There’s a reason why “It takes a village” is such a popular saying, as parenting is difficult to do on your own.
But a parent should not demand favors from loved ones, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor lecm234 scoffed when her sister did not ask, but demanded, free babysitting and money from her entire family while she was preparing to go back to work.
When she was belittled for pushing bagk against this behavior, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong for speaking up.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to babysit for my sister?”
The OP had mixed feelings about her sister’s pregnancy announcement.
“My (19 Female) sister (32) ‘Mary’ and her husband (28) ‘John’ have twins, a boy and a girl (both 10 months old).”
“My parents were ecstatic when they found out she was pregnant as the twins were their first grandchildren and my sister had been struggling with getting pregnant for a while.”
“I was happy for my sister and John, but I couldn’t help wondering how they were gonna handle this financially. They’re in quite a bit of debt and both work long hours.”
The OP’s concerns were later confirmed.
“My question was answered a few weeks ago when we had a big family dinner (me, parents, Mary, John, brother Mike (21), brother Josh (25), and his wife Sophie (27)).”
“My sister announced she would be returning to work in two weeks so they were gonna need everyone to chip in and babysit and to help out financially.”
“I’m not gonna lie, I was shocked when I heard this because it sounded a bit ridiculous that they expected everyone to babysit their kids for free and to give them money for their debts.”
“Mary went around the table asking everyone when they could watch the twins so she could draw up a roster and asking how much money they could spare.”
“Everyone was contributing, and Sophie was even talking about trying to move her work shifts around so that she could babysit.
The OP did not feel comfortable contributing.
“I’m a full-time college student and I have a part-time job at a bakery, so I really have no time or cash to spare.”
“I’m also not great with kids, especially babies. I literally have absolutely no idea how to take care of them.”
“When Mary got around to me, she said she thought I could do the most hours since I was only in college and didn’t have any serious commitments.”
“Her whole attitude kind of annoyed me and I told her I wasn’t going to be babysitting her kids or going to chip in money-wise and that it was her decision to have kids, so it’s her responsibility.”
The family was furious with the OP.
“The room went silent and my sister started crying and everyone started yelling at me for being selfish.”
“My mom said that in our family, we take care of each other.”
“I left the dinner because everyone was so mad at me and demanding I apologize.”
“I agree that maybe I was a little blunt with her and maybe I should’ve offered to babysit once or twice, but I don’t think I’m completely in the wrong.”
“My family is still p**sed at me and my parents are demanding I not only apologize to Mary and John but write them a cheque to help them out (I have like $70 in my bank account so that’s not gonna happen).”
“I want to apologize for being rude, but I know they’re still gonna expect help.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought requesting money and time would be okay, but not demanding it.
“This request was outright offensive in how presumptive and entitled it was. Totally unacceptable behavior deserves a hostile response.”
“The sister needs to know that the answer is not only ‘No,’ but ‘No, and what the h**l is wrong with you for asking that?'” – Mitrovarr
“Even if OP had the time and the money to help out, the parents can’t expect it to happen. They certainly can ask, but they can’t expect. OP said no. OP doesn’t need to explain.” – chickenfightyourmom
“If your parents expect you to give her money and babysit, ask them if they are going to pay you for the money you are out and the hours you’d miss at work.”
“Yes, if someone CAN help family, it’s nice to do so. You CANNOT, as you do not have the time nor the money to do so. It is unreasonable to expect it from you.”
“Her kids, her problem.” – Evil_Mel
“I hate the whole ‘family helps’ thing here too. That’s true, sure, but it’s not an excuse to be disrespectful of each other’s time and resources or to dump your responsibilities totally into a relative’s lap.”
“My family help out with my kids all the time but if I came at them with an attitude like OP’s sister, they’d quite rightfully tell me to kick rocks and not come back until I was acting right.” – Captain_Quoll
“How entitled do people have to be to be like, ‘Not only are you babysitting our kids, but you’re going to pay us for it too’? If anyone tried that with me, they’d get 2 words, and the second one is ‘off.'” – danigirl3694
Others agreed and applauded the OP for standing up for herself and for being realistic.
“OP has neither time nor money. Sister/BIL (Brother-in-law) are entitled and demanding. Barring any problems, they had at least nine months to plan and save up for this.”
“Seems as if the only plan they made was to take advantage of the family from day one. Wonder if the BIL’s family was also coerced into agreeing to their scheme.”
“OP needs to keep her boundaries and not give in. Pick up extra work hours at work or time in the library studying and stay out of the house as much as possible.”
“OP is NTA but her whole family is.” – Carless-Image-855
“NTA – you are in college!! You didn’t have babies so there is no need for you to look after or pay for their babies!! What a pair of leeches!!” – Majestic-Leopard-563
“She should’ve hit them with a, ‘No, but thanks for asking!’ in a really pleased tone, but maybe I’m just being petty, lol (laughing out loud).” – jairizza
“NTA. I mean, who the h**l asks for financial assistance from a college student? Both of them are incredibly deluded. Most people think students have lots of free time. However, you must spend lots of time studying to pass your courses.” – too-hot-for-you
“OP may feel bad about the bluntness but it sounds like it needed to be said.”
“Expecting OP to do more would make me hesitant to ever babysit for them. I’d be afraid of ever opening that door for fear of future ’emergencies.'”
“These are the kind of entitled parents that will ring the doorbell and leave the kids on a relative’s front step, expecting the relative to drop what they’re doing and watch their surprise guests.” – Dewhickey76
“As someone who never finished college and struggles to get interviews despite a fairly pricy professional certification from an accredited, known university – NTA. College IS a serious commitment.”
“It’s crazy she acted like it isn’t. As a single mother with no degree, while the length of time involved isn’t the same, I would call college equally as serious a commitment as having a child.”
“I cannot believe your entire family actually expects this of you. Keep to your stance, you are right, whether you were rude or not.”
“I don’t even think you were rude – just blunt, which was an appropriate response to the whole dismissing your entire future and livelihood thing. NTA and don’t let them break you – sometimes we have to let go of expectations and find our own family.”
“Blood alone isn’t what makes a family. These people are so ridiculous, they want to hold YOU to the standard of ‘but faaaaamily’ while not keeping to that standard in how THEY treat YOU.
“They are playing off your youth to manipulate you. Don’t let them!” – armywalrus
“NTA – I’m tired of people using family as a weapon to try and violate boundaries. You said no and you have good reasons for saying no.”
“For them to look at you and be like ‘But we’re family’ as a reason to demand help is manipulative. Family shouldn’t want you to put your own position at risk for them.”
“You’re supposed to put your future in jeopardy because your much older sister didn’t properly plan for hers? No. That’s not how this work.”
“And help is something that can be requested and offered, but never demanded. I get the sense that if you were struggling your sister wouldn’t help you.”
“You’re a college student barely getting by and she wants to take what you have for her own selfishness. You could also use the help and no one in your family is stepping up for you.”
“I’m not saying this kind of thing should be tit for tat, because it shouldn’t be. But you don’t ask for money from someone who is also struggling.”
“And the fact that they are demanding it just shows that they would never help you. I have a personal policy of not going the extra mile for someone who wouldn’t be bothered to cross the street for me.” – penfencer
Some suggested demanding support in return.
“Alternatively, OP should call a family meeting to discuss the matter. She can lay her tuition bill on the table, and say:”
“‘Hi everyone! Since family helps family, I’d like to sign you all up for a portion of this tuition bill! Oh? You can’t help because you have twins and debt? That’s too bad, because Faaaaamily helps faaaaaamily, right?.'” – resilientspirit
“Flip the script if logic doesn’t work?”
“Call a new family meeting. OP should tell her family that she also wants a baby, so she was jealous and acted like that.”
“After thinking it over, OP sees she’s not that busy and she should be fine having her own baby with all the family helping her with money and babysitting.”
“College is actually the perfect time to have a baby! No commitments so no worries.”
“See how they lose their d**n minds about what a terrible idea it is. Op can then agree they are right, she’s not in a position to take care of any babies.”
“The idea that anyone is entitled to free childcare or money for a baby by anyone that didn’t play a role in conception is preposterous.” – longpas
“You’re 19 and still in school. Your older family members should be helping you, not the other way around.”
“Also, two weeks is not enough time to arrange a full roster of childcare for twins. Your sister and her husband needed to start looking for care when they first discovered they were pregnant with twins, if not sooner.” – teresajs
“I think she should screenshot her $70 bank balance and send it to mom and say, ‘Well, since family helps the family out, I’ll need you to give me however much you think that cheque should be, because this is all I have to live in right now.'”
“Or say, ‘Unless you were also planning to pay my bills, because our family helps the family out, in which case I can give them $50.'”
“If this kept happening whenever my family was together, I’d start loudly asking the others when the family came together to pay all their bills, etc.” – LimitlessMegan
“It’s like OP is the only reasonable person in that family. She’s serious with her time and money so as not to have to depend on handouts from family members in the future. But apparently, that’s not good in their eyes.”
“NTA, I hope you can escape that environment, OP.” – Bleu_Cerise
While the subReddit could understand why the OP thought she had been too blunt, they were otherwise proud of her for standing up for herself.
After all, the OP was barely an adult, working a part-time job, and going to school as a part-time college student. Expecting her to pitch in on the parenting and support of someone else’s children hardly seemed like a logical choice.