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'AITA for refusing to babysit my stepchildren's siblings for their mom?'

'AITA for refusing to babysit my stepchildren's siblings for their mom?'

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"AITA for refusing to babysit my stepchildren's siblings for their mom?"

I (31f) am married to James (35m) and we have a 3.5 year old son together. James also has two children Grace (13f) and Luke (14m) with his ex-wife, Sharon (36f).

Sharon and James have been divorced for 12 years and ever since Sharon has been in a string of relationships and had four additional children who are ages 10 and under. She is currently married and has three stepchildren who are 7 and under.

James has always been willing to help Sharon out if needed so the kids can see them getting along and so they know he always does his best for them and their mom.

But now he wants me to go a step further than he ever has and he wants me to babysit all of Sharon's kids since I'm a SAHM technically, but I do run my own online business to earn money and am able to do that around everything else in my life.

He said Sharon is struggling to find childcare for all the children she has and her husband is a bit of a deadbeat. I found out after that Grace asked her dad to help out because she was worried about her mom.

I told James that was too much for me. He said he would help where he could and I wouldn't need to worry about the money side because he would take care of it. I told him that's a lot though and honestly too overwhelming for me. He was frustrated with me and I told him I didn't appreciate the pressure he was putting on me.

Later Sharon calls and tells me she wants to start dropping off the kids after Christmas. I told her I hadn't agreed. She told me James had told her I would do it. She then told me that I should be willing to help out and it would win the kids over (Grace and Luke) to me and maybe even to my son (their half brother).

I told James he had no right to promise anything on my behalf. He told me he believed I would be on board and he was surprised I was so against it when I never had a problem with him helping. Then he asked me to give me a reason that couldn't be helped with getting someone in to help me take care of the kids.

I told him he can just pay for people then if he's so determined but I won't be babysitting. I also told him we need marriage counseling because of this.

Also, and this might be meaningless but I feel I should confess it here. Another reason I am unwilling, even if it wasn't so much hard work, is the fact Grace and Luke have never shown an interest in my son.

But their half siblings from their mom and stepsiblings from her? It's totally different. I think it's because they consider all of them, even the steps, their mom's kids.

But with my son, he's mine and not as much their dad's. They are not fond of me or of their mom's husband. It's something I have been working on. But I admit the idea of having all the kids and as my son gets a bit older, him watching his two siblings treat their other siblings so much better makes me say no anyway.

Anyway, Sharon is calling me an AH and saying I am not thinking of my stepkids. James thinks I should have been willing to work with him to figure out a compromise. AITA?

Here's how the confused people of the comments weighed in.

SadderButNoWiser

NTA. I do think you have some level of obligation to help with Grace and Luke. They are your husband's kids, and when you marry and/or date someone with kids, it's package deal. Sometimes you'll have to help take care of your partner's kids, and you're going to be an adult in their life, no matter what. But this?

"Sharon has been in a string of relationships and had four additional children who are ages 10 and under. She is currently married and has three stepchildren who are 7 and under."

Nobody can seriously expect you to take care of seven additional kids on a regular basis. That's not babysitting. That's a nascent Lord of the Flies situation.

It's also extremely problematic that your husband committed you to this insanity even though you refused. That means he really doesn't respect you at all. This isn't grounds for counseling. This is grounds for divorce.

if he wants care for all these nine kids and money isn't an option, he needs to put them in childcare. Or else hope that one of Sharon's ex's disguises himself as a nanny in order to become close to the children.

OP:

That's how I view it. I will always be there to watch Grace and Luke if needed, but their siblings from their mom's household are a different thing for me.

DarwinRN

I’m trying to do the math here. She has 6 biological kids, 4 under 10 and 3 step children. So he wants you to watch 7 additional kids during the day?

I’d say no for the sheer chaos that would cause. Also, you work, stop calling yourself a SAHM. You work from home with a flexible schedule, and keep reminding your husband of that.

OP:

Correct, 7 additional children, 2 of Sharon's children are my stepchildren, 4 are from different relationships and then 3 stepchildren she claims as her own.

Thank you. It's a habit I got into but you're right.

Icy_Department_1423

NTA. Him voluntolding you is a big problem in your marriage. Watching seven children along with your own while working from home is not feasible in any way, shape, or form.

OP:

It is and that's why I brought up marriage counseling. Though I honestly don't know if this is salvageable even with that. But I'm going to try.

Mollydyer

NTA. If your husband is so concerned about it, have HIM take care of the kids. You're not an AH, you work- just because you work from home doesn't mean you can mind a houseful of kids. And even if you didn't, you're not a daycare. You're not responsible for your partner's ex's poor choices or situation.

EDIT: I wanna be clear as to why I'm calling this NTA - there are TEN children involved here. Your own son, Grace, Luke, four children under 10, three step children under 7. This is not a 'can you watch my kid for me for a few hours', it's "Can you set up and run a full blown daycare for me, for free?"

Yama858077

NTA. I'm a guy.. and I'm honestly gonna tell you.. your husband has agreed to this, because he knows he won't be the one doing the main heavy lifting of all these kids, apart from throwing money at it..

He will only do the absolute bare minimum of anything to do with all them kids.. I guarantee you..

Equivalent-Moose2886

Info: out of interest does Sharon work?

NTA. A reasonable suggestion from your husband in this situation would be asking if your 2 step children live with you. Not expecting you to run a daycare for free for other people's 9 children, of which only 2 are related to your husband.

Counselling would be a good idea, cus what kind of weird hold does his ex have on him that he thinks it's in any way reasonable for him to ask this if you?

OP

She does, I think. It's more that if the kids ask James will go out of his way to help Sharon. He's less ready to jump for a request directly from her but still normally will. But one of his kids? He doesn't really stop to think as much.

Reeserdog

NTA and this bizarre. Are you sure your husband isn’t sleeping with her because that is the only reason I think anyone would even propose this bizarre scenario.

OP:

I feel confident that he's not. But I do think he has a very hard time saying no to stuff like this when his kids get involved.

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