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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.

Squigglesworth Sun 07-Apr-19 15:02:19

That message is very guilt-trippy. "Like you do with the others"? hmm She has to understand that it's a completely different situation, having one set of cousins to sleep over vs. the other.

It sounds like she's getting plenty of help, already, but no amount is ever going to be enough, because it's never going to make life easy or "fair".

I definitely wouldn't sign myself up for a "standing appointment" of taking care of the children. Offering occasionally, as you mentioned before, does seem like the better route to avoid conflict and a sense of obligation.

StarTheGirl Sun 07-Apr-19 15:06:53

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

Btw, that’s not to say I approve of it!!!! It’s surprisingly common though.

Yabbers Sun 07-Apr-19 15:07:26

I’d do it.

Having 2 children with significant additional needs is no walk in the park. Even though they are at school full time, there are still a whole load of things they need to deal with. I assume their care requirements don’t stop at bedtime either. There is a reason parents like them don’t have work outside the home.

Their car will be paid for by sacrificing benefits, it’s not free. And it is likely essential.

You judge her for her decisions. She’s in a really shitty situation. I’m sure she does come across as looking at you with all the advantages your life has. I’d be thanking my lucky stars I’m not in her situation and offering to do what I could to help.

TowelNumber42 Sun 07-Apr-19 15:13:24

I'd reply along the lines of "I know what you mean about school holidays being even busier than term time. We are run off our feet too! Still it would be great to see you all. You are right that a sleepover would be too hard. Having a day out with you and the kids would be lovely. We are available x,y,x days. Shall we meet at A and do B?"

Squigglesworth Sun 07-Apr-19 15:14:40

OP's life isn't a carefree jaunt, either, though. She has her own set of challenges.

Also, her sister had the opportunity (for ten years, apparently) to help out with OP's children and never offered. That might indicate that she's more of a taker than a giver. It doesn't mean OP doesn't love her sister-- and she has helped her and will probably continue to do so, in one way or another-- but it might mean that she's reached a point where she feels taken for granted and needs to re-evaluate how much more she is willing to sacrifice.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 15:49:34

Thanks, I do think she has it tough and I probably will continue to help because I love her and all of the children.

I know she has to pay towards the car but she drives a brand new car, with everything but the fuel paid for and then makes us feel bad that we can spend out on a new car for my husband or pay for our child to do something frivolous. Hers is very much needed, with the car seats, wheel chairs and pushchair. I don't judge her for claiming benefits and I'm glad that she gets everything she does.

I have to admit, I judge that she or her husband won't find any part time work but feel like they are entitled to the same as us or judge us for what we spend. My DH works long hours, rarely has time off and that's the reason I'm studying now. I felt I had no choice but to stay home with my children so was a SAHM or worked crappy jobs with stupid hours while they were young.

Life has become easier for us as they grew older and so we're making the most of it. Retraining for me and my DH is still progressing in his career. Life is easier but not quieter.

Yabbers Sun 07-Apr-19 16:51:27

I know she has to pay towards the car but she drives a brand new car, with everything but the fuel paid for and then makes us feel bad that we can spend out on a new car for my husband or pay for our child to do something frivolous

You are aware of what all the additional costs of living with a disability are? Our fuel costs alone are double what they would be were it not for DDs disability. We HAVE to drive her everywhere.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 16:57:30

@Yabbers The children get a taxi to and from school everyday. They attend a playgroup locally once a week and maybe have a day out once a fortnight. The hospital appointments are quite a cost as they have to go to a city hospital not the local one but they are less frequent at the moment, maybe once every 4 months. Local hospital once a month, a 10 minute drive.

I know they have money to pay out that I don't have to, they have restrictions that I don't have but none of these should make her comment on what my DH and I spend our money or time on.

Yabbers Sun 07-Apr-19 17:01:16

And neither should her choices give you reason to comment either.

You don’t want to support her, that’s fine. You don’t believe she needs it, that’s your opinion. But there’s no need for judgement.

Yabbers Sun 07-Apr-19 17:02:05

If there is one thing i’ve learned, it’s that parents who don’t have children with disabilities just don’t get it.

Thankfully, most choose not to judge.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 19:07:00

I don't openly judge her, I just can't help how certain actions make me feel.

She is very vocal in her judgement of me but I'm not confrontational.

I help and support when I can.

I know I can't fully appreciate how difficult her life is, I tell her as much but when she doesn't take on practical advice and choses to do things like get a puppy when the baby is a few weeks old, it's hard to keep going out of my way to help her.

GetTheStartyParted Sun 07-Apr-19 19:40:01

I visited my DSis this afternoon and there was no mention of anything including the message she sent. She was friendly and happy so perhaps she was just testing the water.

So relieved that we are ok.

StarTheGirl Sun 07-Apr-19 19:45:14

Ah that’s good op smile.

Maybe she was just having a low moment and thought she’d ask.

I think your plan to offer to help them occasionally on an ad hoc basis is a good one.

M4J4 Mon 08-Apr-19 16:24:50

@Yabbers

I know she has to pay towards the car but she drives a brand new car, with everything but the fuel paid for and then makes us feel bad that we can spend out on a new car for my husband or pay for our child to do something frivolous

You are aware of what all the additional costs of living with a disability are? Our fuel costs alone are double what they would be were it not for DDs disability. We HAVE to drive her everywhere.

None of this is OP’s problem, Yabbers, OP doesn’t need to ‘get it’. It’s the sister openly judging OP for having a more comfortable life that’s the problem here.

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