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When a family member is in trouble, it’s great to see siblings step up and support each other. But what happens when kind gestures are taken advantage of and become expected?? Drama.
Let’s review a story that a woman discusses on an online forum about her pregnant sister-in-law (SIL), whom they took in, and that started to expect a lot from the family graciously hosting her. The story ends with tears from the sister-in-law, making the original poster wonder if she was too harsh?
Her Pregnant SIL Moves In with Them
The original poster (OP) described the situation for readers.
Her pregnant SIL moved in with a family of four because she is unable to work due to a high-risk pregnancy and the father not being in the picture. The OP admits that she and the SIL don’t have the best relationship but that they put their differences aside so that she has a safe place to live (and for her husband, who wanted to help his sister).
The OP and her husband are not charging her rent and are buying all the groceries. Plus, the OP is doing all of the cooking since she needs to for her own kids anyways.
The SIL Gets Overly Demanding
Even though the SIL isn’t doing any of the shopping or cooking, the SIL has been requesting junk food constantly due to her cravings. When her specific requests aren’t catered to, she complains that the food in the house doesn’t sound good and wants something else- even asking the OP if she’ll cook a different meal for her (in addition to her kids’ requests).
The OP’s family lives a healthy lifestyle and does not want a lot of junk food in the house. Yet, all the SIL wants lately is junk food. Ultimately, the family does not want to spend money on food that only one person would eat, and they do not want to deal with their children asking why their aunt can eat ice cream for breakfast.
When the SIL complained, yet again, that the family does not keep anything she can eat in the house, the OP got annoyed and told her that they are not catering to her just because she is pregnant. This caused her SIL to cry, and now the OP is wondering if she’s a jerk.
Should the OP cook several different meals and buy her SIL junk food? Should she run to Dairy Queen for her when she requests it, even when she isn’t contributing to the rent or grocery bills? Is she being too judgemental?
The Community Verdict
The online forum community was quick to support the OP, finding it strange that the SIL has so many demands when the family was kind enough to support her in the first place.
One writer summarizes the general consensus well, “You’re going above and beyond in allowing her to live in your home and provide quality shelter and food for her. Cravings are not necessities- they are wants. She’s in a situation where pure and simple, she didn’t prepare herself to get all of her wants. Your comment was not out of line. She’s not the first pregnant person ever, and her failure to plan is not your problem to solve.”
Time to Step It Up
Most commenters agreed that the SIL is being a moocher and taking advantage of the family’s kindness. They acknowledged that the OP and her husband are doing their best to help, but the SIL needs to understand that they are not responsible for her cravings and needs.
Many commenters suggested that the SIL should apply for government assistance, such as food stamps, to help reduce her burden on the family and contribute to the grocery bills (and other bills potentially).
For example, one Redditor wrote: “If she’s not working I assume she’s on medical assistance or medicaid which means she’s already halfway through the application for food assistance and just needs to see what she needs to do to get it. As a pregnant person she’s also eligible for WIC benefits which includes milk, eggs, etc which she can get for herself and contribute to the household.”
Finally, some commenters also pointed out that the SIL’s behavior is entitled and selfish. They noted that pregnancy is not a free pass to demand things from other people and that the SIL should be grateful for the family’s help.
Many people were also wondering what her long-term plan was and warned the OP that her SIL would probably be around for a long time with her current attitude. One of these responses said, “Also, just going to be a big meany and say it. If you cater to her then that gives her less incentive to start planning how she will manage to eventually get out of your house and on her own two feet once the baby is born.”
Final Thoughts: Beggars Can’t Be Choosers
In conclusion, the OP is not a jerk for not catering to her SIL’s cravings and needs. While it is admirable that the family is helping their SIL, they should not be expected to sacrifice their needs and preferences in their home.
The SIL should understand that she is not entitled to anything and should be grateful for the family’s help. If the SIL wants to have specific foods, she should buy them herself or find other ways to support herself. Ultimately, the family should have an open and honest conversation with their SIL about their boundaries and expectations so that everyone is on the same page.