Far too often, if you give someone an inch of generosity, they'll take a mile. While it can be awkward to call out the ways you're taken advantage of, it can also open the door to a better relationship down the road.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for uninviting her niece and nephew from family dinners unless their parents come with them. She wrote:
Once a month we have my husband's family over for a family dinner. His family consists of a few brothers and sisters, his mom and dad, and his nieces and nephews. We also have a few children of our own. When we have our dinners almost everyone shows up, except for the parents of his nieces and nephews.
They have, for every single one of the past dinners, been taking the opportunity to go and have “date night” and been using me as their own personal babysitter without asking. The rest of his family neglects to watch the kids so I’m stuck watching not only my own children (who are all below the age of five) but also my husband's nieces and nephews, who are all also below the age of five.
All together there are six children below the age of five under my care alone because absolutely no one else will take the time to watch them. This most recent dinner, all of the other kids were sick. We were given a heads up and my husband asked his sibling to not drop the kids off. Dinner starts and all of the sick kids walk in through the door with my husband's mom and dad.
And, once again, the kid's parents decided to stay home and have date night. Now myself and our own kids are sick and they missed out on Halloween due to their sickness. In a fit of fever-induced irritation, I sent his nieces and nephews parents a text letting them know that they’re not allowed to bring the kids over while they’re sick.
And that the kids aren’t allowed to come over for the dinners unless the parents are also there with them to watch over their own kids. My exact text was:
“Hey BIL and SIL, please don’t drop off the kids at our house anymore unless you’re planning on staying to supervise them. I have my own kids to watch and am not up for watching over yours, too. Also, do not bring your kids over if they’re sick. Illnesses happen but my kids missed out on Halloween because you brought them over when we asked you not to. I hope to see your family at the next dinner.”
Now all the adults in the situation are pissed. My husband's younger siblings agree that it’s irritating to have so many kids there and not enough supervisors tho, so I feel like I’m in the right. It shouldn’t be my responsibility to watch other people’s kids. I’m offering my home and food during these dinners, but I am not offering free babysitting service.
"I am not offering free babysitting service."
Exactly. Your BIL and SIL have been taking advantage of you. They can hire a babysitter. And don't get me started on the sick kids thing. I missed out on enjoying 10 days of Christmas vacation because my sister dropped her sick kid off with my mom when I was visiting and I got sick as a dog. NTA.
The sickness sucks. Feels like my eye is going to pop out of my skull. My sinuses feel like they’re going to burst. The vomit bucket is full of communal vomit. The worst part? The youngest is on the upswing while I’m on the downswing. So the youngest is like “GET UP LETS PLAY TAG WANNA PLAY CHASE LETS GO TO THE PARK” while I’m busy trying not to s#$t my brains out. I’m so mad.
JustMe869 asked a crucial question:
Absolutely NTA! And you put up with that nonsense way longer than I would have. The audacity and entitlement of your BIL and SIL is astounding! If they want/need a babysitter, they can hire one! They sound like lousy parents! What kind of parents pawn their sick kids off on other people??? For a "date night"??? The only assholes here are them!
And OP responded:
Yeah I got in my own head for a long time. I kept telling myself “well MIL and FIL are here, so it’s not like the kids are unattended” but they basically are, since I’m the one watching them while MIL and FIL stay inside chatting with everyone.
I’m the one watching them outside, I’m the one making sure the little kids don’t find and eat legos, I’m the one breaking up petty kids' fights (ever hear kids fight over an imaginary cake? Ever see kids get physical over an imaginary cake?) and it’s like yeah, there’s plenty of adults here but none of them are actually watching the kids but me.
Stop the dinners.
If DH wants a family dinner, he can meet them at a restaurant. Without you and your kids. And make sure he knows that your budget does not allow him to be a big shot and buy everyone else's dinners.
Lifeiswhatum8it had a simple question:
NTA did they reply?
And OP responded:
Yes, they said that I’m a b#$ch and that I’m always trying to start something. I haven’t seen them in over a year and the last time we talked was when they called to yell at us for not making it to Easter (they’re Christian, we arent. They were going to church for Easter, I didn’t want to bring my kids to church. There was no middle ground that they wanted to meet us on).
NTA. They are taking advantage of you. I would also be upset at my husband and his family for forcing you to babysit his other siblings' kids. Going forward if more people are not supervising their kids remove yourself from the party by not feeling well and let your husband deal with it.
OP is the furthest thing from an AH here, her family needs to seriously stop taking advantage of her.