Life Advice

/

Health & Spirit

My sis leans on me too much to help with her two kids

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I'm 30 and live at home with my disabled mother and grandmother, and my younger sister and her two sons moved in with us last year. I love my nephews (1 and 3), but for the past year I've felt like a second parent, or at worst an unpaid nanny. Sister doesn't work, but she's taking online classes; I work full-time and do as much housework as I can.

From the minute I get home, I'm on Kid Duty: My sister will disappear upstairs, or be in the room physically but trust me to make sure the 1-year-old doesn't choke on a crayon or the 3-year-old eats his dinner. I put the 3-year-old to bed every night and clean up after bedtime. If I go to my room, I have maybe half an hour to myself before Sister is texting me for help.

She's going through a bad divorce, and I know she had postpartum depression. I feel like a jerk telling her I need time for myself, plus she points out that she has no time for herself, either. My go-to argument is that these aren't actually MY kids, but saying that makes me feel like even more of a jerk.

Am I being unreasonable in wanting less responsibility? The father is in another state and has always been verbally abusive, and I do love the kids, so I don't want to step away completely -- I just feel like I'm being taken advantage of. It causes a lot of strain in the house and I'm scared the kids will pick up on it.

 

-- Aunt in Agony

First of all, you're a mensch.

Not a jerk, at all.

You're clearly an immense help to a mother under extreme duress, and you provide these boys -- and the world in general -- with some sorely needed compassion. Ultimately this will enrich your own life, especially through your bond with these kids.

...continued

swipe to next page
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Social Connections

Comics

Meaning of Lila Dennis the Menace Rhymes with Orange Marshall Ramsey Blondie Dustin