'Selfish' Woman Backed for Not Babysitting Nieces

A woman has found support online after her brother and sister-in-law claimed she should "refund them monetarily" after she couldn't babysit her nieces after the death of a close friend.

The now-viral Reddit post, titled, "AITA for lashing out at my brother and SIL for dropping their kids off at my place even after telling them not to," has been upvoted 8,900 times since it was shared on June 15. Redditor @ThrowawayAITAmcnelly shared the post to the subreddit "Am I The A**hole," and it has garnered 1,800 comments as well.

According to a Care.com survey, 85 percent of parents in 2021 said they spent 10 percent or more of their income on childcare. In addition, 57 percent of parents spent more than $10,000 on childcare in 2020. In 2021, 59 percent of respondents also spent more than that as well.

The original poster (OP) said she is a 30-year-old woman, and she lives with her husband and their pets. She revealed she and her husband are "infertile," and they don't have kids. However, they "help out" with her brother and sister-in-law's kids instead, and the girls are 4 and 1.

The Redditor said she is a web developer and works remotely from home. The "timing" is flexible," which is why she is able to give more "care" to her nieces. Her brother and his wife make enough to break even, and they "can't exactly afford exorbitant childcare costs." They would rather put their money toward the kids' medical and school expenses.

The OP continued: "I have been babysitting these children ever since the oldest was born, and now I also handle the care of the younger one. However, recently, something really dreadful happened, that is I lost one of [my] closest friends and in a really terrible way too, [I] don't want to divulge [many] details."

The woman admitted she's been in a "really bad place" since she lost her friend, and "emotional fatigue" has made her not even want to go to work, which is the reason she took two weeks off to "rest and come to terms" with her emotions.

Her brother feigned "sympathy" in the beginning, and he told her to get rest. However, he then did the opposite of what he said by dropping off her nieces when she told him she needed this time for herself.

Woman and girl playing outside
A "selfish" woman has been backed for not babysitting her nieces. Here, a woman carrying a young girl on her back as they laugh and play outside. DISOBEYART/GETTY

"He and SIL then countered saying that looking after my nieces would help me take my mind off things and that it was too short of a notice," the OP recounted. "The thing is I barely have any energy usually when the kids are over, I also take charge of the cooking, cleaning up after the younger one."

She has to attend to both kids at the same time, and she doesn't have the energy to look after them both like that right now when she can "barely" attend to her own needs. Plus, it's a "safety issue," as kids need to constantly be watched, especially with her younger niece.

But now the woman's brother and sister-in-law are "threatening" her by saying that if she's not "willing to babysit for the next two weeks," she should "refund them monetarily so that they can find childcare because of the 'short notice.'"

"I don't understand, was I supposed to predict my friend's demise or something?" the woman questioned. "Looks like my only option is to pay them back monetarily for the childcare costs to lay them off my back. My husband thinks it is cruel of them to make me pay, but my brother says I'm being selfish and only thinking everything revolves around my problems."

The OP admitted she was "burned out" from the situation, and she needed a "break." She "lashed out" at her brother and sister-in-law for calling her "selfish," and she hasn't apologized.

"Do provide judgment on if they are fair, if so then I'd be willing to compensate them," the woman reasoned.

In an update, the OP added that she doesn't get paid to watch her nieces, adding, "I have volunteered since my first niece was born [because] of my flexible work hours."

In a comment, the OP said the problem is she's pretty positive her brother and sister-in-law won't be able to locate a "replacement sooner," and she admitted she doesn't "mind paying for a babysitter, but SIL is adamant it has to be a daycare, which is significantly costlier. She also told me that if I was going to be like this, I should not have taken up the responsibility of looking after them in the first place and I'm like...what? I never expected this to happen. Really on the verge of losing my sanity."

In another comment, the OP said she thinks she's partially to "blame" as she kept on allowing the situation to continue. She offered to find the couple a babysitter, but they had an issue with it and wanted specialized daycare for the next couple of weeks.

She also revealed when her older niece was born the OP saw how the couple was "struggling," and she offered to help out, and it became an "unspoken thing" until her younger niece was born.

She even helps out with school fees and also dental expenses when her brother "runs short," as well as with food expenses, but she said, "luckily diapers and formula for my niece" are paid for by her brother.

The woman also revealed that "based on the general judgement here, I'm thinking of holding back compensation. I have never asked for payment at all. All the looking after and taking care was done because I love my nieces. When I request for the same kindness towards me, they somehow don't understand."

Numerous comments poured in over the viral situation, and people were backing the OP and slamming her brother and his wife. One comment received 11,800 upvotes on its own, and they voted NTA their verdict.

"Let me get that straight," the user said. "[You've] been babysitting for free for four years and now you should pay the parents for not doing that?" They reasoned the OP should tell her brother to "cut it out and find a different solution" such as other family.

"Or you won't babysit again," they said. "Tell him his inconsiderate, cruel, and ungrateful behavior is ruining your relationship, and you won't let yourself be bullied in a time where you are weak."

Numerous people didn't think the OP should compensate her family members for not being able to babysit. "NTA, your brother and his wife got used to you babysitting and think they are entitled to it now," a Redditor added. "Do not pay them for not being able to babysit, it is their job to take care of their children."

Another user didn't think the OP owed her brother or sister-in-law "a dime," insisting, "If anything, they owe you money for all of the childcare you have been providing for the past four years! Do not give them money, and do not let them push you into doing something you are mentally incapable of. They are the selfish ones!"

While a Redditor thought the couple has been "taking advantage" of the OP, adding, "They need to pay you, if you continue to watch them. Why [on] earth would you have to pay them? That's the craziest thing I have ever heard."

Some suggested cutting contact, and one such user said, "NTA. Whatever you do, [do] not pay these vultures. While I know you love your nieces, cut contact with the brother and his wife, block them on everything, and take care of yourself."

People offered up condolences to the OP on the loss of her friend while also giving their own advice on the situation.

"First off, I'm really sorry for your loss," a user said. "Second of all, don't you bloody pay them a dime! They have absolutely no f**king right to demand you pay if they've never paid a cent to you! Goes without saying, but you are not the AH, they sure are though. How disgusting."

Newsweek reached out to Redditor @ThrowawayAITAmcnelly for comment.

This isn't the only viral moment involving family drama. A "trash" father was slammed for giving his daughter his late wife's necklace. The internet backed a "victimized" woman's lie about why her grandkids can't come over. In addition, parents were supported for telling their pregnant daughter they wouldn't help raise her child.