Sometimes feel like the only reason friends call me is for baby sitting. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is that all I am good for. I get calls that are usually started off pretty nice then I am asked to babysit.

Usually, it is because there is no one else and it's "an unplanned event" that they need a sitter. I always accept and don't mind watching the kids. Yet I do get tired and sometimes I feel like ...."geez, this is a long time...are they coming back?"

Sometimes I feel....geez, will someone call me just to say, "hi, how's it going" thought I would give you a ring to see how you doing?

I have a friend when I hear she has left a message on the machine. I always know it's for sitting. I don't want to refuse because her little one is so sweet, but I feel used.

(I rarely answer the phone because all hell breaks loose over here if I do, so I listen to the message and try to answer back if I can.)

I just wanted to complain. Thanks for listening. Let me just post this

I am a SAHM. I feel this a very important job in society. I have made sacrifices to SAH. My children come first. It is a all day all night job. I am a busy mommy. I have plans; I homeschool, cloth diaper, make most meals from scratch, clean, engage my children, research many topics related to parenting, garden, and do volunteer jobs when time permits....and frankly run this house like a small organization.

Ok, I feel better. Thanks for listening to my mindless ramblings.
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#2 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gwendolyn's babies View Post
Is that all I am good for. I get calls that are usually started off pretty nice then I am asked to babysit.

Usually, it is because there is no one else and it's "an unplanned event" that they need a sitter. I always accept and don't mind watching the kids. Yet I do get tired and sometimes I feel like ...."geez, this is a long time...are they coming back?"

Sometimes I feel....geez, will someone call me just to say, "hi, how's it going" thought I would give you a ring to see how you doing?

I have a friend when I hear she has left a message on the machine. I always know it's for sitting. I don't want to refuse because her little one is so sweet, but I feel used.

(I rarely answer the phone because all hell breaks loose over here if I do, so I listen to the message and try to answer back if I can.)

I just wanted to complain. Thanks for listening. Let me just post this

I am a SAHM. I feel this a very important job in society. I have made sacrifices to SAH. My children come first. It is a all day all night job. I am a busy mommy. I have plans; I homeschool, cloth diaper, make most meals from scratch, clean, engage my children, research many topics related to parenting, garden, and do volunteer jobs when time permits....and frankly run this house like a small organization.

Ok, I feel better. Thanks for listening to my mindless ramblings.
I hear you.
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#3 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 03:12 AM
 
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#4 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 03:49 AM
 
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Sounds like you need some new friends!
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#5 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 03:57 AM
 
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If you would like to see the sweet little one could you arrange a coffee/playdate with her Mom?

Dont let yourself get used ; only agree to babysit if it suits you and you have the time - you deserve better

Sam, mum to: Ian, James, Lottie, Maddy, Jack, Ruby, Bronte & Sophia and Nate
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#6 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 05:08 AM
 
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Don't allow yourself to be used. If it fits with your family, can you call them to ask if they can watch your children from time to time?

Mama to Raina (9/06) and Peter (8/09)!
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#7 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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I charge. $10/hr.
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#8 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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I'll say that its sad to me when I haven't been able to watch a WOHM 'friend' or neighbor's kid a few times that that friendship suddenly ends. Even though I stay home, there are days where I can't watch another child, moreso when mine were younger.

Anyway, those relationships seemed to end, ime, because I was offering friendship but not a babysitting service and I think it really made some mad. I'd watch their kids when I could but be upfront when I couldn't. And I saw a lot of assumptions about me and my time or my mothering.

Its messy. I really try my hardest not to see differences with SAHM and WOHM but in my own experience and location, I do. I see a lot of judgment and experience a lot of condescension.
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#9 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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I've not had a problem with this, but I pretty much always say no. I'm kind of burned out with kidwatching. So I guess the folks that are users tend to not want to be my friend in the first place.

I have proactively offered to watch someone's kid so they could go to a church event that I know they'd really like. And of course I've set up playdates where we trade off taking the kids home after/before school/preschool.

But I had to get in the habit of saying immediately "no" when people find out that I've spent some time as a nanny. Even when I could have. I think for me personally it's always best to err on the side of establishing strong boundaries first and early on. People generally don't ask me unless it's a true emergency, and I've only had one person ask...mostly it's me reaching out to them, unless I didn't know what had happened yet, with the one person that did ask.

But for school events, babysitter fall through, non-emergency stuff...I pretty much always say no, unless it's in the context of a playdate.

ETA: I had a lot of experience with this as someone who worked at a preschool for awhile. I always said no to outside babysitting (except for a couple of families that I really enjoyed, but that was limited too), because I saw what happened with people who said yes. It's not that families were intentionally being less respectful over time, I think it naturally tends to happen when the boundaries slip (I think most daycare/ECE people can probably back me up on that one). People also get careless about being late, and unless it's dealt with swiftly, it'll just slide to being more disrespectful over time. This happens everywhere, with people who are otherwise nice and polite (I see it happening all the time with church nurseries or sunday school--the chronically late parents who don't respect the teachers' time and that they also might like to get out of class in a timely manner). So to me, it's just easier to establish firm boundaries, and ignore the little voice that tries to guilt me for not being propery community oriented. I know it's lying. In an emergency, I will absolutely be there, and probably proactively volunteering so the family doens't have to feel awkward about asking for help. But run of the mill babysitting, I've BTDT, I don't enjoy it anymore now that I have kids of my own, and life is too short to constantly put out for people who never reciprocate.
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#10 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 01:48 PM
 
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your time is absolutely every bit as important as anyone else's-just because you're "at home" it doesn't mean you're sitting around with nothing else to do, or that you adore children so much you want to babysit the world!
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#11 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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One way to get them to stop, or at least reduce it is to start charging. Maybe $10 an hour?

On rare occasions I've babysat, but it was for a very close friend and for a very short time. For the most part, I just say I don't babysit because my son is clingy.

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#12 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwendolyn's babies View Post
Is that all I am good for. I get calls that are usually started off pretty nice then I am asked to babysit.

Usually, it is because there is no one else and it's "an unplanned event" that they need a sitter. I always accept and don't mind watching the kids. Yet I do get tired and sometimes I feel like ...."geez, this is a long time...are they coming back?"

Sometimes I feel....geez, will someone call me just to say, "hi, how's it going" thought I would give you a ring to see how you doing?

I have a friend when I hear she has left a message on the machine. I always know it's for sitting. I don't want to refuse because her little one is so sweet, but I feel used.

(I rarely answer the phone because all hell breaks loose over here if I do, so I listen to the message and try to answer back if I can.)

I just wanted to complain. Thanks for listening. Let me just post this

I am a SAHM. I feel this a very important job in society. I have made sacrifices to SAH. My children come first. It is a all day all night job. I am a busy mommy. I have plans; I homeschool, cloth diaper, make most meals from scratch, clean, engage my children, research many topics related to parenting, garden, and do volunteer jobs when time permits....and frankly run this house like a small organization.

Ok, I feel better. Thanks for listening to my mindless ramblings.
Have you pointed out to your friends that they are doing this? My Stepsister went through a phase of doing it when her girls were younger. Everytime she called me it was to beg me to babysit. Finally I get fed up and said that I wouldn't babysit, because that was all she ever called me for. She stopped and said that she was sorry, she really hadn't realized. Her life was so busy, and she knew she called me and that we talked, she just didn't realize that every call also included a babysitting request.

Anyway, the point of that ramble is that your friends may just not have realized that they are neglecting you in other ways. I'd start with pointing it out to them before I walked away from a friendship.

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#13 of 17 Old 05-14-2008, 05:51 PM
 
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Yes, I have experienced this situation. What I have found is that if you are the "go to" person once or twice, people end up thinking of you repeatedly. I really don't mind helping other parents out, but I found that by helping them, I would get even more requests. So I've become much less likely to say "yes" than I used to. It would be great if people who needed help frequently spread their requests around, but it seem to be just the opposite.

One of the reasons I enjoy being the "at home" person is so I have more time for my family and also more time to be part of the community, help out, etc. I have worked full time, and for me that left little time to get things done myself, much less "be there" for neighbors and others.

Of course, your time is your own, so you have to set boundaries and keep them. I have gotten stricter over the years, but I try to be there to help when I can. If you start feeling used, it's time to say no.
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#14 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 09:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post
I'll say that its sad to me when I haven't been able to watch a WOHM 'friend' or neighbor's kid a few times that that friendship suddenly ends.
nak

I hate hate too. it bothers me so much. or when I get all excited that a friend has called, and they ask if I can watch their child, and I say no, then they suddenly are busy and dont have time to talk.

It makes me feel used. It sucks. I love the kids though.

Unschooling Mommy of 3: Lilith (14), Panda (6), and Fox (4)
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#15 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 09:34 AM
 
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That would be rotten. I can understand why you feel bad. I think you should take a good look at your friends. Who do you really want to be friends with and enjoy a good relationship? You need to talk to these ladies honestly and tell them how you feel. You might say, "You know, I really enjoy talking to you and doing stuff with you, but lately I feel like you only call me when you need a babysitter. I enjoy your children, but I miss just really talking to you."

The ones who are truly your friends probably do not realize they are doing this. We all get busy, and sometimes things slip without our realizing it. If they are really just using you, it will show up in their reactions, and you can take steps to distance yourself.

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#16 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well the one friend who calls for "babysitting" has asked me for a playdate...but she never follows through. So, I don't if she is just trying to be nice or what.

As for letting others watch my kids...I know I am strange but I really only feel comfortable with anyone but family watching the kids. I figure also that if I get tired watching my own and a few others that other people might feel the same!

I am just going to start turning them down. I don' t like feeling resentful. If it truly is a emergency (like the time my friend had to take her little one for x-rays) then yes, i will do it.( but this is also the friend that asks me over and tries to get together with me for fun playdates)

But I am going to be honest. I am tired, and it wouldn't be fair to their kid.

Thanks for making me feel UN guilty and deserving better!
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#17 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Twinklefae View Post
Have you pointed out to your friends that they are doing this? My Stepsister went through a phase of doing it when her girls were younger. Everytime she called me it was to beg me to babysit. Finally I get fed up and said that I wouldn't babysit, because that was all she ever called me for. She stopped and said that she was sorry, she really hadn't realized. Her life was so busy, and she knew she called me and that we talked, she just didn't realize that every call also included a babysitting request.

Anyway, the point of that ramble is that your friends may just not have realized that they are neglecting you in other ways. I'd start with pointing it out to them before I walked away from a friendship.
Good point.
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