Saturday, May 27, 2023
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How do tell my sister I don’t want to be her nanny anymore without it causing drama?

I’ve been watching my sister’s child for the last two years, my husband makes enough money that I don’t have to work and I can focus on our home and our family.

When my sister was pregnant I said I’d be open to watching the baby on occasion. Somehow “on occasion” went from date nights here and there, to 10 hour days two to three times a week. I admit that after two years I’ve let this get completely out of control and I should have said something sooner. But there is really no nice way to tell someone that I don’t want to watch their child for any reason other than I just don’t want to. I have so much anxiety over having to get up at 6:00 am to show up at their house to babysit that I literally can’t sleep so then I end up not sleeping at all and then watching the baby for 10 hours. My sister is now talking about having a second baby and gushing every chance she gets about how appreciative she is for my help because of all the money I’m saving them and I just about had a panic attack when I realized not only does she expect this to continue for a significant amount of time, but she’s fully going to expect me to watch a toddler and newborn and meanwhile I’ve been contemplating how I can get out of this situation without drama.

My husband works his ass off so that I can be home with our family, not so I can be a nanny for my sister. And to make matters worse, my sister just bought an extravagant new house which she probably did in part because she didn’t think she’d have to worry about childcare.

But I just don’t want to do it anymore. At all.

I love my niece. But I absolutely do not want to be her or anyone else’s nanny.

My sister and her husband have a very different parenting style than I do, they’re very fussy. And they don’t even leave a carseat so I’m literally stranded there all day. If something happens with my own child I literally can’t leave at all. I feel trapped in this situation and I just want it to be over.

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  1. Listen. She’s not going to like it. Stop wringing your hands and rip off the bandaid. Just because you’re family doesn’t mean you’re de facto nanny!

    You’ve gotten into this mess because you can’t say no. You need to work with a therapist to learn to set and keep boundaries.

    Tell your sister, “sis, I love you and kiddo. When I originally offered to babysit, I thought I could manage more when you asked but it’s become too much for me and is impacting my mental health. Starting Jan 1, I can’t be a daily sitter. I’m happy to help out here or there bit I just can’t be your regular nanny.”

    And she’ll throw a fit and there will be some drama. Just grey rock it and don’t respond. She’ll get over it eventually.

    But seriously…therapy for you.

  2. Tell her now, before she gets pregnant. Just say that as much as you love your niece, you are getting burnt out. You’ve given her 2 years of free babysitting. That’s more then generous. Explain this and state that you just wanted them to be aware before she has another baby. If she doesn’t understand then she isn’t worth doing favours for anyway.

  3. Oh my god absolutely not. Your kid takes priority. “I can’t do this anymore Sis, I spend more time with your baby than I do my own”. Warn her in advance. She’s taking advantage of you at this point.

  4. You have to **know** that she’s going to throw a fit and act like you’re a terrible person. You have to prepare yourself to remember that she’s selfish and manipulative. **None of what she says is connected to reality. It’s only connected to her selfishness.**

    Either you’ll be her slave forever, or you’ll stop and she’ll get mad. Those are your choices. You have to want your freedom more than you want to avoid your sister shrieking at you.

    You don’t owe her **anything,** and that includes owing her the chance to scream and insult you. You don’t have to listen to her. You are an adult and a human being. You can hang up the phone or ignore the texts or refuse to open the door.

    You have to stop giving her the power to control you. You are the only one choosing to give her that power, and you can take it back.

  5. Rip off the bandaid. You’re not a nanny. You’ve been more than generous and they’re taking advantage of you.

    “Hey sis, I love you and my niece but I can’t continue to provide regular childcare for you anymore. I need to prioritize the needs of my own family. I can give you until X date to find a new nanny/sitter/daycare.”

  6. You tell her right now. Set an end date in, say, four weeks so that she has time to make other childcare arrangements. If you had a mental breakdown one of these days because this UNPAID more than FULL-TIME job is too taxing for you, she would have to find a new solution within 24 hours.

    And if she bought the new house just assuming you‘d do her work for free forever, that’s on her. She should at least have told you about her plans and asked hoe long you‘d be available.

  7. “Sis, somehow my offer to babysit for you occasionally has turned into me being your part time nanny. I’m not going to be able to watch your daughter on a regular basis anymore. I need to focus on my own family. I’ll watch her for the next 4 weeks to give you time to make alternate arrangements.”

    Every time she tries to argue about it, decrease that time by a week.

  8. Wait, hold on. ….Are you telling me you’re your sister’s nanny and you don’t even get PAID? And she just bought a luxurious new home? And is talking about having a second baby for you to raise?

    This is…So horrific. You are being completely taken advantage of to such an extreme that I can’t help but wonder why you’re enabling this horrible behavior? Is there some golden child syndrome on your sister’s part? Why would you do this? ..And you have your own child to take care of? …What is this?! You need to leave this situation IMMEDIATELY. Focus on your own family.

  9. 1) Just tell your sister that you are prioritizing your own family from here on out. You are making your child your number one concern. You simply no longer have the time or energy to babysit someone else’s children.

    2) Or ask her when you can drop off your child ’cause it is your sister’s turn to mind children. Since she will have two, what is one more?

    3) Honestly I would be direct. I would tell her that I am done looking after other people’s children. I am going to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I will not be a dumping ground for other people’s responsibilities.

  10. You are a ridiculous and a pathetic people pleaser as I was. Your sister doesn’t love you nor respect or value you. Stop whining and venting here and grow a spine. Go to therapy if you feel you’ll need support to handle your sister afterwards. You can continue to whine and be their slave basically or you can take you freedom back but you’ll have to pay that price of choosing yourself period.

  11. She’s completely taking advantage of you. I don’t know anyone except a grandparent who would give up 30 hours a week of their life to be a sibling’s babysitter for two years. Nobody.

    She’s being a selfish user, especially thinking you’d just keep doing it even if there are two children. She will keep taking advantage of you as long as you let her. She’s been doing it your whole life, right?

    But I can heat how nervous you are, so I think a little white lie would be fine in this case, if your husband is ok with it. Say he’s tired of you devoting so much time to her child and wants you home. Let him be the one to tell her, if he’s willing.

    She’ll probably be furious because she had it so easy, using you the way she has, but none of that’s your fault. You’re not her employee or her servant. You get to have whatever life you want, to do what you want, period.

  12. Did your sister ask you if it was okay for you to be the babysitter befor they bought the house or she getting pregnant with the second? I guess not. They take advantage of you. Best time to tell her with her pregnancy you have come to realize this is overwhelming you will stop babysitting next month.

  13. Just getting out of an abusive relationship after 6.5 years of marriage. I thought I could never leave because I worried about his wellbeing and he needed me and the anxiety I was feeling every day was killing me. One day it hit me, either way I’m going to feel bad but at least if I do something for myself and cut things off I have the chance to eventually feel better. Your sister will be mad and you will feel like garbage for a while but it’ll pass and if she cuts you off she’s a crap sister anyways. You have your own life and family and they and your happiness come first. Good luck, OP. I hope you find the strength to do what needs to be done.

  14. Talk to a therapist. You can say No to family for any reason. You aren’t responsible for their child.

    Heck, if you are that adverse to difficult conversations, talk to your husband and see if he’ll agree to be the fall guy. “Sorry, sis, can’t do this anymore. Husband doesn’t want me to”. Or get a job, any job so you aren’t as available.

    You really do need to talk to a therapist though, you get to decide how to spend your time.

    How is it selfish of you to decide not to raise your niece but not selfish of your sister to keep dumping her on you without your consent?

    Start saying No.

  15. “ we need to talk about your child care arrangements. Unfortunately this is not working out. You need to get a nanny or put your child into daycare. Please make any future baby decisions knowing I will be an Aunty to the baby not a nanny. I need to focus on my own family and mental well-being.”

  16. Better you tell her now before she gets pregnant.

    Just say you enjoyed the two years supporting her and bonding with your niece but it has come too much that you are not sleeping as you are worried you will not get to their place on time etc. it is affecting your health so you need to step back. You love your niece and you are up for taking her out somewhere fun for the day etc but when you have aligned with your husband etc.

    I think it is ridiculous that she expects you to go to het house etc.

    I have had this occur with several friends. Please go seek some therapy though you should be able to feel no with regards to setting your own boundaries. This is a boundary for you therefore you need to set it.

    Just give a date and say after this she needs to find new childcare arrangements.

    You cannot be taking care of others if you do not take of yourself first!

  17. Listen, it’s NOT going to go badly. I does not have to. I don’t know why everyone here is reinforcing the idea that it HAS to go badly.

    There is a perfectly reasonable and emphatic way of going about this and the only reason your sister won’t get this is if she is unreasonable – but that is on her, not you.

    You said it yourself that the initial agreement was “on occasion”. You just have to reiterate the terms that were initially set.

    “You know I love to look after “niece”, but I need to start taking some time back now to invest time in things back at home, I hope you understand. I would still be happy to look after her on occasion as we initially said, but I can’t do it regularly anymore.”

    Something along those lines is perfectly reasonable and should not unravel any drama.

    You are not selfish. If anything you are very selfless and empathetic for devoting so much of your time to your niece.

    Good luck!

  18. Sometimes you just have to get to the point and be blunt. You could even take up a hobby or a part time job and use it as an excuse to get out of the babysitting.

  19. I’d lie and say you’re gonna get a job.. she’ll never know. If she finds out you’re not working say “yea it wasn’t a good fit I quit fast” it’s not fair to your husband. Who cares about drama.

  20. Just be honest and say that you are going to be cutting back on the number of hours you babysit.

    You want to start doing x, y, and z.

    That is not an unreasonable request.

  21. It is time to tell your sister you are going to start taking classes. For what, what everyou like. Give her your two week notice in wrighting. Oh they will be mad. Not your concern. You have a dream to become whatever. Buy them a car seat and off you go. Do not look back and do not fall for hey can you just watch her for today only BS.

  22. Say that from now on to continue to be the nanny you need payment of 70k a year or better to make up for 2 unpaid years- and higher than average nanny rates. A car seat and car insurance coverage to take niece places. Option to watch niece at your house not theirs sometimes so you get extra sleep in time and they can drop off niece on way to work. And whatever other job perks you want in the list of wants. They can either take it and pay you and you can make it work, or you are free of the obligation except when you want time with the baby you helped raise.

  23. This isn’t a sustainable situation for anyone. Just get out of it. If she’s mad at you it just confirms her selfish attitude. Are you here on this planet to be a slave? To make life convenient for your half sister? wtf take control of your life! They will figure it out

  24. You need to send it in an email so none of it can be misconstrued. Use simple language, make it clear your are needed at your own home — it will be incredibly difficult for her to reasonably suggest that the needs of your own home are less important than the needs of hers, and you can straight up ask “why don’t you think my family’s needs are as important as yours? Are you going to be able to offer to step in for my absence?” if she tries to cause drama — and also use the fact that she is now established in her new house and planning her future as part of the reason. “Hey! I’m so happy I was able to help you out more than initially expected for the last while, but I need to shift focus back to my family and so will not be available for babysitting anymore. I am needed at home. I thought I should let you know now since you are now settled into your house and planning to add to the family and I wanted to ensure you are able to best plan for your new chapter.“

  25. If they are considering having more kids you need to put your foot down. It doesn’t have to be more than, “I have my own family, I can’t be using my energy on your kid for half the week”.

    Partially it’s your fault for letting it grow so big, but it’s also her fault for taking you for granted. It should be fine, even if she gets shocked when you tell her. It’s her kid after all, maybe her man should work some more hours.

  26. It’s going to go badly. Have you thought about getting a low maintenance dog or cat too help with your anxiety? Then you can’t babysit because you “have to” stay with the pet.

  27. Write a script. Tell her you need to talk face to face. Read the script, repeat parts if need be. It’s your life, they’re her kid(s) … nothing to feel bad about!

  28. It sounds like you have some people pleasing tendencies. I have as well in the past. Unfortunately after spending so much time people pleasing (in your case I’m assuming months or years) people like your sister may react negatively to you putting up boundaries and saying no. But you have to do it. You gotta do it for the sake of your relationship with your sister because if this continues you will grow to resent her and it will cause bigger problems. Not to mention the fact that you are literally doing thousands of dollars worth of work for free. There’s a reason childcare is expensive and it’s because caring for small children is a lot of work!!

  29. It’s going to cause drama but you need to give a deadline that you will be out. A month or two. So instead of making your goal “no drama” the goal is to set the expectation that you will no longer be childcare in the future.

    Also consider therapy because you have a hard time saying no to the point of panic

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