Was I taken advantage of? - Mothering Forums
Talk Amongst Ourselves > Was I taken advantage of?
Maple Leaf Mama's Avatar Maple Leaf Mama 10:40 PM 10-15-2009
Or is this person just socially clueless?

Back in September, my DD's friend's mum called and asked if I would look after her DD (DD's friend) after school until 4:30- for a total of 3 weeks. (Her DH is in Afganistan and they just got rid of their nanny) I thought-sure. It would be a playdate for DD.
This got a bit irritating after a while because of this little girl's behavior-especially towards my DS who is 2. She monopolises and micromanages DS and is snarky with DD. Her mum also hangs around for a bit too long at pickup time and never manages to say thank you.

This past Friday, I was feeling ill. (the start of the flu) I stayed in bed and DH looked after them. Mum picked her DD up and she NEVER said thank you to my DH!!

I called this woman last week telling her I was unable to look after her DD this wed. I kinda felt she was trying to make me feel guilty, but it WAS a week's notice. Then had to call her again on Monday telling her I was too sick to look after her DD the next day. DS had dbl ear infection and dbl pink eye and flu as well. She was wierd and made me feel bad. But kept mentioning how understanding her boss was--she keeps telling me this for some reason.

So this morning I saw her at dropoff and she asked if I could take her DD today after school. I said that DH had surgery and both DS and I had the flu, but gee, if that's ok with you, kind of thing. All while coughing.

She said that she probably shouldn't because I was ill and tired and had 2 kids of my own, blah blah... She would call me later today and let me know.

(Pickup time for school is 2:45.)
She called me at 2:14 and asked if I could pick her DD up. (Like I had any choice at that point-she was all the way DT and would NEVER make it!)
I told her DH had surgery and DD was SUPPOSED to be grounded from the park today, but I GUESS I'll have to keep them at the park to avoid exposing her to germs at home and disturbing DH. She asked if I would be going straight home if not for her DD and I said yes, of course!) Despite this, she managed to get me to agree to get her DD. She obviosly didn't give a rip.

I got my DD and her's. and about 20 minutes later, DD's friend ran up to me peed right in front of me. SUPER! Off home we went.

When mother picked her DD up, she again hung around, despite many long, uncomfortable pauses in conversation and me coughing a lot. THEN, unbelievably, asked if I could pick her DD up tomorrow too!!! --Which was never part of the deal. Today was supposed to be my last day of helping her out.
I said no because my ceilings were being sanded all day tomorrow and I need to be gone all day. Again, "ohh, ok, no problem, I'll pick her up then, don't worry."
UMMM, I wasn't worried, I've done more than most people would with no thanks or appreciation, so I REALLY don't feel bad, YK?

THEN, my DD said she and her friend should have a playdate soon. The mum's response was "Wow, you've had 3 weeks of playdates!"
NOT YES, we should or yes, we'll have you over etc. It was awkward and later DD told me it hurt her feelings.

I should mention that we were ALWAYS having this kid over last year and DD has only been invited over ONCE, so we stopped inviting her and told DD why. DH was FED UP with her and her family. She was also ALWAYS a total snot to DD, saying she wasn't her friend and didn't want to play with her etc. UMMM--then GO HOME!!
Now this.

So is this person just clueless about social behaviour etc or do you think she knows darn well what polite behaviour would be and doesn't really care?

I feel really taken advantage of and will never help her again.

sebandg'smama's Avatar sebandg'smama 10:46 PM 10-15-2009
Yup, you were taken advantage of!

Glad that you are not going to let it continue. She should have paid you. And thanked you. Some people...

-Melanie
homewithtwinsmama's Avatar homewithtwinsmama 10:46 PM 10-15-2009
Well now you know she is a user. Frankly I can't believe you did it that long. The flu and a husband with surgery, that would have been the end for me.
HarperRose's Avatar HarperRose 11:44 PM 10-15-2009
I had a similar situation that went from November all the way to March. I was SO DONE. The mother claims I didn't tell her I needed to stop watching her kid. BS, lady. I emailed her AND talked to her about it, constantly asking when she was finding someone permanent.

She was taking advantage and she knew it. But she somehow managed to spin it to make it like SHE was the victim. Total crap. And this was during the time I was nursing my broken foot, involved weekends AND overnights, and 3-day weekends when she was at Nat'l Guard or Reserves or whatever. Oh, and the weekend she went OUT OF THE COUNTRY for a medical mission trip.

Don't help her out again. At all. She doesn't give a flying crap about you or your family's needs.
Peacemamalove's Avatar Peacemamalove 12:10 AM 10-16-2009
Oh man I would have been furious and would have just said NO! Some people just do not understand when they are being rude and disrespectful.

I would not help her out again at all.
broodymama's Avatar broodymama 12:12 AM 10-16-2009
Yes, you were being taking advantage of. Time for her to find other childcare!
DariusMom's Avatar DariusMom 05:38 AM 10-16-2009
Taken advantage of.

I'm terrible at this kind of thing, but I've learned over the years to be more assertive.

I think your mistake (other than just being a nice person! which is a good thing!) was not being really really clear. I'm such an intuitive person that I have trouble if people can't or won't get my signals. But some people . .. can't or won't . .. .

So, for instance, when she was cornering you about watching her DD and you said you were sick and your DH had surgery, you or I would have immediately said (if we were her), "oh no, sounds like you're sick and your DH needs care. Of course, please don't take DD. Is there anything I can do?" What she heard (or chose to hear) was you not saying "no" outright. My DH, much to my chagrin is like this. If someone doesn't tell him absolutely, unequivocably, "NO" he takes it as a "yes". It makes him great at his job, but not so good on the inter-personal level.

In the future, instead of a relatively passive-aggressive "no" (not meaning to insult you. I'm the queen of this myself and am learning very slowly to communicate more directly) by saying, "well, I guess I can but blah blah blah" just begin with "no, because blah blah blah".

I hope, though, you're not in this position ever again!
ivymae's Avatar ivymae 06:01 AM 10-16-2009
I'm sorry, it does sound like she has been using you. Consider what you would tell your daughter if she had a "friend" like this, and then take that advice. Friendship is a relationship, and you need to break up with this person.
earthmama369's Avatar earthmama369 11:08 AM 10-16-2009
Yes, she took advantage. I can't believe she pushed through you all being sick and your dh having surgery. That's where any normal person would be asking if they could bring you a meal or have your dd over for a while, NOT asking you to do something for them.
Jennifer3141's Avatar Jennifer3141 11:40 AM 10-16-2009
This woman is completely taking advantage of you. Tell her that you are no longer able to help out as much because you need to concentrate on getting your own family well for now.

Has she ever reciprocated for you?
tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 04:30 PM 10-16-2009
Yes, she is absolutely taking advantage of you. And I mean this in the most gentle way possible, but you have absolutely been letting her take advantage of you.

Quote:
So this morning I saw her at dropoff and she asked if I could take her DD today after school. I said that DH had surgery and both DS and I had the flu, but gee, if that's ok with you, kind of thing. All while coughing.
This was your opportunity to say flat out, "No. It is not going to work for me." You ad the flu, your son had the flu, and you DH had just had surgery. It was completely within your power and best interest to say, "Sorry, I absolutely can't." But you handed the decision over to the woman, hoping that she would do the right thing. She didn't, and yes, you got taken advantage of.

Quote:
She called me at 2:14 and asked if I could pick her DD up. (Like I had any choice at that point-she was all the way DT and would NEVER make it!)
I told her DH had surgery and DD was SUPPOSED to be grounded from the park today, but I GUESS I'll have to keep them at the park to avoid exposing her to germs at home and disturbing DH. She asked if I would be going straight home if not for her DD and I said yes, of course!) Despite this, she managed to get me to agree to get her DD. She obviosly didn't give a rip.
The thing here is, she didn't MAKE you do anything. You did have a choice. If she was too far away to pick up her child that is not your problem: the school would have cared for her while the mom made other arrangements. You in no way should have felt obligated and that you had no choice. Sure, she may have been laying on the guilt trip as thick as she could, but you don't need to respond to it.

What you've discovered is that this woman has no sense of boundaries and that she can and will try to manipulate you into doing her favors at your own expense. And I doubt she is going to change. Knowing this, it falls upon YOU to set your own boundaries, put you and your family first, and stop allowing yourself to be manipulated. It is time to drop this woman like a hot rock.
Porcelain Interior's Avatar Porcelain Interior 04:41 PM 10-16-2009
In the future when you can't or don't want to do something practice just saying "Sorry I can't."

A simple no. If a person presses or asks why it's a tip off that they are trying to control you.

No means no, and it's not rude. Even if you really just wanted to go home and paint your toenails.
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom 05:20 PM 10-16-2009
Yeah, it sounds like she is a user. It's also odd that knowing the flu is going around in your house, she would *insist* on wanting her daughter exposed to the germs and not even look for an alternative to begging you to give rides.

But it sounds like you need to feel free to just say No. You had plenty of reason to say no, but you don't even need to explain that. Your watching her kids is a kindness to her, and there is no moral imperative that you *must* watch her kids. The child is her responsibility, not yours. If she was late to pick up her kid, the school is responsible to have someone there with the child, and possibly take action against the mother if this becomes her habit. None of that is any of your responsibility and you shouldn't feel the least bit guilty to say no, even if it means she would be late to pick up her daughter.

In a normal friendship, babysitting situations would sound more like this:
Friend A: "Hey, I have something going on Monday morning, could you watch my kids for two hours, like you did the last two weeks? My kids love being with your kids."
Friend B: "Oh, I love watching your kids but I am *so* sick (or whatever else is going on that makes it difficult to impossible to babysit). I'm just not going to be able to do that for ya this week. It may be a while before I'm up to it because it's morning sickness, you know how that is."
Friend A: "I'm sorry you're sick! No problem, I'll find someone else. Let me know when you're feeling better and we can get together sometime! Oh, and if you need some quiet, just call me and I'll be happy to watch your kids."
vegemamato's Avatar vegemamato 05:27 PM 10-16-2009
I agree with the other posters.. She was using you, and she [most likely] did it intentionally. I'm sorry you were pushed so hard by this woman
pjs's Avatar pjs 05:51 PM 10-16-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post
Yes, she is absolutely taking advantage of you. And I mean this in the most gentle way possible, but you have absolutely been letting her take advantage of you.



This was your opportunity to say flat out, "No. It is not going to work for me." You ad the flu, your son had the flu, and you DH had just had surgery. It was completely within your power and best interest to say, "Sorry, I absolutely can't." But you handed the decision over to the woman, hoping that she would do the right thing. She didn't, and yes, you got taken advantage of.



The thing here is, she didn't MAKE you do anything. You did have a choice. If she was too far away to pick up her child that is not your problem: the school would have cared for her while the mom made other arrangements. You in no way should have felt obligated and that you had no choice. Sure, she may have been laying on the guilt trip as thick as she could, but you don't need to respond to it.

What you've discovered is that this woman has no sense of boundaries and that she can and will try to manipulate you into doing her favors at your own expense. And I doubt she is going to change. Knowing this, it falls upon YOU to set your own boundaries, put you and your family first, and stop allowing yourself to be manipulated. It is time to drop this woman like a hot rock.
As someone who has allowed people to take advantage of me my entire life (until I acknowledged my own role), ITA!
AahRee's Avatar AahRee 06:08 PM 10-16-2009
Yes, she definitely took advantage. I know this is completely passive-aggressive, but since I tend to shy away from conflict, I'd be checking my caller ID and not answering when I saw her number pop up...
Yoshua's Avatar Yoshua 06:41 PM 10-16-2009
you are an extra gracious unpaid baby sitter.

I'd in no uncertain terms tell the mom that it costs 20$ a day to watch her kid after school.


Either she would find someone else or you wouldn't be concerned about hearing 'thankyou' anymore. Either way you win.




I wouldn't characterize this as taking advantage of you. but I would call it not appreciating you, and if you want to be appreciated by someone who is unappreciative you will be waiting a very long time for that validation.


Ask for money or deny service altogether, as it stands right now you don't feel happy about the situation and that isn't fair to you.
Houdini's Avatar Houdini 06:50 PM 10-16-2009
I would say she was being ungrateful; however, you appeared to not want to say no....seems the easiest thing to do would be to say it wasn't possible due to illness, etc. The mixed signals of saying no or dropping hints to her to make her jump up and say don't worry about watching her and then saying sure why not were just invitations to have her try to convince you otherwise....

Just my opinion though...
Maple Leaf Mama's Avatar Maple Leaf Mama 11:11 PM 10-16-2009
Thank you all for your thoughts. It makes me feel validated that I wasn't being a sick, irrational beast woman.

My friends who know this woman are angry for me. They are shocked by her behavior, as am I.

I saw the little girl after school and went over to hand her the sweater she left at my place yesterday. For some reason, and I'm about it, but the teacher lets them leave the school and doesn't come out any more. They are in grade 1!! (That seems odd, right??)

This girl looked unhappy, as usual. I looked around for her mum, who was late, as usual. I told her DD and I would wait until her mum got there. (DD complained VERY loudly, because DD and this girl got in a fight during the day. No shock there)

After a couple of minutes mum showed up. I told her I was waiting with "E" until she got there.
The response was OH, OK.

WTF??

NEVER FREAKIN AGAIN.
I didn't want a 6 YO left alone. But the kid said NOTHING to me the whole time and while pleasant, the mum didn't even say TY.

DH was pissed and said tell her to FO the next time she asks for ANYTHING.

AAARGH. I am TOTALLY pathologically afraid of confrontation, as you can all tell. Saying no is PAINFUL for me. No idea how or when I learned that response.

But yes, I WAS taken advantage of. And you are all right. I allowed it. I'm not good with very strong, agressive people. People like my Dad was. HMMMM

I think she thought because we are from the same home town, and our parents lived on the same street and we knew many of the same people, that she felt more comfortable asking me for favors. Dunno.

But the silence when DD mentioned a playdate, and her resulting hurt feelings were the END. Pissing me off is one thing. Hurting my kid's feelings is unexcusable.

Thanks for listening! I appreciate it!
thefreckledmama's Avatar thefreckledmama 02:53 AM 10-17-2009
Hugs, Mama.

These situations are difficult, especially with circumstances like the little girl being left alone after school waiting for her mom (which I would probably call the school about).

I have to agree that yes, this mother is taking advantage of your kindness, and it is always hard to say no when children are involved. You shouldn't feel guilty for saying no to her anymore, you're totally justified.
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom 07:52 PM 10-17-2009
Quote:
I saw the little girl after school and went over to hand her the sweater she left at my place yesterday. For some reason, and I'm about it, but the teacher lets them leave the school and doesn't come out any more. They are in grade 1!! (That seems odd, right??)
I think a reasonable course of action to take would be to let the school administration know that this is happening.

You can tell them that you've been looking out for the little girl, but you can no longer do that, and they need to make sure that either a teacher is watching her, or she is picked up by her mother on time.

The school is responsible for that child while she's on their property. The need to know that she's been left unattended, and they need to decide whether it's the mom or the teacher they need to deal with.

That way you are doing the right thing by the child, but extricating yourself from involvement with her mother.
ramama's Avatar ramama 08:12 PM 10-17-2009
You were totally taken. It's happened to me numerous times, so I can recognize it when it happens LOL! That said, I fall for it every time...
Subhuti's Avatar Subhuti 09:09 PM 10-17-2009
In terms of sitting for other kids ... I only take other kids when it works for my family, and doesn't put us over the bend. And, unless it were an emergency, I wouldn't watch someone else's children unless the arrangement was (in theory) reciprocal... like I knew that if I ever needed help, they'd try to help me.

As a result, I know I've hurt at least one friend's feelings, but I just couldn't handle her child plus my kids at the time. When I could, I offered to sit, but by then she didn't need the help.

Liz
Kirsten's Avatar Kirsten 09:31 PM 10-17-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post
Yes, she is absolutely taking advantage of you. And I mean this in the most gentle way possible, but you have absolutely been letting her take advantage of you.

The thing here is, she didn't MAKE you do anything. You did have a choice.
She is not your friend. She is not a nice person. But she taught you a valuable lesson. Just say no.

Can you take care of my child while you have the flu and your dp is recovering from surgery?
No, we are sick/recovering. I hope you figure something out.

Can you take care of my child every day after school for two weeks?
No, that won't work for me. I hope you figure something out.
OR
Sure, I can take her on both Mondays. I hope you figure something out for the other days.

If it will inconvenience you - and this isn't your sister or best friend - then the answer is NO. That isn't rude or wrong; it is reasonable. If she doesn't like it, she isn't the kind of person you want around you anyway. Which it sounds like she isn't.
Maple Leaf Mama's Avatar Maple Leaf Mama 10:48 PM 10-17-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
She is not your friend. She is not a nice person. But she taught you a valuable lesson. Just say no.

Can you take care of my child while you have the flu and your dp is recovering from surgery?
No, we are sick/recovering. I hope you figure something out.

Can you take care of my child every day after school for two weeks?
No, that won't work for me. I hope you figure something out.
OR
Sure, I can take her on both Mondays. I hope you figure something out for the other days.

If it will inconvenience you - and this isn't your sister or best friend - then the answer is NO. That isn't rude or wrong; it is reasonable. If she doesn't like it, she isn't the kind of person you want around you anyway. Which it sounds like she isn't.
Going to seriously try to take this to heart.
I hope I can when pressed.
gillibean's Avatar gillibean 12:50 AM 10-18-2009
I used to find it soooo hard to say no and I used to think that I had to justify why I couldn't do something. I've learned that I don't need to justify myself or my decisions to anybody. It's so much easier to simply say, "I'm sorry, I just can't do that." rather than try to explain the reasons why.

The thing that made me realize this was when my mom was talking to me about notes she'd send to school when we stayed home. She never included the reason why we stayed home. She had teachers call to try to find out why one of us was kept home but my mom felt that it was none of their business. Whether it was for a medical appointment, going shopping, illness or just taking a day off, they didn't need to know. Hearing her philosophy about that really helped me to recognize that there's information that other people just don't need to know. That lady didn't need to know that your DH had surgery or that you had the flu, those are personal details that only true friends (if anyone at all) have any business knowing. Besides, it's not like her knowing made any difference anyway.
elisent's Avatar elisent 02:48 AM 10-18-2009
Next time don't answer the phone. And if she asks in person just say "Oh sorry we have plans. See you later!" and run!!!
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