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Being taken advantage of for babysitting.
Family & Parenting / 12:15 PM - Friday October 29, 2010

Being taken advantage of for babysitting.

So it's like this: I'm married with two children (ages 4 and 6). I work from home 25 hours/week.

My SIL is unmarried. She has two children (ages 9 and 1) from two different men. The men have limited interest/involvement with their children.

I babysit her kids quite a bit. And I don't mind spending time with my nieces. Especially b/c I think my SIL is a crappy mom and doesn't pay her kids much attention. But I keep that opinion to myself.

I feel taken advantage of bc I watch her kids three days a week for free, including getting the older one to and from school, starting homework, feeding them dinner, etc. Also I have the little one all day while I'm getting work done - it's not an ideal situation for me at all.

On top of that, she'll beg me to take her kids on the weekends so that she can run errands, go on dates, etc. (I understand it must be hard dating as a single mom... but on the other hand she got herself in that situation through a series of poor choices.)

My problem is, if I tell her to back off on the babysitting requests, she's going to dump the kids on my MIL. My MIL is 72 and in poor health. She already watches the kids the other 2 days/ week. And it's too much for her, health wise!! My husband and I worry about her constantly, especially when she has the kids. I am certain that my SIL would increase my MIL's babysitting b/c she is too broke to pay a babysitter and who else would she get to do it for free?

So what do I do?

- Asked by Female, 36-45

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You and your husband should sit down with your mother in law and come up with a plan together of what you can do without harming yourselves, based on what you feel is best for the children, not their mother. Then, as a united front, present it to your sister in law. Stay firm and support each other in not caving in. Most moms don't have the kind of free time your sister in law does now, and that's the way it should be!

- Response by maryea, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Retired

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I think you need to try to first have a talk with the MIL, and see if the both of you have the same mindset about the SIL.
If you do, then the both of you can agree to refuse to babysit for the SIL in some manner.

The problem is, the SIL is so accustomed to dumping off her kids on someone else, it has become an expected way of life for her. I'm sure she even talks about it to her friends/dates - "I can come over tomorrow at 8:30, after my SIL takes my kids."
And you KNOW if she has any more kids, you will end up watching them also!

Of course, being the concerned and caring person you are, you will want to find out exactly what she is doing with her kids once you and the MIL stop watching them for her.
If she leaves them alone at her residence, don't feel bad about calling the Police to anonymously report young children being left alone without any adult supervision.
The SIL needs to get her priorities straight, and she won't hear it from you ... maybe the authorities will be a greater influence?

- Response by andrewj5267, A Guy Critical, Male, 36-45, Miami, Teaching

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Community Rating: Community Star

Your husband needs to talk with his mom. Tell her not to accept the kids anymore than she has already. Tell her to stand firm.
Then he needs to talk to the sister. I get the occasional time off for a date or special event, but these are her kids. She had them and she has to raise them. She can run errands with two kids. My mom ran errands with 5 kids and lived to tell the story.
Long story short, he needs to tell her to take responsibility for her kids. And then tell her that she is no longer to dump her indiscretions on her 72 year mother. He has already talked to mom and mom can't do any more.
And if she whines, reminder her that you already provide free day care and feed the kids all day. It's time for her start pulling her weight.
And then stand firm. If she calls the MIL, tell the MIL to call you husband for reinforcement and support.
She knew were babies came from. These are her kids not yours. Stand firm.
Best of luck.

- Response by falsehammer, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 29-35, Kansas City, Consulting

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There's nothing you can do except tell her you can't watch them. What she does after that isn't really your concern. If your 72 year old MIL doesn't know how to say "No, I won't watch your kids" that is not your problem.

- Response by justpassingthru, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Financial / Banking

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Find a cheap daycare place for her to bring her kids to. Obviously it would be better if she actually acted like a mom, but if she's not going to it's best for the kids to actually be looked after.

- Response by A Player, Female, 26-28, Who Cares?

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First of all she needs to stop dumping these kids off on the weekends and be a mom. I'm a single mom too. I rarely go out on weekends,maybe once a month after my daughter is in bed and really it's not even that much. I take my daughter with me when I run errands too unless I absolutely can't. As far as the rest of the days I would have your hubby talk to the sister and tell her she needs to start exploring other options. I know here with my income I could get free day care I just don't b/c I opted to go to school and stay home and my mom lets me stay here til I'm done with school. I don't know if they offer free day care there thru the state but it's something to check into.

- Response by misskitty420, A Cool Mom, Female, 29-35, Student

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Personally I would say you need to confront the crappy mom and tell her to change her ways or you will call the CAS on her. That ain't right. She is putting her kids at risk by leaving them with a 72 year old with poor health. She doesn't spend time with her kids, etc.
She shouldn't even be going on dates...geesh, where is this girl's priorities!?
She is taking advantage of you and doesn't appreciate it. If anything she should be taking these babysitting opportunities to better her life.
But really if she doesn't pay attention to her own kids, she shouldn't have them.
You mentioned she was your sister in law, does this mean your brother is the deadbeat dad? If so, I'd be putting a foot up his ass as well.

- Response by kllyldcr, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Other Profession

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