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Uncle refuses to watch sister's kids during 'tragic' emergency so he can 'sleep in'.

Uncle refuses to watch sister's kids during 'tragic' emergency so he can 'sleep in'.


When a childfree uncle felt that he was being unfairly maligned by his sister and brother in law, he came to Reddit for support, asking:

'AITA (Am I the a-hole) for refusing to babysit for my sister despite BIL having a family emergency?'

BurntTexasToaster writes:

I, (37M) and my wife, (33F) have no children. We live in a small, two bedroom house with the second bedroom converted into a game room / “office” for us. My sister (32F) and BIL (35M) have two kids, nephew (8M) and niece (9F).

Both are great kids, love them and would do anything for them. We’ve babysat for my sis and BIL before and had no issues until recently.

On April 7th, Good Friday; BIL got a call that his sister (28F) was in a near fatal car accident along with two of her friends. She had to be airlifted to the hospital. They weren’t sure if she was going to make it so family members were being called in to say goodbye and support the rest of the family.

This happened across the state we live in. Sis texted me around 10:40ish that night, asking if I was awake then called to explain the situation. She then asked if I would babysit the kids over Easter weekend while they travelled across state to be with BIL’s family.

I told her no, I couldn’t. I work in a steel manufacturing plant (she knows this) on a rotary shift and after Easter, on Monday, I would be starting the overnight shifts. I told her that I was going to sleep during the day on Saturday and Sunday to get accustomed to being on third shift.

Wait, so he didn't even need to work that weekend, just 'preparing' for it?

When she asked if my wife would be willing, I again told her no; since she’s going to be doing Easter stuff with her side of the family.

When she asked why I couldn’t just sleep in on Sunday or why couldn’t my wife take the kids with her to the Easter stuff; I snapped back at her that I gave her three reasons why.

Uh oh...

That one, I wanted the weekend to adjust my shift in sleeping schedules and couldn’t do that in one day.

Two, my wife wanted to spend Easter with her side of the family.

And finally, that 'no' is a complete sentence and that’s final.


She got pissed. Said we’ll talk later and hung up. They took the kids and on the way, sis texted me that I’m an a-hole for not taking their tragedy to heart. For not helping them in their time of need. That “it wouldn’t have killed me or my wife to miss a day of sleep or take the kids with her.'

And BIL is pissed at us. He prays we don’t have an emergency and need him cause he’ll say “no” and he’ll want “to sleep in.” I haven’t responded, and we’re currently not speaking to each other.

Going to add: when sis called, my wife was asleep to get up early in the morning to do her family things. Our parents live in another state. Our other brother lives in another country. I don’t know why she didn’t call any of their friends when I refused.

So am I the a-hole for not babysitting my sis’s kids in their time of need?

This is clearly a heartbreaking situation. But is 'No is a complete sentence' an appropriate way to talk to your family in crisis?

Reddit had a lot of thoughts for OP. A LOT.

Altruistic_Duty992 says:

YTA (You're the a-hole). It was a family emergency and his sister was nearly killed, but heaven forbid you should lose a little sleep or your wife has to include some children in her Easter plans. How do you not see that you're the AH?

Katana1369 agrees:

Of course you're YTA. And no you wouldn't 'do anything' for your niece and nephew because when you were needed in an emergency situation you didn't give a f*ck. Plus side you'll probably never have to see any of them again. Hope your wife had a nice easter.

nijmeegse79 adds:

Actually, you now do them harm. Situations like that are not healthy for kids to be around. And the parents can't focus on their sister,grieve and fear. You did not even consult your partner, you decided. Would the weekend be inconvenient and difficult? Yea it would. So what? It's not deadly, just inconvenient. YTA.

But ResponsibleForce7878 sees it differently:

NTA (Not the a-hole) - I don't get why the kids couldn't be with their parents. If OP's wife is expected to take the kids with her, why couldn't they go with their own mother? I know it's a worrying time, but - and I know this is going to sound harsh - the kids' parents won't be involved with medical procedures, so they'll have plenty of time and the kids might even be a welcome distraction!

And Abadatha agrees:

That's the kids Aunt who may be on her death bed. Do they not get the courtesy of saying goodbye too? This is exactly where I am.

colsanders419 speaks from experience:

I know I'll get downvoted to hell for this but I went to a family emergency as a kid around that age. Was it fun and exciting? No. Was I glad I got to go along? Yes. I was there for the family and able to know what was going on. We lived hours away from relatives and the closest ones were all going to be there. No friends to watch us kids. I don't understand why it's so terrible to bring the kids too. NTA.

SeekingBeskar writes:

YTA. I cannot even begin to imagine how terrified your BIL must've been hearing that his sister had to be airlifted to the hospital. The family were literally going to say goodbye.

An emergency like that is far, far more important than sleep, and I'm wondering whether or not your employer would've given you time off for this kind of emergency. If that wouldn't have been possible, would it really have been so much of a hinderance for your wife to take them with her to partake in Easter activities?

I can't imagine my siblings behaving like this if I my husband's family had some kind of emergency like this. How horrifying. Good luck to you if you're ever in an emergency and need their help. This isn't a small emergency. This is a relative potentially dying and people trying to say goodbye.

Violetlight1 speaks for OP's wife:

If my husband didn’t wake me up for an emergency like this so that we could be in the car within 2 mins, I’d be absolutely furious.

TheStoryGoesOn also wonders:

I’d genuinely be curious what the wife’s side of the family would think, knowing they were used as an excuse in this situation. If someone used me as an excuse in a situation like this, I’d also be furious.

No-Advertising9300 comments:

You're right: No IS a full sentence. But sometimes saying no makes you the AH. You can refuse babysit, but this was an ACTUAL emergency. It isn't about them going on vacation or dates. A family member could die.

If I were on BIL's shoes, I would never trust you again, and our relationship would be damaged forever. But alas, I guess your sister isn't that important, nor your niece and nephew.

So, what do you think?

Was OP actually all that bad, here? Or are tensions just running high all around? Sound off in the comments!

Sources: Reddit
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