Phoenix, AZ

"Mom keeps offering to look after my sister's kid; I end up babysitting all the time," daughter on mom

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Having a close relationship with your parents will usually mean they support you and want you to succeed even when things get hard, you don't earn that much, or you're confused about how to go on with your life.

But what happens if you need to share the same space and you constantly realize you're doing all the work for something they offered to do themselves?

Is it ok to keep on letting a parent ask to do something and then be the one to solve things and actually do the work?

My friend Anna, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, graduated from college last year, and she's recently started her first full-time job. She's still living at home with her mom since she's not in a relationship and would rather save on rent and other bills until she has a higher salary.

"Me and mom were always close, so it made sense to stay with her a while longer. Dad passed away almost six years ago, and my sister is married and has a kid. Me and mom get along well, and we rarely argue about anything," Anna said.

She learned how to cook from Sarah, her mom, and she also does her part in cleaning, laundry, and dishes. Other than that., her mom is ok with Anna inviting her friends over when she gets free time and having parties or just a snack in the living room or in their backyard.

"Mom was open about meeting all my friends as I grew up, and I think that's what kept our relationship so positive. She supported me when I was dating someone too and kept encouraging me to be confident and find what makes me happy without feeling worried I would make a mistake," Anna said.

Her sister, Tina, got engaged when Anna was in high school in Phoenix, in her first year. The wedding took place two years later, and by the time she started college, Anna was already an aunt.

Tina and her husband both kept their jobs to be able to cover their house payments in Phoenix.

"They can't afford to pay a babysitter all the time since they don't earn a lot, so mom told them it's ok to bring her son so she can look after him. That sounded like such a good idea in the beginning because I missed my nephew too, so I figured we could play and have a closer relationship, but it turned into something else completely," Anna said.

Unfortunately, even though Sarah means well and she wants to help her older daughter, the actual babysitting ends up having to be Anna's responsibility.

"She will call my sister and ask her if she needs anything. Then she'll tell her to bring the baby over because she's got the time and she can look after him. But just an hour or so after my sister leaves, mom says she's got an errand to run or an appointment she forgot, or some friends she wants to go see. Then she asks me to look after my nephew, and she's gone for at least three hours. She's usually back when my sister comes to pick up my nephew, but she doesn't look after him for more than an hour at most," Anna said.

While she doesn't mind looking after her little nephew sometimes, Anna doesn't think it's fair for her mom to keep saying she will do the babysitting and then leave it all to her. And when she wants to study, go out, or attend a party or event, she finds it very hard to be on time since her mom is already out and about in Phoenix, and her nephew needs constant attention and care.

"I don't resent my sister or my nephew. And I think mom is trying to do a good thing, but she needs to actually stay home and do it herself more often. Making me handle everything each time is getting tiresome, and our relationship isn't what it used to be," Anna said.

They haven't argued yet, but Anna keeps bringing up the issue, and Sarah gets annoyed when her daughter points out she's making her do something she didn't agree to handle. Whenever they have this talk, Sarah tells her she's not paying rent, so it can't be so hard to watch over her nephew, who is part of their family.

"I live with her, and mom keeps offering to look after my sister's kid; I end up babysitting all the time. My sister knows what's going on, and she's talked to mom about it and asked her not to offer if she can't do it. But that hasn't made things any better. Now she thinks it's all my fault and I'm making her look bad to my sister and her husband. That's just the way it is. I have to look after my nephew; she doesn't do it," Anna said.

Things are tense for now as the mom and daughter keep feeling the other is trying to find a reason to argue. Anna's nephew is still welcome at their house, but Anna is considering renting a place in Phoenix with her friends if everything stays the same.

She thinks her relationship with her mom might get back on track once they don't disagree about who looks after the baby all the time.

What do you think about this situation? Is it ok for Sarah to say she wants to look after her grandson and then leave all the responsibility to Anna? Should Anna move out of her mom's home as soon as she can to avoid feeling taken advantage of and work on their relationship after they each get a little break to think things through?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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