Advice needed about babysitting situation... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-01-2003, 04:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is the first time I've started a thread asking for advice. I know no one here knows me, but...I've often been amazed at the quality of input given in this forum. So, here I go...
I have two children, ages 2 & 4. My bro and SIL have two also, ages 1 & 3. My SIL and I are both stay at home ma's, but with vastly different views on all things relating to child-rearing. She loves to assign labels (good girl, bad boy, brat, drama-queen...). The perfect child to her is one that mindlessly watches TV and video's all day long so she can clean her house. We paid for and helped put up a fence in their front yard to make it easier for her to take her kids outside. She still can't do it very often (in So. Cal. where it's usually pretty nice weather, kids are inside a lot!) When her kids come over here, they get dirty, they are outside most of the time, TV hardly on at all, she complains about having to clean their dirty clothes. My 4 year old son, like most kids I know, loves to talk about gross stuff, like POOP! She actually said to me the other day (sort of jokingly, mostly serious) that she worries about her son associating w/mine b/c he'll pick up bad habits like saying "poop" for fun. I know there is some jealousy issues going on, totally irrational ones, but it's there nontheless. Any good fortune on our part is "undeserved", she's into major self-pity. I wish I felt more sympathetic but I am the target of her frustration, makes it hard. I'm finally going to get to my point...We swap days during the week to watch each others children for about 4 hours. So, one day a week I have that time to do my own thing, and so does she. I love the idea, but I'm having second thoughts about it. She's so negative about all the things I consider normal and beautiful about childhood. She values what I don't. We live near the beach, her kids have never been there. She actually bought them a Barney video about the beach, to get them used to the idea! God forbid they should get a little sand on their clothes! So, what do you think? Is it worth it? Obviously I can live without my 4 hours of alone time. I have to say, they are all we have in the babysitting dept. I'd love your thoughts...thanks for hearing me.

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#2 of 12 Old 03-01-2003, 04:50 AM
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Well, I guess you'll have to weigh the importance of your personal four hours against your children being exposed to another way of parenting.

It's only 4 hours and I don't believe your children are going to be influenced by your SIL. You can also take it as an opportunity to expose her children to the wonderful things you expose your children to, and perhaps your SIL will see how great her kids are doing in your wonderful care and change her mind about things
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#3 of 12 Old 03-01-2003, 04:56 AM
 
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For me it would depend on exactly what your SIL is doing. If she's letting them watch videos, that's not great, but probably no permanent damage.

If she's belittling them or saying hurtful things or they are picking up bad habits, that's another story, IMO.

I don't leave DD with my parents unsupervised because they often say mean or insulting things. I was very hurt by them as a child and I won't let my dd be.
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#4 of 12 Old 03-01-2003, 11:57 AM
 
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I agree that if all they are doing is watching t.v. then it could be better, but might be worth it for a few hours by myself. But I would be worried that lots of other negative thigs are going on too.

I would wonder how all four of them get along during this time, too. My boys are 1 and 3 and repeatedly need to be shown the way to treat friends, solve problems, do things, especially if there are two more young children in the mix. And I would not want this done with a lot of "bad boys" and "brats" thrown in.

It sounds to me like you think that your children being around someone who is
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so negative about all the things I consider normal and beautiful about childhood.
is not what you want for them even for just 4 hours a week. Trust your own feelings! If you like being around her kids, ask if she still wants to bring them over, or plan a field trip or messy art project once a week and invite them all over!


(I do think that parents who won't let thier kids get dirty are a little strange-- I mean wheather thier clothes are a lot dirty or mostly clean I just throw them in the washing machine, and wheather their bodies a really dirty or mostly clean, I just throw them in the tub )
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#5 of 12 Old 03-01-2003, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate the input. This has been bugging me for a long time now. I think I know what I'm going to do. It's just been made easier to decide recently. This past Monday, she asked me to babysit her 1 year old b/c she had to bring her son to the doctor. The Thursday prior, he had fallen off his bike and hurt his arm. It turns out he broke his elbow. They didn't take him over the weekend b/c that would have been "too inconvenient" (her words) and waited all that time with him in pain! He wasn't screaming in agony so I can understand that they didn't know how bad it was. But then she actually said she blames me for getting him the bike. I did buy the bike for him (age appropriate bike), but to actually say it's my fault that he fell off it, blows me away. She's been really unkind to me and it's only getting worse. I think distance right now is the answer. It's a shame because our children enjoy playing together so much. I'll still have them over but I don't feel comfortable bringing mine there. She seems especially toxic right now. Thanks again for your help everyone!

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#6 of 12 Old 03-02-2003, 01:04 AM
 
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#7 of 12 Old 03-02-2003, 01:08 AM
 
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They denied their son medical treatment over the weekend because it was "too inconvenient"???
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#8 of 12 Old 03-02-2003, 02:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The best part was when they came to pick up their daughter. My brother said that it would have been better to have taken him to the ER on Saturday when they started thinking it was worse than they thought, my SIL said, "yeah, but that would have cut into your weekend"... my jaw dropped and I thought, no way did she just say that! I don't understand that kind of thinking. :

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#9 of 12 Old 03-02-2003, 03:37 AM
 
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#10 of 12 Old 03-02-2003, 03:57 AM
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I have to chime in here and say, Chelly that is NOT cool! You can't say that based on one incident. In fact I am sure there are many things us AP parents do that would show cause for alarm by mainstream parents. Should they contact authorities based on something so isolated?

Just really rubbed me the wrong way...
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#11 of 12 Old 03-02-2003, 04:40 AM
 
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#12 of 12 Old 03-03-2003, 06:14 PM
 
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Omegamama,
I don't really have advice for you but I can say that I've been where you are now. It wasn't a relative, though -- it was my neighbor.

"Gladys" and I have children that are about the same age, and we both became stay-at-home moms at about the same time. It was nice having a friend for me and friends for the kids so close, and we got together a lot.

There were things about her personality (particularly as it related to her parenting style) that grated on me but I never said anything.

As time went on and our kids grew older, the little things that bugged me grew into huge obstacles to our friendship. She still views her children as a burden that have been dumped on her, and looks for any opportunity to dump them on someone else -- her husband, me, any neighbor that happens to be outside. She says things (yells, really) to her kids and in front of her kids that she shouldn't, and doesn't think twice about saying those things in front of my kids. She now constantly belittles her husband in public. She belittles her son, but thinks her daughter is a little perfect princess. She so obviously favors the daughter, who at the age of 5 has perfected all the sneaky, mean, clique-ish techniques we all remember from middle school.

I finally had to make a decision about that family. My husband and I decided to cut way back on our exposure to them. We didn't see a way to drop them completely but we don't get together like we used to. The change in my kids has been amazing. I hadn't realized how much of Gladys' toxicity had been rubbing off on us!

I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that if you think there's a big difference in values now, that gap way widen as time goes on. I know in my situation, I always figured Gladys would learn new ways of parenting or keep an open mind to different things, but that didn't happen.

Hope this helps.
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