Quit school to be a babysitter?

My mom and her ex had a fight… and now I’m stuck babysitting my siblings. Should I give up school?

They are not your responsibility, says our elder. Sit down with your mom and put together a plan.

Dear EWC

So before I started college, I never really had to babysit. Maybe a few times out of the week but it was never constant. Last week my mom and her ex got into a huge argument and he ended up being thrown out. Now after that I have to watch my siblings every day. And not to mention that I also have college all afternoon every Monday and Wednesday. And the only day I get to myself is Sunday. It really bothers me because I can’t concentrate in school and I feel like I’m missing out on my life because I’m being a parent to kids that I didn’t birth. When I told my mom I was thinking about quitting school she made it about her and how she can quit her job, and it’s really frustrating. I don’t know what to do.

Maryanne replies
This is a difficult situation that you find yourself in. I assume that it was your mom’s ex that was doing the childcare? When he left your mom found herself in a difficult position as far as childcare goes. She did what was easiest — that was to ask you to take on the care. However, that is not a long term solution.
Do not quit college. Please do not. You will regret it for the rest of your life. I know, maybe you think you can quit and start again later on but so many times that just does not work. Young people need to leave college for many reasons and unfortunately the vast majority never return. Think long and hard before you make that choice.
I think there other solutions, other than your mom quitting her job or you quitting college. How about hiring a sitter for at least some of the time? You could do a little sitting and hire someone who will also do some sitting. That way you would not be so overwhelmed. I do not understand why you do not have Saturdays to yourself — does your mom work on Saturdays?
Can you sit down with your mom and discuss different solutions? Are there any other family members living close by that could help out? The easiest and quickest solution was for you to take over the care but as I stated before, that should only be a stopgap measure until you and your mom can work something else out. Lots of families put together childcare using a patchwork system — some hired help and some family and maybe a slight cut in working hours for a parent. Quitting anything — job or work — usually is not necessary.
It takes more time and effort, at the beginning, to get a plan in place. Sometimes the first plan does not work and you have to try something else. It is not easy but it is worth the effort.
Families should pitch in and help each other. That is the true nature of family. But, on the other hand, your siblings are not your responsibility. They are the responsibility of your mother. It is unfair of her, I think, to put the complete responsibility on your shoulders.
I hope you are able to work this out with your mom. Please do write again if you would like to talk further. This is a difficult situation and you should not make any quick decisions.
Take care of yourself.

Letter #: 451228
Category: School


  1. Dont drop out of school if you do your a dumb ass

    1. You’re*

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