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Man won't let MIL babysit anymore after she got lost with their child. AITA?

Man won't let MIL babysit anymore after she got lost with their child. AITA?


'AITA for not trusting my MIL to babysit anymore after she got lost with my son'


My wife (34F) and I (36M) have a 4-year-old son. We both work full-time so he is in daycare 5-days a week. If my wife and I ever have plans that require us to get a babysitter, we have a few options.

My parents are both retired and live a little over an hour away, so they can help either short or longer term. We also have a few trusted babysitters that we use for date nights or shorter events. And my MIL is also available to help, but I have some issues with that.

MIL doesn't work so she's usually available. But she is currently separated from her husband (wife's step-dad) and isn't living at home, she's bouncing around from family member to family member, pretty much couch surfing. She also doesn't drive so anytime we want her to babysit it can be a hassle to work out traveling as some of the relatives she stays with live up to 4 hours away.

Recently, my wife and I attended the wedding of one of my wife's friends about 3 hours from where we live. I wanted to make it a day trip and come home that night, but my wife hadn't seen a lot of this friend group in a while and wanted to make it a full weekend to catch up with people. I agreed depending on whether or not my parents would be able to watch our son.

My parents were busy moving that weekend (they just finished their retirement home) and none of us thought that them watching our son while that was going on would be a good idea. I again suggested just a day trip to the wedding, but my wife wanted her mom to babysit so she could catch up with her friends. She assured me it would be fine and it was 'just a couple of nights.'

At the wedding, my MIL called my wife during the ceremony but my wife didn't answer and called her back. MIL had apparently tried to take our son to the county library which is about 6 miles from our house. She thought it was too far to walk, so she tried to take the bus. She ended up getting lost and didn't know where she was or how to get back home.

It was a whole ordeal with my wife and I trying to get her on the right bus, or as I suggested, download Uber and take one home. It took about 2 hours on the phone before we finally figured it out. After we made sure they were home safe, my mood was not good. I was upset and not exactly in a 'let's party at a wedding' kind of headspace.

My wife picked up on that and asked me what was wrong. I told her this type of thing is exactly why I don't like her mom babysitting because she doesn't drive and this could have ended a lot worse than it did.

My wife said that I am blowing it out of proportion and that nothing bad happened. She said if I'm going to ruin her time with her friends, I should just go back to the hotel, so that's what I did.

I guess she thought I wouldn't actually do that, and she got mad at me for ditching her at the reception. I just needed to cool down and I didn't want to fight with her about her mom while at a wedding.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA. I don't think I trust your MIL with herself, much less a kid.


I sorta put this in the poor planning stage by your MIL. She should have made sure that she knew exactly how to get where she was going and had a back up plan with either uber downloaded or numbers of a local taxi company.

And I admit that's where I'm more on your side than your wife's. Your MIL went 'I'm lost' and her only solution was to call her child. Not- I have this handy dandy phone, how can I use it to get my grandchild and I home.

My problem isn't that she got lost. My problem is that when she got lost, she couldn't problem solve on her own. And I admit that would make me question her a baby sitter.

Things are going to go wrong when you are watching kids. You have to be able to problem solve. NTA.


I think this is the bigger issue OP and wife are ignoring. Mom is clearly not ok navigating the bus system and it took two hours to talk her through Uber. Is she ok to live on her own?

That, her unwillingness to drive, and the perpetual couchsurfing make me suspect Mom's cognitive decline is more than just 'she's irresponsible.'


Sounds like you have a very good reason to be concerned.

I would have left & drove home without my husband. Leaving children with someone who cannot drive & does not know how to navigate/arrange transportation for a weekend is not a good plan. Imo. NTA.


It’s not the getting lost aspect that concerns me…it’s the not planning and the not knowing how to navigate w a small child in tow that’s scary.

If She were to continue to babysit, I’d insist they can’t leave the house without an Uber and if you’re going to go out of town, bring them along and just rent an additional hotel room for them. It sounds like your MIL might have some serious issues (dementia?) and that’s 5he biggest concern.


And what exactly, did babysitting MIL expect OP to do when she got lost a couple of miles from home.

OP was at a wedding, presumably a few hours drive away. Did she expect him or her daughter to drive all the way back and pick her and their child up?

MIL is a grown woman with decades of experience. She should be able to figure out how to get home, or failing that, call a taxi. Obviously problem solving skills are not her forte.

OP, your wife may have grown up and be used to her moms -I’m sorry-incompetence, but you have not. You want a better caretaker for your child. NTA

So, do you think this father overreacted by not trusting or allowing his mother-in-law to care for his child?

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