who do you let watch your children? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 05-05-2003, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a friend who is VERY opinionated and seems to have it all figured out for everyone. Well, the same is true for her opinions on our parenting. Now, this friend has no children. She and her husband live an hour away and she is in law school(translate:busy!) She has lectured me several times about how we should stop complaining about not having family nearby and leave our 2 girls with them for a night or a weekend. She says that she used to offer but when I never took her up on it she "gave up" and if I want help, I will have to ask.
So, my question is, do you leave your children with childless friends? Are we abnormal not feeling comfortable with this? We swap kids for dinners out with our neighbors down the street and that works out well. Other than that, we have our girls with us. I find it frustrating because none of our friends have children and so it is very easy for them to decide that I am overprotective, etc. But, it's silly to me. They are not set up to take care of a 3 yr old and 9 mo. old. Not to mention the fact that I rarely see this friend and so she has NO idea the nuances of the daily changes in likes, dislikes, needs, sleep changes, food issues, etc etc etc And of course, the obvious like the safety of their house. I could go on and on.
I guess I am just tired of feeling like I have to defend our choices and feeling very unsupported. My dh keeps saying they will all get it when they have their own but I am tired of waiting for that day.
Please, please, tell me your thoughts!
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#2 of 13 Old 05-05-2003, 07:59 PM
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I think it depends on the person. Your friend who is very busy, not really familiar with children and who doesn't spend a lot of time seeing you raise yours may not be a great person to baby sit - especially over night.

We used to live near a good friend who did not have kids and she used to babysit for us. But she was wonderful with children. She came over for dinner at least once a week so my ds knew her really well and loved her (he still refers to her as his friend Kate). Also, she knew and agreed with the way we parent, so I felt very comfortable having her babysit on occasion. She would come to our house that way there were not issue about baby proofing and so forth.
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#3 of 13 Old 05-05-2003, 09:38 PM
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I wouldn't leave a young child or baby with someone who seems clueless about what caretaking of a small child entails, and your friends sound like they qualify. Probably when Rain was 5 or so, she got to a place where she was able to take care of herself in enough little ways and she could also ask for what she needed pretty specifically, so a well-meaning but not-too-savvy caregiver was okay.


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#4 of 13 Old 05-05-2003, 10:40 PM
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The only non-family person my older two have stayed with was a good friend/co-worker of mine. We worked in a preschool so I knew how wonderful she is with kids beforehand. If I did not know beforehand how she was with kids or had ANY apprehension I would not have let them with her. She watched them a few afternoons when I was pg with my third and came to the house when I was in labor and stayed until DH got home from the hospital.

The only overnights are with grandparents or my sister.
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#5 of 13 Old 05-05-2003, 11:00 PM
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Before I had my daughter I used to give my girlfriend a hard time. She had a young daughter and would never come out with me and the others we worked with. I thought she was being too protective and often told her she needed to find a sitter. When I became pregnant I soon realized that I would not be comfortable leaving my child for long with "just anyone". DD is now 9 months, and the only person who has looked after her is my mother, and even then it is for very short periods of time, less than one hour. She's ready for more (we live with my mother and DD knows her well) and I would feel comfortable leaving her with Mum for slightly longer periods. I would definitely not feel comfortable with anyone else who she doesn't know or who doesn't know her. It would be very traumatic for her at her age.

I think you need to tell your friend that you aren't comfortable with the idea of leaving your child with her, and that she is free to disagree or think you are overprotective, but that this is the final word on it.

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#6 of 13 Old 05-06-2003, 03:52 AM
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I leave my kids with my siblings, who are all childless. That is a little different, because I know them super well.

I also have a friend who I would have no qualms at all about leaving the kids with. She is SOOO busy, though; she volunteers but I honestly can't take up her time. Maybe over the summer when we aren't in school. She is a great person, very gentle with kids, and has worked for years as a babysitter/nanny for very small children (1 and under), plus older siblings, and I know she'd handle the kids very well.

I would never leave the kids with people who had no idea what caring for a child was all about. I mean, they might miss things that seem totally obvious for us. It also depends a lot on your kids; mine have very little stranger anxiety, and aren't bugged by me leaving most of the time (they know the drill - I leave, they play, I come back). Your girls may be totally different.

Plus they are talking nights and weekends? Have they no concept of what a 9 month old is like? That is WAAAY too early. Maybe an hour while you go get a massage, no way overnight. They'll be ready for that when they are like 6 and 9.

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#7 of 13 Old 05-06-2003, 08:29 AM
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Trust the commonsense given to you by G-d.

Most of the time I trust my children to my children (I have eight, the oldest is 24 and the youngest is 4) They know one another better than anyone else in the world and I trust them with my life (hence my children)

If they are busy my mom watches them

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#8 of 13 Old 05-06-2003, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate all of your feedback. I guess I should have clarified better about this friend...she is my best friend. She knows my children very well. My older daughter was the flower girl in her wedding. We actually lived with her while I was pregnant with my first. But I guess the problem is that she thinks that being best friends automatically means that she would be able to handle both of my girls for a night or evven a wknd.
I think maybe I need to stop being "polite" and not really spelling it out to her. It is at the point where she said in anger that she and her husband wouldn't ask us to watch theirs when they do have a child because we had never done that. That is insane to me! It will be totally different. We are already parents. But that is just how she can be.
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#9 of 13 Old 05-07-2003, 02:40 AM
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I think you're going to really have to spell it out for your friend. She probably doesn't understand; and feels hurt. Not that I agree with her, but that's probably it.

I'm the same way- very picky, even with my 10yo. It's a bit easier because he's older, so I don't need to worry about child proofing, but I won't leave him with just anyone. My family, the inlaws, and my friends. My ds2 is 10 months old. Honestly, though MIL is very nice and good with him, I feel way more comfy leaving him with my neighbor/friend or my Aunt IL. My neighbor has three kids, the youngest is close in age to ds2; her house is child proofed and has toys! And ds2 loves being around other kids. When dh and I had are first post baby date, a few weeks ago, we left the kids with her. Ds2 didn't care when I left or came back, he was having fun My AIL comes over to help out once in a while, and she is all about ds2's needs. MIL, while nice, and caring, is clueless about somethings and a bit selfish. So while I know she would never do anything against our wishes, she isn't quite as in tune as AIL and my neighbor/friend. And when we go visit California, where my friends and family are, my best friend is awesome and I'd leave him with her in a heartbeat
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#10 of 13 Old 05-07-2003, 03:45 AM
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My mom. And that's always when I'm home working (a WAHM) while she's here with them.

My folks take them to the park sometimes, though, and pick them up from preschool. And once they babysat when we went to a wedding in the evening, but we took the baby with us.

That's it.

We have friends who ask, too, but I tell them outright, while the baby & DD still nurse, it's just not necessary. The few who mention the "take the night off" thing, I just say something along the lines of "my kids, my choice." Nothing to say after that.

I'd be uncomfortable, regarding the OP, with friends who've never had kids and are not with them ... and that you don't see often, as you point out ... taking my kids. It seems to me my kids wouldn't like it much, either.

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#11 of 13 Old 05-07-2003, 04:55 AM
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I was childless when my sister left her children with me, but I would be worried about leaving my child with someone who has an agenda. That's why I wouldn't leave my daughter with my relatives now, even though they have children and we share genetic material.

It's difficult, however, because we don't live near each other, so they see my daughter only once every year or two. Had she been born near them, I'm sure she would be spending a lot more time with them, even overnight, but I'm thinking I wouldn't have made some of the parenting choices I did were that the case.

When I took my daughter, Molly, to Virginia last year, she was happy to stay with her cousins for hours. Then I ended up in the hospital and she ended up falling asleep with my sister and niece, and was sleeping there when I came in around 3 am. She woke then and wanted to come in bed with me after that, though. She was not ready for overnight visits even then, and I have no idea when she will be.

My worry would be that the caretaker might not be respectful of my child and the parenting style I have. I know that Molly's cousins and aunt made negative comments about extended nursing, and my mom is just not a person who can take stress or noise. I love my nieces and nephews, and I was a big part of their life before I moved away, but they treat each other so badly and when I hear them over the phone, I find it quite upsetting. They, in turn, tell me how spoiled my daughter is and how she needs to stop being babied, live in the real world, etc. So I want to be careful.

Based on my own experience, I can't imagine leaving an infant overnight. I've heard stories from people I know who left their children with grandma with instructions not to let them cry and to call the parents if things weren't going well. Of course that doesn't happen because grandma wants to help and figures she can deal with a crying infant. The only one who has ever called me to tell me that my daughter wanted me was the babysitter I paid. I feel like sometimes people have this idea that you don't know what is best and they can help you if you'd only let them. I might offer to take care of a friend's child, but I'm not going to guilt her into doing something she doesn't want to do, like leave her child overnight. I guess the issue is that if they offer and you refuse, it looks like you don't trust them and are rejecting them when that really isn't the case at all.

Now if your 3 year old really liked them and asked to spend the night at their house, then that might be another story, but it sounds like that is not the case.
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#12 of 13 Old 05-08-2003, 10:40 PM
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My daughter is 4 1/2 and my son is 1 1/2.
I leave her only to the care of my husband and prefer not to be away from her for more than a few hours.
I've only just started letting my baby (!) out of my sight--he runs short errands with my husband for up to about an hour.

We did leave our daughter once to go downtown (10 minutes away) on business this winter. She & my mother could have come with us and hung out while they waited, but she decided to stay at our house and have her Gramma cook dinner for us all instead!

I've worked with too many abused kids to trust anyone besides DP and my mother just yet, and besides, my husband has a very flexible schedule allowing us to do many things together. We LOVE being all together, and it's for such a short time in the big scheme of things.
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#13 of 13 Old 05-08-2003, 11:45 PM
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hmmm, i get the same kind of flak. you NEED to use a paid babysitter? oh really? i don't think so...

luckily i am blessed w/family 'round here. i leave my girls w/my MIL, my mom, my sisters. i have also left my girls w/a friend, fellow playgroup mom or neighbor for a period of 2-4 hrs.

all of these people besides my sisters have kids. my sisters usually watch the girls in my home so being set up for kids is not an issue.

i wouldn't feel compelled to do it if i were you. but it would be nice to know i had this friend should an emergency crop up. i'm not necessarily against leaving my kids w/childless people, i just don't know that many!

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