Parenting rules can differ, but what if someone starts to ridicule something you do? A Redditor asked on the forum, “Am I wrong for making sister-in-law (SIL) “look bad” because we pay our son to babysit and she doesn’t?”
The Original Poster (OP) and his wife visited the in-laws for the first time in a while, as everyone had been working from home due to the pandemic.
OP’s sister-in-law and her husband were also present, as were the OP’s brothers-in-law, who currently reside with the in-laws. OP’s two sons, aged 16 and 7, stayed home. Before the pandemic, OP and his wife always paid their older son for babysitting when they went out with friends or for date night.
Having grown up in a household with seven younger brothers and being expected to babysit for free, OP did not want the same for his children. OP believed his son should be paid for caring for his younger sibling, and OP’s wife shared the same belief.
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What Happened Next?
During the visit with their in-laws, OP and his wife mentioned that their sons were doing well. OP’s wife joked that their oldest son, Steven, was probably happy they were leaving the house so he could earn some money from babysitting, as he had stopped working his part-time job in March.
However, the OP’s sister-in-law gave them a mocking look and stated that paying their son for something he should be doing without compensation was absurd.
OP and his wife attempted to ignore the issue, but his sister-in-law continued to discuss the matter. She mentioned that her son was watching her two younger children without being paid, as she did not want to raise a spoiled child. According to her, her son owed her for sheltering him.
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This attitude from their sister-in-law frustrated the OP’s wife, as it was not the first time she had expressed that type of thinking. The sister-in-law believed her children should be grateful for being cared for and feel obligated to repay her.
OP expressed displeasure at the implication that they were “spoiling” their son by paying him to babysit. They argued that it was reasonable to pay their son the standard rate of $17/hr for watching his little brother for a few hours, as they did not want to take advantage of him, and he should have the opportunity to earn his own money.
Both OP’s in-laws agreed and pointed out that they used to pay OP’s wife’s older brother to watch them when they were little too busy. OP’s sister-in-law seemed put off the rest of the evening and was in a sour mood.
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When they arrived home, the wife received a text message from her sister-in-law. The text message stated that if they disagreed with her parenting, that was fine, but they did not have to be rude about it and make her look bad for not paying her son something he was not entitled to.
OP and OP’s wife are both confused. Sister-in-law is mad at both of them, called OP some names and but according to OP it was a civil conversation.
OP says “I didn’t raise my voice and everyone else agreed with what I said. My wife definitely would’ve said something if I was having an attitude or being rude. So we’re not sure if what I did was wrong or if SIL is overreacting and mad no one agreed with her. Was I wrong?
What do you think? Was OP right in answering back to her SIL? Was it inappropriate for OP’s SIL to hint that OP was spoiling kids by paying for babysitting?