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Man tells SIL to stop asking wife to babysit for free; wife says 'don't speak for me.' UPDATED

Man tells SIL to stop asking wife to babysit for free; wife says 'don't speak for me.' UPDATED

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"AITA for wanting my wife to give up babysitting her niece for free, and telling her sister that she needs to look for a daycare come January?"

My wife quit teaching around four years ago for mental health reasons. My wife has shown no real desire to get back into the workforce, it is not like we are struggling per se, but I would be lying if I said I did not miss the extra income from when my wife was working. About a year into her leave, her sister became pregnant, which did take up a large portion of her free time.

So over the last two years, my wife has been babysitting her niece for around 12 hours a day three days out the week. She is stressed but does it because her sister claims she has no other option, and cannot afford childcare. Even so, I do not think it is reasonable for my wife to do 12 hours a day for three days.

So since my wife has not said anything for 2 years, I told my sister in law come next year she needs to go to daycare because I am not going to let my wife do what amounts to slave labor. My sister-in-law told me it was not my place to say what my wife could and could not do.

I get this POV, and I would be lying if I said I am not slightly miffed that my wife can work 36 hours a week three days a week for free but claims she is not ready to return to the workforce. That is a separate issue, the core issue here is my sister-in-law is taking advantage of my wife to provide free child care. That is not okay.

In the past, my wife did talk about pay, but my wife does not like to chase people for money, so since she never reminds them they claim to always forget. Either way, I told my sister-in-law this is where we stand. My wife is upset with me since she claims it is not my place to say what she can and cannot do. It is not my place to tell others how she is feeling. So AITA?

The internet did not hold back.

czarapples wrote:

NTA. OP commented he's paying for the kids necessities like pullups, wipes, and meals while driving too and dropping off the kid. SIL isn't reimbursing for those costs and OP's wife won't stand up for herself. OP stated they've discussed this and that his wife is tired of babysitting, she just doesn't have the back bone to say anything. OP is looking out for his wife's health.

adrock75 wrote:

NTA. And you shouldn’t worry about needing your wife to have this discussion, YOU are the one subsidizing your SIL’s life. You have skin in this game.

Icy_Calligrapher7088 wrote:

NTA - If you’re supporting her you do have some say in what she does instead of working. You’re also probably paying for the food and gas used to babysit, she has no right to just expect that of you.

Skylarias wrote:

NTA. If your wife is busy 36hours a week raising someone else's kid, that's less time for her to pursue education into a different career path, hobbies, or even taking care of the household as a stay at home wife. Your wife is doing a full-time job and not getting paid...it's impacting her mental health and your marriage finances. And thus, your mental health.

Maybe you were okay with her being home, when it meant the house was always clean, and she was always well rested and in a good mindset. But now she's just getting burnt out all over again.

After receiving lots of support, OP jumped on with a clarifying update:

For clarity's sake, I did talk this over with my wife many times. She is burnt out from watching her niece but in her view, her sister has no other option. She has expressed how babysitting over these years combined with teaching has killed all desire she once had for having children of her own.

As mentioned my wife has spoken about pay but since she does not like to chase people for money she never gets the money. She feels she should not have to remind people of money, they should want to pay someone to help them especially when it comes to family. She also is afraid her sister will become unstable if she loses her family support.

I stepped in because I was sick of her being taken advantage of. I did not just sidestep her, I have tried many times over these years to put her foot down, but she loves her niece and does not want to see her suffer.My point is she is destroying her mental health just like teaching.

I was the one who encouraged her to quit because it was destroying her, all she did was wake up, go to work, come home, and go to sleep. It was a struggle to get her to eat at times. The same is happening with babysitting for my wife. One last edit since people said I should mention it. My wife is not doing this alone.

When I get some I do take over the last three hours and I drop the kid off at her mother's when she gets off work. We also provide food, and child supplies such as diapers and pull-ups. My wife is also potty training my niece. She is more or less raising her niece three days out the week.

OP is NTA here, but his SIL is a giant one.

Sources: Reddit
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