Setting a boundary with an entitled family member can detonate the family group chat into a flurry of conflict.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for refusing to babysit her niece and nephew anymore. She wrote:
My (35F) husband, Dustin (42M) and I have three kids, all boys ages 7, 5, and 8 months. My brother Chris (37M) and sister-in-law Rachel (33F) have two kids 4F and 2M. I’ve taken an extended maternity after my most recent delivery due to some complications and won’t be back at work until after the new year. My husband went back when our little one was 4 months.
Chris and Rachel came to my husband and I about 2 months ago saying their daycare could no longer keep them as the center was closing unexpectedly and they were in a bind and asked if I could watch the kids while they worked. I told them I would be willing to so long as it was temporary and not long term. Both assured me they were seeking out a new center that could take them both.
Both were appreciative of our help as they were told on a Wednesday the center’s last day of operation would be that same Friday. The first few weeks were fine but as it’s been longer and longer, my husband and I are staring to doubt they are actually looking for a new center. They’ve never offered to pay me for watching the kids, but I’ve never asked either.
Until this past weekend. We took all the kids to a park on Saturday and I spoke with my brother about whether or not they had found a mew daycare. He said they had done some tours but were told there weren’t spaces for the kids yet and had been wait listed. I told him I completely understood and reminded him me keeping the kids was supposed to be temporary.
I asked him if he and Rachel could start paying me $100/week for both kids. He called me outrageous for even asking citing “we’re family.” I tried explaining how much more money my husband and I were spending having them in the house 5 days a week and he called me lazy for still being on leave when my baby is 8 months old.
At this point, I told him I would no longer be watching the kids and not to bring them Monday (yesterday) morning. Since Saturday, Chris and Rachel have blasted Dustin and I on social media which has caused all kinds of friends and extended family to reach out, many calling us AHs among other things. Their post made them look like victims.
When my mom reached out I explain the above and she’s now on on mine and Dustin’s side. Rachel, Rachel’s sister, and my brother have continued to text Dustin and I about what selfish AHs we are for not helping them in their time of need. Dustin and I are really having a hard time wrapping our heads around us being the AHs in this situation so we figured we’d ask Reddit who the AHs are here.
NTA. They're taking advantage of you. I'd honestly call their old daycare to see if they have spots and how much they are (and if rates really went up two months ago).
I'm not one for getting into it on social media, but you might respond something like:
"I have my own three kids, including an infant, but when you asked me to take care of your two toddlers 40 hours a week while you found a new daycare, I agreed with the condition that it was short-term. It's now been two months, and you have not made any strides towards finding a new daycare.
"You have also not provided any food, diapers, gas money, enrichment supplies, or bath supplies, and now you are trying to shame me for putting my own family's needs first. You're not even willing to pay me $100 a week to partly cover those costs, a fraction of what daycare runs! We're paying YOU to watch your children!
"You called me lazy for still being on maternity leave at 8 months. Well, good news, I'll be returning to work soon, and need to dedicate my remaining time off solely to my own children. Please make arrangements now, because after [date, maybe thanksgiving], we will not be able to be your better-than-free daycare anymore.
"If anyone in our circles of family and friends thinks I'm wrong, they're free to either take up the job or pitch in to pay us back for the costs we've incurred."
They knew they were taking liberties with your generosity, and are upset and angry that their free unlimited childcare is ending.
P.S. You sound like good people, and my advice to you is to not bother yourself with opinions from people you don't respect. If they are going to cuss you out because you stop doing them a huge favour, it's a "them problem." Best of luck!
NTA. Two months is way more than enough time for them to have found new day care placements for their children. Their failure to even offer to contribute even a nominal amount to help defray your added expenses is evidence that they are trying to take advantage of your generosity.
NTA. Rachel's sister and your brother can watch them. I love how you are lazy for not going back to work, but you are active enough to watch his darn kids. NTA.
OP and her husband are the AHs in no universe.