Does being family mean that you’re obligated to offer free babysitting? That’s the question one Reddit user is grappling with and he took to Am I the A**hole forum to find out.
“I (40m) was asked by [brother-in-law] and [sister-in-law] to babysit their (5m) and (2m) kids for an entire weekend so they can go on a trip,” the user wrote. “I explained that I just started a new job and there’s a decent chance that I will work some overtime on Saturday or use the weekend to unwind depending on my stress level.”
The brother-in-law and sister-in-law began to “plead and badger” their relative to look after the kids. “I responded that watching their kids is work and that I’ll have to get something in return if they want me to give up my entire weekend.” he wrote. “They got mad and started to rant about family and the ‘village.’”
So, the user wondered, AITA?
The resounding response on Reddit was no, he’s not.
“Couple of issues: 1. if they are significantly more well off financially than you, it’s reasonable to expect them to offer to pay you,” someone wrote. “2. Babysitting vs staying overnight are different things. They could maybe pay for a daytime babysitter then you’re around for the overnight. That way you’re free to work and de-stress AND their kids are safe overnight. 3. Their guilt trips and lack of respect definitely makes the TA. They are imposing on you. If you say no, they are no worse off than before.”
Another added that the village metaphor wasn’t really working. “The ‘village’ should also be supporting you with your new job and the stresses/unpredictability that comes with that,” the user wrote. “If they asked you for some weekend and were willing to shift their break to when you felt able to offer one, sure, but demanding this weekend specifically says your major life event is less important than their planned fun time, not very ‘village’ of them.”
Others voiced similar concerns. “It’s basically placing the responsibility of raising children on the ‘community’ as a whole,” the user explained. “Neighbors, educators, family, etc. It makes sense in that raising well-balanced humans depends a lot on the area they live in. But [expecting] communities to do this isn’t really possible anymore.”
What are your thoughts? Should family pay family for looking after their kids?
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