This Redditor tried to tell her pushy neighbor that she couldn’t babysit her kids, but the mother ignored her and left town anyway. So, she called Children’s Social Care, but now her husband is upset!
Like a Can of Sardines
OP (Original Poster) is a 29-year-old woman with a 27-year-old husband.
They live in a cul-de-sac, where everyone’s house is “too close to one another.” This means that everyone is often mixed up in each other’s business.
From the beginning, OP always had issues with one of her neighbors. This neighbor in question is a mother of six “unruly” children—six months to seven years old—with an almost supernatural knack for talking her fellow neighbors into babysitting for her.
OP noted she is typically the type to say no, but that even she has been roped into babysitting for her “way too many times” due to the mother’s “uncanny skill” with manipulation.
She Came Knocking
Then, her neighbor showed up one day, knocking at OP’s door. At first, OP tried to ignore the knocking and pretended no one was home.
But like the raven from Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, noises continued tapping at her door.
Soon, OP worried the woman would yank the letterbox right off the door, so she reluctantly answered.
A Story Spun So Fast It’s Dizzying
OP opened the door, and then the mother started talking, spilling out sentences so quickly that she couldn’t even decipher what was being said. She did, however, manage to catch that the mother said she’d “be back on Sunday.”
Refusal and Dismissal
She immediately told her neighbor she couldn’t watch her kids, but the mother wasn’t having any of it. She told OP that she already had a taxi waiting for her.
OP tried to grab the woman’s hand to stop her from bailing, but she slipped away. The mother practically bolted to the vehicle and then took off, leaving OP saddled with a motley group of unwanted children.
Stewing in the Injustice
OP was “p*****,” and that was “putting it mildly.” She waited 40 minutes, getting angrier and angrier until she texted the mother.
In the text, she stated that she’d call Children’s Social Care or CSC if she didn’t return and get her kids in 10 minutes.
Third Time’s the Charm
The woman didn’t answer the text, so OP moved on to calling her. The lady didn’t pick up on the first two rings, but finally, on the third, she answered.
Passing off Responsibility
OP told the lady the same thing once more, reiterating that she was unavailable to watch her kids. The mother claimed it was “too late” for her to try and come back as she was already “out of the city,” and if she didn’t want to watch her kids, then she could “drop them off at Jennifer’s.”
Jennifer was a 68-year-old woman with health issues who lived on the opposite side of OP.
That Escalated Fast
OP ignored what her neighbor told her and repeated that if she wasn’t there in 10 minutes, she could pick her kids up from the local Children’s Services Council—if they decided she was a “fit enough mother.”
The lady said a “few bad words” to OP and implied that OP would never actually follow through and report her to the CSC.
OP hadn’t been bluffing. On top of that, she felt like the lady was baiting her, so she contacted the CSC.
Once she was finished on the phone with them, she sent the woman a text informing her that she had indeed followed through on her threat.
Her neighbor called her back and told her that she was already halfway to Blackpool, but that if what OP had said was true, then she’d “murder her.”
OP, unfazed by this, sent the lady a video of Children’s Services picking the kids up; the police were even there, as they often tag along for collecting abandoned children in case something criminal has occurred. While the police were there, they asked OP a lot of questions about the mother.
Marriage on the Fritz
After this, OP and her husband had a huge fight. Her husband had grown up in the foster care system and knew how horrible it could be.
“Right cow, you are,” he said to OP.
Exhaust All Alternatives
OP’s husband was convinced she should have done a better job of declining at the door instead of waiting 40 minutes before calling CSC. He said that OP knew the mother couldn’t reasonably pick them up in 10 minutes after 40 minutes had already passed.
He told OP that she should have looked at her other options, like not answering the door to begin with or running after the mother and hurling the kids into the taxi—anything except giving “silent consent.”
The Accusations Fly
OP’s husband still wasn’t done with her; he added that he felt that OP had done everything on purpose, as the mother had told OP that Jennifer was an alternative babysitter. He demanded to know why she hadn’t taken the kids over to Jennifer instead of calling CSC.
OP stated that, in her defense, she’s not comfortable with handing children over to a third party. Aside from that, “good manners” also dictated that you don’t show up on an elderly lady’s doorstep and dump six “unruly children” on her to deal with for the next few days.
She added that she felt like she’d never be able to “live down the shame” had she done something like that.
Her husband didn’t see things the same way, though. He argued that once she had dropped the kids off with Jennifer, it would’ve ceased to be any of her business and instead have been something between the mother and Jennifer.
Horrors of Foster Care
OP’s husband told her that if anything happened to the kids while they were in foster care, it would be “on her head.” He then expanded on his own personal experiences within the foster care system and what he knew others had gone through, too; ever since, OP has been unable to sleep well.
Her husband left for work without speaking to her, and now she’s torn on whether she should contact Children’s Social Care to say that she “overreacted” or that it was all a “misunderstanding.” She had no idea that foster care could be so terrible and wondered if she should find a way to “make it up to the children and get them out of there.”
The Community’s Pieces of Advice
The community was fast to leap to OP’s defense and be outraged at how neglectful the mother was.
One user said, “Not the a**hole. A couple of points here. One, it’s not the first time she’s done something like this, and it’s not like she even spoke to you about it beforehand. Two, she’s literally dumping six kids on a neighbor for an entire weekend, and just assuming you’d be free to look after them is a bit much. Also, Wednesday through Sunday isn’t just a weekend away; that’s most of the week. She’s absolutely taking the p*** if she’s not giving you money for looking after them. How come the eldest kids aren’t at school? I’ve only got one child, and I’d never dream of doing something like that.”
Redditors were also quick to notice how OP’s husband was fine with her dumping responsibility on someone else and not offering to help himself.
“To have went off on her for not wanting to take in six children like that on the fly. He definitely needs therapy. The kids’ mom is responsible for the position she lit her kids in. It’s never a neighbor’s responsibility to watch kids you abandon at their doorstep,” commented one user.
Another Redditor added, “Seriously. Not all foster homes are abusive. It’s really sad he experienced things, but not all are like that.”
What do you think? Should OP have just babysat the kids, or was she in the right for contacting the CSC?
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This post first appeared as She Refused to Babysit Her Irresponsible Neighbor’s Kids and Called CSC on Her When She Dumped Her Six Children on Her. Now Her Husband’s Furious, Calling Her a “Cow!” on Quote Ambition.