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'AITA for refusing to feed my husband's niece? Her mom is taking advantage.'

'AITA for refusing to feed my husband's niece? Her mom is taking advantage.'


"AITA for refusing to feed my husband's niece dinner?"


My SIL and her daughter (12) have been temporarily staying with us until SILs divorce is finalized. SIL works overnight shifts so she gets home at 5am and sleeps until 5-6ish, when she would get up to make her daughter dinner. She leaves for work at 9:15.

I have her daughter every day and I was never even asked (SIL says 'she doesn't need a babysitter' but she quite literally does because she has zero independence and can't even make a sandwich without asking for help).

I've already been growing resentful because I'm tired of never having time with my own kids without the obligation of letting this girl tag along because she starts whining, saying she doesn't want to be home 'alone' (her mother is there sleeping but she still flips out).

Like I haven't even been able to go to the beach/for ice cream without bringing her for the past 3 months. I've brought it up with my SIL and she always says the same s#*t.. 'she doesn't need a baby sitter, she's 12. Stop acting like you have to watch her.'

But then this leads us to another issue.. SIL, who was supposed to be buying her own food for her and her kid to eat separately, has stopped making her kid dinner.

She is now sleeping until 7-8pm and as I said, she leaves for work at 9:15. So she doesn't even get up to make her kid dinner with food they bought (she doesn't pay rent so I'm seriously f*^%$ng infuriated that I now have an extra mouth to feed).

But anyway, yesterday I threw an absolute p*#s fit (very childish, I get it) because for the past 3 nights her kid has been eating with us and will eat so much food so damn quickly that I have not eaten anything more than scraps for 2 nights in a row (while being 32 weeks pregnant).

Like last night I literally only got a baked potato because she devoured my portion of steak when I went to the bathroom.

My kids were like 'mum we told her it was your's but she didn't listen'. So I snapped and told my SIL I was done watching and cooking for her kid and that she HAD BETTER be up at 5-6pm today to make her kid food. Well, she wasn't.

So I told the kid to go wake up her mother to get her dinner and she did but SIL came downstairs p*ssed because 'it's not that f*&^%ng hard to just tell her to throw a sandwich together'. I told her if the attitude continues she can leave.

This is not my kid and this is NOT her home. I'm doing her a favor and I absolutely do not have to. She says I'm throwing s@*t in her face and don't understand because I'm a stay at home mom, not a working mom like she is.

As I said, the agreement was that she and her kid would be buying their own food and eating separately from us. SIL is fully taking advantage of this and using the guise of 'I have to work all the time to provide for my kid'. A kid she's not providing for, as she isn't cooking for her, cleaning up after her, hanging out with her, etc.

I've been bringing that girl with me every single day (it's hot where I am so every day is a beach day) and twice a week I bring her out with me and my kids to get ice cream, which comes out of my pocket.

My husband is overseas on deployment and is only able to call once a week generally so I can't even get his help on the issue. His sister is fully taking advantage of me. Not once did I 'take it out on the kid'. If anything, it's the f*cking opposite.

We decided not to charge her rent because her ex husband was the bread winner and left her with nothing. We told her to work and bust her a** and save as much as she can to get her and her kid a place to live. The ONLY thing we said was she had to buy her own food. That's it. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA. And who the hell needs 11-14 hours of sleep every day? Your SIL is depressed and your niece is paying the price.

If she goes to bed at 5 AM she should be up at 1-2 in the afternoon. If she doesn’t fall asleep right away then she can prep meals for her kid to eat later.

SIL needs professional help most likely, but being sad / depressed doesn’t mean you can abandon your kid. And 12 is not old enough to manage herself full time.


I think you’re being too kind. As someone who inherited a pandemic tween, and I NEVER wanted children and I HATE motherhood, I’m flat out calling this woman out for emotionally abusing that poor kid. Are you kidding me OP? She’s TWELVE.

Her parents just split. She’s not in her safe space anymore. Her mom sucks. And you can’t make a space for her at the table? Who cares what your agreement was? Her mom sucks. She’s a child. And you are going out of your way to reinforce that she is not your core family, she is not welcome. You know she can’t escape, right?

She’s stuck there. Every day. Being treated like an annoying burden. And again, I KNOW she’s an annoying burden. I have one too. But I’m not a freaking monster that lets a kid feel that way. Jesus. Add a plate to the table and take it up with mom privately. You are both AH.


OP, you’ve got yourself in a real kettle of fish. The mom and daughter are both displaying clear signs of distress. Due to the divorce, causing the divorce, other issues, I don’t know.


the niece should have life skills by now, including preparing basic meals. Sandwiches, wraps, Easy Mac, cereal. Can you teach her or just let her observe while you cook? Make it fun for both of you?

Most tweens are seeking time alone, but she doesn’t want to be left alone. Is she really whining about it, or perhaps sincerely anxious or sad? It could be separation anxiety. Even though her mom is there, she either doesn’t provide comfort at all, or she needs to be awake to be comfort to the niece.

if mom is sleeping, WHO FEEDS HER BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? You say she eats a lot at dinner when you feed her. Is it because she’s not getting the other meals?? Or is she compulsively over-eating?

She knows no one wants to be with her and it’s hurting her even more

she needs therapy or support

EDIT: this occurred to me after my initial comment. SIL may not be wrong when she insists niece can make a sandwich and stay home by herself. I think there is a possibility that niece may be acting less capable so that OP will include her more with OP’s family.

I mean, think about it: niece makes own sandwich and stays home alone. She’s independent and autonomous, but she’s also a silo, living near but separate from a happy family. Her family imploded, her mom sleeps all day, and she gets very angry when woken up to care for her own child.

On the other hand, if niece acts incapable of making her own meals, nor able to stay home alone, and if she “whines” enough OP will include her in the family circle. Grudgingly. But that’s ok, because it’s the only family she has right now.

A mom who buys you ice cream and takes you to the beach, even though she didn’t really want to, is better than no mom. —— Could this be what niece is thinking/feeling? Or is it really separation anxiety and delayed development of life skills?


The mom

  1. she’s sleeping roughly 12 hours a night!! There is such a thing as too much sleep and it makes you feel awful, too. She shouldn’t be getting more than 9-9 1/2 max. She’s hurting herself by sleeping too long. And she’s sleeping through time she should be living her life and taking care of responsibilities.

  2. she’s not caring for her child properly

  3. she’s angry and resentful of you and your situation: SAHM, still married

  4. she needs therapy or a support group


  1. you said you weren’t even asked about having to watch your niece every day. That sucks if that’s the case.

  2. you have no hands on support from your dh because he’s deployed

  3. you’re 32 weeks pg

  4. you resent SIL and niece

Something has to give here. This is toxic for all of you.

I’m most concerned for the 12 year old. You’re not outright trying to hurt or exclude her. I’m sure you’re plenty cordial. But she feels it. She knows. She knows you don’t want her there all the time. She knows she’s not even incentive enough for her mom to wake up and see her for just a few hours a day. That her mom doesn’t want to make her food.

She just wants her mom back. Or just a mom. Or maybe she misses her dad.

The mom needs to heal, to be awake more, to take care of her child and bond with her.

You need less stress for you and baby.

The niece needs some joy and peace.

It’s a pipe dream, but if you moms could make a truce to go to the beach or get ice cream together with all the kids, maybe that could help.


NTA, but I worry about your niece. Sounds like she is being neglected by her mother. The daughter is being neglected, without your efforts. She likely needs some counseling too, as her life is unstable and no one really cares about her.

The mother needs to find another job that will allow her time to be a mother. The mother/SIL is likely depressed, stressed and as a result, neglecting her daughter and commitments.


I feel bad for the kid. Her entire life is upside down and she's hearing she's a problem on top of it. Seems to me the easy answer would be to tell SIL, forget making dinner. Give me the grocery money to buy bigger portions and Susie will eat with us. Yes, SIL sounds depressed, and yes, OP is stressed. But that kid, lost her home, seeing her dad, interacting with her mother and now she's a problem too.

So, do you think the OP is being insensitive or do you think her SIL is taking advantage of free room and board for herself and her daughter?

Sources: Reddit
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