My fiancé and I do not have children but do absolutely love kids; we have my nieces and nephews over nearly every weekend to stay the night although Julie’s child has never been allowed to join. Julie’s daughter has never had a babysitter outside the family, and any time she has been watched by us or by anyone else it has been for less than an hour. My question is: Am I being selfish by wanting to have a kids-free wedding? Or is she being selfish by refusing to use a babysitter for a few hours? — Hopefully Not a Selfish Bride
Come on, you already know, as validated by numerous other people, including your six sisters, all of whom have kids, that there’s nothing wrong with planning a kid-free wedding. I think what you’re really asking is whether Julie’s being selfish by refusing to leave her 5-year-old with a babysitter so she can attend your kid-free wedding, and the answer is… I don’t know. It’s odd that in five years she’s never left her daughter with a sitter she isn’t related to, and it’s stranger that she’s never left her for longer than an hour even with relatives. So, obviously, there’s some kind of issue going on. Whether that issue is with the 5-year-old daughter and something going on with her that would make Julie especially nervous about leaving her with anyone, or if there’s an issue with Julie that she can’t trust anyone else to care for her perfectly healthy and normal child, I don’t know.
Whatever the issue is, you shouldn’t take it personally. I can understand why you’re disappointed and maybe hurt, but, since Julie has never left her kid with a babysitter, you should know this isn’t a matter of her simply not wanting to be at your wedding. In fact, this situation reminds me of a recent forum post from a DW reader whose fear of flying and recent bouts of panic attacks have led her to make the decision to skip her sister’s destination wedding. I bet Julie is feeling just as conflicted about her decision(s) and hates that she’ll miss her brother’s wedding.
For the sake of your relationship with her, and with your entire extended family of in-laws, I would urge you to be gracious and let Julie off the hook. Tell her you would love to have her at your wedding and you have a capable and responsible babysitter lined up for her daughter should she change her mind and decide to leave her in a sitter’s care, but also that you understand that, if she’s never left her alone with a babysitter before, it’s probably a nerve-wracking decision to do so now. Tell her you won’t hold it against her if she can’t make your wedding, that you look forward to being her sister-in-law and becoming her daughter’s aunt, and that you will have other opportunities in the future to celebrate together. Missing her for one day is a small price to pay for fostering a harmonious lifelong relationship with her.
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