Sister-in-Law Refuses to Babysit 2-Year-Old After Last-Minute Request

Gillian Sisley

Should family members be expected to babysit by default?

Child care is a massive undertaking, and can at points be a bit of a struggle for parents who are trying to find solutions when it comes to their children's childcare needs.

And while it is common for family members to help with babysitting, it is still the parent's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate childcare is available and accessible before making assumptions.

These realities were highlighted in a recent online post in which a woman goes to the gym in the morning, as per her regular routine, and her sister-in-law is furious about it because wasn't available to babysit last-minute.

Should family members be expected to babysit by default?

A Reddit post published on November 20th, reported on by Alice Gibbs from Newsweek, has gone viral with 5,400 upvotes and close to 1,000 comments.

The author begins her post by explaining that she is 23 years old, and her older brother and sister-in-law just recently moved into her parent's home with their 2-year-old.

Her brother's house is currently being renovated, thus the reason for them moving in with the author and her parents. She clarifies that while she looks after her nephew 'sometimes', she doesn't often take care of children and ‘doesn't really know how to’.

She also adds that it's fairly common for her to go to the gym early on weekend mornings so that she can ‘avoid the crowds’. This is a regular routine for her, so the last time she went she didn't think anything of it.

Is it reasonable to expect family members to babysit for free at any given time?

After her workout, the author was spending time in the sauna to relax a bit, but when she got back to the changing room she realized she had a lot of missed calls and texts from her sister-in-law. The sister-in-law was ‘demanding to know where she was’, saying that she 'needed the author to look after her nephew' while the couple went out to run some errands.

When the author returned home, her sister-in-law ‘blew up’ at her for ‘not checking in’ to see whether or not they needed childcare before she left for the gym. The sister-in-law had assumed she would be available, and because the author wasn't around she had missed her nail appointment. Though the author feels terrible about the situation, she doesn't feel that blaming her for what happened is 'fair'.

What do you think? Should the author indeed have checked in with her sister-in-law and brother to find out if they needed any child care that day before heading off to the gym? Or is she in no way responsible for being their on-call babysitter, as she has her own life and she's justified to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants?

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