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Woman's Estranged Stepdaughter Expects Her To Be Her Nanny For Free In Order To 'Bury The Hatchet'

Photo: fizkes, ORION PRODUCTION / Shutterstock 
stepmother, stepdaughter, childcare

After years of enduring emotional abuse at the hands of her stepdaughter, one woman decided to distance herself from her to the best of her ability.

Years later, her stepdaughter reached out claiming that she wanted to “bury the hatchet” and improve their relationship. However, her proposition of how she intended to do so appeared to be irrational and unfair.

Now, the woman is seeking advice on how she should handle the situation moving forward.

The woman’s estranged stepdaughter expects her to be her nanny for free.

The woman shared her dilemma to the Slate advice column, “Dear Prudence.”

“Dear Prudence,” the woman writes. “I have been married for 10 years and together for 13. My stepdaughters ‘Gracie and Nikki’ are 28 and 25 respectively.”

While the woman revealed that she and Gracie have a great relationship, it is not the same case with Nikki. “As a teenager, Nikki treated me as her own personal maid, chauffeur, and chef,” the woman wrote. “She had zero respect and would stomp off screaming if asked to demonstrate any.”

According to the woman, Nikki would often throw temper tantrums if she was told no, and has repeatedly treated her stepmother as if she is a doormat. “I have tried to take the high road over the sneers, insults, and sheer rudeness, but I hit my limit when Nikki got engaged,” the woman admitted.

woman's estranged stepdaughter expects her to provide free childcarePhoto: Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock

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When both of her stepdaughters got engaged, the woman’s parents gifted them with a generous check for over one-thousand dollars to cover all the festivities. “Gracie was gracious and thanked my parents in a toast. Nikki cashed the check and didn’t bother to invite them at all,” the woman wrote.

After paying back her parents and letting Nikki “have it,” the woman wisely chose to distance herself from her, adding, “I called her a monstrous brat and to never expect anything from me again.”

Years later, the woman is thankfully still very close with Gracie, and that she often babysits her two children for her while she goes to work.

“Her childcare needs are chaotic, while my work is very flexible,” the woman shared.

Recently, Nikki has reached out to her stepmother, claiming that she wants to “bury the hatchet.” And by “bury the hatchet,” she meant she wanted the woman to become her unpaid personal nanny and take care of her baby, whom she is expecting in a few months.

“I would be required to drive 45 minutes to her house every day to take care of her baby,” the woman wrote. “Nikki doesn’t want the baby anywhere but at her house,” adding that it's not something she will ever do for Nikki.

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The woman’s husband believes that Nikki is attempting to extend an olive branch and patch things over with her estranged stepmother by having her be involved in her child’s life. However, the woman feels much differently. “I think it is just Nikki deciding she wants something and that she deserves it no matter what,” she wrote.

The woman asked Prudence how she should handle the difficult situation.

Prudence validated the woman’s feelings, stating that she does not owe her stepdaughter anything considering everything she put her through.

“Even if Nikki did make a sincere attempt to reconcile, I’d advise you to pass on the nanny gig,” Prudence wrote.

She also believed that there was little hope that the woman and Nikki would ever patch things over. “I can say with certainty that given your historical conflict, your personalities, and the lack of growth on either side, the two of you could not get along for more than three months.”

Prudence also had a message for the woman’s husband: “Inviting someone to provide unpaid childcare with a long commute is not an olive branch.”

Helping out with childcare, especially with someone you already have tension with, will only lead to even further issues.

“There are so many potential points of conflict there: Will you make the bottles wrong? Swaddle incorrectly? Have different beliefs about screen time? Take a week off when you’re sick?” Prudence pointed out. “I mean, I can already sense the tension over her desire for the baby to stay at home!”



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Even if the woman had no prior issues with her stepdaughter, she's not obligated to provide free childcare, even if it's for her grandchildren.

Grandparents have already done their duty of raising their own children until they reached adulthood. They have the right to enjoy their retirement and pursue their interests, hobbies, or other commitments without the added responsibility of full-time childcare.

Not to mention that each grandparent may have their own parenting style or beliefs that differ from the parents. Obligating them to provide childcare could lead to conflicts and disagreements.

woman's estranged stepdaughter expects her to provide free childcarePhoto: Kleber Cordeiro / Shutterstock

Of course, if you are a grandparent and you have the flexibility and stamina — and, most importantly, you want to look after your grandchildren while their parents are working, running errands or simply need a break — by all means, do so!

However, there is no rulebook that states that grandparents have to provide free childcare for their grandchildren, especially if they have a strained relationship with their children or stepchildren in the first place.

RELATED: Man Refuses To Watch His Stepdaughter On His Golf Days — 'I'm Not Giving Up My Hobbies To Babysit'

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.