Wedding Woes

Family discussion time

I am out of the house and on my own but I live nearby. My sister is 14. Three years ago, Dad god married to a new woman named “Sara.” My sister and Sara got along in the past, but Sara got on the baby track fast. She is currently pregnant with baby No. 3. The house is messy and noisy, and my sister hates it. She is not getting any sleep and resents getting pressed into baby wrangling as soon as she steps in the house. Since school started, she has been sleeping over nearly every night at my place. I don’t mind, but Sara does. She complains that I am undermining the family and encouraging my sister’s rebellion. Dad isn’t home often and doesn’t really care. My sister is a good kid, gets straight A’s, etc. She just wants to get a full night’s sleep.
How do I deal with Sara?
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Re: Family discussion time

  • I am out of the house and on my own but I live nearby. My sister is 14. Three years ago, Dad god married to a new woman named “Sara.” My sister and Sara got along in the past, but Sara got on the baby track fast. She is currently pregnant with baby No. 3. The house is messy and noisy, and my sister hates it. She is not getting any sleep and resents getting pressed into baby wrangling as soon as she steps in the house. Since school started, she has been sleeping over nearly every night at my place. I don’t mind, but Sara does. She complains that I am undermining the family and encouraging my sister’s rebellion. Dad isn’t home often and doesn’t really care. My sister is a good kid, gets straight A’s, etc. She just wants to get a full night’s sleep.
    How do I deal with Sara?
    Ditto the subject line.

    There has to be some compromising here and present some facts.  Mention the need for quality sleep, what a disrupted sleep schedule does to an immune system, memory retention and how that impacts scholastic activities.    

    And talk to the sister.   Are there other options in the house?    Can she add white noise to her room?  Sound dampening?  Sleep in another location?  

    This isn't a black and white situation and I have some limited sympathy for Sara and far more for the sister who is navigating new territory while drowzy. 
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomei34
  • Sounds like Sara is pissed because stepdaughter isn't around to dump the kids on.  Their your kids Sara, you fucking deal with them.  My sympathy is 100% with the poor teenager who clearly being taken advantage of.  I sincerely hope she continues to stay with her sister. 

    VarunaTTmrsconn23MyNameIsNot
  • I think there is a lot of room here for compromise and working out a win-win situation for everyone.

    I don't think it is unreasonable for the teen sister to have some household responsibilities, including watching her siblings.  But it cannot be at the expense of her not getting enough sleep, not having enough time for homework, and not having enough time to be a kid herself!  She needs time also to hang out with her friends.  
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    banana468flantasticOliveOilsMom
  • I think there is a lot of room here for compromise and working out a win-win situation for everyone.

    I don't think it is unreasonable for the teen sister to have some household responsibilities, including watching her siblings.  But it cannot be at the expense of her not getting enough sleep, not having enough time for homework, and not having enough time to be a kid herself!  She needs time also to hang out with her friends.  
    Exactly all of this.

    I can also see some of Sara's perspective if she feels like this is someone who should be asking more for permission about where she's staying if Sara and the H are those in charge.  I would roll my eyes if as a step mother my H's daughter said, "No I'm not staying here, no I'm not helping you," and that was it with no recourse.  The child is probably still financially dependent on these people.

    So make some changes all around.  Step mom should not expect a young HS student to be a guardian of infant kids and the 14 yo should expect that grown adults will give her permission about what works for where she sleeps on a regular basis as long as that place accommodates the needs of an adolescent. 
    short+sassyOliveOilsMom
  • I think it's necessary for teenagers to have household chores (how else will they learn how to adult).  I think it's completely unfair and wrong to expect a teenager to take care of younger siblings (unless they want to and they volunteer).  Children are a choice a parent makes and the children are their responsibility.  That living situation would have been a living hell for me as a teenager.
    To the bolded - I agree.    However within reason, there is an expectation that a child capable of assisting in the house may need to do things to help.   That can be including the watching of the child's siblings.  That can be something that is expected as part of the household job.  IMO -there's a fine line here.   The 14 yo is should not be running the show.

    That said, this can be where the a family meeting comes into play.   Tell the 14 yo that there's an expectation of help within the house.   And if watching the younger ones is not something that works then she can do family laundry or prepare dinner or something else.  

    She absolutely should not be treated as a doormat however there should be an expectation of some additional responsibility.   No way would it fly w/ me if her afternoons consisted of coming home to grab clothes before she headed to the sister's for dinner and bed. 
    OliveOilsMom
  • Yeah I disagree with some of this; I do think there should be shared chores/responsibilities in a household, that depending on the teenage could include occasional babysitting. 

    But it doesn’t sound like the father is taking a lead role navigating these conversations or expectations. 3 years isn’t a long time for the family to be figuring out these dynamics. I think if Sara is putting expectations on the sister, that didn’t exist before, and Dad isn’t involved I can see how this gets bad really fast. 

    Dad can’t leave all the parenting to stepmom, nor can he ignore that his daughter isn’t staying at home every night. He needs to do more to fix what’s going on. 
    Absolutely!  Dad needs to be an integral part of at least the main discussions that need to happen.  Whether he wants to be or not.

    Because he is already part of the problem.  Quote: "Dad isn't home often..."  Except dad has had three babies in three years with Sara.  That is overwhelming.  Especially if he works a lot and can't help with much of the child rearing, house work, and errands.  And, while it's not fair for Sara to expect the older sister to pick up the slack, she needs help!

    So I hope some of this (hypothetical, lol) discussion would include Sara talking to her H about hiring some help.  Like a 2-4x/month housekeeping service.  Maybe some occasional childcare help.  I realize these are not cheap options.  But somethings got to give!
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    STARMOON44
  • Yeah I disagree with some of this; I do think there should be shared chores/responsibilities in a household, that depending on the teenage could include occasional babysitting. 

    But it doesn’t sound like the father is taking a lead role navigating these conversations or expectations. 3 years isn’t a long time for the family to be figuring out these dynamics. I think if Sara is putting expectations on the sister, that didn’t exist before, and Dad isn’t involved I can see how this gets bad really fast. 

    Dad can’t leave all the parenting to stepmom, nor can he ignore that his daughter isn’t staying at home every night. He needs to do more to fix what’s going on. 
    Absolutely!  Dad needs to be an integral part of at least the main discussions that need to happen.  Whether he wants to be or not.

    Because he is already part of the problem.  Quote: "Dad isn't home often..."  Except dad has had three babies in three years with Sara.  That is overwhelming.  Especially if he works a lot and can't help with much of the child rearing, house work, and errands.  And, while it's not fair for Sara to expect the older sister to pick up the slack, she needs help!

    So I hope some of this (hypothetical, lol) discussion would include Sara talking to her H about hiring some help.  Like a 2-4x/month housekeeping service.  Maybe some occasional childcare help.  I realize these are not cheap options.  But somethings got to give!
    Exactly!

    I also read this wondering if dad isn't home often = dad travels a lot for work so he isn't actually witnessing the day to day ins and outs.   After working with plenty of people who just aren't home often due to what the job entails first Sara needs to talk to her H about what's going on.  Then they need to come up with a plan.   
    short+sassyMesmrEwe
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 2020
    I'm on team @drunkenwitch.  Sara (my name IRL BTW ;) ) is taking advantage of sister if she's really dumping a child (or two) on sister when she's home.  IF it was just occasional chores OR an unkempt home, then sis needs to suck it up.  But she's being treated like an unpaid nanny and that is far too much expectation on a 14 year old girl.   

    I think the first conversation needs to be between LW, sister, and dad.   Sister needs to be able to speak freely without Sara there.  If dad sees no problem with the arrangement, then he needs to talk to Sara and LW can start referring Sara to dad if she's upset about it.  If dad wants there to be compromise and sister to come home, then they can bring Sara into a conversation about how to go forward.  
    MNNEBride
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2020
    mrsconn23 said:
    I'm on team @drunkenwitch.  Sara (my name IRL BTW ;) ) is taking advantage of sister if she's really dumping a child (or two) on sister when she's home.  IF it was just occasional chores OR an unkempt home, then sis needs to suck it up.  But she's being treated like an unpaid nanny and that is far too much expectation on a 14 year old girl.   

    I think the first conversation needs to be between LW, sister, and dad.   Sister needs to be able to speak freely without Sara there.  If dad sees no problem with the arrangement, then he needs to talk to Sara and LW can start referring Sara to dad if she's upset about it.  If dad wants there to be compromise and sister to come home, then they can bring Sara into a conversation about how to go forward.  
    Agree. It sounds like sister has more child care responsibilities than dad does, and that's not ok. If Sara needs help or isn't comfortable with her partnership, she needs to talk to her husband. Pushing it on her step-daughter is not appropriate.  It certainly doesn't sound like Sara wants sister around for any reason other than to help her parent. 

    I also agree with drunkenwitch that child care is not a household responsibility that older kids should be forced to take part in. Doing laundry, washing dishes, meal prep, sure. Taking care of children they didn't choose to birth, no. 

    Sister (with LW if she wants) needs to have a conversation with dad, without Sara at first. Dad seems pretty absentee, but he needs to clue in to what's going on here. As long as dad is ok with sister staying with LW, Sara just needs to deal with it. Dad and Sara need to deal with their shit partnership without sister or LW. Something tells me sister will be living with LW full time by about 17 regardless. 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I'm on team @drunkenwitchSara (my name IRL BTW ;) ) is taking advantage of sister if she's really dumping a child (or two) on sister when she's home.  IF it was just occasional chores OR an unkempt home, then sis needs to suck it up.  But she's being treated like an unpaid nanny and that is far too much expectation on a 14 year old girl.   

    I think the first conversation needs to be between LW, sister, and dad.   Sister needs to be able to speak freely without Sara there.  If dad sees no problem with the arrangement, then he needs to talk to Sara and LW can start referring Sara to dad if she's upset about it.  If dad wants there to be compromise and sister to come home, then they can bring Sara into a conversation about how to go forward.  
    That's okay.  My IRL name is Jenny.  Like from the other letter where Jenny is the terrible person, lol.

    I almost wanted to change the first name when I posted the letter because I don't like Jennys being given a bad rap, lol.

    That is also one of the reasons I don't like the song "867-5309/Jenny".  Because, if you listen to the lyrics, it's basically some drunk guy reading the name and phone number off a bathroom wall, smh.  And that's just insulting for Jennys everywhere, lol.


    Alas, I tried but was unsuccessful in finding a gif or image from the scene where Stewie Griffin says, "Damn you, Tommy Tutone!"  I just about died of laughter the first time I saw that scene!
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    ei34mrsconn23charlotte989875OliveOilsMom
  • Maybe it's because I hear my 9 yo being melodramatic that I find some of the story suspect.

    I agree - the 14 yo should not be thrown into bouncing kids on the hip as soon as she's home from school.

    But even without babies in the house at 14 I was home an hour before my parents and the expectation was that I'd run some loads of laundry as needed and they'd be folded and on the beds of the recipients.   On occasion I did light meal prep and on weekends I was expected to do some chores like clean bathrooms.   It was part of the deal and my parents gave me the "You're a member of this house" line.   

    So there really needs to be a CTJ w/ dad.   In my head the dad is an older guy with a new young wife and he travels for work so he's never home to see what's really going on and there needs to be a balance.

    And I agree - the two daughters and dad should have a discussion first and then dad and the wife can have a discussion.   My issue is that the terms of this arrangement should not be dictated by the 14 yo however her well-being MUST be taken into consideration at what is a critical age. 
    OliveOilsMom
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    Maybe it's because I hear my 9 yo being melodramatic that I find some of the story suspect.

    I agree - the 14 yo should not be thrown into bouncing kids on the hip as soon as she's home from school.

    But even without babies in the house at 14 I was home an hour before my parents and the expectation was that I'd run some loads of laundry as needed and they'd be folded and on the beds of the recipients.   On occasion I did light meal prep and on weekends I was expected to do some chores like clean bathrooms.   It was part of the deal and my parents gave me the "You're a member of this house" line.   

    So there really needs to be a CTJ w/ dad.   In my head the dad is an older guy with a new young wife and he travels for work so he's never home to see what's really going on and there needs to be a balance.

    And I agree - the two daughters and dad should have a discussion first and then dad and the wife can have a discussion.   My issue is that the terms of this arrangement should not be dictated by the 14 yo however her well-being MUST be taken into consideration at what is a critical age. 
    I had similar expectations as a teen. Clean out the dishwasher and start dinner before mom and dad get home, a few bigger chores on the weekend. The difference to me here is that running a couple loads laundry and cleaning the bathroom on Saturday don't interfere with her ability to get a good night's sleep. 

    If a 14 year old is sleeping someplace else just so she can sleep through the night, something is wrong. 
    ILoveBeachMusiclevioosa
  • banana468 said:
    Maybe it's because I hear my 9 yo being melodramatic that I find some of the story suspect.

    I agree - the 14 yo should not be thrown into bouncing kids on the hip as soon as she's home from school.

    But even without babies in the house at 14 I was home an hour before my parents and the expectation was that I'd run some loads of laundry as needed and they'd be folded and on the beds of the recipients.   On occasion I did light meal prep and on weekends I was expected to do some chores like clean bathrooms.   It was part of the deal and my parents gave me the "You're a member of this house" line.   

    So there really needs to be a CTJ w/ dad.   In my head the dad is an older guy with a new young wife and he travels for work so he's never home to see what's really going on and there needs to be a balance.

    And I agree - the two daughters and dad should have a discussion first and then dad and the wife can have a discussion.   My issue is that the terms of this arrangement should not be dictated by the 14 yo however her well-being MUST be taken into consideration at what is a critical age. 
    I had similar expectations as a teen. Clean out the dishwasher and start dinner before mom and dad get home, a few bigger chores on the weekend. The difference to me here is that running a couple loads laundry and cleaning the bathroom on Saturday don't interfere with her ability to get a good night's sleep. 

    If a 14 year old is sleeping someplace else just so she can sleep through the night, something is wrong. 
    I agree with the bolded too. 

    The mom in me is wondering how much of the story has additional 14 yo drama inserted and if there were things she has tried at home already OR did she just decide that she wanted to GTFO.  

    There absolutely needs to be a solution that works for everyone here.   My only gripe is that the terms need to be understood by the adults and not dictated by the 14 yo.   
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    mrsconn23 said:
    I'm on team @drunkenwitchSara (my name IRL BTW ;) ) is taking advantage of sister if she's really dumping a child (or two) on sister when she's home.  IF it was just occasional chores OR an unkempt home, then sis needs to suck it up.  But she's being treated like an unpaid nanny and that is far too much expectation on a 14 year old girl.   

    I think the first conversation needs to be between LW, sister, and dad.   Sister needs to be able to speak freely without Sara there.  If dad sees no problem with the arrangement, then he needs to talk to Sara and LW can start referring Sara to dad if she's upset about it.  If dad wants there to be compromise and sister to come home, then they can bring Sara into a conversation about how to go forward.  
    That's okay.  My IRL name is Jenny.  Like from the other letter where Jenny is the terrible person, lol.

    I almost wanted to change the first name when I posted the letter because I don't like Jennys being given a bad rap, lol.

    That is also one of the reasons I don't like the song "867-5309/Jenny".  Because, if you listen to the lyrics, it's basically some drunk guy reading the name and phone number off a bathroom wall, smh.  And that's just insulting for Jennys everywhere, lol.


    Alas, I tried but was unsuccessful in finding a gif or image from the scene where Stewie Griffin says, "Damn you, Tommy Tutone!"  I just about died of laughter the first time I saw that scene!
    I have the same problems with my name. I can't stand that song.

    But I agree with @mrsconn23 and @drunkenwitch that Stepmom needs to take care of her own kid or pay someone else to do it. Her 14-year-old stepdaughter cannot be her unpaid nanny. And Dad really needs to take the lead and raise his own kids instead of staying aloof.
    short+sassy
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 2020
    I keep re-reading the OP and it makes me flinch.  My bio-parents are just shit at life and I was left with my being-divorced step mother, my half brother (he was under 2 year old), and my stepsister (8) by my bio father from 10-12 (my maternal grandparents stepped in, sued for legal custody and got it, or that would've been my life until 18).  I had to parent the other kids b/c my stepmother was working 2 jobs to support us.  It was hard, it was horrible, and it has led to life-long issues that I will probably be forever working on to reprogram my brain.

    14 years old is old enough to know when you're being treated like shit and a baby sitter. I'm proud of the sister for advocating for herself and protecting herself.  Sister doesn't sound like she's in the same position I was, father and stepmother have chosen to have 3 children in 3 years.  Dealing with that is a lot, but sister isn't a live in nanny and I 100% believe she's being treated that way.  It takes a lot of courage to advocate for yourself at the age this sister is.

    I don't think LW should deal with Sara at all.  She needs to deal with her father and advocate for her sister.  Especially since LW sounds like she's in a position to help her sister.  If dad can't get on board with taking care of all of his children properly, I hope LW keeps sister.

    ETA:  this gives me the same heebie-jeebies that the Duggar family did where the younger kids were paired with the older kids to be taken care of.  It makes me angry.
    MyNameIsNotcharlotte989875OliveOilsMomMesmrEwe
  • The headline says it all "Time for a family discussion!"...  

    Sara needs kids to go to daycare part-time so she can unwind a bit or the CTJ that the sister IS NOT her hired help and needs undisturbed sleep!

    When DD became old enough to watch DS I made it clear that she was on "babysitter" time which meant extra privileges/money for her.  It's not her "job" to watch her brother if I'm working late but she knows she gets a benefit from doing so (i.e. the "No, I don't want to go to the Emo store" turns into "Allllright...If I haaaave to.." with a laugh type thing)..  
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