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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Is Flabbergasted by Sister's Refusal to Baby-Sit

DEAR ABBY: I'm having a strong disagreement with my sister regarding responsibility for finding child care.

My wife and I have to go away for a couple of days, and we need someone to watch one of our children for a Friday and Saturday night. I'm taking my older daughter to a travel tournament, and my wife had a previously planned trip out of town that same weekend. I asked my sister to stay with our other daughter and our dogs in our home because I thought it would be nice for them to spend some time together. She vehemently rebuffed me because "it's the mother's responsibility to find someone."

I have never heard of such a thing. I felt like I was transported back to the 1950s. To me, family is family. Why would it matter if my family came and watched my child as opposed to my wife's family? We are not talking right now because of this issue. I think it was rude and just plain archaic. -- BACK IN TIME

DEAR BACK IN TIME: Family is indeed family. Could your sister have been offended that your wife didn't call and ask for that favor? Or does she dislike your wife for some reason? She was not obligated to agree to baby-sit your child, but for the reason you stated, it would have been nice and an opportunity to bond with the girl. From now on, leave your sister out of the baby-sitting equation, unless she volunteers.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics