Co-parenting after a separation can be challenging and chaotic. It often takes time to sort out what system will work best for everyone involved. Even once families have a system in place, sometimes all it takes is one minor inconvenience to send the whole plan crashing down.
That's what happened to one Reddit user who went to the popular r/AmITheA**hole thread to ask the community whether he was in the wrong for asking his ex-partner to pay him for childcare services. Of course, there's a bit more to the story...
They Have An Existing Custody And Child Support Agreement
The post starts by explaining that the man has "a custody and child support agreement" with his ex-partner, for their 5-year-old daughter. The agreement "has been unchanged for the past 3 years," since the couple broke up.
He goes on to say that he has always strictly adhered to the agreement "to the tee."
He Always Follows The Agreement, But His Ex Is Less Responsible
He says that he's never been late or missed a meeting. He goes on to explain, "I make sure everything else in my life will agree with our agreement because I know that's what's best for [my daughter]."
Unfortunately, his ex-partner does not have the same approach. He says that while his ex has never been an overly organized person, her life seems to be "even more disheveled" since he's no longer around to help.
When Her Babysitter Fell Through She Called Him To Say He Had To Take Their Daughter
The incident in question happened a couple of weeks prior to him making the post. He writes that his ex called him at 7 am to say he needed to come pick up their daughter because her childcare plans fell through and she had to go to work. The problem was, he also had to work.
She told him that her usual babysitter (her mom) was unavailable, and so was her backup sitter (her sister) because of a family emergency in the night. The post continues, "apparently her grandfather fell the night before and had to go to the hospital."
This Is Not The First Time This Has Happened
He explains that since the woman's mother doesn't drive, the sister always has to be available to provide the mom with rides, which is exactly what happened the night their grandfather ended up in the hospital.
He goes on to say that "this is the 3rd time this has happened in the past year. Both of her babysitting options live in the same house," and complications arise when her "backup" sitter is unavailable because she is tied to her "primary" sitter.
He Had Already Asked Her To Prepare A More Reliable Childcare Plan
The man says he's discussed this issue with his ex the last two times it happened, making it clear that she needed to figure out a better backup plan for when her mom is unavailable. The last couple of times he had to watch his daughter unexpectedly he says "wasn't a big deal" because he wasn't working at the time.
But this time was different because he was also supposed to be at work.
He Had To Risk Taking The Day Off Work So He Could Watch His Daughter
After double-checking with his ex to make sure there was no other option for childcare that day, he called his boss to ask for the day off.
He explained his situation and though his boss said it was okay, he reminded him that he was a new employee and didn't have paid time off, and that "in general it doesn't look good for new employees to call-off last minute." The man said he understood and went to collect his daughter.
He Told His Ex That She Owed Him The $100 He Missed From His Day Off Work
When his ex came to collect their daughter at the end of the day he told her she owed him the $100 he lost by not going in to work that day. He said that while he understands it was an emergency, it was her own fault for not preparing a proper backup plan.
He reasoned that "our agreement says I pay you child support to cover partial childcare costs when Sumara is with you, but then I turn around and provide the childcare." He says not working and still paying the support is impossible.
She Freaked Out And Called Her Mom For Backup, But He Didn't Back Down
Her reaction was not what he was hoping for, he said that his ex "BLEW UP" on him, screaming and swearing at him. She then accused him of trying to capitalize on her family emergency and called her Mom on the phone who also began yelling at him.
Nonetheless, he says "I stood my ground and collected my $100."
He Asks The Online Community If He Is In The Wrong For Trying To Teach Her A Lesson
He finishes his post by asking if he's the "as*hole" in the situation, further highlighting that for him it's not about the money, but more about "sending the message that she's not being a responsible parent and she needs to face harsher penalties due to her lack of preparation."
Also, just for clarity, he adds "Grandpa is now fine, BTW."
The Reddit Community Vote That He Is "NotTheAsshole"
People online voted that he was "NotTheA-hole" after reading his story and seeing his perspective. A lot of commenters agreed that at first, they were ready to label him the "AH" in the situation, but there's no way he should have to pay for childcare and also provide it.
This is certainly a situation where he tried the communication route first and it just didn't work out.