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SAHM do people use you for free daycare?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm in a weird situation with the neighbor's daughter, although recently it's gotten a lot better. I won't go into all the details of it but my feeling is that since I am a stay at home mom (their attitude is) what's one more kid when I going to do my shopping, going to the park (and we go almost every day!). (we live in the city so we go out walking to do our daily grocery shopping).


Do you feel like people think that you are a SAHM so you should take their kids whenever? (I my case school holidays and after school under the guise of playdate)
post #2 of 28
Yeah, that's a bad situation.

Two years ago, a "friend" of mine (a single mom who i hadn't spoken to since we graduated high school) had a baby, and when i found out, i made the mistake of offering to babysit "sometime," meaning if she just needed a night off or something. Well, one day she shows up at my door with a diaper bag (her baby was something like 4 weeks old) announcing that she gets off school at 3, but she was going to pay me.

About a week later, she hands me a stack of papers to fill out to apply for a state daycare license, so the state can pay me for watching her kid. Alright, i guess that's fine...but as i started reading through, i discovered that my home (i was living with my parents) had to pass all sorts of inspections (people i don't know are going to rifle through my home and take notes?), and by watching only one extra kid (i had a toddler and a newborn of my own) i could expect to be paid a whopping $5/day. Wow.

For three more weeks, i just didn't know what to do. Afterall, i had volunteered (sort of) to watch her kid, and she was (sort of) a friend. Finally, i told her that i might have to get a job to help provide for my family (it was a possibility, but a horrible excuse), and this just wasn't going to help. She said she understood, and i didn't hear from her ever again. Good thing we were such great friends, hahaha!
post #3 of 28
well, i do home day care but alot of acquaintences don't know that. So when someone asks me to watch their kids I just tell them "sure, my rate is $30/day or $5/hour if its not going to be a full time arrangement"
LOL
it works.
Now i have my two and watch two
post #4 of 28
I haven't run into this too much. I have a couple acquaintances-becoming-friends with whom I've discussed swapping childcare - nothing regular, just being willing to watch each other's kids from time-to-time. I'm gearing up to start doing drop-in care so I wonder what might change...

Question: If you do have a problem with this, are you taken advantage of in other ways as well? 'Cause I wonder if one feels taken advantage of in this way, it's less due to being a SAHM than it is due to being a person who is taken advantage of in general.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
No, chalupamom, I have no problem turning her away and saying no or sending her home. I only have her come if it's convenient for me.
post #6 of 28
I don't think they are taking advantage of you, especially when you say no if you cannot accomadate. I do baby sitting swap all the time. But then you need to get a return favor. Maybe the parents could do an extra errand for you while they are coming home or you can drop your child(ren) with them one Saturday and get some stuff done that you normally cannot.

Actually now that DD is older is sometimes is easier if there is another child her age here. They play together and amuse each other and each of the moms can have a break for a few hours.

but if you feel taken advantage of, next time they come to pick her up, bring up an upcoming weekend and mention what you would like to do. If they are not helping you then yes you have been taken advantage of and you know what to say next time they ask.
post #7 of 28
I find that the very same people who trash me for being home call me first when they needs something during "work" hours.
post #8 of 28
i admit, i am the type of person who is easily talked into doing things for others, but i never want to ask for a return favor, because it never seems appropriate *sigh*
post #9 of 28
Nope. No one can take advantage of you without your permission

I do occasionally babysit for a friend for free, but I have no reservations about saying no if it doesn't work out for us that day.

I do also sometimes end up supervising the neighbor kids when my kids are outside playing. Their parents are usually inside, while I usually stay outside with my kids. But I never stay outside just because there are other kids outside unsupervised.
post #10 of 28
No, this has never come up for me. I've heard of it through conversations on other BB, but I still find it very, very surprising. If it were me, I'd just say each time, "No, sorry, I can't watch her/him today."

Good luck!
post #11 of 28
I frequently watch friends kids for them --- a few of the friends work and have been in a rough place with daycare and a few of the friends sah and have needed somebody to watch the kids while they go to the Dr. or something....I am still uncomfortable leaving ds2 so I haven't really been "paid back" but I feel like they appreciate me/us and have often brought over a meal when they have extra or passed down clothes or toys for my kids. I also think they would watch the kids if I asked - both the sahms and the working moms.

I don't think that most wms who ask for help do it because they assume you don't have anything else to do - I think they do it because they are in a pinch and know they plan on paying you back. I sah for a couple of years, wah for about a year and a half, and now have been sah again for 2 years... During the time that I was wah - I once asked my neighbor who was a sah if should could do me a favor during the day and she FREAKED OUT. Started telling me how much she had to do (in a very angry voice) and burst into tears and ran into her house Well, in addition to being a bit miffed : --- my assumption was that her new baby (about 6 months old at the time must have been wearing her out and that she must be having trouble with the transition to being at home) I made her a meal and dropped it off the next day and NEVER asked for anything again....the funny thing is now that I sah again she is always offering to take my boys and I have watched her dds a number of times (including when she was in the hospital having her second child : ) she offers to help me all the time now that her perception of what she thinks I think about her has changed but I never thought anything bad in the first place

Now, that being said. I would be bugged if somebody was asking all the time. In my old house I had a neighbor who took her grandchildren for the summer and when my ds was about 18 months old they used to come down ALONE to play with him like everyday - I really liked the kids but it drove me nuts for the grandma to just wake-up and send them down to my house almost everyday.

BJ
Barney & Ben
post #12 of 28
Hi there! I used to get people assuming that I would be watching their kids all the time. I NEVER volunteered or even make converstation in ANY reference to watching their kids EVER! (Just want to make that clear to illustrate my point ) When we lived on base (we are Navy) people would talk to my husband about his family. When several of the guys at work found out he had a SAH wife we would suddenly get dinner invites or suggestions to have dinner at our house. I, of course, would host dinners thinking that they just wanted to make friends when really it was to check out our home to see if they want their kids with me. I hated it. After dinner I would politely chat with the wife and then I would get either "How much would you charge?" or "We should have coffee." which really meant I want to ask you to be my sitter at a later date. When I would answer "Oh no, I do not do daycare." they would say they weren't looking for daycare, just could I help them out 2 to 3 days a week. That seems like part time daycare to me. I NEVER took any kids, and after 4 yes, 4 ladies doing this to me I quit talking to people my husband knew. (for the record DH HATES when I sit for any kids so I know he didn't volenteer me! lol) I became the anti-social wife. I didn't mind, but I just knew everyone assumed that if you SAH you will watch their kids. Now that was just one place, and I haven't had anymore people ask since we moved. Right now I am in great military housing and everyone is friendly and no one assumes I will sit. I have only had one person kinda of ask me. But in my experience people do assume that just because you are a SAHM you babysit. The other thing I really hated was when those ladies acted like they were doing ME a favor by offering to pay me. No one seemed to understand that we were happy and comfortable with our monatary situation and weren't looking to add a suplemental income. Ahh, maybe I was just way to senstive about the whole thing. Who knows?
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
This is exactly my situation (except the summer vacation part). The thing is my son loves the girl so I do take her if it's not inconvenient for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildmonkeys
In my old house I had a neighbor who took her grandchildren for the summer and when my ds was about 18 months old they used to come down ALONE to play with him like everyday - I really liked the kids but it drove me nuts for the grandma to just wake-up and send them down to my house almost everyday.
post #14 of 28

Re:

This has happened to me, but I let people know that I've already got my hands full.
My next door neighbor saw me coming home with the kids one day (on a Sunday) in the jogging stroller and was waiting in my driveway as we pulled in. He said: Can X come over and play?
And I said--sure!
And he said: Oh great--because I really need to clean my garage.
I just looked at him and then said: Oh, I'm sorry I misunderstood--I thought you were coming along, too. Sorry, I have my hands full with these guys and I am not comfortable with you leaving her here--afterall, she's only just turning two. But you are more than welcome to come along with her and have a snack and watch her play.

And that was it. He took her home and hasn't spoken to us since. I was nice, but firm--because I really don't feel comfortable watching toddlers without their parents around--if they should fall or something, I don't want to get sued or go to jail because someone thinks that I abused their child or whatever when they show up with a black eye or a bruise. Besides, we do not know these people at all--other than to say hello and wave over the fence. I don't even know their last names (we are new to the area). Well, now we don't even do that (wave)--because they are mad about this issue.
Oh well. I feel like I made the right choice and handled it well, despite their response. I don't know if the staying-at-home aspect had anything to do with it, or if it is just the personalities of the parents (because they leave their toddler across the street with the neighbors all the time).
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
G-LLL girl, I think you did the right thing and handled it in a very respectful way. I think it's too bad they aren't friendly with you anymore because of it.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GranoLLLy-girl
This has happened to me, but I let people know that I've already got my hands full.
My next door neighbor saw me coming home with the kids one day (on a Sunday) in the jogging stroller and was waiting in my driveway as we pulled in. He said: Can X come over and play?
And I said--sure!
And he said: Oh great--because I really need to clean my garage.
I just looked at him and then said: Oh, I'm sorry I misunderstood--I thought you were coming along, too. Sorry, I have my hands full with these guys and I am not comfortable with you leaving her here--afterall, she's only just turning two. But you are more than welcome to come along with her and have a snack and watch her play.

And that was it. He took her home and hasn't spoken to us since. I was nice, but firm--because I really don't feel comfortable watching toddlers without their parents around--if they should fall or something, I don't want to get sued or go to jail because someone thinks that I abused their child or whatever when they show up with a black eye or a bruise. Besides, we do not know these people at all--other than to say hello and wave over the fence. I don't even know their last names (we are new to the area). Well, now we don't even do that (wave)--because they are mad about this issue.
Oh well. I feel like I made the right choice and handled it well, despite their response. I don't know if the staying-at-home aspect had anything to do with it, or if it is just the personalities of the parents (because they leave their toddler across the street with the neighbors all the time).
But doesn't this all sound so sad to anyone? What kind of world do we live in? Why do we not know our neighbours? Especially the one's that have kids? Why would a neighbour sue because their child got a bruise? It's so sad that the neighbour kids can't just come over and play. And we should help eachother out. "Sure, clean your garage!! I'll pass out some extra snacks for your little girl." That's precisely how you get to know your neighbours. It's not about getting "paid back". It's about building community right here in our own neighbourhoods and teaching our children to do the same. I mean if you happened to be skilled at something (ie. looking after children) I think it can only benefit the world if we make use of our talents by sharing them with our neighbours.
post #17 of 28
I had a situation a few years back that started to make me feel uncomfortable after a while. My neighbor was a single mom (in the Air Force) who had a son a month older than mine. They were just a few months old when we moved in next to each other and were two when we moved. By the time she moved we weren't speaking to each other. I watched her son for her a lot when she had early morning formations and I totally didn't mind. She watched my son for my husband and I a few times so we could go out to dinner. She started making comments about how it really wasn't an equitable situation because I had my husband to help me when I watched her son, which was rarely true because he usually had the same early morning stuff she did, and that even when he wasn't there I got a break when he got home. Then it turned into me waiting around all day to accept deliveries for her, let the maintenance people in her house, and watching her son when he was too sick for daycare but not contagious to my kid. I continued to do it because I really liked her son, as did my son, and I wanted to help her out because she really struggled. It ended horribly over a plastic picnic table, of all things, but I think it was more her inability to come to terms with her situation as a single mother without much support from her office and community. Even after how badly it ended I didn't regret everything I had done for her. It wasn't about her appreciating it. I don't have to feel appreciated to feel like I'm doing the right thing.

Now most of my neighbors are SAHM, too. I'm easily taken advantage of for a number of reasons. Well, that would likely be other people's perception of it. I don't say no just for the sake of saying no to someone. I mean that I don't take into consideration who is asking me or what I'll get out of a situation when I'm being asked a favor. If I can do something for someone, even someone I don't like or someone I know would never return the favor, I do it. I'll go out of my way for just about anyone. I don't think that has much to do with being a SAHM. People come to me with favors a LOT. It isn't that I don't get anything in return. I get a sense of satisfaction for helping someone out. I also don't hesistate to ask others when I need something and I usually get it.
post #18 of 28

Re:

"But doesn't this all sound so sad to anyone? What kind of world do we live in? Why do we not know our neighbours? Especially the one's that have kids? Why would a neighbour sue because their child got a bruise? It's so sad that the neighbour kids can't just come over and play. And we should help eachother out. "Sure, clean your garage!! I'll pass out some extra snacks for your little girl." That's precisely how you get to know your neighbours. It's not about getting "paid back". It's about building community right here in our own neighbourhoods and teaching our children to do the same. I mean if you happened to be skilled at something (ie. looking after children) I think it can only benefit the world if we make use of our talents by sharing them with our neighbours."

To respond to this:
I am happy to be friendly to my neighbors. But let's be honest: if these folks are going to actually stop waving to us over the fence because I won't watch their child--then why on earth would I take on the responsibility of watching their child--even for a minute?
And if they are going to stop waving to me because I won't watch their kid, I couldn't imagine what they would do if she came home with a bruise or a bump, or a scrape!
When we moved in (less than a year ago), they never made an attempt to say hello. I gave them a Christmas gift for their child and they gave one to my daughter, but at the end of January. And I didn't mind, but there wasn't too much of an effort being made there, I'm afraid. And it's not a question of money--they both work, and their house is literally twice the size of ours.
So yes, on my part, I always attempt to be neighborly. In fact, I said: please come over sometime and get to know us, so our daughters can play together! It would be so nice to get to know you.

I invited their daughter to my daughter's birthday and they asked if they could just drop her off. I said no--and again, respectfully. At two, she's just too young to be in my care, while I have two of my own under three, to watch and host a party for family, friends and kids. That's just not possible.
I don't know how I could ever get to know these people if I never ever see them and am always watching their kids!

And I never said anything about getting paid back (although, perhaps that comment isn't even directed towards me and is just a general comment-which I get, believe me, I get it)....I don't expect to get paid back when I do something for someone else.
But-- I also know that I can be a door mat and have worked all of my life to avoid becoming one for someone else. That's a personality trait that I, personally, have to fight against. So these types of situations can leave me bitter (someone dropping their kid off to me when I feel "busy" enough--for lack of a better description) if I don't handle them in a way that makes me feel comfortable.

And now here is the defensive part of me speaking: what about all the things that I am giving up to be a stay-at-home mom?
This guy, who hasn't seen his child all week, because of work, wants me to watch his child and his wife is working on a degree, so she's not at home on the weekends at all. And then she works during the week, so the child is in daycare from 7 am to 7 pm every day.
I finished all of my degrees and gave up a really lucrative career before I had kids so that I could be home with them (and had my second child at 40 and then started menopause, so I missed the chance to have more--so I hurt myself that way). I have strong feelings about the mom who literally never sees her child because she is trying to work a full time job and finish a master's degree at the same time because she wants to get ahead. And then I have to help pick up the slack (even in a tiny way)? That makes me bitter--because I feel like I've made sacrifices, why shouldn't she?
And that's not about getting paid back--it's about fairness and sacrifice.
Please don't flame me for this comment--I just feel like I sacrifice, why shouldn't everyone?

And why wouldn't you want to spend some time with your child if you've been at work all week? Is the garage really more important?

Now please read: these are only my deep dark secret thoughts. I would never actually be rude or treat someone poorly because I disagreed with what they are doing as a family.
But I feel that it's not fair to me to set myself up to become the mom who takes on everyone else's kids. I want to get to know the family--not just their kids. I want to have adult conversation and not just hand out food to toddlers.

I totally agree--totally--with your post, that it would be nice if we could get together as a community--but at whose expense?
It would seem: mine.

Now, if we did actually gather as a community, all of us together, to get to know each other, eat together at a community picnic or play some baseball or something together--that would be fine. But watching someone's kids is not my idea of community gathering.

And while being afraid of them getting hurt and getting sued is a sad sad thought--it's the reality.

I do offer my backyard to neighbors to come over any time--with their children to play. That, to me, is community.

I'm not trying to start a debate--I just want you to know that I do agree with you. I wish that things would be different, but I don't think that allowing someone to leave their kids with me is the way to go about it.
post #19 of 28
I think its sad that the guy just showed up for you to watch his kid. What is he telling his child- the garage is more important than seeing my daughter. I think the way he handled it is what the pp is saying.
If that was me and a neighbor who has said 10 words to me since I moved in shows up w his daughter, I would feel very used and feel even more sorry for the child. Maybe if the kids had played more and there was a better rapport with the parents it would be different. But I would feel that he was there to talk to me for one reason and one reason only- he needs something.

I am a SAHM by choice (sorry greaseball its my choice) but I am home to be with my child 24 hours. If I want to watch children, I would go work at a daycare or start one. But if I want to make money, I think I would go back to what I did before DD came along.

But with that said, I have no problem helping a friend out who has an emergency situation (babysitter cancelled, etc). It happens so infrequently its not a problem. But I do babysitting exchanging all the time with other moms. Its usually in a 2 hour timeframe and I get it back to me with days or weeks sometimes.
post #20 of 28
I think that the idea of community is a beatuiful thing. However, it generally doesn't work out the way we would picture it. There is usually someone who takes advantage (or at least in my limited experience). I have been two places where this has happend. The first place was on a military base with the whole "expected daycare" thing. The second was a civilian neighborhood that ended with me being supeanaed to testifiy in a custody hearing twice! I didn't even like the parents, but I felt bad for the kids and would watch them whenever I could. I was repayed with alot of hassle for trying to be a good nieghbor. It definately impacted my family and my health while I was pregnant. I wasn't looking for ANY payback either! I just wanted to help. Now I am in military housing again and have found the lovelest people. Okay in reality they are probably just like everyone else I have lived around before some good some bad, as all people tend to be, but we smile and wave. We talk about keeping the area clean and safe. We DO NOT ask eachother to take our children. We DO NOT trade sitting. Many of us have had similar situations with the babysitting thing and have chosen not to involve that aspect anymore. That said I do have one friend I can leave my three with and she can leave her three with me. We started out that way and it has worked. She came over when I went into early labor with my third and told my husband to bring the kids over to her. My kids love her as do I. I go and get her kids when she is sick or they need a break. She comes over and plays with my kids (who are a lot younger than hers) while I clean my house. I take hers one at a time so that they get time alone without their siblings. She keeps my oldest and yongest while I take my little middle to thearpy, and I keep hers while she goes to training classes. It works for us. No one feels put apon or taken advanage of. Maybe because we just respect each other, maybe because we are both Navy wives who homeschool and SAH. Maybe because we don't let ourselves feel that way. Who knows, it just works. There are many people this would not work with KWIM? I would love to have the perverbial "village" to raise my kids in, but I just don't think it will happen that way.
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