Having family help out with watching your children is a pretty common request. But it’s important to remember to balance that with their own personal lives.
Redditor Throw_away_no374828 is having a hard time with her four kids. The original poster (OP) is trying to convince her sister to help, but she has her own issues in life.
OP isn’t sure if her request is unreasonable and decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about what’s going on.
The request from OP seems unfair to some people.
“AITA for asking my sister to stop fostering dogs so she could help me with my kids?”
But is she asking too much?
“Okay just writing the title like that made me feel super guilty, but please hear me out before judging too harshly.”
“I (38 F[emale]) have 4 kids ages 11 months, 3, 5, and 10. I love them all more than anything, but I’ll be the first to admit that our house is constant chaos and it can get very exhausting.”
“My sister (33F) is child free, but loves my kids and was happy to watch the older 2 or sometimes 3 to help me keep my sanity. This has been extremely helpful and I tell her all the time how grateful we are for her help.”
“The thing is that the kids used to go over to her house, but right now they couldn’t because my sister was fostering an elderly chihuahua. My sister claims she couldn’t have them over for the time being because they would stress out the dog.”
“Her dog was extremely frail and timid so I think this was a fair assessment. This was the 4th dog she has fostered, all of which couldn’t be around my kids.”
“This most recent dog took 8 months to find a home for, but most of her other dogs took even longer. When she told me she found an adopter I knew I could finally breathe a sigh of relief and joked about how I was so glad she could babysit again.”
“My sister proceeded to tell me that there was a second dog that desperately needed a new foster, so she planned to take in that one as soon as her current dog was gone. So, she couldn’t do anymore babysitting than she already is (sometimes she comes over to my house in the morning to help out).”
“I could literally feel my stress levels spike. I haven’t ever done this before, but I opened up to her about how much I have been struggling since she got the dog.”
“How little sleep I get each night, how my husband hasn’t been helping as much as he should, and some other deeply personal issues that I’ve been struggling with.”
“Then I asked her, point blank, to not get another dog.”
“She comforted me, but ultimately didn’t agree on anything and said she needed some time to think. I know I am asking a lot of her since rescuing dogs is her passion and that is why I feel so guilty.”
“But I don’t have anyone else to help me. I can’t afford a babysitter long term, and my friends all have their own kids to look after.”
“Above all, my kids will always come before a dog and that’s the reason I was willing to request it. I’ve told a few different people about the situation and gotten a wide range of heavily biased opinions.”
“So that’s why I decided to come on here and as you guys. Was this unreasonable? I would never demand her to do this if she didn’t want to, but is it really so wrong to just be honest my situation and earnestly ask?”
OP seemed to self-reflect as she wrote the initial title, but as she continued, she justified why she asked her sister for help. The sister is putting her own responsibilities first.
But is that enough justification?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for trying to get her sister to stop fostering dogs so she could babysit by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
It’s not wrong for OP to ask her sister for help. Where she goes too far is in saying that the children should come before any dog.
This may be true for OP, as the children are hers. But for her sister, the responsibility of the dogs she’s fostering comes first. And despite all of that, her sister is still sometimes helping.
Overall, the board agreed that OP was TA.
“Absolutely no one loves to admit this to themselves, but your own life choices led you to this point. Your exhaustion, your sleepless nights, that fact you’re broke, your inability to find a consistent babysitter… these are all problems you’ve invented for yourself by having children outside your means.”
“Your sister’s time isn’t any less valuable just because she’s child-free. Child-free people don’t exist on this earth to watch your children.”
“It’s wonderful that she’s offered to watch them as much as she has, and it’s great that you remember to thank her often, but you have to understand that when she does watch your children, it’s not because her time is worth less than yours and it’s just naturally expected that she help you.”
“Her time is not something you’re entitled to, and her help is not something that’s owed to you just because you’re a parent and she’s not.”
“Try to take the incoming flood of criticism as a wake-up call. If your husband isn’t pulling his weight, it’s time to consider counseling.”
‘Cast your net out over the area and see if you can pin down an affordable babysitting network. Field your options and stop leaning on your sister to solve your problems.” – one_1f_by_land
“YTA. It’s your HUSBAND, the children’s FATHER, you should be requesting more from. Not a sister who has already done way way way more than required!”
“Go sit your husband down and let HIM know you’re struggling. Don’t try to manipulate your sister when you haven’t even tried to fix what’s in your own backyard ..” – NeverHaveIEver72
“Very much this. All your struggles are something you should talk about with your husband.”
“I guess he expects you to work 24/7 (because child care is work), but he has free time after work? You two need to talk and find a solution that doesn’t require your sister to plan her life around your family needs.”
“Your husband, on the other hand, should plan his life to help with the needs of his family.”
“As many others, I thought you’re a single mom at first.”
“And you’re not ‘just asking’, will you be upset if she says no? Will there be guilt? Sure there will, because it’s a loaded question to ask.” – Reasonable_Matter72
“YTA…I don’t understand why you think your sister is responsible for taking care of your life choices,, but apparently your husband isn’t?”
“Who do you think you are? The entitlement is astonishing.”
“Your kids come first for YOU. Don’t expect other people to put your kids first. I’d never want to baby sit for you again. Very selfish.”
“Yeah, it sucks for you. But that’s on you.” – Direct-Pineapple8909
OP accepted the judgement, but didn’t take too kindly to some of the insults leveraged at her and her family. Particularly, she wanted to counter the comments about her husband.
He doesn’t help as much as he should because of depression, and OP was adamant people leave him alone.
“Edit: I am grateful for the honesty from people respectfully telling me that what I did was wrong. However I have also read a lot of horrible assumptions from people as well and I’d like to clear them up.”
“I am not some careless mother who just keeps ‘popping out children’ that I can’t take care of. My husband is not a deadbeat dad. After our youngest was born he got severe depression.”
“He isn’t out having fun while I’m working 24/7, he is miserable. I went to my sister instead of him for help because I don’t want to lose him.”
“I love my kids and I have always made every one of my decisions with what I believe are their best interests in mind. And no I don’t think my sister is obligated to do anything for me, I was asking for help not demanding it.”
This continued and OP was forced to update a second time.
“Edit 2: Insulting my husband doesn’t help anyone. Yes he is in therapy and is on antidepressants. Anyone who has actually dealt with depression would know that that isn’t an instant cure all.”
“Still my husband does the very best he can. I asked my sister because I needed more help than he can provide right now.”
While the relationship between OP and her husband is another discussion, she shouldn’t try to guilt her sister over this situation. She is volunteering as much as she can, and has her own responsibilities to deal with.
That said, a solution to OP’s issue isn’t clear. She’ll need to find another way to get help with her children.