Yesterday was my birthday. My sister came in from New York to spend the weekend with me and brought her kids along. I’m not big on birthdays but I figured I’d do something small and at least spend time with my family.
My sister arrived Friday night with the intention of spending the weekend. I live on the third floor. Her kids woke up at 6 am, Sat morning, and were running in my small 3 bed apartment. She also has 2 teenagers who left my bathroom messy and out of order.
They were also leaving lights on, turning on the heat without notifying me (running up the light and electric bill). I gently pointed these things out to her and told her that we’re on the 3rd floor and out of respect for the neighbors downstairs should try to keep things quiet.
I should point out that I have no kids and enjoy this aspect about my life. I don’t “hate kids” and enjoy being around the children in my family, but I do get annoyed when kids are unruly and disrespectful, related or not.
Anyways she packed her things and made it seem like we were all good. Said she was staying at my other sisters house and coming back the following day so that we can celebrate my bday on Sunday. She gave me no indication that she was upset about anything I said or did during her time here.
The next day I got a measly “hbd” text and she was a no show. She did not come to my home and left back to NY from my sisters home. I responded thank you, but then later found out that she was upset that I asked her to control her children while in my home.
My mother eventually told me why she was a no-show for my actual birthday the following day and I texted her and let her know that moving forward, when she comes in to town, that she should stay at my sisters. She tried to act like she was unaware about what was going on but I couldn’t really give a shit - the damage is done.
Am I in the wrong for asking her to rein in her kids while they’re in my home? I ended up spending my bday alone with zero family, all because of a misunderstanding. Maybe it was deserved.
Thought I should add some more info since some of the comments requested a bit more to make a proper assessment of whether I am an ahole!
- the kids are aged 13,14 and 3. The 3 year old is very rambunctious, while 13 and 14 year are always on their phones and leave messes everywhere they go. I could tell whether they were in a room or not after they left the room, depending on the condition of said room. My other sisters 2 yr old was also there
- my neighbor just came in from a work trip Friday night and was most likely jet lagged and tired. I wanted to be respectful of that.
- I just moved in on the 1st of Nov. I am broke and on a tight budget
NTA. Surprised your other relatives weren't more sympathetic. But then, my mother would've wasted no time in disciplining those kids ("In this home, we don't behave like that").
Sis sounds like one of those oblivious parents who thinks her kids can do no wrong. And it sounds like you live in an apt, so yes, minding the noise level is important; I've seen queries in this forum about neighbors with noisy visiting kids.
Sorry your family wasn't more supportive (why didn't other family members attend your gathering?). But maybe now you know that their notion of "family" only extends so far. NTA. And PS: Happy Birthday!
nta. your sister should have respected your space and your rules especially on your birthday. it's important to set boundaries and ensure that everyone feels comfortable in your own home. plus it's not unreasonable to expect a certain level of discipline from children. don't let this misunderstanding ruin your special day.
NTA!! Your sister should know she needs to control her kids, they are her responsibility. She should also know that there are neighbors downstairs that yes should be considered.
NTA you asked the bare minimum of her and she got offended that she as a parent had to what, actually parent? They were shooting up the electricity bill. They were disturbing the neighbors. They were leaving things a mess instead of picking up after themselves. Awful guest etiquette.
After OP explained the issue the sister should have been apologetic and at least TRIED to rein her children in. Not get offended at a simple request and ghost OP. So not the AH.
Honestly, I think ESH. Your sister for the lack of communication, if she was really offended or not, if she was going to come to your birthday or not. You, however are an asshole for a bunch of other reasons. Firstly, you are having guests for 2 days. Even your neighbours can tolerate out of ordinary noise for two days and if they ever made any comment you could just say "Sorry, my family was visiting out of town for my birthday" and I bet you it would have been understood.
Secondly, "small 3 bedroom apartment" LOL. Lastly, you are describing the issues of having guests in your space, but it sounds as if they were there for a month and not supposed to be just for a weekend. Leaving lights on, heating on - it is TWO DAYS.
So yeah, you were a terrible host and I don't judge your sister for deciding to go stay with your other family instead. You literally gave the indication that all them visiting was too much nuisance for you to bear even for few days. No wonder she decided to ditch the celebration altogether.
I'm leaning towards either NAH or ESH. It's not rude to expect some boundaries from your guests, esp children. Set your expectation on all sides, and reign in your kids if they are too chaotic.
However, if I get the timeline correct, your sister and niblings arrived on Friday, left on Saturday and did not come back on Sunday, so they were there for one day? While it might be annyoing, I find that a reasonable length to tolerate either a bit of mess or lights switched on.
I don't think one day will drive up your electricity bill like you said. If you are so particular about everything, you should have not asked them over (or maybe your sister only without her kids) and communicated very clearly from the beginning.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who offered their two cents and really tried to play devil's advocate without getting their personal feels involved. For the record, I do not hate kids, I just personally decided to not have any because I grew up in a dysfunctional family and did not want to pass that on.
I still have a lot to work on and have learned a lot from this post - from child care, to healthy communication tips etc. Although I mostly got NTA votes, I will still be apologizing and reaching out to make sure we are on good terms moving forward.
She will always be welcomed, but there are rules to follow in my home just like there are in all of your homes. Thanks again for your responses, happy holidays to you and your homes!