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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.

Friedspamfritters Sat 06-Apr-19 18:44:44

If she's a nice person in general I'd probably be inclined to think she's probably just exhausted and needs a break. I would decide how much help I was prepared to give (one evening every two months). Then just stick to that and not budge. I imagine they can't have a lot of money to pay for babysitters if neither of them work.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:49:37

Yes, they don't ever seem short of money.
They get what I think is a significant amount of money. They get more a week than I get each month (DH is the big earner). They get higher rate care so have a car, housing benefit, children's taxi to and from school, equpiment provided, nappies supplied and so on.

She does recognise that she's lucky to get the amount she does but it doesn't afford her the lifestyle that we have.

Bagpuss5 Sat 06-Apr-19 18:50:41

You can't stop her feeling resentful. I imagine that I would feel resentful of people who don't have sen DCs if I had two but that's life.
And adult siblings aren't likely to have matching incomes.
I don't know what the answer is if this is how she feels. We have gifted money to siblings in the past as we are better off but that doesn't influence their envy.
I would say that you find it too much so will no longer babysit, she seems to have a lot of support- DH care etc , though it will affect your relationship.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:53:39

She has always been the more demanding one of the family so I don't know where that ends and the actual need for help begins to be honest!

This is also where I find it hard to sympathise, if they need money to pay a babysitter to give them a break more often then they should cut back on some other areas IMO. We did when we didn't have much spare cash.

I don't want to babysit at all anymore to be honest but it makes me feel horrible.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 19:00:29

Thanks, I do think our relationship will become difficult for a while.

Gifting her cash isn't an option (and not one i think she would take) I have several siblings and DH has even more than I do. And we are not that well off. Just more comfortable than other family members.

I might offer to have the baby one afternoon a month, while the others are at school. This would hopefully be manageable and give her and her DH some free time. Plus the baby is a sweetie smile

Happynow001 Sat 06-Apr-19 21:35:04

OP your love for your sister is clear in your post, as is your understandable wariness. Be careful, as it seems your DSis is gearing up to ask you to take her children to suit her needs.

Your life sounds busy enough without the huge challenges she and her DH appear to be trying send your way. It is not her fault she has two SEN children but she and her DH have the help, space and resources (support and benefits) to look after them - which you do not. They need to use these resources wisely.

If you do decide to look after their baby occasionally make sure you set your parameters so that your DSis and BIL are clear how much you are able to do. Don't let this be the opportunity to guilt you to do more than you are able or wish to do. Be strong OP.

And, BTW, YANBU. 🌹

Cherrysoup Sat 06-Apr-19 21:53:04

Be firm or you’ll be sucked back in. Just keep telling her you have work to do. Your house must be full with your own dc plus steps.

GetTheStartyParted Sat 06-Apr-19 22:15:54

Thank you. After discussing it further with DH, he is worried for the same reason so I've decided to just offer the odd day when I'm able to, rather than commit to to an arrangement. He thinks she will make me feel as though I've let her down if I say once a month but then can't one month for some reason.

Sleep overs won't really be possible as the children can't share a room and we only have one spare bedroom, not sure how she was expecting it to happen really.

Hopefully she will appreciate the times I do help and we will all be happy smile

Settlersofcatan Sun 07-Apr-19 13:17:37

Be prepared for her not being particularly appreciative though she should be!

TowelNumber42 Sun 07-Apr-19 14:01:01

I wonder whether you need to tackle the resentment head on. You both have difficult lives in different ways. Bringing that up out in the open in a nonjudgemental way might help you both. She might just need a big vent about how shit her life is right now, with you as a sympathetic listener rather than as a fixer.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 14:03:27

Yeah, I'm not expecting her undying gratitude, just a thank you will do but we will see grin

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 14:09:53

@TowelNumber42 I did wonder if she was just venting and she does always thank me for listening and offer her advice when needed.

I would have thought this was all the latest talk was about until I received this message on Friday...

Thanks, everyone always seems busy in hols & weekends when its hardest, lucky I've got (my husband) here really.
You're always welcome to have any of them anytime and spend a few hours or a day with them or brave a sleepover like you do with the others, understand if it's too hard work but it would be really appreciated x

...Which on the surface is friendly but doesn't address that I already have helped out and that she had 10 years before having her own children and didn't once help me with mine.

I'm always here to listen and help with whatever I can, happily give her a hand when they all join us on days out or visit each other.

wineandroses1 Sun 07-Apr-19 14:30:57

I wouldn’t reply to that message Op. She’s clearly trying to guilt trip you.

StarTheGirl Sun 07-Apr-19 14:33:51

What “others” is she talking about op?

She is trying to guilt trip you here and I also don’t think you should reply to that part of the message. Maybe letting her know you’re always free to talk etc, if she wants a sympathetic ear at least shows you appreciate how hard it must be and that you’re there for her emotionally, but if she wants any more help with childcare she needs to go elsewhere.

Chocolateisfab Sun 07-Apr-19 14:34:37

Honestly? Pretend you have never read the message.

Bookworm4 Sun 07-Apr-19 14:44:12

The 'others' being your able bodied nieces/nephews who are in no way comparable to her 2 who have very complex needs. If I was you I'd offer to take the baby, unfortunately the baby will possibly not get a lot of quality time as he/she grows up as their parents care for the older two. She sounds as if they have plenty support, both her and her husband plus a carer, when the carer is there is when she should take time for herself. Her comment of at least I have my husband is sly, yes she does and plenty women in her situation have nobody to help. Neither of them will work as they'll be better off on the benefits.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 14:45:40

The others are my other sisters children. They are older than her children (10 and 12) and don't need looking after as such, just a supervising adult in the house.

I looked after them recently for my sister, she's a single parent and it's the first time I had them for her to go out in years. They spend time here as our children go to the same school and spend time together.

They also have sleepovers here for the same reason and vice versa, they are friends as well as cousins.

I've resisting answering the message, biting my tongue. I believe my other sister received a similar message, despite the fact that she is a single parent that works full time.

StarTheGirl Sun 07-Apr-19 14:49:14

Ah I reckon she’s a bit envious / jealous then. It might not JUST be about childcare iyswim. Maybe a bit of rivalry with the other sister. Very difficult.

I’d make sure she knows you are there for her in other ways, but do not back down on the childcare.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 14:49:34

I agree that the little one won't get much quality time with her parents. I do plan on offering her sleepovers, days out and things once she is older, for her benefit.

Sindragosan Sun 07-Apr-19 14:50:44

Bollocks to that! Welcome to have them? It sounds like you should be grateful to look after them.

If she was saying, I know they're hard work and you might not have time but we'd appreciate any help you're able to give that's a whole different story.

No special needs here, but 3 close together and it's hard work. I'm grateful for anyone who helps, but its a lot to ask of anyone and I don't pretend its some sort of special treat for their day!

FriarTuck Sun 07-Apr-19 14:51:11

You're always welcome to have any of them anytime..
She's making it sound as if she's doing you a favour, not the other way round! And then adding on the guilt trip like you do with the others
Bugger that. That would just put my hackles right up. I'd ignore it.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 14:54:15

Very possibly but other sister has also provided babysitting without receiving any in return.

When one child was in hospital for up to 6 weeks at a time, my mum, sister and I have shared care of the other so that she and her husband can concentrate on the child that needs them most. Choosing to have a baby on top of all this just made me see that she isn't taking responsibility and is making her own life more difficult whilst expecting us to pick up the pieces.

Drum2018 Sun 07-Apr-19 14:54:43

Ok after that message I wouldn't be inclined to offer babysitting them at all, including the baby. She is manipulative and trying to guilt you which is extremely unfair. She has support, has time to herself when kids are at school/nursery, has Dh there to stay with kids if she needs more time to herself so what more does she want? I'd also ignore that message as it will only draw you in further to her manipulation.

StarTheGirl Sun 07-Apr-19 14:56:31

Choosing to have a baby on top of all this just made me see that she isn't taking responsibility and is making her own life more difficult whilst expecting us to pick up the pieces.

It’s very common. I know a lot of people who do similar.

If you’ve had it with HER completely then ignore the message, but if you’re happy to provide support in other ways, (like a sympathetic ear if she needs a chat), then I’d broach it that way; sister, I’m always here for you if you need a talk or whatever. But under no circumstances should you back down on the childcare.

Settlersofcatan Sun 07-Apr-19 14:59:11

I don't think anything will be enough for her, she will keep guilt tripping and asking for more. You need to develop a thick skin and just do what you are happy with.

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