Family vacations can be the most relaxing and bonding time ever, or they can be a minefield of unspoken expectations and petty broken promises. It all depends on how good your family is at communicating, and how flexible everyone is about their wants.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for shutting down her SIL's request that she watch her brother's kids. She wrote:
I’m on vacation with my immediate family. I’m F/30 and my two brothers are in their late 30s. They’re both married and they each have kids (5 kids total ranging in age from 3-9 years old). My parents are also on the trip, and I am accompanied by my boyfriend of 2 years. We’re here for a week and it’s been really fun so far.
We have a mix of days where we have activities planned and then a few free days. My family has had a text thread going for months with all of the trip planning, so we knew which days were activity vs free days. My boyfriend and I planned a romantic dinner for one of the free nights at a really nice restaurant on the island. We made a reservation months ago because it books up.
I was getting ready to go out and one of my sister-in-laws made a comment about me dressing up to stay in. I was confused and asked her to clarify. She said that she, my brother, and my other married brother and his wife, were doing a couples spa evening experience that they booked a few days earlier and they needed me and my BF to watch all of their kids.
She said my brother was supposed to have asked me earlier that day. He forgot to. When I explained that my boyfriend and I already had plans, she was super unsympathetic. She said they already prepaid for the spa experience and since we hadn’t paid for the dinner yet, it wouldn’t make sense for them to have to cancel their plans. I never agreed to watch their kids.
I love my nieces and nephews, but my family knows I am childfree and have been for years. It’s been a point of contention for a long time. I wouldn’t mind watching them if I had been given advanced notice, but to have them slapped on me when I had plans with my BF made me really upset.
My sister-in-law said I didn’t understand how much she needed the time away from her kids because I don’t have kids of my own. She said I was being selfish and I could handle one night of “being a mom.” It’s not the point. I would’ve agreed if she had asked me months ago before my BF and I made dinner plans. I checked and we wouldn’t be able to get another reservation before we leave.
My parents walked in on us arguing, and eventually, they offered to watch the kids. They were supposed to go to a free concert on the beach together but decided to cancel so someone could stay with the kids. I felt really bad but my mom insisted. Now it’s the next day and my sister-in-law won’t even look at me.
I’m pissed at her too but we’re stuck here for a week so I don’t know what to do. My mom thinks I should apologize but I feel I’m the one owed the apology here. AITA?
EDIT: forgot add - we are not staying in a resort/hotel that would have babysitting services, we’re staying in a family friend’s vacation house/rental property.
"She said I was being selfish and I could handle one night of “being a mom”."
Why not ask really politely? Making accusations is not the way to get people to be nice to you. And accept a reasonable no? (You had made plans just like they had. You couldn't reschedule.)
And also she got what she needed: A babysitter for the night.
So why is she mad at you and not at her husband or herself for not organising her stuff properly? NTA.
NTA. Your SIL should be mad at your brother for not asking you for one thing. But they also should have asked you before booking. It sucks that "they need this" but they are the parents and there are more options besides assuming you will do it and then trying to guilt trip you when you don't.
If you haven't already, you should talk to both of your brothers about this. You're their sister and they wanted you to watch their kids but thought it was fine not to ask and let your SIL bully you into it. That's a one-way ticket to never having you babysit. And your mom is out of line for asking you to apologize rather than having a word with her son and DIL about how rude and immature they're being.
NTA. Pick your phrase. "Not my monkeys, not my circus", "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine". Whatever works. Your mom is wrong about you needing to apologize, your SIL does to both you and your mom.
To you, for being an entitled "B" by demanding you plans to accomodate hers, and is now sulking because you wouldn't, and to your mom for moaning about it so much that mom canceled HER plans to watch the kids.
NTA. You should ask you mom exactly what it is she thinks you should apologize for. Review the facts with her — your siblings made plans assuming you would babysit; no one ever bothered to inform you or ask if you were willing to do it.
When SIL was informed that no one mentioned anything to you and you had plans, instead of apologizing and then getting on her husband’s case for his blunder she demanded you cancel your plans and take care of her kids anyway; they dropped the ball, but they were still able to have their spa time, yet now she’s being a jerk to you.
In light of those facts, tell your mother she should talk to your brother and his wife and tell them to apologize, not you. You did nothing wrong. Period. Your SIL is acting like an AH, making things unpleasant for everyone instead of just acknowledging she was wrong to assume you’d want to babysit without asking you.
Wow. NTA. Your brother and SIL are the AHs because he failed to ask you so they could make other plans when they learned you were busy, and your SIL for seeing herself as the victim in this scenario. Her entitlement is through the roof. Certain types of people use their parenthood as a bludgeon to browbeat other people...like they're doing the world a favor for producing children.
OP is definitely NTA here, her brother and SIL need to get themselves together.