Babysitting is hard work that is often underpaid, and when things go sideways it is much more serious than a lot of other jobs—kids lives are at stake. That’s why Redditor u/Electronic_Professor questioned the choices they made when a delinquent mother kept making her job harder.
“AITA for calling the police on my client?” she asked, which admittedly sounds pretty bad. She says she’s 28 years old and babysits on weekends for extra cash. One of the families is with a single mom who has a habit of never being home on time:
She used to not give me return times but finally I started asking as it made it impossible to get anything done on the weekends. I’d go babysit so she could go to “brunch” but she’d be gone from 11 AM to 7 PM. My whole day was gone. After that, she’d start giving me times but never stick to them. She wouldn’t even call to tell me, she’d just stay out.
Things came to a head on a Saturday when OP arrived at the house at six and was told the mom would be home by nine. She told the mother that she really had to be back when she said she would be, because the OP had her own plans that evening. The mom promised.
Of course, 9:00 rolls around and she’s not home. I call her, no response. Text, no response. Another hour. Nothing. Still calling and texting. Finally, it is midnight. By this point, my plans are long ruined but I’m pissed and exhausted. I call her and leave a voicemail saying if she’s not home in the next hour, I’m considering the kids abandoned and calling the cops. I also text her this.
I try calling her 30 minutes later and it goes to voicemail on the second ring, I text her again and she leaves me on read. If she had reached out saying “Hey, I’m staying out until x time”, I would’ve stayed. I don’t know any of her family nor the father of the kids so I can’t call them. I gave her a grace period of 15 minutes and tried calling again, finally called the cops (non-emergency line).
They showed up and I showed our agreement in text from earlier in the week confirming that she’d be home by 9. They try contacting her, didn’t answer. I was dismissed and they took the children to the police station. I go home and go to bed.
I am awoken at 3 AM by a frantic call. It’s her. Where are the kids? Why am I not here? I tell her I followed through on my threat, check the police station. She cursed me out, I hung up and went to bed.
The next day, she sends me an essay saying the kids’ father was called and there’s a DCF investigation launched against her. She called me every name under the sun but I didn’t think I was wrong until I spoke to a friend with kids. She said I should’ve just waited it out and refuse to ever sit for her again. She asked if her potentially losing her kids was worth me being petty.
Is this really petty, though? The alternative would be for her to suck it up and then never, ever return to babysit for this woman again. But most commenters thought the OP did the right thing, even if it was just pettiness, because a mom who doesn’t respond to texts or phone calls is being neglectful and possibly putting the kids in a really dangerous position.
Many commenters said that if the OP had a real emergency, and the mom was unreachable, it could be a huge issue. This is clearly a pattern of behavior, and staying out so late on the regular might point to substance abuse. Also, if there’s nothing else on her record it’s pretty unlikely her children will be taken away over this one incident.
Sometimes pettiness is the best motivator.