Woman Refusing to Be on 'Standby' to Help Sister in Labor Sparks Debate

A woman asked the internet if she was being unreasonable by not being "on standby" to care for her nephew when her pregnant sister goes into labor, and users had a variety of opinions on the matter.

In a post shared on Mumsnet last Monday, the woman, who goes by the username Anonplease, said her sister is due to give birth soon but doesn't want to be on "standby" to watch her little son while she's in labor.

She said that if she's "free" she will help, but she won't risk her job taking sick days. She added that she has a few events planned she doesn't want to miss.

According to the post, her nephew is "very very clingy and will definitely cry most of the time he's with [her]," as he's mostly used to spending time with his paternal family.

Statistics from Zippia show that about 57 percent of working families spent more than $10,000 on child care in 2020. On average, Americans with children spend at least 10 percent of their household income on child care.

In addition, about 58 percent of working parents rely on child care centers, and the child care industry in the United States is valued at $54 billion.

woman in labor
A woman in labor. A Mumsnet poster asked if she was being unreasonable for being on "standby" to watch her nephew when her sister goes into labor, and opinions on the matter were split. Getty Images

In the 116 comments in the thread, some people felt the poster had every right to refuse to care for her nephew, while others thought she was being "selfish" and should help instead.

One user, GurningGolfer, said: "[YouAreNotBeingUnreasonable]. Can someone else step in if you're busy? Like parents of hers or her partner? Other family or friends?"

And Newyearnewname20 said: "I definitely don't think it would be selfish of you to explain you may not be able to help. Can your sister get childcare arranged for her son when she goes into labor? Appreciate it would be difficult to arrange at short notice, but could she get paid childcare, or could any other family members look after her son?"

Another user, ananaboats, said: "Would it not be better for him to be looked after by her [partner's] family if that is people he knows better? Presumably she has a good relationship with them if her son knows them better than her own family."

But some users saw it differently. Peashoots said: "Sorry but I'm going to go against the grain here. For a one off event and something as important as childcare when she's in labor, I would bend over backwards to help her."

Peashoots went on, "Work may be difficult but if you refused to cancel plans or said no because her son will cry, I think that's exceptionally selfish. It won't kill you to look after a whingey kid for a bit. She's giving birth, this is huge. She doesn't need the stress of having to do it alone because she can't get childcare."

GADDay added: "I am another thinking you are unreasonable. She is having a baby, not popping to Wetherspoons for a pint. Your nephew could also use the support. Ps if I were your sister I would feel really hurt by your attitude." And autienotnaughty said: "[I'd] say work is a reasonable excuse but going out is not."

PugInTheHouse said: "You are not unreasonable to say what days you are available so she can sort something else for the other days. [To be honest] though depending on the event I would probably drop anything for my sibling, [obviously] risking your job is totally different."

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.

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