Hello all :) I'm a single mommy to a great 5yr old little girl, I'm also a full-time student & work out of my home part-time.
I've been dealing with a "friend situation" for the past year +, and am at my wits end as to how to deal with it... My friend, we'll call her "D" entered into single parenthood 1 1/2 years ago after the passing of her husband. She has three children, and while she doesn't "have" to work, she does 3-4 days a month to remain current in her profession. (she's a paramedic) When she works, her shifts are 12-24hrs... Rather than procure traditional child care (like myself) she relies on her friends. I get "hit up" at least 2x a month, she usually expects those watching her kids to come to her house... As she lives over an hour away, this is a pain in the butt... if not, she'll bring them to you, but, this means that the kids stay 24-36 hours with you... and they are not well behaved children. They haven't received counseling, etc. following their fathers passing, and each has emotional and behavioral problems, to the point of defiance, abundant lying, & destructive behavior.
I understand that she needs help... I truly get that, I'm a single parent as well... but I also go to school, and work... while I'm often home, I'm really busy! In addition, finances are tight, (we don't receive child support, I maintain our bottom-line with financial aid and my part-time income) it costs me approximately $30 to drive up and watch her kids (+ food, as they eat... "junk") if they come down, I'm feeding 3 additional children 3-5 meals + snacks... I say "no" 50% of the time as I generally have a legitimate reason... I've chosen to take the summer off, and be a "mommy", catch up on life... and enjoy myself a bit. She's taken this as a wide open invitation to watch her kids... now I'm being hit up so that she can go skiing without her kids... (I don't remember the last time I did something without my daughter... and whenever it was, I certainly hired a sitter.) 4 days in July, several in August... Beyond all of that... I really don't want to be tied down watching other peoples children... I want to be able to take my daughter to the coast on a whim, hang out with friends, go camping... take a trip wherever, whenever... Argh... So, I said no to the dates in July & that I'd let her know about August... she fired back with 4 different days for July! I feel like the "bad guy" turning her down... but, I would never ask this of my friends.
(& thanks so much for any advice!)