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'AITA for refusing to babysit my sister's when she wanted a break?'

'AITA for refusing to babysit my sister's when she wanted a break?'


"AITA for refusing to babysit my sister's when she wanted a break?"


I, 36F am happily married with no kids, I am perfectly fine with having no kids and me and my husband both agree we aren't having kids. However, my sister, Zoe, 28F, is a single mother with 3 kids, Holly, 4F, Theo, 2M and Poppy, 3 months.

A couple weeks ago Zoe came to me and asked if I would mind taking care of the 2 oldest kids for a week so she can have some time to herself to shower, get rest and just relax, she says she's getting so stressed that she thought she wasn't making the best choices for the safety of her kids. (my mother would be looking after the baby if you were wondering why I only had the eldest two)

Reluctantly, I agreed. I am not the biggest fan of kids but I understand that my sister needed time off. However, after 4 days it was insufferable, see, unfortunately, last year, Theo became quite severely ill.

He was in hospital for a few months and during that time Zoe was incredibly stressed, I didn't hear the end of how stressed and upset she was everytime he cried because of an injection or blood test.

He has since gotten better but unfortunately this October he took a funny turn and ended up back in hospital for about a month. I thought he was completely okay again but I was wrong, apparently, he is still quite severely ill.

During this time I was babysitting he had to take constant medication, which made him cry every time he took it because it 'tastes bad'. Obviously this is very irritating to have a small child constantly crying over nothing every day for FOUR WHOLE DAYS.

However, the worst part was his constant want for attention and comfort. Like I mentioned, I do not like kids, and I certainly don't want to touch or hold them anymore than i need to.

They're gross and they smell really bad, it's worse enough having to change his diaper at 2 years old, but my sister says apparently some kids just don't potty train that easy?

Anyway, Theo is constantly complaining of feeling sick or tired, and everytime he complains he wants a cuddle. Every time I have told him a firm no. I do not want to touch him anymore than I need to. Everytime I refuse to cuddle him he always cries, and starts saying he wants his mama, I just try to ignore him as best I can but it's hard when he's crying right in my ear.

On Thursday I just couldn't take it anymore so when he demanded his mom I said 'fine' and loaded him and his sister into the car with all their stuff and dropped them off home. When my sister answered the door, I just said to her "I can't deal with them anymore, it was really selfish of you to just dump them on me" and I left.

Since then I have received many angry texts and calls from friends and family, apparently I've "really upset my sister and she won't stop crying". I thought I was in the right but everyone in my family is pi$$ed at me so I don't even know. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP:


It doesn't sound like your sister was entirely upfront about Theo's medical status and requirements.


YTA. oooooof, yeah you’re the asshole. Don’t commit to taking care of someone’s kids and then back out mid-way bc you can’t handle it. You’re the one being selfish.


ESH. You suck because you agreed to watch the kids, so your sister wasn't "selfish" to just dump them on you, you agreed! Your sister suck because she asked someone who doesn't like children to watch her children. It doesn't matter if the person who don't like children is family or friend, you do not place your child/ren with unloving and uncaring people like you.

Now that said, N-T-A for not wanting or liking children and I am glad that you are honest with this because what you wrote and how you wrote it says that you probably wouldn't be a very good parent.


YTA. It’s fine to not want to care for children, but you agreed to this. She did not dump them off on you. But also you were caring for a 2 year old who had been sick and wanted comfort and you refuse.

That child was not feeling well, was scared, could have been in pain. 2 year olds can’t manage their emotions well, they have really big feelings they don’t understand.

And a lot of 2 year olds don’t potty train easily, it’s going to be harder for little ones who have been chronically ill. You agreed to babysit, and you let that child feel scared and unloved when all he wanted was some comfort. Just don’t agree to babysit again.


YTA. It is a HUGE ask, even for someone who likes kids, to take someone else’s 2 kids for a week. You absolutely should have said no. That poor toddler felt ill and missed his mum. You, having agreed to take care of him, refused to provide any comfort or sympathy. I don’t care if you don’t like kids, that’s not an excuse for being cruel.


Not everyone is suited for caring for children. You apparently are not the best person for that job. That doesn’t make you anything other than not someone who should be babysitting for little needy ones.

You might be great with older kids and you may not. I personally should never be an astronaut or a bus driver and that’s just how the world is - we aren’t all the same set of abilities and that’s fine.

However your sister seems to be extremely stressed. Yes she decided to have kids. Yes, they are her responsibility. However, for the children’s sake, maybe you can help in a different way. Are you a persuasive organizer? Can you encourage the complaining relatives into providing some support?

Are you good at logical thinking such as figuring a way that (if she is willing) your mom can stay with your sister for a week and give some help with all the kids instead of taking one and doing everything for that one all week? Are there programs in your area that can help Theo feel accomplished (within his abilities) in case he is struggling with having been so sick for so long?

You mentioned your sister is a single parent. Is the father deceased and maybe there are benefits (such as social security if in the USA) or child support that could make it easier for her to maybe work less or afford an occasional sitter or something to help?

You are NTA for not being able to provide childcare but maybe you would feel more comfortable if you provided other types of help. You are of course not obligated to do anything but doing something you are comfortable doing could make all the difference to those children.

So, what do you think? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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