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YTA, It seems like your more upset that your son drew a picture with the people he spends the majority of the time with rather than it being a church event, and your reaction is to take him away from people that he clearly cares a lot about.
What on earth? A single mom’s sister breaks her only rule and takes a kid to church where she draws his family that doesn’t include her. The OP has every right to keep her religious sister away from her kids. Church’s are terrible to single moms and will often help and support family members removing custody. A great way to do that is to establish caretaking via babysitting. Educate yourself on cults.
The kid drew a family photo, not a religious one, and churches can and do host non-religious family events... bit of a reach to call it a cult when the mum is letting her young kids effectively be raised by them (Monday-Friday is not "part of the week", it's the majority of it).
And don't forget, the deal was for 'a couple of weeks', to get back on her feet. The ex left around Christmas... We're 22 weeks into this year...that's a lot of weeks, not a couple....
They clearly decided together to keep the deal going though:
>The kids enjoyed it and they got to play with my sister's kids - ages 9 and 7 - so we kept the arrangement going.
Mom only has the kids 2/7th of the time? She's barely there a quarter of the time for her kids. S and BIL are raising her family, she's like the ex husband who gets visitation rights on the weekend. She's upset because the kids drew an accurate representation of what they see as their family and mom didn't like it.
Don’t forget the occasional weekend. I can’t fathom to understand how hard of a situation the OP is in. But I do understand how young kids that up until were likely raised in an unstable situation have found some comfort in the stability that they are being offered.
I'm trying hard not to judge, but by the time you have 4 kids with a guy over 11+ years, you might want to march yourselves down to the courthouse. That might have helped out with an unstable situation.
I feel bad for a single mom left with 4 kids, but the sister really stepped up for her and that's the thanks she gets? I hope the OP has an amazing job, because summer's here and day care for 4 kids is expensive as hell.
A hundred bucks that the OP begs the sister to take them back within a month.
Wouldn't make much of a difference. Sure at divorce time it would if the husband made more. But she can get the same child support from the kid's father whether or not they were married.
Yeah and also confused on how she thought this would work. Like sure you know the sister goes to church on weekends. But still leave them sometimes on weekends but expect no church. How would you expect them to just stop their normal activity bc you want them to take your kid that extra day?
So the kid realized he has a new mom and dad after both of his ditched him. Nothing wrong with that
Yes, these kids were ditched by both parents at the same time and just have weekend visits with biomom.
I think that's a bit harsh. My mum had to do very similar arrangements for me and my sister as she worked mostly harvesting jobs and she had to go to where the work was. She struggled for years to even keep food on the table but she never abandoned us.
Yes, she agreed to this so she effectively doesn't get to get upset when her child realizes that someone else is effectively raising him. Monday through Friday is not part of the week, that is the week. She has them on weekends. Someone else is raising her kids, so it's not exactly wrong of her son to reflect that in a family drawing. He doesn't quite understand the situation yet, but it's not his fault. It's not his sister's fault either, she's simply doing what her sister asked. She is taking care of her sister's children. Yes she went against what oh he said and took them to a church-related event, but opie's son seeing someone else as a parental figure because that's what's happening in his life is not wrong. It's effectively the truth.
Exactly, she’s got a sweet as gig going with her sister and BIL caring for her FOUR kids full time. I think she’s upset the son didn’t inc her in his picture
You wouldn’t be upset if your kid drew a family picture that didn’t include you as the parent? Regardless of the arrangements for childcare purposes, OP is still the kid’s mother!
Then she needs to parent them. She's dumping her children 5 days a week. She gets no sympathy if her children see their aunt and uncle as their parents. That's her own failure.
No, it's the failure of the father who jumped ship and left her to pay for and care for 4 kids. But sure, she can just quit her job and... Lose their home, not be able to feed them, have to sell her car and then they can all be homeless and starving together.
Honestly, what the hell is your solution here? Or are you just a teenager who has no idea what it means to raise children? Likely.
I'm a mom who works full time and has her child full time. I parent at all times except when I'm at work. I don't abandon him 5 days a week and then show up as weekend parent.
What world do you live in where parents only parent on weekends due to responsibilities? Children are the #1 responsibility, so good parents typically have them in their care except for a few hours a day to work.
Honestly if OP was JUST using them to babysit outside of school hours she would be not TA but it sounds like (and if I'm wrong please correct me OP) the kids are living with their Aunt and Uncle throughout the week. I get it's hurtful to see how your kid views you as absentee parent, but that's exactly what OP is being.
Honestly she's lucky. Hopefully this is a wakeup call and she re-engages with her children in a meaningful way. Her sister could possibly pursue legal guardianship if she doesn't. Maybe her sis is encouraging it, but nothing given so far indicates they are attempting parental alienation. OP is doing the parental alienation to herself.
Well, let's see. Say she works until 5 or 6pm, let's give a 30 minute commute from her work to her sisters place and then another 30 minutes home. So they're home by 6/7pm. That's fine, she gets an hour with the 3 y/o, 2 with the older ones (she is cooking and cleaning though). Then in the morning, so either a 9am or 10am start, factor in an 1.5 hours to get to her sisters, drop off and then work, they're leaving the house at 7.30/8.30am, up at 6am to get everyone ready and packed for the day. Doable, sure. But where's the quality time? Between making dinner, cleaning, packing, unpacking, getting ready, making breakfast and lunches, where is exactly is she getting quality time in?? And this is if commute is only 30 minutes each between her house, sisters and work. Depending on where they live, it could be 1+ hours. We really do not have enough info to make any judgement on what kind of parent she is or why they have this arrangement.
Children are #1, but you can't provide for children on thoughts and prayers so OP has to, unfortunately, work to ensure her kids have a home, etc. But I mean, you're the perfect parent who spends 24 hours of every day with your kid(s) so, congratulations?
OP is just as bad as her baby daddy. She isn't even paying her sister child support or for child care when her sister is now the one raising these 4 children. OP is throwing a tantrum over a picture. OP needs to get her damn priorities straight instead of whining on the internet. OP needs to sue her baby daddies for child support.
This doesn’t sound like “babysitting” to me, it sounds like the kids are living with their aunt & uncle M-F and only visiting their mom on weekends. Look at it from the 11 year old’s perspective. Dad seems to have bailed completely, and mom shipped you off to live with other relatives. These kids have essentially been abandoned by BOTH parents. I get needing to work extra hours but her kids were already losing a parent, she should have been supporting them and reassuring them that she would never leave. Even if it wasn’t convenient, she should have been bringing them home after work or at the very least stopping by DAILY. If she worked nights she could do the school pickups or help with homework or something. The kid left mom out of the drawing for the same reason his dad isn’t there: both parents are CHOOSING not to be there for these kids.
She says it started that way went well on both sides so they continued.
OP has been a weekend only parent for a long time now. The kids see the aunt and uncle as parents and stability.
A local church in my town recently lent out their space for an lgbt pride drag and burlesque show and even helped host it. By OP's logic, does the fact it was held in and hosted by the church make it a religious event? 🤣
Completely agree. The event was “sponsored” by the church, as per OP’s words. I went to a Dragon Boat race this past weekend where one of over 30 unique sponsors was a local church. That didn’t make it a church event.
OP is reaching and needs to reassess their poor shotgun take.. if it was actually a church building and property with religious agenda for the event I could see OP’s upset. But by their own admission that’s not what the event was.
We have a huge street fair each year where I live. A majority of the food booths are sponsored by churches. Guess her kids can’t go to that either. Also, OP, your sister is raising your kids, not you.
And then the weekend, so 12 complete days in a row. The child drew a picture of the people he spends the majority of his time with. The kids didn't "attend church", and since her sister and husband spend the MAJORITY of the time with the kids, what did OP expect? I didn't hear anything about why she needed a full weekend without the kids after having 5 full days without them already, or anything at all about compensation either. Op is TA, absolutely.
Yea, if my kids were going to a "Family Fun Weekend," my response would be "Sure, I'd love to. You're my family and I have fun with you!"
> I didn't hear anything about why she needed a full weekend without the kids
It was the kids' request so they could attend the Field Day with their cousins.
I'm sure no one would have objected if Mom invited herself and went, too.
the kids asked about staying the weekend, not OP!
And she agreed. So 12 days in a row.
Re: The Event
It may, or may not, have had religious aspects, you jumped to a lot of conclusions.
Re: The Picture
Your kids spend 60% of their time with your sister’s family. Their family has a mom and a dad together. So probs when your kids think of “a family” they think of them. Plus he was with them at the time. If he was asked to draw his parents, or his mom, I suspect you would have been in the picture.
Re: Free Childcare
You act like you are doing your sister and BIL a favor by letting them spend time with your kids. They have been raising your FOUR kids 120 hours a week for 6 months, so you can make extra money. Instead of being extremely grateful you are overreacting without all of the facts.
Re: The Questions
1. What is best for your children, daycare or staying with family?
2. Can you really afford to put 4 kids in daycare?
You summed up my thoughts perfectly. Especially when she was acting like it would hurt them to not allow them to watch her kids.
Sadly if the Sister's family has bonded with the kids (which is most likely by now) it would probably hurt them.
Sadly in OPs mind, all she can think about is punishing her sister by using her kids. Hurting the kids in the process, but who cares... Mom of the year.
Not to mention that the kids went from having their own family to their dad leaving and then being essentially given to their aunt and uncle. Their entire world was turned upside down.
The only difference between religion and cults is if enough people join a cult then people consider it a religion instead. Either way they are both a tool used to control people.
Only difference between religions and cults is thus
In a cult the founder knows its bs. In religion, that guy's dead
I used to think this as well, but eventually I ran out of being 14.
Are you saying you tried 14 cults before you saw the light
😆 🤣 😂
A veritable buffet of cults!!
By definition, it's technically true. All modern religions started out as cults somewhere before they became as widespread as they are today.
Edit: anyone who is going to try to lecture me on how "not all religions are cults actually" needs to slow *way* down and read the words that I typed. They were, in fact, used intentionally.
I'm also done interacting with anyone here who is only interested in trying to play gacha or starting a fight.
But religions didn't stop being cults once they grew in size. They started small but cults "range in size from local groups with a few members to international organizations with millions," according to Wikipedia. A cult doesn't stop being a cult because it gains more members.
so... a cult got to you
If that is true, then the word "cult" has no real meaning.
All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.
All religions are cults, but not all cults are religious.
Just because religious cults are a subset of cults, doesn't make the word have no meaning.
ESH for sure, because the sister was being purposely obtuse by trying to get the kid into the religion though a church adjacent event while hiding that from the mother. OP for not recognizing how large of a role her sister and family have taken on in raising her children.
Many people in religious scholarship are choosing the term "new religious movements" So yeah CULT doesn't really mean much except a religion that has a few specific tenants. All religions actually are cults.
That's ignoring the toxic behavior of what most ppl actually mean when they say cult though.
...as are all political parties, social organizations, fraternities and sororities, and every other social gathering of non-related persons.
A religion is just a cult with more members.
When Xtianity started it was absolutely a cult at the time. It just won out over the other religions and got more members.
It still has the same cult like mentality of 'our beliefs are right and if you try to leave you will be shamed'. Just like every other major religion including Twitter, Tesla and political parties.
How does this nonsense have so many upvotes. So disrespectful to victims of cults
Edit: someone has told me it is sarcastic. That would explain it. My bad if so- it’s an unironic opinion I see often!
Thank you! Not all church organised activities are to 'win souls' or have some sort of agenda. Frankly most of them are meant to help the community.
Like the summercamp I volunteered at for years, end of summer but not yet school so parents had already used up their vacationtime and needed to figure something out for the kiddos. Cheap childcare and a fun experience.
Or the seniors dinner my Mom organises every few months so the elderly get out of their houses and socialise while having a really tasty meal.
I could go on, but you already understood my point.
Thank you for not bashing on religion on Reddit.
Yes I am also thinking about OP choosing to call it part of the week.
Well, now she will have full care of her kids.
As someone who attends several church sponsored events while still being atheist. I kind of have to agree here. It doesn't really matter. The family was having fun.
> churches can and do host non-religious family events
This is very true. My church runs a pre-school playgroup a couple of afternoons a week. It is coordinated by the childrens minister and many of the volunteers are members of the church - **however** it is a playgroup for anyone in the community and they **do not** do any religious teaching or anything religious at all in the playgroup
All churches are cults, but in some towns, they're also the only ones putting on family-friendly events with children. When the sister has the kids, they have 6 children to keep entertained on their own.
If they were in a city, I'd be on mom's side, because we got options, but I have friends with kids in church-run soccer leagues despite being atheists because it's truly the only social activities in their areas where their kids can hangout with other kids safely.
Yeah, I live in a small town, and a significant amount of children's activities are put on by churches. There's one church that uses the events to proselytize, but the rest of the churches don't. If I didn't know the churches put on the events, I wouldn't guess they were religious.
I had the same thing with basketball tournaments growing up. Some games were at the school and some at the "church" gym. The "church" is more like a community center that happens to have a church service on sunday mornings.
I'm an atheist who's kid played church league hockey....religion was not mentioned a single time, you would never have known it wasn't a reg league. But it was cheap ice time and they gave free equipment as well.
>All churches are cults
So you don't know what a cult is
My church hosts a giant moon bounce event. Open to all. No preaching, we just want to be part of the neighborhood.
I wouldn't consider living with someone five days out of seven babysitting. She basically shares custody of her children with her sister. Op doesn't even provide money for food for all her children. Only the child who is Gluten free. She's letting someone else raise her kids. This isn't her sister watches them before and after school. They live with her sister for the majority of the week.
The sister didn't take her to the church. If OP cared so much she could have easily looked into this family event her sister was taking her children to during the only time she gets with her children, or maybe even gone with them...
Way to paint every church as evil there, there is no evidence that this church is doing anything of the sort, maybe leave your prejudices at the door.
Op could have easily asked to tag along to the event and then dipped out with the kids if it wasn't her cup of tea.
100%, she heard family event and didn't even attempt to go with her family.
That's what stuck out to me. She was probably thinking free weekend and was all for it.
Yeah. It seems her only argument for not wanting her kids to go to church things is because she doesn’t “know what goes on there.” So…maybe find out? Go and see? I’m not a church person by any means, but it would hurt her 0% to go check out some of the sponsored events so she does, in fact, know what goes on there.
I'm no fan of churches, but this is not the take.
The kid drew the picture, it's obviously the child who is feeling disconnected from the mother. We have no reason to believe the kids were taken to church, it was an outing sponsored by the church.
Believe what you want about religion but christian typically live and stay in social circles with other christian people. It is reasonable to think that this outing was not a sunday school with the intent to indoctrinate children, but a church-sponsored picnic or event where the goal is community and socialization.
We can't pass judgements on churches as a whole because of the bad apples that use their voices as gospel (pardon the pun) to direct the lives of people towards a particular set of political beliefs.
That’s a very sweeping generalization, my church gives a TON of support to single moms. Free oil changes for them, baby showers for single moms, support groups, etc.
And there are a lot of “church events” that aren’t actually “church” events. It’s very possible sis was telling the truth and it’s clear you aren’t actually familiar with many churches.
Growing up, we had a “haunted house” at my church for halloween. And not one of those repent or go to hell kind either.
I do think the real issue is the picture. It's not OP's sister's place to ask about it. OP needs to calmly ask her child why she was not in the drawing. That is hard to do. As a mom, I would expect an answer I did not like.
You act like the kids were actually taken to church (there is no indication that they have been) and like OP's sister is actively trying to steal her kids... if OP did not want to be only a part time caretaker, she would not be. Proof is, as soon as she got pissed at her sister she found a daycare for her children so it's not like she could not find spots before or whatever. She does not get to choose to become a weekend parent then be mad that her kida forge bonds with her sister's family.
OP's sister was doing her a solid by taking her FOUR kids 5 days a week for several months, and all she gets in return is her sister getting bitter about a drawing the kid made.
I'm very firmly atheist and if OP's issue was that her sister took them to church against her explicit wish, I'd be on her side. But she barely brushes over that, because that is not the issue in her eyes. Her problem is clearly the drawing and, frankly, that drawing is the result of her choosing to ship off her kids to her sister from Monday to Friday for several months, in what must be a difficult time for them.
Like, no shit the kid drew his aunt, uncle and cousins as his family and not OP. OP only sees them on weekends and she's apparently perfectly fine skipping one weekend too.
Lmao I’m atheist and this is stupid af. She brought them to a church sponsored event on the weekend the mom was supposed to have them. Get over it, daycare is expensive af, the sister is doing a huge favor watching your 4 kids m-f. If mom was upset she could’ve spoke to her family in a kind manner or just enrolled them all in daycare and moved on. I have a hard time believing that they can afford it though. She’s mad bc she’s not her kids real family since she hardly sees them, that’s why the picture was mentioned, and nothing about religion being taught at the event was mentioned. She’s a huge ah.
The kid drew his own family picture. It included his primary care givers and their kids.
Going to some field day isn’t the same thing as taking them to church.
Not every church hates single parents or gets involved when there’s no reason to. Maybe educate yourself instead of spewing ignorant nonsense.
Be careful, your prejudice is showing. Have you ever been to a picnic, or fair held by a church? Even if they are on church grounds, there is zero religion involved. They are fundraising events that are intentionally non-religious because they are just games, rides, food etc.
Why do you mention cults? If she has cult fears like you bring up, she can just visit the church or even do a google search. You are assuming this church could be a cult, but based on the OPs lack of information it could be something mainstream like a roman catholic church, LDS, or some other major organization. Plus if it's a cult thing, keeping the kids away from the church itself wouldn't do a whole lot.
It depends on what the event was. I am an atheist who has taken my kid to events held at or by Christian churches. One was a magic show that we went to with family members who had kids, but the magician put a slightly religious spin on it. I did not appreciate that. One was a bunch of bounce houses for the kids and other outdoor activities that we went to with playgroup friends who attended that church. No preaching, just people hanging out with their social group. There were probably pamphlets and calendars of events, but no one was proselytizing.
Edit: The religious spin on magic was that his act was fake and that the devil had nothing to do with it. It was annoying.
I mean, where else can you take 6 kids that are 11 and under to have fun for (presumably) free? The list is pretty short.
I know a few non-religious families that enroll their kids in Vacation Bible School just because it's far cheaper than daycare for the week.
.....I know a church that hosts pole dancing classes. It's literally sometimes just a space people rent out. Calm down
I think she should have reenforced the boundary to include church sponsored events rather that hurt her children by abruptly changing the arrangement.
I disc golf on a church's property. When I am throwing discs in the woods and smoking some weed and drinking a beer I am not in church. They let anyone disc golf there and don't have any "no alcohol" signs or anything. They don't talk to me about Jesus or anything. Educate yourself on being more open minded.
I’m saying this as a queer atheist: not all churches are bad. Yes, some do indoctrinate, some have opinions on single mothers. Some even force conversion therapy. In practice, a cult is an organization that isolates its members from the community, does things secretly, and creates major obstacles for people to leave the cult. There are plenty of churches that don’t do that.
Many churches host community events where nothing religious happens. They’re either service related, like staffing a soup kitchen, or just a social gathering like a barbecue at a park. It is possible that this event had nothing religious going on and the aunt and uncle didn’t think it would be a problem. Children have trouble with break-ups and that can cause them to act out or act in ways that are emotionally hurtful to their parents. It is very possible for an 11-year-old to draw something like that without any religious influence whatsoever.
It is also possible that the aunt and uncle are trying to convert the children to their faith and sell the idea that families are supposed to have a mother and a father. But the information isn’t there to say that definitively.
Keeping your kids Monday-Friday is NOT babysitting OP! They're raising your kids right now and you get visitation on weekends is more what it sounds like.
Yes, sister kind of broke the rule, but didn't take them to church, it was just a church event.
considering she has someone else raising her kids for free I feel its a weird hill to die on.
op- Tell sister it bothers you and move on. Instead you're making things even more inconsistent for your kids during an already rough time. YTA
Right, I would consider it babysitting if they watched them while she was at work, and then the kids came home after. But they literally live there 5 days out of the week. If this was a legal custody arrangement then the aunt and uncle would be considered the primary caregivers. What OP has basically set up is informal foster care with visitation for herself. I'm not blaming her because I don't really know what her financial situation was going into this arrangement, but the aunt and uncle and kids can hardly be blamed for the kids naturally growing closer to them when they've been raising the kids for months.
What mother wouldn't be upset that she's left out of the family picture?
How would you feel if your entire family had a picture drawn and you were left out of it because you worked all week to provide for them amd could only see them on the weekend?
This is the stupidest reply.
Then why isn't she talking to her child about that instead of having a go at the people who care for and look after her child for her?
What mother lets her kids live with her sister 5 days a week and sees them on weekends and then is surprised that her kid doesn't see her as part of the family?
Instead of railing against the Church and her sister, she should be asking why her kid doesn't see her as part of the family. Has she caught up enough on her finances? Her sister is raising her kids and she is like a divorced parent who only sees the children on weekends. The picture should have been a wake up call to her that her children don't see her as 'Mom' anymore.
>How would you feel if your entire family had a picture drawn and you were left out of it because you worked all week to provide for them amd could only see them on the weekend?
I mean, given how OP deliberately choose not to see them that weekend, OP deserves to feel bad
The kind of mother who doesn't have her children for 5 days a week and then also lets them stay away for the weekend.
The children are spending far more time with her sisters family then they are with her.
Kids can be literal. Draw the family you came with! Or whatever. This is an overreaction to a mom feeling like she’s not with her kids enough, which is a fair feeling but don’t take it out on the sister who’s saving her ass
Who should she be mad at? She has zero problem immediately signing all 4 of them up for daycare, which indicates that she could have afforded that all along. And every week night she wasn't watching her own kids, who's fault is that?
I bet she can’t afford this and hasn’t realized it. I missed the part where she didn’t have the kids in the evenings either though.
This might have been her wake up call that 5 mo of partial custody was too much, and it’s time for her to take over again as primary parent. Fair enough.
But talk to the sister and make the transition healthy for the kids.
Yta - I would take no church as services or sermon. So you should define your rules clearly.
2nd.. so you abandon your kids 5 out of 7 days a week and your “hurt” that your kids are forming stronger relationships/family bonds with their caretakers? They are more parents to the children than you atm bc being a parent requires you to be there and you’re not there.
3rd I’m confused did you not want the children to think of your family as their family? Are you confused and thought your family had any control over what your kids are drawing? Did you want your family to dictate what your kids draw?
Also… doesn’t sound like you’re paying your family for raising your kids for you… so in what world are your considered not an AH? Free help and You’re mad? Talk about ungrateful.
Lol, her partner left her, she hardly 'abandons' them. She needs help with looking after them while she provides for them, get off your high horse mate. On top of that, she probably wants to spend more time with them and is now being drawn out of her own family. So that probably hurts quite a bit
>she probably wants to spend more time with them
Gee, if only there was some family style event that weekend OP could have went to as well.
I cannot imagine not seeing your kids 5 days out of the week, and then not wanting to spend time with them on the weekend.
Hell I can't even imagine not seeing your kids 5 days out of the week, period.
I’m a single father who has 50/50 custody and I’m the same exact way (her mother is too and we’re actually civil around each other.) NOTHING takes priority over the time that I have with my daughter. Sports, after school activities, family events/vacations, I’m always there, no excuses. OP sounds like they took advantage of a situation, free childcare 5 days a week, and are now mad at both their sister and her own kids because they are building a familial bond with someone that isn’t her. Idk what they expected by being an absent parent 5 says a week and then trying to make it all back up in 2 days. Doesn’t work like that
I had to let my oldest son stay with his uncle a lot when he was a toddler. His dad refused to have him while working. I needed to work to support my kid and I. But every time I had a day off, I got him the night before and took him back before I went to work. It's not something i wanted to do. It was something I had to do. Once I moved in with my husband, our life became more stable, and I was able to keep him with me full time. But he was with me on my time off.
My kids' mom, on the other hand, would let the kids go off with whomever they wanted on her every other weekend visit. Like, you get your kids 5 days a month, and you don't even want to keep them with you. She was too busy living a single life while my husband and I raised their kids. She would get mad when they called me mom. Like, what do you expect when im their primary caregiver?
> She needs help with looking after them while she provides for them, get off your high horse mate.
Plenty of single moms provide for their kids without leaving their kids with a babysitter for 120 hours a week.
Let's do some math here:
1. 5 days a week 24 hours a day=120 hours a week
2. This has been going on since around Christmas, so we are talking about roughly 22 weeks
3. That means that the kids have been with the Aunt and Uncle 2,640 hours.
4. A full time daycare (that is in a church and is low cost) costs $840 per child, per month for 40 hours a week of daycare. That is $210 per child per week or $5.25 per child per hour.
5. At $5.25 per child per hour, she got $55,440 in uncompensated care.
Her ex-bf is an AH for presumably leaving her and their kids, but she is also TA. She is getting thousands of hours of help from her sister and BIL. They are providing at least food and shelter to 4 kids who are not theirs. I am agnostic, but if their church compels them to care for 4 children like this, I would want them going to that fucking church. This level of selflessness is unheard of.
Wholeheartedly agree. Plus, let’s remember her sister and BIL agreed to take in *four* children (in addition to their two) and tend to their every waking need M-F 24 hours a day, *for free*.
Do you know how much it costs to feed and raise 4 children? 6? Not to mention getting them to and from school and to and from OPs house.
The woman is a saint.
OPs about to find out
The best comment here 🙌🏻
I would bet large sums of money that the sister be allowed to watch her kids again…why would she work such crazy hours if she could already afford daycare and make this switch so easily and presumably get to see her kids more…something about her finances/story do not add up
It screams someone who cannot see the forest for the trees. She said the reason was financial for the kids to be with her sister. If she can afford childcare for 4 children, then the reason is not financial and she needs to look at why she no longer wants to be a mother to her children, or at least only wants to be a “part-time” mom.
Plus OP could sue the BF for child support money. He fathered them, so he still owes it to them to help feed and house them.
I'd be so grateful to a sister that did the same for me in such a situation. The sister is a saint.
To be fair, OP does not actually pay them to watch her kids and she only supplies food for her one child (as per OP's own comments). I sympathize with her situation but it seems like she's not really involved with her own kids right now.
No shame against parents that need help with childcare, but actually living with someone else for 5 out of 7 days is a little extreme. Most people would drop off/pick up everyday so they still see their kids everyday.
Now I’m not shaming OP for this arrangement, but you can’t act like seeing your own children only 2 days a week isn’t going to impact who they see as their primary caregivers. It sucks for sure but to be expected when the kids don’t even live with their mom
"Help with looking after them" is not having them stay with another family for 5 straight days out of the week & then having them for the weekend. She's not dropping them off daily. She's being a weekend parent.
She gets to be the “fun parent”! I seriously hope she is banking/saving all of that money and not spending it on herself. I mean how can she all of a sudden afford child care for all of the kids?
They live with her sister and vist her on the weekends. She could have gone with the to event and spent what little time during the week she's currently supposed to be with the kids, but chose to send them off without her. Sorry, but her choices have directly lead to this moment.
Her partner left her and she shipped her kids to her sister.
Clearly that was not the only option bc now that she's mad at her sister, lo and behold she enrolls the kids in daycare at the snap of her fingers.
Take this situation - they asked OP if they could attend this family event and OP agreed, thus not even getting her weekend with her kids. How on EARTH did it not occur to her to tag along and be part of the event? I'll tell you why, bc OP is perfectly fine outsourcing parenting to her sister.
Well, now her kids see their aunt and uncle as their family, bc they HAVE BEEN for over 20 weeks. She does not have the moral highground to be mad about the direct consequences of her choices. She can't have her cake (send her kids off to her sister 5 days out of 7) and eat it too (be perceived as the parent and caretaker by her children).
If she wanted to spend more time with them, she would.
She DOESN'T provide for them. She has her sister raising her kids 5 days a week and she's not paying or providing anything. There are plenty of people out there that have had SOs run off leaving them with kids, they all don't just ship them off to family to raise and see them 2 days out of 5 and sometimes not even then
Babysitting ends after 5/6. They are living with the sister more than they are living with the mother
She’s gone 5 out of 7 days, my mom was a single mom who owned her own gallery while also working full time for a newspaper. And guess what…she didn’t leave me for 5 days out of the week with family members, at most I’d spend 10 hours weekly with grandparents throughout the week while spending time at friends houses which was roughly 4 hours weekly
If we do the math just based on my mom
There’s 168 hours in a week, if she worked while I was at school that’s roughly 7 hours a day so there’s 133 hours left in the week add in family time and friends houses were at 119 hours a week, if we factor in sleeping which rounded up is 8 hours that’s 63 hours, add in miscellaneous things to get 10 hours give or take that leaves roughly 53 hours my mom gave completely to me on weeks where I had school. That isn’t counting the time she would take off from the gallery to spend time with me and the holiday weeks she would take off
Op has the ability to spend time with her kids and the ability to be flexible if she chooses too. Op can have whatever rules she wants but from an outside stand point she’s upset her kid sees other family members as “parental-figures” and not her when if we’re going off pure estimation she’s spending 48 hours (maybe less maybe more) with her kid every week and that’s just if those 3 days she has with them has them sleeping 8 hours
She misses them so much she let them continue to stay that weekend? So for 7 days straight?
> On top of that, she probably wants to spend more time with them and is now being drawn out of her own family. So that probably hurts quite a bit
I think most people understand that. Doesn't make it right to place the anger at the OP's sister who's providing child care at near zero cost or the kids who are simply drawing what they feel.
Seriously. My 5yo kid lives across the country from her extended family (she lives with me and her dad) but she sometimes draws a family picture with her, her cousin, and our cat. It doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. That’s how she chose to describe her family at that moment. And she’s not wrong. Her cousin and her cat ARE her family. If my kid was supposed to draw a picture of the people she loved most in this world and didn’t draw me and her father, I’d be a little hurt, but she was technically right drawing her cousin and cat as her family.
Seems like you need to cut all contact with that cat.
Just kidding, that sounds adorable!
Hahahaha! I am jealous that our moody, aloof cat is a favorite, but I’m also really glad that our kid loves her anyways.
Can I add a 4th? The part where she referred to her other sister as “lives abroad and is therefore no help”) seems to me like op thinks they are entitled to the help. I got AH vibes just from that sentence alone.
YTA. No offense but what did you expect when your children are with them five days a week ?
They took your kids in to help. They had no obligation to help. Your sister and her husband didn't do anything. They cared for and loved your kids.
For the record she didn't turn your kids against you. Not at all
Editing. They didn't take them to church services. But an event sponsored by the church. There's quite a big difference there.
also this sounds like something her sister's kids were excited about going to and talked about around their cousins (which is fair because I think asking the sister to put a moratorium on anything her children say for 5/7 of the week if it involves church activities is a bit extreme) and the KIDS wanted to go because it sounded fun. not like her sister was dragging them places to indoctrinate them.
My stepdaughter is a vocal atheist like her dad but still enjoyed VBS. I know a ton of non religious kids that went to a technically church art camp I even spoke about sending her, but we have her sister in the summers. We don’t know enough about the church to know how religion centered outside activities may or may not be.
I was a firm (and vocal) atheist growing up (still am) but I attended a Mormon youth club most weeks cause my best friend was a Mormon so we would go together.
OP sounds incredibly entitled.
I don’t want my children to attend my parents’ church. Therefore I would never leave them in my parents’ care over the weekend when they go to church. That seems like a no-brainer to me. In what world is it ok to demand that someone who is doing you a massive favor by caring for your children for free completely rearrange their life and schedule so that they can do it on your terms?
Jeez you really do expect a lot for nothing but aggravation in return. Four children, Five days a week and you’re complaining AND you have snubbed your VERY successful, VERY reliable support system.
I don’t attend church either, but I sure wouldn’t be taking this stance with the people who have had your back when you needed it.
Enjoy paying for child care and running yourself ragged because you refuse to give your sister the benefit of the doubt.
With that many kids I highly doubt she can afford daycare at all. More than likely she’ll just leave them at home expecting the oldest to watch the younger ones. At which point I hope the aunt & uncle call child services and get emergency custody of them.
This is unnecessarily cruel. This mom has not suggested anything other than enrolling her kids in daycare. Let's not wish for people's children to be taken away from them because we don't like how they handled one situation.
Especially because she's looking after four children on her own because their father *literally* abandoned them.
She’s not looking after them, though. Her sister is. Even on the weekend, she let them go with their aunt. To a family event that she absolutely could have joined in on.
That person is awful. I hope they feel better about themselves one day. Commenters like these must hate part of their lives.
Wow you're highkey overreacting. Maybe get help.
What a sociopathic and misogynistic thing to say.
I'm a confirmed atheist, but if I suddenly became a single parent of four and someone offered to caretake all of them 5 days a week for me — for FREE — I'd probably start praising Jesus right there and then.
And then she tries to fire her sister.
and then gets mad when the third sister doesn’t take her side. you know, the third sister who is of no help to Op
The comment about the other sister really did seem entitled tbh.
She didn't talk to your son about the picture because that is solidly a conversation your son should be having with his *parent*. Which, as you make sure to note, is not your sister. But you can't have it both ways: you want her to do the heavy lifting of parenting while still getting all the credit in your kids' minds. The problem here is not your sister. It's that your kids are too smart for this. They have seen your sister do the lion's share of their parenting, and now they're expressing that in their art. And you, the parent, need to talk to them about this.
Rather than step in and alienate you by taking your parenting duties from you, your sister gave you the space to have this conversation with your kid. But when given the opportunity to step up and be a parent, you complained about that too. Your sister can't win for trying.
The Family Field Day was a miscommunication. Your sister could have been more forthcoming with the details, but you also should be ASKING for those details before sending your kids. It doesn't sound like the did anything maliciously, and as the parent, I do think the onus is on YOU to ask for details before deciding to send your kids to events.
Already said this in my other comments, but OP should have been at this event. It was on one of the two days a week she has her kids and would have been really fun to do together, OR she would have realized it was church sponsored and left, or not gone in the first place. It really sounds like the kids staying there is not out of necessity anymore, especially since OP immediately decided she has the resources to put them in daycare, so I’m not sure what her deal is, but she needs to get it together because she is the only one turning her children against her by being so absent.
Probably complaining about how hard it is to be a single mom of 4, and talking about how badly she needed a weekend to herself.
This has nothing to do with any church at all.
You decided to leave your kid 5 days à week for about 6 months now. You have kind of become the fun aunt and your sister and BIL the parent providing stability and confort to your kids.
What else did you expect ?
Let's do some math here:
1. 5 days a week 24 hours a day=120 hours a week
2. This has been going on since around Christmas, so we are talking about roughly 22 weeks
3. That means that the kids have been with the Aunt and Uncle 2,640 hours.
4. A full time daycare (that is in a church and is low cost) costs $840 per child, per month for 40 hours a week of daycare. That is $210 per child per week or $5.25 per child per hour.
5. At $5.25 per child per hour, she got $55,440 in uncompensated care.
And this is all based on comparing OP’s childcare situation to a daycare, which it was NOT. It was 5 days a week of round the clock personalized care solely for her children- which is the equivalent to hiring a round the clock nanny. And I wouldn’t even begin to do that math on that one.
Oh hell no, I’ve nannied on and off for years. As a nanny, I am almost always at the family’s house, using their resources and feeding their kid their food. While I try to create structured days for the children, overwhelmingly the parents are still carrying the mental load and they’re there to take over for me if shit hits the fan. I don’t even think you could begin to calculate the cost of this, using any metric. If her kids get sick during the week, who’s worrying about doctors visits? Taking time off work? Losing sleep because the kids miss their mom? No childcare worker would take on this level of responsibility, it’s basically fostering.
I also couldn’t imagine being okay with my sister raising my kids 5 days a week for 6 months unless it was an extreme emergency, and even then I’d be so insanely grateful. This is just sad.
How is your sister turning your children against you?
How is your sister less of a parent to these kids than you are if she takes care of them 5/7 days of the week?
YTA. You’re losing your mind (and possibly ruining a wonderful, stable childcare situation) over something trivial/invented in your own mind.
I am an atheist. My kids have participated in all kinds of church-sponsored community events because they’re really fun.
The picture your kid drew sounds like it represents the family that was with him that day. It IS a picture of his family, but you jumping to the conclusion that you not being in it means he somehow doesn’t think of you family is not reasonable and shows some major insecurities in your part.
Jumping in to say that I was raised in a non-religious household but still attended church-sponsored carnivals with friends because carnivals are fun.
Right? I’m an atheist but took my kid to the St.Mary’s carnival because, you know, it’s fun. We went to craft sales located inside churches. She took baton in a church gym. If OP wants their kids to have no connection to any religion whatsoever, that should be communicated because even as an atheist, I wouldn’t consider a lot of things tangentially connected to a church to be a religious event.
I'm just going to jump in here an add my experience; as a kid me and my parent(s) when to a church event called (rough translation) "open daycare". It was for everyone, it was free and you got snacks.
We were singing stuff like "itsy bitsy spider", nothing religious was involved
I actually was raised in a bona fide cult and am now 200% atheist. The churches down the street throw awesome fall festivals with food, music, bingo, silent auctions. I love it, and we look forward to going every year. Never once had anyone even mention religion while we’re there. They’re just happy to share with the neighborhood and raise some money for themselves
My dad is an atheist, but I went to "church" field days and things and even religious ed with friends. It was fun to me and I didn't get "sucked into a cult" like some commenters have implied. And I *still* turned out an atheist. OP is just looking for a guise to hide her jealousy under.
I can understand if she was upset because her children were exposed to teachings she didnt agree with (in the form of sermons, for example, or Sunday School), but this was totally different. Maaayyyybe they were given a pamphlet or something?? But there doesnt seem to have been any "proselytizing", just fun activities for kids and families... How does this woman expect their kids to go through life without being exposed to any kind of religion at all? Its so impractical.
Way to bite the hand that fed her, too :/
Your sister and her husband have been raising the kids for months and you have had weekend visitation. You chose to continue this because the kids were thriving and happy. Now you pulled that away from them because you are upset about a picture? And how is your sister "turning your kids against you?" Nothing she has done has turned them against you.
BTW, did you pat child support or childcare costs for those months? Did you provide food for your kids every day? Did you pay for any activities they did?
YTA. How exactly are you planning to pay for 5 days a week of day care? Your sister did you a massive favor. She didn't take the kids TO church but rather to a church event. If you're really going to tell someone who is watching your kids for free that they can't do anything church related FIVE DAYS A WEEK, then yeah, you're the TA here.
You say you "don't know what goes on there" but how do you know what goes on at a daycare? Do your kids enjoy the time with your sister and her family? Because it seems to me like you're upset about the drawing and parlaying that into somehow your sister turning your kids against you, which is ridiculous.
I'm curious how op plans to afford care as well since it seems her sister was doing this for free. Many daycares also have a waiting list. The older kids school will be out for summer which means she will need to find camps for them because they are too old for all day "daycare centers. ". Shell need before and after care as well depending on the hours she's works. Childcare is expensive.
And camps start registration in the winter and fill up fast. I guess she could have them wait listed but I wouldn't count on it. And get on lists for before and after care. And pay for all of that. Most parents have summer care lined up long before summer.
I'm betting over the summer she has her older kid watch the younger ones all day and night. Once its time to go back to school, there are plenty of stories of kids being pulled from school to be 'home school' which is simply code for caring for your younger siblings all day and no real school. Too many states are lax on home school regulations so this happens.
>Her excuses were that it was sponsored by the church but was not at the church or even considered a church event which I don't believe.
Why don't you believe that?
My question is why she didn't bother asking any questions about the Family Field Day before the kids went.
"Where is it? Is it free? What kind of event is it? Where did you hear about it?"
I get being very suspicious of churches, but if she's so suspicious, an event like that should have been a red flag from jump.
Yeah. It's weird that neither of the adults discussed that at all. I would have at least asked where it was.
This reads as the non custodial parent (you), getting upset that the custodial parent (your sister & her hubby) gets drawn in a family picture and not you.
Even when "on your feet" you decided to keep the arrangement going. This is not your sister purposely trying to alienate you from your kids, this is your children acclimating to the family unit they are now a part of the majority of the week.
Sorry but YTA, you were clearly okay with this setup of not seeing your own children 5 days out of 7 otherwise you would have taken them back as soon as you could. Blame "church" all you want, but the whole thing falls on you.
By completely cutting the children off from their aunt, you will be harming them emotionally.
Their father it seems has already cut them off as there is no mention where he fits into this, you partially cut them off, now the family that they have been a part of you want to take away.
You need to think about this long and hard. In the meantime go to court and get some child support to help offset you working 7 days a week & spend some quality time with your kids.
That part about her getting on her feet but still having the kids stay there in that schedule is what helped my opinion about op being TA.
YTA. You're blaming your sister for a situation caused by the fact that the kids are there 5 days a week. The church thing (which wasn't even a church thing) is not relevant to this at all, outside of the fact that your kid happened to draw a picture there. Maybe talk to your kids about why they don't feel close to you and seek family counseling. Depriving your kids of seeing their cousins and your siblings isn't going to help, it's going to make them resent you.
Edit: also, firing her?? She's been parenting your children for FREE. she's been doing you a favor. She's been making your kids feel wanted.
Right? Their father left them, on the heels of that their mother left them with someone else, kid finally feels like they have a family structure and now they get that torn away from them because they expressed it? Wow this is gonna be a lifelong trauma.
Info. Was this the one time the kids had been involved in something church related with your sister? And can I ask why you're against your sister's church? You mention 'not knowing what happens there'?
YTA, and just threw away the best babysitting option you had because of your own insecurities.
The picture isn’t your sister’s fault. ~~I hesitate to say it’s your “fault”, because it sounds like you’re doing the best you can in terms of childcare, but~~ you need to grow up and recognize that there was nothing malicious in your kid’s picture. **No one has “turned him against you” — that’s you projecting because you feel sad or guilty about not being able to spend as much time with your kids as you think you should.**
As for the church thing, it doesn’t sound like the event was religious in nature. But you refused to believe your sister, either because you have trust issues with her in general or because you were already feeling spiteful about her time with the kids and wanted to add another reason to be mad at her. If it’s the second one, grow up. If it’s he first one, why would you have let her look after your kids in the first place?
Edit: After comments, I agree that OP’s post does not make it seem like the babysitting arrangement was “doing her best”.
I don’t think OP is actually “doing her best.” Here’s why: she is able to seamlessly switch from the current arrangement to an 8-5 daycare situation. If she is able to do that, why have her kids been living full-tome with OPs sister?
I'd kill for her arrangement. Kill. I'm a single mom of 3 myself and in nursing school. And I work. Childcare is insane, she must be a physician or something to be able to pay full time for 4 kids now, wow. I don't even have family in this country to do what her sister does. This woman is so fucking privileged and ungrateful.
YTA. They didn't take the kids to church, and your children clearly like being over there with them. You sound like you're just punishing your children for preferring people who are actually there for them.
>I told her how hurt I was because she and Ian are okay with me being replaced in my son's mind.
I mean, they *do* have your kids 5 out of 7 days of the week...
YTA for being incredibly ungrateful for their kindness.
YTA. Your sister is in no way turning your kids against you. You are doing it yourself, by abandonning your kids 5 days a week. Did you expect to be a parental figure even if you are not their main parent ?!
Your kids are old enough to decide what event they want to attend or not. They want to attend church events ? Then they should.
> My ex boyfriend left me and our 4 kids - ages 11, 8, 6, and 3 - around **Christmas last year**...
> ...My sister and her husband - Caitrin and Ian - worked out a plan to babysit my kids for part of the week **for a few weeks** so I could work extra hours and get back on my feet.
YTA, it's May, it's been a few months now, not a few weeks.
Also, your sister and her husband didn't bring your kids to church they brought them to an event run by the church, these are different things.
Also also, your kids have spent the past 6 months with your sister and her husband except on weekends, why are you annoyed that they made a picture with the people they spend almost all of their time with?
After a few weeks she realized how nice it is not to have to raise her children and left them there. Now she is mad they drew a picture without her. My daughter drew a pic of our household and didn't draw her dad in, he didn't live there so she didn't think about it. These kids are having the same experience.
YTA were the kids staying over at their house 5 days per week? Surely there’s no need for that. You can’t blame them as they see your sister more than you.
I don’t understand why she can’t just drop the kids off and pick them up each day like most parents do??
YTA for blaming your sister for this, but I get why it happened.
This wasn't really about the church sponsoring the event, it's about your kid making you feel guilty that you don't get to spend as much time with him as your sister's family does. I get the hurt, but church had nothing to do with it, and honestly, neither did your sister. It's how the kid's seeing his world, and it hurts you to know that's how he sees his world, but that's honestly no one's fault. That's just being a single mom that has to work. I grew up with one. I know it's not because you don't love him enough, and I know you'd do whatever you could to be there more, but taking that guilt out on your sister doesn't help anything, least of all your kiddo.
If you don't want your sister to take care of him, that's your prerogative, but I would say you owe her an apology.
YTA and you are massively overreacting.
You said your only rule was don't take the kids to their church. They didn't. They took the kids to a family field day.
You're angry that you weren't in the picture your son drew. Well, he drew everyone who was there. Whose fault is it that you weren't there?
You blame your sister for you "being replaced in your son's mind." That's just crazy talk.
You are their mom, and your sister sounds like a SAINT for keeping your FOUR CHILDREN five days a week. What happened to you with your ex really sucks, and I feel for you and your kids, but you're being awfully ugly to the people who are trying to help you.
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YTA for not taking the kids into consideration or talking with your sister first
YTA. Your kids went to an event sponsored by the church but it doesn’t sound like it was religious in nature.
I think the real issue is that you were left off the card and your emotions were misdirected. I get how upsetting that must have been.
So, instead of a loving family environment, in which your children are happy, you’re sticking them in childcare. This is another place at which you have no control over what is being taught to them or over who is influencing them.
You‘re tearing up your kids’ world again by the selfish, sudden change.
I'm not religious either but some church-sponsored events can be pretty awesome family stuff.
YTA for punishing your kids by putting them in daycare versus being with family. She did not *turn your child against you.* Your children are spending the majority of their time with them. Does it suck you weren't in the picture? Absolutely. But I think you overreacted.
This just seems a bit petty.
YTA, your kids were happy and you had a great situation, field day was probably just that, and it doesn’t seem like your sister was turning your kids against you, she seems like a great sister
OP had a choice. She could have easily dropped the kids off on the way to work and picked them up on the way back, same as she’ll have to do with daycare. Same thing as every other working parent out there.
YTA I bet your sister is really crying over not having to become a parent of an additional 4 children. What a stupid hill to die on, enjoying paying out the butt for daycare I guess.
Well with how nuclear OP went over something fairly minor, the sister probably IS sad that she can't help the kids now. Seems like her and her husband were doing a great job so far.
YTA. Your son gave you a very important message by sharing his drawing, instead of seeing that message, you made it about your hurt feelings.
Your sister is these kids' aunt and is actually their family. Immediately taking your children away from family members who support and love them because you're feeling left out is so selfish and messed up.
It sounds like you've had a really really hard year and here are these people who are willing to help and support you, instead of loving them back and being grateful for that, you're pushing them away and criticizing them.
I get that you want to keep the kids out of their church and commend you for setting that boundary. But the church is clearly important to your sister and her husband so it's probably about time that you went and investigated it since your children are being exposed to their ideas and beliefs by your family members.
You owe everyone an apology.
Step one: get free childcare 5 days a week
Step two: complain when your child is taken care very well and thriving
Step three: ?????
Step four: reclaim total control over your child because that’s the most important thing
I'm a little ESH. Very little towards your sister. Your sister should have a least given you a heads up about the card. That's really the only thing that she definitely did wrong.
That said- really, you didn't ask what Family Field Day was? You didn't say 'oh that sounds like fun, I'll come along'? Really where was Family Field Day going to be on a weekend in your head?
For a YEAR, your kids have been living full time with your sister and BIL. You can call it part of the week if you want but the kids are with their aunt and uncle monday - friday. So all of the parenting is being done by them. They're the ones dealing with school and homework and punishment and friendship issues.
You get them for 8 days a month. You've become a weekend parent.
You don't get to be mad at your sister for being the parent you haven't been for a year.
I'm glad you've decided to step up now. But you need to apologize to your sister. Cuz all offense, if you could have paid for daycare at anytime in this past year, you should have. But you didn't.
YTA. Your sister and BIL are making huge sacrifices to do you a massive favor. They are looking after your children more often than you are. They have two children and lives of their own. You can't expect them not to attend church or church events when your kids are in their care. Your kids are going through it as their father abandoned them and their mother is suddenly absent. The fact that they are reacting to this situation isn't your sister's fault.