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“Am I Wrong For Leaving The House When My SIL Said She Was On Her Way To Drop The Kids Off For Me To Watch?”
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“Am I Wrong For Leaving The House When My SIL Said She Was On Her Way To Drop The Kids Off For Me To Watch?”

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Boundaries, dear Pandas, boundaries are what keep family relationships healthy. No matter how close you are to your parents, siblings, and all the extended family members that are as numerous as hobbits, you can’t constantly sacrifice your own life for their needs. Love, respect, and support don’t mean living in constant servitude, at the beck and call of others’ every whim.

Reddit user u/IamAndy123 turned to the AITA community and asked it if he was wrong for refusing to babysit his nephews by rushing out of his home before they could arrive. Now, at first glance, that sounds really bad, doesn’t it? But the fact is, the redditor felt like it was the only way to establish proper boundaries: he had important personal plans that he didn’t want to give up. And his sister-in-law didn’t get that.

Scroll down for the full story and let us know what you think of the entire bizarre situation, dear Pandas. Do you have any thoughts on how you’d have handled things?

Bored Panda reached out to Samantha Scroggin, the founder of the ‘Walking Outside in Slippers’ parenting blog, for a chat about boundaries within families, and the limits of asking for help with babysitting.

“I think when establishing boundaries with family members, being clear and using good communication are the best routes. You wouldn’t want a family member to misinterpret your actions for rudeness or lack of appreciation for their help with childcare,” she said. “I would hope that close family members can communicate freely about expectations for child care, but I know that personalities differ and some would rather take on an extra burden and avoid conflict.”

No matter how much we love our family members, there have to be some boundaries

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Image credits: Picsea (not the actual photo)

An uncle shared how his sister-in-law didn’t care about the personal plans that he had when she wanted him to babysit. Here’s what happened

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Image credits: IamAndy123

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Image credits: Kelli McClintock (not the actual photo)

In Samantha’s opinion, there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to babysitting and family members. All families are different.

“Some families are very close, and the aunts and uncles and grandparents are practically other parents to the kids. Others are more distant. Once again, I think good communication is important to set the ground rules and ensure everyone is comfortable with the babysitting expectations,” she said.

What’s more, the founder of ‘Walking Outside in Slippers’ shared a bit about how her own family deals with babysitting. “My husband and kids and I live several hours away from both sets of grandparents, and other family members. Because of this distance, we are rarely if ever asked to babysit,” she said.

Samantha continued: “However when we visit family, the grandparents often take our kids so we can go on a date for dinner, and maybe even a short weekend away alone. I think the distance makes the grandparents more eager to spend what time with our kids they can. My husband and I try not to abuse this privilege and expect too much, but it is such a relief to have occasional help with feeding and caring for the kids.”

At the core of the Reddit story lie two things. First of all, redditor u/IamAndy123 feels like he never had a choice in deciding how often he can babysit his nephews. He believes that this whole babysitting business was thrown onto his shoulders by his younger brother.

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Second of all, it seems like the younger brother and the sister-in-law definitely have some boundary issues. There’s nothing wrong with asking a family member for help; however, demanding that they change their important plans isn’t the diplomatic way to go.

While getting out of the house to avoid one’s SIL is definitely a last-resort kind of action, it’s not difficult to see that redditor may have simply become fed up with the entire situation. Or he may have felt like discussing this with his sibling and SIL wouldn’t work because they don’t understand his perspective.

Whatever the case might be, establishing boundaries really is important, even in (or rather, especially in) family settings. However, you have to be delicate when you do this. Relationship coach Alex Scot told Bored Panda that the closer you are to someone, the more flexible you have to make those boundaries.

“Without them [boundaries], we live our lives at the expense of ourselves. The mindset for many when it comes to setting boundaries is that they feel selfish, or that they aren’t being a good partner when they implement them, so they avoid doing it altogether,” the expert revealed to Bored Panda.

“Boundaries are there for us to be able to take care of and to protect ourselves so that we can show up and operate within our lives as successfully as possible.”

Redditors were nearly unanimous in their verdict. Here’s what they had to say about the family drama

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sweetangelce04 avatar
CatWoman312
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What I find more annoying is how she sprung it on him last minute. She likely had her hair appointment scheduled weeks in advance and she had ample time to ask for a sitter and/or uncle. I feel like this is not a new thing for her and she feels she can just dump her kids on him whenever.

katejones_1 avatar
Kate Jones
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This was going to be my comment as well. Hair appts are sometimes months in advance, especially for wedding stuff. There's no way she wouldn't have known ahead of time and made arrangements. I could understand if she had asked and then you reneged but that wasn't the case. She sprang it on you at the last minute. I understand wanting to help but that's just it: help. That isn't a guarantee of being available at all her beck and call. Why is what you want to do deemed less important? I would go to your brother and tell him just that. Especially if in the past you've put aside your plans in order to help him. Where's the appreciation for all of that? You can just stop helping entirely and let them start paying for babysitters and see how fast they come running back. And I know I'll sound like a jerk but, she's a stay at home mom. It's harder for you to have to shift things around your work schedule to meet her demands than it would be for her to pay better attention to scheduling.

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annelouise-bidstrup avatar
AnnaBanana
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why is it that people with kids think their lives are sooooo much more important than those of the child-free? Ok, not ALL parents, but it seems to be the vast majority these days. My family did it to me when their kids were young - not like this guy, but nobody EVER bothered to check if I had plans before they arranged a family event. Used to drive me nuts!

kimitomminello avatar
Kimi Tomminello
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's not a vast majority. It's a very obnoxious minority. You never hear about all the parents out there that respect boundaries because there's no horror story to tell about it.

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xolitaire avatar
xolitaire
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not only is he NTA, he also made the right decision to bail on his SIL. The moment people take you for granted they will abuse that to their heart's content. And once they get used to walking all over you there is no turning back.

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sweetangelce04 avatar
CatWoman312
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What I find more annoying is how she sprung it on him last minute. She likely had her hair appointment scheduled weeks in advance and she had ample time to ask for a sitter and/or uncle. I feel like this is not a new thing for her and she feels she can just dump her kids on him whenever.

katejones_1 avatar
Kate Jones
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This was going to be my comment as well. Hair appts are sometimes months in advance, especially for wedding stuff. There's no way she wouldn't have known ahead of time and made arrangements. I could understand if she had asked and then you reneged but that wasn't the case. She sprang it on you at the last minute. I understand wanting to help but that's just it: help. That isn't a guarantee of being available at all her beck and call. Why is what you want to do deemed less important? I would go to your brother and tell him just that. Especially if in the past you've put aside your plans in order to help him. Where's the appreciation for all of that? You can just stop helping entirely and let them start paying for babysitters and see how fast they come running back. And I know I'll sound like a jerk but, she's a stay at home mom. It's harder for you to have to shift things around your work schedule to meet her demands than it would be for her to pay better attention to scheduling.

Load More Replies...
annelouise-bidstrup avatar
AnnaBanana
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why is it that people with kids think their lives are sooooo much more important than those of the child-free? Ok, not ALL parents, but it seems to be the vast majority these days. My family did it to me when their kids were young - not like this guy, but nobody EVER bothered to check if I had plans before they arranged a family event. Used to drive me nuts!

kimitomminello avatar
Kimi Tomminello
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's not a vast majority. It's a very obnoxious minority. You never hear about all the parents out there that respect boundaries because there's no horror story to tell about it.

Load More Replies...
xolitaire avatar
xolitaire
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not only is he NTA, he also made the right decision to bail on his SIL. The moment people take you for granted they will abuse that to their heart's content. And once they get used to walking all over you there is no turning back.

Load More Comments
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