As an aunt, it can be a joy and a privilege to be a part of a child’s life and watch them grow. A sibling’s child is basically your own, and it is just as joyous to see the child grow and succeed. Redditor u/Key-Rabbit-232 took it upon herself to care for her nephew.
But being an aunt to her three-year-old nephew Junior has come with its own set of challenges. These challenges stem from the “real” parents' behavior around the boy.
Before Junior Was Born
When Junior’s parents, John (26) and Amy (24), found out they were expecting, they were terrified about telling their parents the news. In a moment of emotional vulnerability, OP promised them that no matter what happens, she would always be there for them and their child. This promise was renewed when Junior was born prematurely, and everyone was scared about his uncertain future.
But now, almost three years later, OP finds herself resenting her brother and sister-in-law for constantly assuming that she can be an on-call babysitter and emotionally pressuring her into caring for Junior. Whenever OP expresses her feelings, John and Amy throw her promises back in her face, and other family members chastise her for making them in the first place.
OP’s love for Junior is genuine, but her brother and sister-in-law’s constant demands and pressure have led her to consider going to Child Protective Services the next time they drop Junior off at her door. However, she is too scared of how this would affect Junior, so she never goes through with it. Additionally, OP is one of the few people Junior responds well to. Other relatives use this as an excuse to pressure her.
Due to OP’s work schedule, John and Amy have had to put Junior in daycare. But, even then, Junior has been having a hard time adjusting. More than once, the daycare workers have had to call OP to try and get Junior to calm down. OP works close to the daycare and has stopped by on her lunch breaks to spend time with Junior a couple of times, which has helped. OP is also the one who almost always picks Junior up at the end of the day.
This has led other people to think that OP is Junior’s mom. Even Junior himself has developed the habit of calling OP “mama.” This all came to a head when John and Amy took Junior to a gathering on Amy’s side of the family. Junior started calling OP by her name, and when he asked for his “mama,” he meant OP. He told everyone that he didn’t like living with Amy because she doesn’t make “dinnycakes” (dinosaur-shaped pancakes), doesn’t put him to bed right, doesn’t color with him, and that OP gives better hugs. Amy was humiliated and angry at OP and demanded that she give a public apology and correct Junior whenever he calls her “mama.”
OP was furious and refused, telling John and Amy that if they wanted Junior to see Amy as his mom, she needed to act like it and stop leaving him with OP to take care of.
Reddit Chips In
u/chaenorrhinum thinks OP is NTA and believes Amy should take responsibility.
“NTA – it sounds like they’ve abdicated parenting and are now reaping the fruits. Kids go through phases where they call parents by what they hear other people call them – their name. Amy should correct that if she wants to be called mama. You should probably correct your nephew when he calls you mama to avoid confusing other adults. But you don’t owe anyone an apology.”
u/Brownvodka06 believes John and Amy are not trying to bond with Junior.
“NTA. They aren’t making efforts to bond with him. They push you to do THEIR responsibilities which I think is unfair. They are taking advantage and gaslighting you by throwing in your promise. They need to understand that you being there for them does not mean that they can make use of your time and energy whenever they want. They’re acting more like junior’s aunt and uncle rather than the other way around. You’re being considerate, but they’re taking advantage of you”.
Being an aunt can be a wonderful experience. Still, it can also be challenging, especially when the child’s parents constantly pressure the aunt to take on responsibilities that should be theirs.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Boloere Seibidor, fondly called B.S. is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics to cover include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sites. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.