Babysitting is an extremely responsible task that requires both time and attention from the babysitter. You need to stay alert, care for the child, and make sure you are prepared to handle any adversity, should there be one.
However, not everyone is up to the task and even if you are, you may not be available at all times. As much as some people are naturally talented at handling kids, the circumstances may not be feasible for everyone at all times. More so, when the child is a part of the family.
It may feel like your duty to babysit your relative’s child. But, let us tell you. It isn’t. It’s not necessary that you have to take responsibility for someone else’s baby when you have your own commitments to deal with.
Sadly, for Redditor ‘Little_Maintenance26’ saying no to her sister-in-law’s babysitting request turned into an ugly spat between the families.
“She asked me to babysit. I said I didn’t think I could handle it…”
Image Source: Pexels
In a post, the Reddit user wrote, “My husband’s sister and brother in law have three kids. Their oldest is 10, the middle is 18 months and their youngest is 3 months old.”
“My husband’s sister stayed at home with their oldest until they had the middle when she went back to work because of finances, but then her third pregnancy happened and it was expensive and let’s just say they have struggled ever since. And their old babysitter bailed. So she asked me to babysit. I said I didn’t think I could handle it and she asked for the why,” she explained.
The older son became resentful
The Redditor further explained that the older child had become resentful, which made handling him and the other children all the more difficult.
She wrote, “I gave her the truth. The oldest has become very resentful and bitter since having siblings and it scares me that I would need to be on high alert with all three of them plus my own two. I would never want something to happen and I honestly don’t know how to deal with a kid who is so resentful and bitter.”
She further explained that her husband feels the same way.
“My husband feels the same. When his sister was pregnant he took all four kids out for the day and by the end, he was a nervous wreck dealing with his nephew’s bitterness. He went from a happy, but admittedly spoiled/coddled kid to one who is so damn angry,” she added.
Sister-in-law won’t take ‘No’ for an answer
The exasperated mum further elaborated how the sister-in-law wouldn’t let it go.
She said, “His sister did not take my no and went to my husband to get me to agree. He told her no way, that it would be too much on top of our own kids given how the oldest feels. That wasn’t enough for her either and she came back to me and asked me why I couldn’t do it, she said really why did I feel I could not do it, and I replied that watching her kids was way above my pay grade.”
“She blew up. Told me I was an ass to talk about her kids like that and for being so flippant with her when I know she needs me. Her husband is equally pissed. Mine told me at least it means she won’t ask again. And then he said he’s not sure anyone’s pay grade is good enough for dealing with all three kids,” the mum further explained.
“I do feel kind of badly only because I know they are actively working on their son’s issues and he’s in therapy and life did hit them with the complications of her third pregnancy,” she added.
What Do The Netizens Say?
The user Little_Maintenance26 posted this in the Am I The As*hole subreddit – out of guilt. However, Reddit users were understanding of where the mum was coming from.
In fact, we’d say random netizens were more empathetic towards her situation than the sister-in-law.
With over 1,800 likes and 140 comments, the post created quite the buzz on the community platform. Redditors came forward with their experiences and solutions to the issue.
One user wrote, “NTA [not the a*shole] – you tried to diplomatically and respectfully tell her no. Multiple times. She didn’t like the answer so she kept pressing. Then she didn’t like that answer. The bottom line is the only answer she will accept is an emphatic yes. You don’t owe her that.”
Another user commented, “I agree. Also, you decline because you are afraid for the well being of all the children present, not only your own. She may not like to hear anything negative about her oldest, but if calling you all the things gs she did will not help her oldest. She should focus on that first.”
One user reminded the Redditor that her sis-in-law was pushy, “NTA – She asked and you told her no. For any normal person that would’ve been the end of it. When she pushed you, you gave her an honest answer. Sometimes the truth hurts.”
One Redditor chose rather simpler terms to describe the situation, “NTA Not your circus. Not your monkeys.”
You weren’t flippant at all. You gave good reasons why you felt you couldn’t watch her children.
Irrespective of the fact that you have time or not, babysitting may not be everyone’s cup of tea. More so, when you need to handle kids within the family and wouldn’t want to sour your relationship with the adult by doing a bad job. Everyone has their own reasons for not doing something, and it’s best to persuade further, especially when the individual is uncomfortable.
However, some family members do not understand this and leave you with fewer opportunities to decline politely. So, in order to avoid that awkward conversation or a screaming contest, here’s how to say no to babysitting in five ways.
How To Say No To Babysitting In 5 Ways
Image Source: Pexels
1. You’re not getting paid
Babysitting requires dedicated hours and attention, especially when it involves a toddler or a baby. This means you cannot continue that online side hustle while the baby is being hysterical.
And so, charging compensation for the same is absolutely fair.
Unless you are a grandparent or a close relative, odds are unlikely that you are invested in the growth and development of the child. It’s only fair then that you charge for your services, even if it’s a family member.
Do remember, once you do it for free, the parent would always use it as an easy way out to avoid paying you.
You could’ve used those hours to actually do something more productive, so do not encourage the same. You could always charge a nominal amount if not the actual price. But this will ensure that it remains a transactional relationship, which makes both parties accountable.
2. You don’t have time
For older teenagers or folks in their early 20s, you may not have a full-time job but are probably in a university completing your education, which leaves you with little time to spare.
For stay-at-home mums too, the work at home takes aeons to finish and is exactly like a full-time job without the perks.
So, if you do not have time to commit to handling someone else’s kid, be upfront about it. Everyone has prior commitments and you’re allowed to address those along with babysitting your brother/sister’s children. Babysitting can’t be forced on someone.
If the situation arises where a babysitting opportunity coincides with a prior commitment, you need to prioritise which works and then communicate the same to the parents.
It’s always best to do so well in advance so as to not leave the parents hanging at the last minute either. Especially if they were counting on you.
3. You’re not comfortable around babies
Babies take a lot of effort. Right from regular diaper changes, feeding, incessant crying and more, that pint-sized human can be intimidating.
So, if you do not have experience and are not feeling up for taking responsibility for a baby. It’s completely okay, please say no.
It’s a human life that is completely reliant on you and that may be too much pressure on some. You can reason with the parents about this and ask them to hire someone who’s more apt at handling babies.
You could also learn from the parents about the dos and don’ts of handling a baby, something that could help you later if you want more babysitting opportunities in the future.
4. You’re not feeling well
This should be your number one reason if you want to decline a babysitting offer without offending the parents.
With social distancing norms and the need to ensure everyone’s health, parents will automatically backtrack from forcing you to look after their child.
At the same time, if you are genuinely tired and not feeling up for it, be vocal and communicate the same to the parent. The parents can rather find another babysitter than risk someone who themselves need a caretaker at this point.
5. You don’t want to
Kids aren’t automatically the responsibility of the babysitter. It’s not like the parents seek your blessings before conceiving their child.
So, by all means, it’s not an obligation that you need to live up to. Please go ahead and say no, if you feel the family of the child is not a good fit for you.
You can keep things a little vague, and decline their offer. You could also be open to them about your thoughts if you think they’ll be understanding of the situation.
Things could get complicated when the child is a handful to handle and you may want to avoid babysitting the little one. If the parents aren’t understanding, it will turn the situation hostile, while also ruining your future prospects of landing a babysitting gig with them or any other family.
How To Say No To Babysitting? What You Should Remember
Image courtesy: iStock
Don’t say ‘No’ at the last moment
Help them out with an alternative babysitter, unless you are doing it only as a special case
Keep the communication open and honest
Always charge for your services
Don’t feel guilty about disappointing people
It’s okay to say ‘No’
Keep things honest
At the end of the day parents must be realistic of their expectations with babysitters, even if they are relatives. And you need not feel obligated to handle someone else’s child when you cannot or don’t want to. They are not your responsibility unless you accept them. You could adore the child otherwise but forced babysitting may not be the way to go.