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Huge life decision and I need some good karma and prayers please

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She11ybeanz posted 11/12/2013 12:56 PM the last 2 years have been really rough for me. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my older sister begged and pleaded with me to watch her for me for free....knowing my financial situation and my over-the-top student loan debt. I agreed...desperate and moved one block away from her. It seemed perfect at the time and it worked well for a while.

Well, fast forward to now. My daughter is 15 months old and my sister and I now fight like cats and dogs.....I have barely been able to make ends meet and have been forced to sell countless things on Ebay including lots of my favorite jewelry just to pay bills. My sister now resents me for not paying her even though I've tried to explain to her that I would if I could. I have medical bills that I am way behind on as it is!

I have felt trapped. Depressed. Suicidal. We fight so much that I have lost hope. I can't win an argument with her. All I want is peace. But, anything I say or do...and I do mean ANYTHING will set her off. She has the shortest fuse on the planet and I have been racking my brain for a solution here. She wants to watch my daughter but hates me for not paying her. She tells me that she considers Piper 50% hers until she dies... but she will throw absolutely EVERYTHING she does for her in my face. If she buys her a toy....or food...or anything (of which she doesn't HAVE to do because I provide everything she needs) I will hear about it in an argument.

So, tonight....after much soul searching....I am going to sit down with my dad....who lives in my large childhood home alone... and swallow my pride....and ask him if I can move back in with him with my daughter for exactly 2 to 3 years. I have an exit strategy. My car will be paid off in exactly less than 2 years as of October 1st. My credit cards will be paid off in exactly 2 years and 9 months.... I will either move out when A. those bills are paid off or B. I can get Piper into a free Pre-K program, whichever comes first.

This plan would benefit all involved because 1st off....I would pay my sister $400 a month to watch my daughter, thus giving her what she wants monetarily (more than she asked of $50 a week DOUBLE actually) AND letting her spend the time with my daughter that she wants to do before her cerebral palsy gets too bad for her to watch her. IF and WHEN the stress and/or physicalness of watching my child becomes an issue.....we can do part-time and I will pay someone else to watch her a few days a week. Whatever. But, I can't afford to live on my own AND pay for childcare as a single mom with as much debt as I have.

I just can't. It is what it is.

I will promise my dad that I will buy all our own groceries, pay for all the paper products, detergent, etc for the house. I will cook, clean, and help him get his house ready to sell in a couple of years.... and help him with utilities and so forth as much as I possibly can.

I feel like this is the best decision for me and my sister. And, best of all...I get my power back. I have felt powerless as a mother.....hopeless... my sister has threatened to not watch my daughter and I've been reduced to begging her to forgive me for things that I knew I was not wrong about. I want my power and control back I AM HER MOTHER! ME! If she and I can't get along, in this situation, I will have the power and the means to pay someone else to watch my child without the constant stress and eggshells of trying to please an unpleasable and drama insatiable individual. This will reduce my stress and increase my happiness.

I may be giving up my independence temporarily... but I will be gaining control, power, happiness, and my sanity. It seems like a win win to me.

Please pray for me that my talk with my dad goes well. If he is not willing to do this....I don't know what I will do.

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 1:00 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

Spirit13 posted 11/12/2013 13:08 PM


It sounds like an interesting plan. Would it make sense to pay someone else to watch Piper and then relieve yourself of your sister's emotional wrath? Is that even financially feasible? That would be the only thing I'd ask to try to make your life easier. Why put yourself through that?

7yrsflushed posted 11/12/2013 13:17 PM

My only comment is please understand that your sister likely isn't going to suddenly change her tune because you pay her. You know her best but my guess is she will start up about something else. Also why pay her more than she asked for. Use the extra cash to get you back on your feet even sooner. Or just pay someone else to watch her.

I wish you the best with your plan. Do you think it would help to have an actual contract with your Father? You could spell out exactly what you will and won't pay for of the household expenses. Also don't oversell what you will or won't do for your Father. I don't know your family at all but you don't want to end up being his Mother as well. He is helping out but you should spend your time and energy caring for yourself and your daughter.

PricklePatch posted 11/12/2013 13:46 PM

My sister also made the same comments. She later decided that she was the better mother. She chose not to have children. She started trying to get my dd to say she loved her more. She ended up trying to gather evidence against us to get custody of our child. She went to friends and neighbors and they said their was no neglect. She felt she could prove it due to my child's illness, which is organic. A friend called an let me know what was happening, this friend was th last approached she. was informed she was going to social services and would be removing my child, 3000 miles away.

My point here is your sister is your sister. As hurtful as it is she is not your child's parent. I in therapy came to realize like my husband, I ha poor boundaries with her. Please move in with your dad. Then look to shore up boundaries with your sister. Hugs

She11ybeanz posted 11/12/2013 13:49 PM

Would it make sense to pay someone else to watch Piper and then relieve yourself of your sister's emotional wrath? Is that even financially feasible? That would be the only thing I'd ask to try to make your life easier. Why put yourself through that?

The only reason that I'm going to try to go this route FIRST is because my sister is dying of a horrible disease...and says her doctors only give her a couple of years.... I don't know how true that is...but she wants "her niece to know her" (her quote). She loves my daughter like her own and is good to her. My daughter loves her very much too....we joke that she is the "baby's daddy" since he is not in the picture. I want to give my sister the option. But, at least now, I won't feel powerless if it doesn't work out. I will have the control and the means to seek help elsewhere without panic. I love my sister and I want her to be happy. So, I'm willing to sacrifice my independence to do this and try to extend one last olive branch. If this doesn't least I will have somewhere to go and not a deadend street....

My dad is a very giving man....and he will expect very little of me. I will help him when I and cooking I do ANYWAY so that is nothing new.....and helping him out with utilities seems fair. I think he will do this because it will help my sister out and he worries about her health too. And, I know he loves me and Piper and now that Piper is older and sleeping through the night...he won't have a crying baby waking him up at night (at least not often)

And, most of all...I need to reduce my stress. I worry about money ALL. THE. TIME. I need to get rid of the guilt trips that she gives me and the constant hopelessness I feel.... and take back my control over my life. I've typed out a budget of all my bills and hypothetical expenses (childcare to my sister etc and a storage unit) to show my dad tonight....I'm gonna go in with all my I's dotted and T's crossed....and hope he is agreeable to it.... because I NEED this to work!

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 1:54 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

Crescita posted 11/12/2013 14:40 PM

I don't know Shelly, while there may be some financial upsides, this sounds like getting more indebted to family, not less.

Even the financial benefit may be somewhat questionable. You will be paying your sister, contributing to your father's household, probably spending more on gas, running errands for your father, going out more to get alone time, etc...

As soon as you let someone take on an expense (day care, rent) they will question every dollar you spend. While they are trying to help, they don't want to be taken for granted (perhaps this is the tension with your sister?)

It might serve you better to take an honest look at your finances. Downsize your car/apartment, talk to a debt counselor, work on a budget, hold off on more races until you have a comfortable emergency fund, cut down on socializing to give your sister some relief from watching Piper.

You can get out of this on your own Shelly, you've made it this far.

ETA: Mojo and (((Shelly)))

[This message edited by Crescita at 2:48 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

cissi posted 11/12/2013 15:33 PM

Your sister's doctor told her she has only a couple years before she dies and yet she is now able to care for your Piper all day long, five days a week? I have a good friend who has cerebral palsy and though I admit I don't know much about the condition, she is in her late 40s and going strong. I would think if your sister only had a couple years left, she would be way too ill to watch your child?

I also think you should consider filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. I'm not sure if you can include your school loans on that but I know you can include the medical bills. Your situation is exactly why this program was created, so I would urge you to take advantage of the help.

I also would urge you to find someone else to watch your baby girl because your sister doesn't sound normal to me and God only knows what kind of crap she is putting into Piper's head. I think it's a good idea to move in with your dad, too.

[This message edited by cissi at 3:35 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

cayc posted 11/12/2013 15:34 PM

It's a decent plan insofar as we all know you need to do something but ...

1. Why pay your sister more than what she asked for? Don't. Pay her what she asked.

2. Ask your dad what he would want from you financially if you moved back for 2-3 rather than offering something upfront. He might surprise you and ask for less, or ask for things that aren't money related (rides, a family dinner once a week, time with your daughter etc.)

I say both of these because, if you try and super-engineer this to ward off sis or dad getting pissed with you (b/c look how $ generous I am dad and sis! I'm not taking advantage of you!), that's not going to happen. Plus, if you super-engineer this that just shifts who you owe without giving you the breathing room you think you're going to get, you're just going to find yourself in a tighter spot.

She11ybeanz posted 11/12/2013 15:52 PM

Right. I agree cayc.

I have to do something. I have cut my budget in my situation as much as I know to and have been eating sandwiches for lunch and leftovers for a year to cut on food costs. But, with my other student loan coming out of forbearance in the Spring....there is no way to cut corners and stay where I am AND pay my sister for childcare too. I haven't been able to pay on some medical bills I have looming over me because my check is literally GONE when I get paid. This is not a rash decision. This is something I have thought about for many many months and racked my brain over every type of scenario from roommates to moving to a 1 bedroom apartment (which would only cut costs a tiny bit) etc etc. This is the absolute best way to reduce stress and give me back some of my control over my life. I feel completely powerless and I hate it. I need to do something and I think this is a good plan.

HeartStings posted 11/12/2013 17:48 PM

Just be prepared for your father to say no. I had a friend in the same situation as you and she went to her parents and asked if she and her baby could move back into their huge house. They told her NO in no uncertain terms. She chose to have a child out of wedlock, so she had to figure it out. They did loan her money, though, so that she could buy an old mobile home to save money on rent. It worked out so well for her that she was able to buy her own house 5 years later.

risingfromashes posted 11/12/2013 21:18 PM

It sounds like you have really thought this through. I am sorry that you have had to make these difficult decisions. Please let us know how your talk with your Dad goes.
I am impressed that you have thought far enough in the future to have an exit plan. You will land on your feet!

SBB posted 11/13/2013 05:24 AM

This sounds like a great plan. I hope it works out.

What are the chances of your sister asking to move in to?

I would reconsider having your sister look after Piper. Certainly not 5 days a week. I would pay her what she asks and find someone else to do a few days a week. I would also tell her this deal is conditional on her NOT overstepping boundaries.

No more fights or you stop spending time together. Come up with a safe-word or something when you each feel the urge to fight.

You are grown women - there is no need to fight like cats and dogs. It is completely inappropriate. I have a sister - I understand the dynamic but that shit needs to end. Think of what you are modelling for Piper. It sounds like an abusive M.

I think your judgement is clouded here. You are in a very vulnerable position and I don't think you can see that what she is doing is abuse.

hemademesingle posted 11/13/2013 07:07 AM

I think it is a great idea, as long as you have a decent relationship with your dad, from reading previous posts it sounds like you do. Talk to him, be honest, let him know what is going on, he may have wanted to reach out to you, but has been hesitant, Let me tell you my experience

I moved back home with my parents when my son was a year old, it was not ideal, having only 1 bedroom for me and my son,by this time in my parents life they were living in a condo,enjoying retirement, but it worked. The love and stability that my son received was the best thing for him. There were times when I would have to have a discussion with my dad that chocolate pudding was not a breakfast item,but once in awhile it was okay, my parents actually loved it, they would get down on the floor and play with my son,they had time and patience,

The thing that was nice for me was having the extra pair of eyes keeping him safe. My parents wouldn't take money so I cooked,cleaned, cut grass, shoveled snow,all while they watched him, I didn't need to wait to get things done till he was sleeping, I would buy groceries, special stuff for them that they may not buy for themselves, order dinner in or take them to a restaurant once in awhile.

As far as the babysitting, I wouldn't pay anymore than what was originally asked for, that extra money can go to pay down a debt quicker, or just be able to breath a little easier. As to your sisters capability health-wise to watch Piper, as long as you feel she is capable and healthy enough to care for her, and keep her safe, and she feels capable and healthy enough to care and keep her safe, if the answer is yes then she would be my first choice, you most definitely need to keep this discussion on the fore front, Piper's care is important and so is your sister's health,

If it were me I would talk to my dad, if he agrees, then I would give notice where I live, let sister know that I will start paying her, I would start to list everything that I could sell that I will no longer need,nor have the place to keep, I would not pay storage, can things be stored at your dad's or sisters? depending on how much space you can get, you might find that you have to downsize to the maximum,I had too, I kept things that were really special, if you all work together as a family it can be a really rewarding situation

million pieces posted 11/13/2013 07:31 AM

I think others have given you good input about your dad and your sister. You are in northern VA or close? I think that may be why you are willing to pay "more" for childcare, because a child her age would cost almost that much a week for full time childcare in the DC metro area (if people don't realize that about around these parts).

Also, if you do move in with your father, make sure he doesn't become too dependent on you. My SO moved in with his parents after his sep. His parents health started failing and when he was ready to move out in ~2 yrs, they had a lot of issues with it. Nothing said out loud, but constant calls to do this or that. He did sooooo much around the house and they honestly just missed his company too. So if you do plan to move out, keep on talking about it, your dad might LOVE you and his granddaughter living with him (who wouldn't!!!!) and not want you to move out in a couple of years But the benefit will be that your dd will have a very special relationship with her grandfather and you will get to know him as an adult. Cherish the time!

[This message edited by million pieces at 7:31 AM, November 13th (Wednesday)]

She11ybeanz posted 11/13/2013 08:18 AM

It sounds like an abusive M.

That's exactly what it feels like at this point. When we takes me back in time to a time when my mother and my father would fight... my mom (is my sister in this situation) would be the one screaming, slamming doors, being completely unreasonable and always right....and there was no arguing with let her win or the fight escalated until you gave up. My dad knew this and over time I watched him just give in. He never screamed or yelled or fought back. He stood by idly like a whipped puppy saying "Yes dear" "I'm sorry dear" "I love you dear" until she had had enough ass-kissing to pacify her in that moment or he left the house exasperated and in desperate need of escaping peace. I am my dad in this situation. I am 9 years YOUNGER than my sister but I feel like the adult here. I try to find constructive ways to discuss problems we have without yelling and try to come up with mutually beneficial solutions and she is so emotionally immature (as my therapist puts its) that you can't reason with her.

As of right now....I have ZERO power. If she told me today that she either could not or would not watch Piper anymore....I would have to scramble and use my friends mom (who watches her on the weekend and has her own health issues but NEVER complains....I love her so much...she is like a mom to me) to watch her temporarily until I could either A. Get a roach infested 1 bedroom apartment which would only save me a couple hundred a month in my city (I have a decent place to live for what I pay) B. Get a roommate (which could bring all sorts of other problems should the person that I end up with be untrustworthy) or C. Move back in with my dad.

I have weighed all of these options carefully. I don't like the idea of moving out my HOME, giving up my independence, and my pride to live with my father for 2 to 3 years. I hate this. BUT....of all the options I have....that is the best choice for everyone.

He lives in a HUGE himself and has plenty of room for us. I would put most of my things in storage except for what I would need for our bedrooms. I would goodwill a lot of things and throw away a lot of the clutter that doesn't necessarily need to follow me. I would be moving to a better area, with better schools, so that when my daughter IS old enough for school, she can go somewhere much safer and better (meaning moving at school age was a must for me as it is because of where I live now). I only moved to the duplex I am now because its one street over from where my sister lives and when Piper was a newborn and I had to go to work after 6 weeks, it was the most convenient for the childcare relationship. Plus, we had a better relationship at that time and it has only become more bitter and distant as time goes on and my sister feels resentful towards me for me not paying her (despite her having begged me while pregnant to watch her for FREE knowing my financial situation which I reiterated to her over and over and over again telling her that one day it would reach this point no avail - "in one ear and out the other!")

My dad did admit that it would be a big change in his lifestyle and I agreed that it would.....and it would be for me too... but I told him that I would help him clean and cook and paint and do all sorts of things for him around the house! I've decided to offer my sister around what she asked as you all have suggested and tell her I need the extra money to catch up my bills that are behind, pay for a storage unit, and make up for the extra gas mileage to/from dad's house and so forth.

I fully expect her to get mad and try the old statement "Fine then, find someone else to watch her and you can move into grandma's house (which is where she grandmother's old house after she died and she pays my dad rent) and then I will just move away out of town away from everyone." And, I will just say, "Okay, if that makes you happy."

I have made up my mind on this.... and I think this will be good to help get me back on my feet. If I pay her what she asks and no more than that...I will have enough after catching up bills to SAVE something to help me when I move out again and get a fresh start. If she decides not to watch my daughter anymore, I will have the means and the control to take her elsewhere....drama free. I like that idea. I have come to peace with making a few sacrifices in the short-term in order to build a stronger foundation in the long-term for my and my daughter's future. And, I think this is a step in the right direction.

My dad's conversation ended with us sharing a hug and him telling me he loves me and that everything will be okay. And, I think so too. Thank you all for your great advice... It is very much appreciated!

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 8:27 AM, November 13th (Wednesday)]

StrongerOne posted 11/13/2013 08:21 AM

Shelly, you might want to transition your sister from being the daycare provider for Piper to being her aunt. Have someone else take care of Piper, while your sister can have Piper regularly but less frequently, for fun aunt-niece stuff.

Cayc's advice about asking your dad what he would like in return for your living at home is a good one. It will put the two of you on a better footing.

Good luck. You're a good momma, and a *cool* one too! (just remembering the pix of you in your wedding dress from the color run!)

ETA: oops, cross posted! Sounds like you have worked it out well. Good job setting boundaries!

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 8:24 AM, November 13th (Wednesday)]

She11ybeanz posted 11/13/2013 08:34 AM

Well, and I think the timing for this is perfect too. My dad won't feel "strapped" like he did when I had to live with him briefly during my divorce because he has turned 65 and is also getting Social Security on top of his full-time salary, which has helped him I won't have to help him financially unless he asks me to. I offered and he declined. But, I CAN help clean, I'm a pretty good cook and he never cooks... and I love to paint and do odd jobs like that....all for free for letting us stay!

My sister isn't going to have a say in this. She is just going to have to accept it or not. PERIOD. It is what is best for Piper and I..... and in the long-run will be for her too. She won't be able to complain anymore and if she does....I can easily go somewhere else.

I'm putting up a hypothetical invisible fence. She is the yipper dog who used to run the neighborhood free to nip at the heels of any passerbys she felt like (mostly me) and now she will be confined to her yard. She can accept it or lie down and pout.... but it is what it is. If she tries to run through that boundary.... I will zap her with my shock collar. Because the shock and reality of this situation is....if she truly wants to continue watching my daughter because she loves her and wants her in her life.... she needs to buck up and act like a respectful adult. We shall see how this goes. Either way, I won't have the horrible stress on me that I have had over the past year any longer and that thought makes me feel at ease.

ajsmom posted 11/13/2013 08:53 AM

I for one am ecstatic you are doing this.

There is nothing like having your child around family, and the bonding that the two of them will have is priceless.

You've thought this out very logically (expected, seeing you're an accountant ) and IMO you have an exit plan which is exactly what this type of situation calls for - something for both you and your dad to prepare for.

Two thumbs up, Shelly!


hexed posted 11/13/2013 09:00 AM

Shelly, I think this is the best decision you've made for yourself. Twice in my life I've had to make major sacrifices to my living situation to relieve financial stress. The emotional cost of giving up my independence or in one case my dream house post D, was far less than the cost of the financial stress.

You will be happier and life will fall into place much better for you.

She11ybeanz posted 11/13/2013 09:19 AM

I for one am ecstatic you are doing this.
There is nothing like having your child around family, and the bonding that the two of them will have is priceless.

You've thought this out very logically (expected, seeing you're an accountant ) and IMO you have an exit plan which is exactly what this type of situation calls for - something for both you and your dad to prepare for.

Two thumbs up, Shelly!

Shelly, I think this is the best decision you've made for yourself. Twice in my life I've had to make major sacrifices to my living situation to relieve financial stress. The emotional cost of giving up my independence or in one case my dream house post D, was far less than the cost of the financial stress.
You will be happier and life will fall into place much better for you.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This was NOT an easy decision for me and I will admit that I kinda broke down crying from the stress of having to even suck up my pride to ask my father for such a HUGE request. But, it had to be done. I know my sister will try to say "You could move in with me" which I would only do if the thought of living in an 8 x 12 cell from being sentenced to 1st degree murder was a fun way to spend the rest of my life on this planet. Because I would give it Ahhhhhh about a week before I killed her or we killed each other.... whichever came first.

I fully expect a fight to come of this...and I will prepare my dad for the initial blow. She is going to try the old tantrum of "kicking and screaming" and "You and dad are against me" blah blah blah.... and I will explain to her calmly how this will benefit her AND me and how I will be helping dad out as well... and the long-term benefits and how it is "once again" NON-NEGOTIABLE. So, regardless of whether she watches Piper or not....we are moving. PERIOD. I am 34 years old and she is not going to treat me like her 8 year old baby sister any longer.

I am an adult making a difficult life decision and am doing what I believe to be best for my daughter and I's life. Simple. As. That.

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