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Aunt Admits She Lets Her Brother's Kids 'Go Hungry For A Little' While Babysitting — Now She Wonders If She's Wrong

Photo: Drazen Zigic | Shutterstock
girl sitting on mother's lap while she is feeding her at dining table.

A woman is defending her decision to refuse to feed her brother's kids until she's ready to cook them something.

Posting to the subreddit "r/AmItheA--hole" (AITA) — a forum where users try to figure out if they were wrong or not in an argument that has been bothering them — she explained that she often babysits her brother's two children while he's at work.

"My brother started a job that will need him to travel for up to a few weeks at a time. He's widowed and has two kids. The job is great for him and the kids, but obviously, [the] kids have to go to school," she wrote in her Reddit post.

She pointed out that she doesn't mind taking care of his children, especially since she works from home and lives quite close to them.

However, there is one problem her brother has when she watches his children.

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She admits she lets her brother's children 'go hungry' while she babysits them.

The woman explained that because she is on the autism spectrum and has ADHD, she needs to do things in a certain way "otherwise it won't work for me."

One of those things is cooking—she has to cook meals on certain days or else "it will all fall apart."

According to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), meal planning and cooking can be a challenge for people living with ADHD.

Preparation, time management, decision-making, and following multiple steps are all skills involved in creating any meal, which can frustrate many people with ADHD, and they often have to come up with their own system for tackling the responsibility of cooking meals.

"I quite literally have my meals planned out 3 weeks ahead," the woman admitted.

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Because of this, when she babysits her brother's children, she often has them skip both lunch and dinner because they don't like the food that she'll prepare for them in advance.

"I didn't get angry at them or anything, I just told them they didn't have to eat if they didn't want to so they went and played on their tablets both times."

When the kids got hungry around 10 p.m., she heated up their prepared dinner, but they simply picked around it and wouldn't eat.

"[On] the second day, [the] same thing happened but they ate all of the lunch I made. After that, they pretty much just ate whatever I already cooked. Minus a few things that they just didn't like such as pumpkin," she added.

When the woman's brother returned home, she asked if, in the future, she would be able to order fast food for them so they wouldn't get hungry, which was something she was explicitly told not to do in the past.

Her brother immediately refuted the idea and became angry when she explained that she wasn't feeding his children for lunch and dinner since they didn't want to eat what she had prepared.

"He got pretty mad when I explained what happened. He called me an a-hole for letting his kids go hungry," she concluded.

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Most people who commented on the woman's Reddit post agreed that she was NTA (Not The A-hole).

"Just have your brother drop off snacks the kids like and set snack time so they won't go hungry for too long. And the backup [peanut butter and jelly] is fine too so they can fix a sandwich," one user wrote.

Another user added, "you didn't let his kids go hungry, you provided them with food that they chose not to eat. Maybe your brother can send meals with them if he's so worried about it."

"Continue to do what works for you and ask your brother to come up with easy, no-prep meals that you can serve if his kids don't want to eat what you've made (like sandwiches, spaghetti-o's, kraft mac and cheese cups)," a third user suggested.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.