How do you deal with requests for favors? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 06-08-2005, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've found something very frustrating about being a SAHM. Probably THE most frustrating thing...so far. It's the "favors" people are asking for all the time! You know the kind...Can you watch my child(ren)? Can you run my errand? Can you find this info? I've even gotten some like "Can you make my invitations?" and "Can you do my laundry?"

Don't get me wrong...I am a giving and supportive woman and I want to help the people I care about. BUT...I am a SAHM. I chose to be a SAHM for many reasons. I considered WAH, but decided against it for the time being. I see raising my two 8 months old as "my job." I don't see it as just being around the house...it's a job I work hard at all day every day and it's definately the hardest job I've had! I feel like friends and family assume that I have the time and energy to do all these favors for them!

Do you run into this as a SAHM? How do you handle it? I hate saying no, but I will...gently and firmly. I usually get some pretty snotty responses. How do you decide who you will help, and when and how you will help? And in general...do you think that these types of requests are being selfish (for lack of a better word) or just naive?

I am running into this a LOT and would really like to hear how other SAHMs are dealing with it.
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#2 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 02:58 PM
 
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Wow! I think I'd just laugh if someone asked me to do their laundry! That sounds crazy. I don't have this problem, because all my friends are SAHM's with young children and they are as busy as I am. Also, I live on a busy street so I don't really know my neighbors and none of them in my immediate area have kids at home--so no one asks me to do favors. I guess I would just tell people, "I'm sorry but I've got my hands full as it is, I really don't want to take on anything else right now. I'm sure you understand how hectic my life is with two babies." I am surprised that anyone would impose upon a mom with twin infants.
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#3 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 03:06 PM
 
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I think people really don't understand why we chose to be stay at home moms - to care for our children. I know that's not what all SAHM's do (I remember my neighbor behind me as a kid who did nothing but sunbathe all day every day and ignore her poor wild kids) but I think most of us around here are pretty attentive to our kids. I think it may be a value judgement about what we are spending our time on when others think you are sitting around with lots of spare time waiting to help them out while they are doing 'more important things.' That's the way it comes across to me when in those situations.
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#4 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 03:37 PM
 
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Can you watch my child(ren)? Can you run my errand? Can you find this info? I've even gotten some like "Can you make my invitations?" and "Can you do my laundry?"


I can not imagine what would possess someone to ask you for these favors, when you spend your days caring for TWO BABIES.

I think the people are probably just naive (and have a lot of nerve too : )

You should definitely say "NO DICE"

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#5 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 03:38 PM
 
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Haven't encountered this yet. But if and when I do, I think I'll probably laugh in spite of myself and say something like, "I am WILDLY busy with my own kids, I don't think I could fit anything else in right now."

I too am surprised anyone would ask favors of someone with infant twins!!!
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#6 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 03:44 PM
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Well...I have had that too by neighbours with kids mainly and I usually find an excuse not to, but when pushed I simply say my life being at home is just as hectic as if I were working out of the home.

As Ann Landers (or Abby, one of them LOL) used to say: You can't be taken advantage of unless you allow it.
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#7 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 03:44 PM
 
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This doesn't happen to me..but I guess that's just the lack of social circle here.
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#8 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 04:45 PM
 
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Just say a big fat "no." Once you say "no" enough time, people will stop asking you for favors. There are people who really think SAHMs do little or nothing all day long, so they seem shocked when you cannot take on their responsibilities.
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#9 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 07:21 PM
 
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I would say-
"Sure I can do your laundry, whey don't you bring it over and while your watching my 2 babies, I will do it. Then after you watch my babies, I know you won't be asking me to do anymore favors."
or
"Sure, why don't you drop off your laundry and a hot meal and I'll leave for 2 hours and see how many of my favors you can get done yourself."
or
" I would be happy to do anyone of your errands favors etc only after you shadow me for a day and tell me exactly when I will be doing these things."

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#10 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 07:29 PM
 
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Just say a big fat "no." Once you say "no" enough time, people will stop asking you for favors. There are people who really think SAHMs do little or nothing all day long, so they seem shocked when you cannot take on their responsibilities.
yep and yep.
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#11 of 21 Old 06-09-2005, 10:45 PM
 
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This has become a big problem for me lately, my sis is single with 4 kids (ages 6, 5, 3 and 2) and just recently started working nights. I'm stuck with her 4 plus my one for about 2 hours, 5 days per week indefinitely. Then my mom (bless her) takes care of them for the rest of the night which can be 5-6 hours at times. She's stuck, has no money, barely enough food to feed her kids, what can I say? Not to mention she drops them off right at (our) dinnertime and doesn't feed them first. I don't know what to do, she is supposed to be on a waiting list for childcare assistance but who knows when that will come through. :

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#12 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st
I would say-
"Sure I can do your laundry, whey don't you bring it over and while your watching my 2 babies, I will do it. Then after you watch my babies, I know you won't be asking me to do anymore favors."
or
"Sure, why don't you drop off your laundry and a hot meal and I'll leave for 2 hours and see how many of my favors you can get done yourself."
or
" I would be happy to do anyone of your errands favors etc only after you shadow me for a day and tell me exactly when I will be doing these things."

:
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#13 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 01:18 PM
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I have a friend that does this to me. Well, she used to! You are right, you have to be gentle and firm. It stinks that you have to deal with that. One poster on another thread said she mentioned she would provide her child care rates!

My friend would ask me to babysit when her daycare was closed. This happened when my kids were younger. You know, I think back on it, and I can't believe the people that would leave their kids and hardly knew me! Or at least their kid didn't know me from adam!

Anyway, my kids are a lot older now and the friend asked just about 6 or 8 months ago. She was looking to fill up the kids schedule for summer, rather than paying daycare. And she actually said that! Her ds was 9 at the time. She asked if he could come play with my ds who was 10. She said it would be fun for them....

HA! I told her that playdates usually involved reciprication! And that since we were horribly busy (and we were) and she had never had any of my three kids over to play, we would have to pass. Also, after she made the comment that she couldn't afford daycare for the day and wanted him to come play at my house, I made a long, uncomfortable silence! She got the hint!

We are still great friends and she hasn't asked since.....


Gentle, but firm, just like you said!

tnk79! Poor you, you are stuck! I would ask her to feed them. I can imagine how difficult it is for you to go from 1 dc to 5 at supper!

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#14 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 02:30 PM
 
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OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This thread was just the thing I needed to hear!!
Can I please vent?
First of all, to the mom who is helping your sister--you are doing a good thing, maybe there is a way you could tell her to FEED her children before they come OR say: Please pack a meal for them, that would help me better to help YOU.

I think it depends on the person (who is asking the favor). There are folks that I will willingly help over and over because they need it and won't take advantage of me.

I am friends with a group of moms who hang out informally. But one of the moms is just awful about asking folks to do everything for her--and to the OP, the laundry request is coming, it's just a matter of time.
So I hosted a little gathering this morning for the moms and the kids to come over and make an art project for dad for Father's Day.
I bought all the supplies, snacks and set up my large garage to handle it all.
So this mom shows up AN HOUR early this morning, and said she couldn't come she was on her way to the beach, but could I please give her the art supplies (now mind you, I spent $50 on it all, and was asking for nothing at all in return, just come and have fun) and then (if that wasn't bad enough) she asked if she could come in and just look around my house--she wanted to see it!!!!!
I had wet hair from the shower and my kids were having a bad morning, so I said: Sorry that you can't make it. I think we'll save the supplies for everyone who is coming this morning in case we need them, and I would love to invite you over sometime, but right now is just not good.
I smiled, and literally shut the door on her. She does kind of thing to EVERYONE and others have gotten to the point of just being rude to her, but I am trying to be like the OP, gentle but FIRM.

And for the person who will post: oh, we should be nice to our neighbors, blah blah (as someone did on a previous thread like this), I am not trying to be ugly, but come on, there ARE people in the world who will take advantage of you if you let them! And we have to draw the line, or we lose our dignity and sense of self!

Hang in there, OP, you are not alone, I totally feel your pain!
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#15 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I certainly feel better about saying NO now! I didn't add that part of the reason I decided to SAH was because my sons have many many health issues, so we are always on the go for consultations and PT, etc., so it should be pretty obvious I don't have much room for stuff like this. I DO help when I can, but find myself feeling aggravated when people seem unappreciative. As for the stuff about being nice to neighbors and all that (missed that post I guess), I can see the point. But my own kids and responsibilities need to come first, I think.

Maybe they just don't realize
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#16 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 10:42 PM
 
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I can't believe people would be so demanding of a mom of infant twins with multiple health issues! Hello? They should be dropping off meals for you to keep in your freezer just like everyone should do for pregnant/pp moms! Not visiting without hte expectation of also doing YOUR laundry and dishes while they hang out!

I must be so lucky with the people I know, because my family seems to 'get it'. Maybe because so many have done it. Seriously, I have ONE Healthy toddler and nobody would have the nerve to ask me for favors like that, are you kidding? They still do things like call if they are in the area to ask if I need any errands run because 'it's so hard to go out with a baby and I'm out anyway' or randomly srtart sweeping my kitchen floor while they visit at my house. :LOL

Not that I never do favors for anyone, it's just that the people around me are reasonable. Most of the favors i do are for other sahm's, and that's because we offer each other help. If I'm going to the grocery store across town, I'll ask my neighbor if she needs anything while I'm out there. If she's already planning a big trip to Target she'll do the same, and I might take her up onm it if I need cat litter or something. We'll sit in a house with each others napping children so one can get to the post office before it closes for the day.

I guess I'm really lucky to mostly socialize with people who have had children and understand/remember how much work it really is, and respect it.


When people ask you to do stuff like that JUST SAY NO. Or turn it around on them. 'Sorry, I can't do your research that day because I have to take the babies to x appointment, then do this for them, and that in addition to the regular cooking, cleraning, and taking care of infant twins with health problems is a lot in one day. Hey didn't you say you couldn't do it yourself because oyu'd be out too much that day? If you're going to be out anyway, would you do me a huge favor and grab just a couple things at the grocery store?' Then give them your shopping list for the next week or so.
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#17 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 11:11 PM
 
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To the one with the sister with the four kids who is having a hard time. Maybe she drops them off at dinner time because they wouldn't get fed at home. You did say she was having trouble getting food on the table. You can't blame the kids for being hungry.

Still, I agree with the the original poster. It's weird when people ask you for favors like that. Sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I can't. I've never gotten the laundry one! Usually, it's for playdates so the mom can make an appointment. I don't mind those because the people asking have all been really nice about it and then they have my daughter over to reciprocate.

I think it's the people (mostly men, but not always) who think I do nothing all day that get to me. The ones who say, "Well, you're not working. . ." The h***l I'm not! That comment always gets me so mad. I can never leave it alone and always start explaining that I do work, the savings on my family, come take care of my children, blah, blah, blah. They usually back off, awkwardly. It makes feel good in a twisted sort of way.
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#18 of 21 Old 06-10-2005, 11:48 PM
 
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The world can probably divide into people who try to take advantage, people who let them and a third group who stands up for its collective self. The first group will try anyone anytime to get what they want - I doubt it has anything to do with the askee being a SAHP or not. I've been hit up for favors while working and now while at-home. Sometimes I discover too late that the asker is a taker and other times you can figure it out right away. And, as a PP pointed out, if they're unsuccessful they'll go elsewhere.
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#19 of 21 Old 06-12-2005, 06:24 PM
 
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i simply say no... and i say it often!
really, no one asks me anymore. i have said things like this too....
"oh, i am not sure, lets see..you need my help with -xxx- on this day?, you know what thats the day we have library time, mothers day out, playgroup at my house, trip to the museum, grocery shopping, doctors appointment......
i let people know how full my week is. and i also let them know how full my car is... as in NO, i cannot schlep your child around town with me, just because i am schlepping my own!
i don't know maybe i am just mean. but i didn't quit my job to be someone elses errand girl, i barely keep up with my own list of things to do.... but thats usually cause i am tied up on the computer shopping for diapers or playing blocks on the floor with my cute patootie... but no one needs to know the real truth... we like to hang out in jammies till 11 and then and only then do we do something with our day!
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#20 of 21 Old 06-12-2005, 07:10 PM
 
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Okay, if I'm trying to make a new friend, I might do a favor or two. But at some point, I expect a little reciprocity. The old "one hand washes the other" sort of thing. Some moms catch on, some don't. The ones that do become my friends and become incorporated into my support system. Haven't we all had a day or two when we need to be "bailed out" of a stressful day? If however, the other person never seems available to help you and your kids after a few favors are extended to him or her, I ease them out of my life. No drama, just "I can't" or "not today" until they get the idea to smooze someone else to do their work for them.
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#21 of 21 Old 06-12-2005, 10:24 PM
 
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I've never been asked to do any of these things.
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