - not to mention you would be enabling her to exclude her own child in favor of yours.

It's a tough situation for Claire, but ultimately one she has to deal with herself - and not by doing this. I could see her getting possessive of your daughter as well, so you are doing the right thing by nipping it in the bud straight away.

backyardchick said:

NTA at all. This is straight up weird. Doing things together with both kids? Sure, that's something one could agree to. But for a mother to actively leave her own child behind because she needs a break, but then getting another child for the outing, is just strange! Sounds like she'd rather just take Bea home after the holidays, too, and leave Ruby to you. Stand your ground on this!

ellylions said:

NTA "No" is a complete sentence and should be respected. It's not yours, or your child's, job to make her feel better about anything. The disturbing part of this for me is her almost dehumanizing both children for her own experience.

Your brother needs to pay close attention to how she's behaving about this incident because it's exposing how self serving she is in her relationships...just saying.

Ma-Hu said:

NTA. Claire was not being honest about what she wants, which is probably a break from what must be quite hard parenting of her daughter. She needs to say that.

Everyone agreed unanimously with OP here. What's your advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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