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Dear Wendy

Feeling pressured to babysit sisters kid overnight

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  • #755765 Reply

    The problem here is grandma butting into this issue between sisters and neither grandma nor sister having any respect for LW’s schedule, because she isn’t a mom. I’d say suck it up if this were just a one-off, but I think this will just be the prelude the sister and her mother tandem teaming against her to get free baby sitting and schedule flexibility for sister at her expense. Sister is clearly the favored sib, because “grandkids!’.

    #755770 Reply

    No one is forcing you to babysit. If you don’t want to, then say you have plans.

    This is something that isn’t going to have a black-and-white answer.

    It seems like the sister is getting sort of unfairly pegged as lazy and rude because of the mom’s behavior.

    I’m glad that you clarified your opinion of your sister’s parenting, LW. For the record, I don’t think anyone twisted your words. You said you thought she didn’t like to spend time with her kid, which would generally speaking not make someone a great mom. I understand that maybe having a babysitter in your family was not normal, but getting a babysitter sometimes to do things other than work is OK.

    #755773 Reply

    @Ron, the mom didn’t butt in. LW went to the mom expecting her to take her side and is outraged that she didn’t.

    #755778 Reply

    She might be right honestly – does anyone really enjoy being around their children 24/7? Everyone needs a break sometimes – doesn’t make her a bad mom, just human. Regardless, I see both sides but your sister and mom seem to think you owe her free childcare. You don’t.
    Agreed it sounds like the sister might be getting favoritism because grandkids! It’s nice to help out but you certainly don’t have to, especially since clearly have a lot going on yourself. If it helps, overnight visits really are easier. But as someone whose dog also doesn’t like children (which is totally understandable), I know what a pain it is. If you decide to babysit, you could just keep your dog in your bedroom until the kid goes to sleep (early bedtime!). Just a suggestion.

    #755781 Reply
    Avatar photoLucidity

    I think you kind of have to do it at this point. You could have said no, but instead you said “I have plans but if absolutely no once else can help out let me know.” You essentially agreed to be her back-up plan, and now she needs to use her back-up plan. Keeping your word is the right thing to do. In the future, if you don’t want to babysit for her, give her a firm no when she asks, right away: “I’m not available that day/time. You’ll have to make other arrangements.”

    ETA: I’m not that comfortable/great around kids either, but lately I’ve been helping a friend who is going through a separation by babysitting for free occasionally when she needs someone last minute, since her finances and schedule are a mess right now. She lives an hour away, and sometimes I just do. not. want. to go. Afterwards, though, I feel really good about myself for doing something so selfless. As a bonus, the more time I spend with her kids, the better I’m getting at being around kids in general. You might find that this is both an opportunity to bond with your nephew and to feel good about yourself.

    #755788 Reply

    I’m not saying that not wanting to be around your kids 24/7 makes you a bad mom. I don’t think anyone has brought up an expectation of being around one’s child 24/7 anyway. But to use your assumption to imply that their dislike for being around their kid is driving them to seek unnecessary child care (to the point where you don’t think they deserve help with babysitting one night) is different and has a different tone.

    I guess I’m surprised that a lot of people are focusing on whether a person is “owed” child care. Technically, no one is “owed” anything. I tend to give my family and friends a little more than what is the absolute minimum I owe them though. They also don’t “owe” anything I may ask them for in the future, like help moving or a ride home from a surgery, so doing things for them even if I’m not legally required to helps make for a reciprocal relationship.

    #755791 Reply

    LW – Does your sister do any favors for you? You are sort of backed up into babysitting this time. Your mother said you were selfish, well if having to cancel plans and then going through the hassle of getting a dog sitter for something where someone had THREE weeks notice is a strange definition of selfish. Will your sister pay for boarding the dog? Face it, your sister thinks she is entitled. A last minute emergency is one thing, we should all help out but this is not the case here. The next time she asks and you do not wish to babysit just say you are not available, and refuse any more explaintion. Repeat as need be. Babysit when you want to.

    #755793 Reply
    Avatar photoSkyblossom

    At this point you need to do it because you said you would be the backup babysitter if she absolutely needed it. So now she has said she needs it. In the future don’t agree unless you are actually saying yes. It would have been fine to say that you already had scheduled plans and couldn’t do it. Other people, including your mom are telling her no. I’m curious as to why it is okay for everyone to expect you to change your plans but not your mom to change her plans?

    It is very fair to ask your sister to pay for whatever it might cost to get someone to take care of your dog. She should also pay for dinner and breakfast. If you had any deposits down for a campsite then she should also cover any cost you might have already paid. She should pay any financial cost associated with you babysitting her child.

    Does your sister reciprocate the help she receives in any way? Does she help you out from time to time in some way or do you feel that all help goes to your sister and none comes from her?

    Do you feel your nephew could use more positive attention from the adults in his life? If the answer is that you feel that he is sometimes neglected I’d consider being there for him for no other reason than he needs it. Sometimes children are neglected and having an adult care enough to be actively engaged in their life makes a huge difference in the quality of their childhood which affects their entire life. If you think your nephew needs it consider being there for him for his sake, not for your sister. He’s an innocent child who didn’t ask to be born and didn’t choose his mom. Sometimes you help the child in spite of the parent because the child needs it and deserves it.

    #755794 Reply

    Good that you decided to do it. At 25, you may well decide to have kids at some point and now you can call in babysitting favours.

    It is important to help your family. It’s clear you not only just don’t want to but also that part of why you don’t is that you feel taken advantage of. Next time, just say sorry but you have plans that you can’t change. You could even suggest she explore changing her shift, since you seem to think that’s viable.

    #755798 Reply
    Northern Star

    It’s a one-time request to just watch your little toddler nephew for a few hours until he goes to bed (that’s what overnight means—he’ll be ASLEEP, and you can sit around watching Netflix and relaxing to your heart’s content once he’s in bed). And you really, really don’t want to do it to the extent that you start laying out the case for your sister as an absent, irresponsible, and uninterested mother.


    #755799 Reply
    Avatar photoSkyblossom

    There is no guarantee that her nephew sleeps through the night. There is no guarantee that he won’t be missing his mom and his dad and his grandma and will have trouble going to sleep. There is no guarantee that he won’t be up multiple times in the night. I would never assume that an overnight with a toddler will be easy.

    #755806 Reply

    @dinoceros yes!! Exactly. And @ridgebacklover… I see where you are coming from and i could totally agree with you but the fact of the matter is she agreed and is now making excuses to back out and while making the excuses tried to imply that the mom doesnt even want to be around her child which implies bad parenting. @LW thank you for clarifying. I dont mean to be ugly by saying you come off a non compassionate but you did to me. Thats family not some strangers child. At 20 i wanted to hang with my friends all the time too so i understand but when family calls sometimes you just need to be there. This is ONE time. The next times just say no and you dont even have to give a reason. And im also agreeing eith others as well on their points.

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