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Woman won't let niece 'help' at bakery; SIL says, 'you're breaking her heart.' AITA?

Woman won't let niece 'help' at bakery; SIL says, 'you're breaking her heart.' AITA?


One of the best parts of being an aunt or uncle is being able to spend quality time with your sibling's kids that they'll treasure as memories into adulthood.

You can go on adventures, teach them life skills, tell stories from your youth, and give them wisdom about the world, and at the end of it, you get to return them to their parents and go on with your life.

However, even if you're not in the full parenting role, there are still plenty of times you may disappoint the kids and set boundaries that might be difficult for them to accept.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her sister-in-law her niece can no longer help around her bakery.

She wrote:

AITA for not letting my niece help in my bakery anymore?

I (35F) own a small bakery. I'm very happy with it and proud of my work. I have two employees who work part-time and for the most part, it's just me. My SIL approached me at the beginning of the summer and asked if I would let my niece (F11) help out in the bakery over the school break.

She has been getting really into baking and loves watching content creators baking and was apparently just dying to be able to job shadow/help out in a bakery. I was hesitant, but said yes. And I hated it. Every single minute that her niece spent in my bakery this summer was the only time I've ever had any regrets opening my business. Whatever the opposite of helpful was, that was what my niece was.

My employees didn't enjoy her being there, and I didn't enjoy her being there at all. We were three very grumpy people all summer. I had hopes that she would get better, but she didn't. She started back to school last this week and I have never felt so relieved. I thought many times about telling my SIL that she couldn't come back during the summer, but since I had made the promise, I kept up with it.

My SIL stopped by the house yesterday to drop something off for my husband. She told me my niece had absolutely loved her experience this summer and wanted to know if she could come back a couple Saturdays a month. I told her that unfortunately, that wasn't going to work and that going forward I didn't think it was a good idea for my niece to help out. I told her it just wasn't productive for us.

My SIL was very unhappy. She told me that my niece had loved her summer at the bakery and was so looking forward to continuing. I told her that I was sorry, but I had a business to run and couldn't continue having her help out. This dissolved into a shouting match that my husband eventually broke up. My SIL and MIL have been sending me nasty messages about 'breaking a girl's heart.'

My husband said my niece called him and was very upset, but he stands by me and understands that I can't let this bring down my workplace. So am I being the a-hole?

People kept it real in the comment section.

EbonyDoe wrote:

NTA this isn't a hobby and isn't some daycare, it's your BUSINESS, your LIVELIHOOD! I don't know what niece did to be so bothersome but in the end, it's your choice and you need to make a choice that works for your business.

-K_P- wrote:

I love how many people are like, 'wElL wHy WaS sHe So UnHeLpFuL? wHaT mAdE iT sO uNeNjOyAbLe?' Dude, it's a 3 person-staffed bakery and she's ELEVEN. I'm no pro-baker and I can figure it out, lol, you guys don't have time to be teaching a kid and fixing the errors that ANY eleven-year-old would understandably make on a learning's not like you have 20 more staff to pick up the slack.

The stress levels must have been off the charts having to add babysitter and teacher to an already full-time job, what could POSSIBLY have been enjoyable about that for any of you? NTA.

everellie wrote:

NTA. You should have fired her earlier in this summer. You were under no obligation to 'keep' a bad employee or babysit someone else's daughter for an entire summer. I don't know why this needed to devolve into a shouting match, but your business is a BUSINESS. Children shouldn't be working there anyway. It probably breaks child labor laws or cleanliness laws or something.

At any rate, she didn't have the skills or maturity to be a help to you. Never do a favor like this again. On a different vein--don't be baking free cakes for family, either. Especially family who send you nasty messages.

DismalDog7730 wrote:

11-years-old in a work place is absolutely never her helping you, it's you babysitting her. Nice experience for the kid and parents, I'm sure, and cheaper than any hobby. NTA.

BoyoDee wrote:

INFO: what specifically was wrong with her while helping there that you hated so much and was this never communicated to your SIL before now? It sounds like she was completely blindsided

EDIT: Okay my question hasn’t been answered but I’ll judge anyway. NTA but there are things from this whole ordeal that you need to learn from as while your actions were not AH behavior, they were stupid. It was foolish to go along with this to begin with.

Idk where you live but an 11-year-old working in that environment would almost certainly violate child labor laws in most places and it’s kind of a miracle you survived the whole summer without someone making a phone call or review that could have put your whole business in jeopardy. It also sounds like you never told your SIL or her daughter that there were even any problems and played along.

That was a mistake, you should have said something FOREVER ago and not blindside her when she asked for Saturdays. It sounds like they had truly no idea you didn’t like it, but it’s not too late to clarify in my INFO above. So yeah, NTA but you need to think things through and stick up for yourself when something like this is going on.

OP is NTA here, but it sounds like she could learn to communicate in more straightforward ways earlier on, rather than suffering in silence and blindsiding her niece.

Sources: Reddit
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