Vacationing on My Terms – A Tale of Battling Expectations of Free Babysitting

Young father looking after newborn baby

Boundaries are vital for healthy relationships. When boundaries are broken, it can lead to relationships breaking apart due to the overwhelming weight of obligations and expectations.

One social media user found himself in such a situation.

The original poster (OP) began his story by recounting a previous family vacation to the coast.

This Is No Vacation

Although OP’s parents generously paid for his hotel room, OP was taken aback when he was informed that he would have to share it with OP’s three rowdy nephews.

OP’s sister and her husband desired a room to themselves, leaving the burden of childcare squarely on OP’s shoulders.

Even though OP was promised time to pursue his own interests, he found himself trapped in the unending cycle of tending to the kids.

Frustrated by the lack of consideration, OP vented his frustration to the rest of the family, only to be met with reminders that OP was there “for free.”

The following year, with a beach trip planned for June, OP decided to break free from the suffocating expectations.

A Bold Decision

OP made the bold decision to drive himself and pay for his own hotel room, seeking the opportunity to enjoy the vacation as an adult without being treated like a babysitter.

However, this choice did not sit well with OP’s family. Him and his sister got into a heated argument. She saw his decision as a disruption to the family’s unity and to her own plans.

Clash of Family Expectations with Personal Freedom

Many social media users weighed in on the situation, offering their own perspectives and advice.

One user, SamSpayedPI, couldn’t help but find the situation ironic, stating,

“That’s a laugh. She’s admitting she’s ruining your vacation so as not to ruin her own! They’re her kids and her responsibility.”

The user highlighted the fact that it must be OP’s sister who should bear the responsibility of caring for her own children and not expect others to shoulder the burden.

Another user, Normal-Height-8577, expressed support for OP’s decision, stating,

“At this point, I would personally be saying ‘Okay, you guys have collectively made it very clear that I’m not wanted as adult company but only as free childcare. I think we would all be better [off] taking a break from that dynamic in the interests of preserving family feeling, and so I will not come on this year’s vacation at all. I wish you guys all the best, but I will be vacationing alone somewhere else this year.’”

The_harlinator shared a practical solution, noting,

“Your sister can pay a babysitter to come on the vacation if she doesn’t want to deal with her 3 children.”

By proposing that the sister hire a babysitter, this user emphasized that it was OP’s sister’s responsibility, as a parent, to care for her own children even on vacation.

Support continued to pour in from No_Yogurtcloset_1020, a parent of three rowdy boys herself, who stated,

“Your sister is a parent, so it’s her job [whether] or not to parent her kids.”

The user empathized with OP and stressed the importance of acknowledging that OP’s sister’s vacation experience is influenced by her choices, not OP’s refusal to act as a babysitter.

Adding to the discussion, Chocolatecandybar applauded OP’s recognition of the entitlement at play, noting,

“It’s four [people] for three boys, if they need more help they can hire a nanny.”

This comment sheds light on the imbalance and reinforced the notion that OP’s sister should take responsibility for her own children.

Berriiwitch proposed that the parents can use the money they intended to spend on OP to hire a babysitter for OP’s sister.

The user also emphasized that OP’s sister should be accountable for her own childcare needs.

The Verdict

In the end, it becomes evident that the online community overwhelmingly supported OP’s decision to seek autonomy and enjoy his vacation as an adult.

The consensus is that OP’s sister, as a parent, should be responsible for her own children, and it is unreasonable to expect OP to serve as a free babysitter.

The suggestions put forth range from firmly declining the family vacation to proposing alternative solutions such as hiring a babysitter.

The support and advice offered by the online community echo the importance of setting boundaries and emphasizing personal autonomy.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: Elnur_ /

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.