A young woman recently took to Reddit to ask for opinions after she left her nieces and nephews without a carer because her brother wouldn’t heat the house. Here is her full story.
The Original Poster (OP) is a young woman who moved in with her 35-year-old brother and his wife a few years ago when they first got pregnant. She had a job at the time but gave it up so she could help take care of the new baby.
Both the brother and sister-in-law work full-time, too, so they agreed to let OP live with them rent-free and to pay her a wage for providing childcare.
But they only paid OP for one month even though she continued to take care of their child. She did continue to live with them for free, though, and she liked the baby.
Their Family Grew
Over the next few years, OP’s brother and his wife had three more children, and they just expected OP to take care of them, which she did. Eventually, she was caring for 4 kids under the age of 4.
In return, OP still lived rent-free, but her brother never paid her another cent for all the work she put in with his kids.
More recently, OP’s brother and his wife racked up a significant amount of debt, leading them to work extra hours to make ends meet. They also started cutting corners to try and keep expenses down.
They Weren’t Paying Her
The downturn in finances happened during a cold part of the year, so heating costs were one area where OP’s brother cut back. The house was uncomfortably cold most of the time, and the brother has been selectively turning on the heaters.
When her brother was at work, OP would try to turn on the heaters to keep the kids warm, but it was a complicated system that he didn’t show her how to use properly. He’d make some adjustments when he got home, and some of the rooms would warm up a little.
But OP’s room never seemed to get any warmer, and she was having some aches and pains as a result. She asked her brother over and over to turn on the heat in her room, and he always said he would.
He Turned the Heating Off In Her Room
Eventually, when OP asked him to turn on the heat yet again, her brother told her he was never going to heat her room because he couldn’t afford it.
OP’s brother told her she could just use more blankets, but she already had them piled high. Her nights were uncomfortable and sleepless, and then she had to work all day taking care of the children.
When her brother continued to refuse to turn up the heat in her room, OP told him she was leaving. She called her mother, who drove over and picked up her daughter.
She’d Had Enough
OP told her brother that he would have to find someone else to take care of his kids because she was out.
OP’s brother was angry that she was leaving and said she was being dramatic about the whole situation. He also tried to guilt her by telling her how attached the babies were to her.
OP told him she’d be happy to visit the kids sometimes as long as he and his wife were around. Her babysitting days were over.
From there, OP left with her mother, and her stepfather came to pick up her belongings the next day. Her parents agreed to let her move in with them, at least in the short term.
Not surprisingly, OP’s brother wouldn’t let the issue drop and began calling and texting her constantly. He even pulled their father into the argument, and the older man started texting OP, too, accusing her of abandoning her brother when he needed her most.
He Harrassed Her to Come Back but to No Avail
Reddit commenters overwhelmingly support OP’s decision to leave her brother’s place when he continued to mistreat her.
Many suggest OP should calculate how much her brother owes her in back wages and send him a bill.
Others say the brother was outright abusive and think he brought this on himself. It adds insult to injury that he got their father to bully OP, too.
So, what do you think of this story? Was OP right for finally walking out of a bad situation with her brother? OR did she leave the family high and dry in terms of childcare? Could she have taken a different approach?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.