Relatives Providing Free Childcare Are Not Required to Also Be a Free Farm-to-Table Restaurant
There’s no one so ungrateful as someone who is already on the receiving end of tremendous generosity, and one lady wrote in to Dear Prudence today to complain about the fact that her sister was only giving her tens of thousands of dollars worth of free childcare, because that dastardly sister was not also operating a free local, organic, farm-to-table restaurant for her niece.
The letter-writer complained to Slate’s Dear Prudence (who is the ever-brilliant Mallory Ortberg) to say that she and her husband “are trying to raise our kids in a holistic fashion, emphasizing local produce, home-cooked meals, and nonprocessed foods.”
They’re not actually cooking all those home-cooked meals, though. They’re expecting the letter-writer’s sister to do it, because the sister is doing them the tremendously generous favor of picking up their 9-year-old daughter from school and taking care of her every day until her parents are free.
Unfortunately for the letter-writer, the sister does not follow her same “holistic” meal philosophy, and the letter writer says her sister rolls her eyes whenever she tries to bring it up. That fact alone makes me think the letter-writer is bringing this subject up a lot. God, can you imagine how annoying it would be to be watching your niece every day, saving your sister thousands and thousands of dollars, and have her constantly picking on you about your not preparing “good enough” food? Ugh. If the sister has not told her to get bent, the sister is a saint.
“She does make salads and fruit medleys but refuses to abide by our rules when she watches our 9-year-old daughter,” the letter-writer complains. “Unfortunately we have depended on her for child care for the past year, as all her children are older and go to the same school as my daughter.”
That’s another nice example of advice column double-speak by saying “Unfortunately, we’ve depended on her because her children are older and go to the same school.” when what she really means is, “My sister is doing us a tremendous favor by watching her everyday, because after-school care in our area would cost $1,300 a month, and we would have to get a second car to make it feasible.”
The letter-writer’s issue is that her 9-year-old daughter says she wants to start eating meat. The mother doesn’t want that to happen, and seems to expect her sister to do something to intervene about it. It is unclear whether the letter-writer expects the aunt to switch her own household over entirely to the letter-writer’s “holistic” wholesome vegetarian diet, or to merely make separate meals according to that diet and force the 9-year-old to eat them instead of the other food, but either expectation is pretty unreasonable.
The aunt is providing free childcare and free home-cooked meals to her niece every day after school. She is feeding the girl the same things she feeds her own kids. There is salad and fruit on the table. If the 9-year-old wished to eat an all-plant dinner, she could eat the fruit and salad. She could probably also make a sandwich if she wanted to, but she doesn’t want to. Her aunt cooks meat, and the niece wants to eat the meat. If the mother wants the daughter convinced to be a vegetarian, she and her husband are going to have to do the convincing themselves.
The mother wants to have her cake and eat it to. She wants complete control over her daughter’s diet, but she wants to take advantage of her sister’s gift of free childcare. It really looks like she has two options:
1. Pay $1,300 a month and get a second car and stop having her daughter stay with her sister.
2.Â Thank her sister profusely and stop needling her about her “non-holistic” cooking.