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AIBU to never babysit?

(64 Posts)
GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 16:44:20

My DSis has 3 children, the older 2 have significant care needs and the youngest is a baby. All 3 still in nappies.
I have 2 children, both older than hers.

I never asked her to babysit and she never has.

I have looked after her older 2 numerous times, including when the others were born, long weekends so she could go away, hair and nail appointments and so on. Maybe once every 6 weeks or so, not all the time.

I have only had the baby once.

I reduced how often I looked after the children when she started expecting it rather than appreciating it and to be honest, I find the older 2 difficult to care for too now that they are bigger.

She and her husband don't work, the older 2 are in school full time and baby goes to nursery once or twice a week but my sister has started to complain that they never get any time off and needs a break. Her sister in law and my mum babysit and she also has a carer that they can pay to babysit.

My husband works full time and I work part time and study part time and our children do a few extracurricular activities so we don't have much free time.

Is it selfish of me to maintain that I don't want to babysit? Should I explain why? There is so much tension between us that I worry we will fall out soon.

M4J4 Sat 06-Apr-19 16:47:15

YANBU. Never explain. Just say you can't help.

Cornettoninja Sat 06-Apr-19 16:49:34

At the risk of sounding uncharitable I don’t think yanbu at all, they sound like they have a decent amount of support to me.

Just keep to the line you have a very full timetable yourself at the moment

Aquamarine1029 Sat 06-Apr-19 16:51:12

You are definitely not being unreasonable. Say NO every time she asks. Her children, her responsibility. You have enough on your plate.

bridgetreilly Sat 06-Apr-19 16:51:16

You don't have to explain. You could start asking her to babysit your children occasionally. That might make the point.

StarTheGirl Sat 06-Apr-19 16:51:19

No, yanbu.

I’m sure three young dcs, two with additional needs IS very hard work, but it sounds like they do get some respite. A lot more than many people do. That’s not to minimise how difficult parenting might be for them, but it’s frankly not up to you to babysit when you obviously are very busy too.

If you were maybe older but still very fit and well, retired with no children at home* I might say it would be nice to help in some other way, even if you don’t feel up to babysitting all three of them. But as it is, I don’t actually think you should be taking on any more.

Maybe someone will be along soon who can be more helpful re where she can go for some extra help if she needs it.

If she ‘falls out with you’ over this, I think that would be a bit ott. They are her children after all.

*Even then, you wouldn’t be obliged to do it.

Drum2018 Sat 06-Apr-19 16:52:22

You are not being one bit selfish. You have helped her out plenty by the sounds of it. Her children are not your responsibility. She chose to have them and she shouldn't ever expect that other people will willingly babysit. I wouldn't go back to babysitting them as she will assume you are happy to do it. How does she never have time off if she and her Dh don't work and kids go to school and nursery? She's taking the piss. Ignore her petty whinging and carry on minding your own kids.

greenlynx Sat 06-Apr-19 16:58:02

How old are your children? I wouldn’t ask her to babysit them she might agree as they are older and easier to cope with . They might even help her playing with their cousins. Does anyone babysit for you, like your mum? Or she mostly busy with your sister’s kids?
I don’t see how DSis can expect you to babysit. It doesn’t look like you have lots of free time ( if any) .

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 17:04:23

Thank you. My DH says IANBU but the guilt trips are hard to take!

I could help and it's hard to say no but being realistic, the older 2 will need lifelong care so there won't even be an end to it.

My children don't need babysitting or that would be a good tactic.

Her life is definitely harder than mine but she also has more help than I ever did and more days/nights out than I did when my children were that young.

I need to stay strong or I'll get sucked back in. Thank you for telling me what I need to hear.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 17:08:24

Sorry cross posted, my children are 10 and 16. I also have older step children that live with us so rarely need anyone to look after the youngest.

While they were young, we either didn't go out, went out separately or went out with the children.

We rarely asked any of our family to help.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 17:18:30

My Dad helped us when our work schedules clashed before we had our ypungest, a few hours a week.
He has helped my sister but infrequently.

My mum helped my sister more in the first year of her being a mum than she has for the duration of mine. I don't mind that though, they are my children and with the medical problems the baby had, I was glad she had the support.

I can not stand how it makes me feel but also, babysitting won't make me feel better as it will bring a whole new set of problems and it won't be enough no matter how often I do it.

She's asked me to have them for a sleep over.

FrancisCrawford Sat 06-Apr-19 17:37:07

You are definitely not unreasonable

You and your DH both work - she and her DP do not.
You have your own DC to look after
They have already got two free babysitters.

Surely she can schedule her nail appointments for when the older two are in school and her DP can look after the baby?

MissConductUS Sat 06-Apr-19 17:38:57

She's asked me to have them for a sleep over.

Next she'll be asking if you can take them on a nice holiday somewhere so she can "get a break".

Neither she nor her DH can work, at all?

FrancisCrawford Sat 06-Apr-19 17:39:00

As for the sleepover - no way!

I bet your house is really busy on weekday mornings. Getting kids off to school and you and DH out to work. The weekend is your chance to take things easy.

Settlersofcatan Sat 06-Apr-19 17:42:07


I would be inclined to ignore the hinting and go for empathy "I know, we feel the same way - between work and looking after our kids, we have so little time! Isn't it hard?"

Margot33 Sat 06-Apr-19 17:46:32

Just say no. If she ever asks why just say, "you don't babysit for me and I still love you!"

SolitudeSometimesIs Sat 06-Apr-19 17:55:32

I have an Autistic child and an NT child. My lovely sister took them once for a day and night and said she could not cope, I have her kids for sleepovers and days out regularly.

Part of being a parent to an ASD child is knowing that there are few people who will mind my children. It’s tough but your sister needs to suck it up, she’s their parent, not you.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 17:56:00

I work early morning shifts a few days a week and study in the afternoons. I also work one of the weekend days.

My husband leaves home around 7.30am so our children tend to get themselves sorted in the mornings, 3 evenings are taken up with sports as are Saturday and Sunday morning.

We now have one night a week where we go for a meal or to the cinema and pay a babysitter if the older children aren't here but never ask my parents or sister.

Our time is busy but well organised and works well for us. I honestly don't know when I would fit in a sleep over though.

My other sisters children sometimes sleep over but they are the same age as my youngest and don't need looking after really, they just all play together and eat me out of house and home grin She has my child round about the same amount and it's more for the cousins to play together not for childcare. I usually fall asleep before the children do as I'm so tired.

Both she and her husband are carers for the children but I think one of them could work at least part time hours. DSis disagrees though. Last time I mentioned it, she said sometimes they both get woken in the night so need to rest the next day and that she couldn't cope with them in the school holidays alone. They do have a lot of hospital appointments for the children but I think one person could take them.

Brienneoftarthiloveyou Sat 06-Apr-19 17:56:24

Agree with the others - just say no, that doesn't work for you. Don't be guilted into anything. If she had no help, then it would be a different story (potentially) but she does have help / support & they are not your responsibility.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:07:52

@SolitudeSometimesIs how lovely that you understand. I've tried and had them for 4 nights before the little one was born. It was hard work and their needs become more difficult to meet as they get bigger and older. I do understand that this is her reality though, that's why I initially tried to help so much.

Both children have autism, are non verbal, have other significant needs, dietary requirements, in nappies and so on. Both can walk but need wheelchairs for any kind of distance. They need specialist equipment in their home, which I obviously don't have here. Add a small baby to the mix and try to imagine how well our home would work in that scenario. I don't think we would be able to keep them safe, unless I roped in my husband and may be another family member.

Their wheelchairs and pushchair wouldn't fit into my car, their is no suitable bedroom, I don't have stairgates and things.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:14:52

Ahhh, i have just realised, I have a week off work booked for next week.

I've earmarked it to finish writing my assignment so that I can only work and not study over Easter while the children are off but I bet that's when she thinks I should have them!

Or maybe during the Easter holiday as DH has 2 days off angry

I think that must be why she's talking about it so much again. I will really have to just be firm and vague.

Chocolateisfab Sat 06-Apr-19 18:19:30

Unfortunately her responsibility. Ime the more you rely on others the less effort you think you can get away with doing yourself. She must know she can manage or why have a baby alongside her dc with additional needs? Not your duty op. She is very lucky she has as much help as it is. Most people don't.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:36:14

The baby wasn't planned but is very much wanted.

DH and I chose to only have 2 (together) as we knew life would be busy enough. If I wanted to look after more children I would have had them.

We had lunch together recently and she make a comment about us being a high income family whereas they have a low income. Coupled with the fact we have an easier life, it feels like resentment is building up on her part but none of these things are things that I can change.

I still feel guilty for it all though sad

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:37:19

I do need to add, she is mostly a lovely sister. She has been very supportive through some tough times and she is a good friend to have.

Chocolateisfab Sat 06-Apr-19 18:39:11

Are they getting all benefit entitlements for the dc?

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