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My younger sister is six months pregnant. She and her husband are very excited, and I'm happy for them, but she keeps alluding to me babysitting. I don't have children, and I have absolutely no desire to take care of a baby, even for an hour. I'm not trying to be a jerk; I just don't have it in me. I've told her before, but she seems to think I'm joking. How can I let her know I'm serious without causing a rift?
Auntie Ono (female, 38)
Dear Auntie Ono,
I get where you're coming from. With all due respect to the moms and dads out there, I'll take a puppy or a kitten over a human baby any day. Not everyone has parental instincts, and that's absolutely OK.
The most important thing is that you don't want your sister to count on you for childcare. If you come from the angle of never having taken care of a baby, she should understand. Who would hire a babysitter with no experience?
There are plenty of other ways to help out new parents. You could offer to run errands or do chores around the house when they're home. If you like to cook, you could prep some meals for the week. I'm sure your sister would appreciate any assistance that you feel more comfortable with.
Finding a qualified babysitter is no small task, so you could help do some research to find the right person. And when that happens, take your sister out for a day of good old sibling bonding without the baby.
Good luck and God bless,