A panicked parent has caused a stir online after sharing the troubling situation she claims to have found herself in after her children started asking her if she was their real mum.
Going back to work after having children and leaving your little ones in the care of someone else can be incredibly stressful – as if finding a person you trust enough to look after your kids weren’t already difficult enough.
But one mum-of-two thought she had managed to find a suitable babysitter after her mother-in-law recommended her friend for the job.
The older woman offered to take care of the kids, aged three and four, during the day for free while the parents went to their office jobs and it seemed too good of an opportunity to pass.
Things seemed to be going fine for a few months, better than fine even, but then one of the children began asking her mum some rather baffling questions.
In a post on Reddit’s Am I The A**hole forum, the unnamed parent from the US explains she had to fire the older woman from the babysitter position as she had attempted to convince the kids they were her babies.
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The 26-year-old mum wrote: “I am the mother of two kids and my husband and I both work office jobs. Due to this, we need someone to watch the kids while we aren’t home. We mostly had babysitters but a few months back my mother-in-law suggested that her friend could watch them for free.
“I didn’t really see any harm in it after she kept asking, so I gave in and her friend started babysitting our kids. Everything was perfect for the first few months, she was always on time and always fed my kids and put them to bed at the time I suggested.
“My kids seemed to really like her, but about a few weeks ago my oldest came to me and asked me if I was their real mommy. I was confused and asked her what she meant.
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“Well turns out, MIL’s friend had been telling my kids that they were her babies, and when they protested saying they weren’t, she would yell at them saying that I was just their money maker and that she was their real mommy.”
The woman goes on to say that they immediately hired another babysitter and told the mother-in-law all about the situation and why they wouldn’t be having her friend over anymore as she’d made them “uncomfortable”.
She claims her mother-in-law didn’t take this information very well at all.
“Over the phone she started screaming, saying that quote on quote ‘my friend doesn’t have any kids or grandchildren, so your kids are the closest things she’s had to it, and you’re going to take that away from her?!’
“My husband and I tried to calm her down, but after a bit we just hung up. I received a photo of MIL friend crying on MIL couch later that night.”
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The mum added that she feels “horrible” for upsetting the woman but still can’t get over her behaviour.
So she asked fellow Reddit users for their thoughts on whether she was in the right to do what she did.
More than 900 people have responded to the post sharing their thoughts on the situation, with many agreeing the mum was right to stop the other woman from seeing her kids and were concerned for their wellbeing.
One person said: “NTA. If anything you underacted. Would your MIL ever help your friend see them? To the point of taking the kids behind your back? I’d take them to a few sessions with a therapist. They were clearly confused and the damage this unhinged woman did can run deeper than you know right now. Kids internalize that kind of stuff.”
Another replied: “She claimed ownership of your kids and decided to hide it from you for a long period of time. During this time she viciously yelled at your kids for denying this ‘fact’ and defending you. That’s not a woman whom you want around your kids, she doesn’t sound mentally stable and it makes the kids doubt their identity and be dubious of your motherhood and your relation to them, which is vastly detrimental to them and has the potential to cause further problems.”
A third wrote: “I work as a pro nanny, and this is giving me major heebie-jeebies. If you keep her, one day you’ll come home to your kids gone. Or at the very least, they’ll end up with a serious complex. Kids need safety and security from their parents, and having someone say you aren’t their real mom when you are will hinder their emotional and mental development.”