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.