A mom on Reddit got more than she bargained for when she allowed her 10-year-old daughter to bring a friend over to their house to play. The pal, a girl who lives two blocks away, showed up with some uninvited guests—her little brother and two little boy cousins.
The mom, who goes by the username mother_in_law_, took to the online forum to rant about the incident, which left her frustrated with the friend's mom. Instead of getting work done as the two tweens played, the mom "was stuck babysitting five kids."
Supervising just one child is hard enough, and offering to watch someone else's kid during a playdate is already extremely kind. For the other kid's parent to take advantage of that kindness by sending along additional kids, without a head's-up, is just bad form.
In the end, the OP sent the boys back, but not before cleverly making them some lemonade first "to sweeten the rejection." "The girls are good friends and I want to remain civil with the neighbor," she wrote.
Redditors took to the comments section to express their shock. User csmith2019 wrote, "Wow. Just wow. That’s all I’ve got. I’d send them back, how rude. This woman expects you to be her babysitter and be responsible for four extra kids without even getting your consent? That’s just ... Wow." Another user wrote, "Send her an invoice for babysitting. Lol!"
Not everyone, however, felt like the OP did the right thing. User blitherzelle wanted to give the friend's mom the benefit of the doubt: "If the cousin was visiting his girl cousin, when your daughter invited her friend over, then of course the other kids would attend also. Maybe plan the playdate invites for times when cousin is not over or when brother has plans too or something. Communicate with other mother too, like say, 'Oh my daughter is looking forward to a girls day, etc.' The other kids were probably like, 'Can we go too?' and the mom just said, 'Yes, OK, go.'" Blitherzelle also pointed out the safety issues in sending the little brother and cousins back on their own.
Still, many came to the OP's defense. "How in the world is OP supposed to be aware of her daughter’s friend’s brother’s and cousins’ plans so as to time invitations to avoid those plans? The burden here is not on OP, it’s on the other mom," user reddittatertot wrote. "It’s pretty standard in my book that anybody apart from your child’s friend is not included in the invitation. If the friend’s parent wants to send other children, it is extremely rude not to ask."
Perhaps most notably, however, were the comments that detailed worse incidents of parents ditching their kids and leaving them under another mom's supervision.
User pacificnorthwest972 wrote that her child's best friend's mom pulled the same thing on her before—dropping them off at her front door and driving off. Like the OP, she too made sure to react quickly. "I put the kids in my car and drove straight back to her house and dropped them off," she wrote.
Redditor SporkWolverine wrote that when they were young, the next-door neighbors would leave their daughter and son at their home to play, but their stepmother "couldn't send them home because their parents would leave right after they came over." The neighbors really pushed it one Friday evening, though, when they left their daughter in front of their house at 7 p.m. to tell the stepmother that her mom already left and that she could spend the night. "The best (worst?) part was that the girl had A SLEEPOVER BAG WITH HER because she fully expected that my stepmother would just be fine with her staying the night on a moment's notice. But no, she just let her stay and watched next door like a hawk, and the second an adult appeared she sent the girl home. I don't know what my stepmother said, but neither of them ever came over again."
If you thought that was terrible, it gets worse. User faith_got_fangs wrote that one of her closest friends from high school married an "awful woman," and that the friend and the woman once dropped off her four kids at their house to play for a few hours, "so they could take care of some semi-serious adult-type business." The few hours turned into the kids staying the night, which faith_got_fangs was fine with at the time. "Four days later, I dropped the kids off at his sister's place."
For Redditor fuzzyoctopus97, she had to threaten involving the authorities when a mom tried to leave her four kids with her overnight, when she only gave permission for one child to stay over. "The mom dropped off the girl as well as ALL her younger siblings, that were 7, 6, and 3, all with overnight bags. I called and texted their mother to come get them. She ignored me until I told her that she had about five minutes to contact me before I reported her for child abandonment. And what do you know, this was all a huge misunderstanding, and when my daughter invited over her 10-year-old friend, obviously she meant to invite over all her siblings as well. If the woman had actually said something we could have come to an agreement as adding more kids to the mix in my house has never been difficult and I would’ve been fine, but she dumped them on the sidewalk and ran."
Securing childcare can be tricky, but leaving your kids with another parent without asking, is never OK.