Do I say something? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do I say something?

The mother of a boy my DS7 went to school with (we pulled him early in the year to homeschool) keeps asking if we can watch her kids.

She is a single mom and works (I think 2 jobs) so I can understand that maybe she wants to save a little on babysitting costs, or maybe her normal sitter isn't available. But the only time she texts me is to ask if we can watch her son.

I don't mind helping here and there, but she always asks if we can exchange "play dates", but then, never follows through with a play date at their house (DS has been there once).
Half the time her texts start with "hey there pretty lady" as if she is trying to butter me up.

I feel like an on call sitter for her, that isn't getting paid I dread every time I get a text from her!
Sometimes I say yes, after all, my DS gets along with her son and enjoys having him over, but I do say no sometimes, so I'm not a total pushover.
We do have our own lives happening, and I'm not always able to watch him, or I'm just busy and don't want to add to the chaos.

She texted me this morning saying she forgot her sitter won't be available from June 1st-13th, and that she just now realized that it was June already, and could I watch her kid after school until at least dinner time because she works until 8pm.
I told her we weren't available (my DD does have soccer practice today...)
I contemplated tell her how I'm feelling that she only texts when she needs a sitter and that was feeling taken advantage of, and even started writing it out a few times, but then I erased it.
I just don't know what to say, or do I even tell her? I don't want to piss her off and have her get mad and defensive, but I'm seriously getting angry every time I see a text from her because I know she is going to ask me to have a "play date".

Where I come from, people invite your kid for a play date themselves. You don't invite your kid to someones house yourself....



Sorry that was so long, venting a little, lol. But what do I do? Ignore her texts? Just keep saying no? Tell her how I'm feeling?
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#2 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 10:45 AM
 
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If the kids get along well and you want that friendship to continue, I wouldn't say anything but also wouldn't watch her child for her. You aren't an on call service and if she's treating you as such you need to make it absolutely clear that ins't the case.

If she has a "regular" sitter, she would be paying them, right? Yet she isn't offering you anything and isn't reciprocating the "playdates" and that isn't right at all. I get wanting to help from time to time but if you do this 2 week things it's not going to help things at all!!!
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#3 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just realized that the way I wrote it sounded like she wanted me to watch him for the two weeks her regular sitter is away. She was just asking about today (so far). Sorry about any confusion there.
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#4 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 12:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellercrys View Post
The mother of a boy my DS7 went to school with (we pulled him early in the year to homeschool) keeps asking if we can watch her kids.

She is a single mom and works (I think 2 jobs) so I can understand that maybe she wants to save a little on babysitting costs, or maybe her normal sitter isn't available. But the only time she texts me is to ask if we can watch her son.

I don't mind helping here and there, but she always asks if we can exchange "play dates", but then, never follows through with a play date at their house (DS has been there once).
Half the time her texts start with "hey there pretty lady" as if she is trying to butter me up.

I feel like an on call sitter for her, that isn't getting paid I dread every time I get a text from her!
Sometimes I say yes, after all, my DS gets along with her son and enjoys having him over, but I do say no sometimes, so I'm not a total pushover.
We do have our own lives happening, and I'm not always able to watch him, or I'm just busy and don't want to add to the chaos.

She texted me this morning saying she forgot her sitter won't be available from June 1st-13th, and that she just now realized that it was June already, and could I watch her kid after school until at least dinner time because she works until 8pm.
I told her we weren't available (my DD does have soccer practice today...)
I contemplated tell her how I'm feelling that she only texts when she needs a sitter and that was feeling taken advantage of, and even started writing it out a few times, but then I erased it.
I just don't know what to say, or do I even tell her? I don't want to piss her off and have her get mad and defensive, but I'm seriously getting angry every time I see a text from her because I know she is going to ask me to have a "play date".

Where I come from, people invite your kid for a play date themselves. You don't invite your kid to someones house yourself....



Sorry that was so long, venting a little, lol. But what do I do? Ignore her texts? Just keep saying no? Tell her how I'm feeling?
Why not? She isn't demonstrating concern for how *you* feel, is she?

If you want a friendship with her, then I'd say tell her what's on your mind. Otherwise, you owe her nothing, and you only owe yourself actions that tend your family and life the way you want them to.

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#5 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 02:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't bother, because I just wouldn't want the drama. I doubt that there is really anyway to say what you want to without her getting defensive. I'd just continue to have her son over when you want to and then say no otherwise.

 
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#6 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 08:07 PM
 
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I would say if your kids get along and its worthwhile for them to spend time together, accommodate the request for a visit when it works for you, and when it doesn't - let her know you can't, and don't feel guilty about it. If she ever presses you about "why" - at that point it might be prudent to explain that the one-sided nature of the arrangement bothers you a bit.

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#7 of 14 Old 06-02-2014, 08:59 PM
 
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If you really don't care whether her son plays with yours or not, then I might be tempted to respond with something along the lines that explain your rates! (if you would be okay with doing it for pay). If she is a freeloader, that should quiet her. If she truly needs and can afford paid childcare, then she would take you up on it. As a single mom, I totally expect to pay for a sitter, and would offer to pay a friend to watch my kids.

If you like the boy and feel he is a good influence on your child, then I would only agree when it's convenient and helps you too.
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#8 of 14 Old 06-03-2014, 01:40 PM
 
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That is a tough one. Been there myself. Although our situation was a little different...because we would be asked to watch 2 kids before school and then bring them to school. I obliged a few times until my kids were like, WTH Mom? Stop. They didn't like it because they wanted their quiet time in the morning before school. Luckily, the requests also stopped because I was worried about what I would say....

Yes, we have also had our share of: Mom! So and so is on the phone and wants to know if they can come over and hang with us because their parents are running errands and they don't want to go....

Generally I am ok with this but it can be annoying. I like to know stuff in advance -- I'm just wired that way, so for me to say yes on the fly does remove me from my comfort zone...

What I have learned is not to say yes to everything every time.
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#9 of 14 Old 06-03-2014, 03:39 PM
 
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This happened to me some as a SAHM. I mean others see you are "home all the time" and have "lots of free time"... when it isn't really like that. Stay at home moms work in different ways to make their families lives run smoother. I never minded saying yes in a true emergency but folks who call all the time and have no sense of reciprocity soon get the cold shoulder. Good friendships are about a balance of give and take. So yes, have the balls to ask to be paid or block her number and do your best to see less of her.
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#10 of 14 Old 06-03-2014, 09:08 PM
 
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I agree with all of the above. Just don't do it when you don't feel like it. You don't even need an excuse. This is very common with SAHMs, everyone feels like they can add to your work load because you "don't do anything".

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#11 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pepin View Post
Generally I am ok with this but it can be annoying. I like to know stuff in advance -- I'm just wired that way, so for me to say yes on the fly does remove me from my comfort zone...
That's exactly how I feel, I hate the last minute stuff, expecially when I've already got the day planned out (even if it's nothing special, lol).

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Originally Posted by philomom View Post
This happened to me some as a SAHM. I mean others see you are "home all the time" and have "lots of free time"... when it isn't really like that. Stay at home moms work in different ways to make their families lives run smoother. I never minded saying yes in a true emergency but folks who call all the time and have no sense of reciprocity soon get the cold shoulder. Good friendships are about a balance of give and take. So yes, have the balls to ask to be paid or block her number and do your best to see less of her.
Thank you, I feel like I'm seen as someone who isn't doing anything anyways since I'm not working out of the home.

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I agree with all of the above. Just don't do it when you don't feel like it. You don't even need an excuse. This is very common with SAHMs, everyone feels like they can add to your work load because you "don't do anything".
Good to hear that I don't even need to give an excuse. Because sometimes I just don't have a good one, lol. Sometimes I just want it quieter in the house.


Thank you to all the others who responded as well. I don't think I will say anything about it yet. But I'll just make sure that I'm only saying yes when it's okay for us, and not because I'm feeling pushed into it.
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#12 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 09:41 AM
 
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A "I'm not available today" is fine. No need to explain. It's not your problem or obligation to help...and any reasonable nice person can be told a polite no.

It's nice to help people out sometimes...but if it feels like exploitation, helping then becomes enabling-and it's not helping you.
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#13 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 10:12 AM
 
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Good to hear that I don't even need to give an excuse. Because sometimes I just don't have a good one, lol. Sometimes I just want it quieter in the house.
That's a totally legitimate excuse! Just don't share it with the asker, because it could make her feel like there's room for argument. I've practiced just saying, "Sorry, that doesn't work for me" with a smile but no further explanation. They can't argue with that!
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#14 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 10:14 AM
 
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I completely agree that the way to manage these requests is with 'Sorry, I'm not available' when you don't feel like doing it (or 'Sure, but I'm going to have to charge $X for watching him then', if you prefer). However, one thing that does come to my mind is that maybe this woman is actually quite willing to reciprocate on the babysitting and is just waiting for you to ask. Obviously, that's not great etiquette on her part, but it's definitely something you could try out if you do want some time off - just try asking her to take your son at such-and-such a time.

If you don't want babysitting, or if she always seems to have an excuse when you're asking her, then I would ignore her babysitting issues and treat this completely from the point of view of maintaining a friendship your DS seems to want to continue. In other words, you accept the requests (or even extend invitations yourself) at whatever frequency you feel is reasonable for him to be having a friend over, at whatever times suit you as well as her - but leave her babysitting problems out of the equation completely, as they are not your problem to solve and she's more than used up her allotment of free favours. (And I wouldn't normally advise inviting your child over to someone else's, but, since she seems to have amply demonstrated that she doesn't see this as an etiquette problem, I think you'd be totally within your rights to text her saying 'DS would love to come round to yours sometime to visit Friend. When would be good for you?')
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