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Discussion Starter #1
I don't even know what to say, really. It seems like everytime I turn around my neighbor (single mom of three young kids) needs me to watch her kids or something.<br>
*sigh* that sounds crappy. Fact is, the kids are great overall, and she and I started off pretty good friends. In fact, we introduced her to one of our closest friends-they hit it off and he moved in wiht her-he's a great father figure to the kids, great to her...but everytime I turn around she needs me to watch the kids for 'me time' or because she and our friend need 'time away'. (which is ridiculous, they are both unemployed and have all day together while the kids are in school.)<br>
I'm just starting to feel used and my friend even told me he feels bad about it. I have set some boundaries(like her calling at 10pm wanting to 'just run out real quick for a couple beers') I won't watch the kids for her under those circumstances.<br>
This on top of a few other stressful things lately-another friend really hurt my feelings in a selfish and unwarrranted way and I feel really bummed. I thought I had made a new friend and that she and I would be closer since she's dating and living with one of my best friends, but no.<br>
I just need hugs.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I understand!
 

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I'm sorry!<br><br>
It's hard making friends!<br><br>
I had a bad experience with my only friend recently. I understand how you're feeling right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you!<br>
It's just that I can't 'not watch the kids anymore' i mean, this is a second home to them, now. They garden with me, they play with my kids-they come to me for advice! I feed them here and there, they stay over. I can't just pull the proverbial plug and set the boundaries I know I should. IT would hurt them.<br>
But I feel so used, cause she doesn't even pretend to reciprocate. Well, she does a little-like she brought over a pile of her youngest son's hand me downs that she 'could have sold in a yard sale' and gave them to my little guy. They were good clothes, too, I was glad to get them. But she always 'needs my help' with something.<br>
I'm just a good thing to her. I have tried to talk to her more, to get closer but I watch her eyes glaze over and she sort of changes the subject. And forget me and my friend talking and laughing like we used to, she gets funny about it, so I back off. That hurts, too.<br>
I'm just a crybaby today.
 

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Its okay to be honest. I have been used too and then when I gently approached the dynamics with the person, I have been lied about and shunned or mocked. It really is stupid.
 

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I'm just gonna say it direct: taking care of other people's needs above and beyond your own is never, ever healthy. It just isn't.<br><br>
You aren't being mean, evil, or even a "bad friend" by saying "I need to cut back on how much I watch your kids" and just telling her you need to take care of some other things in your life for awhile.<br><br>
It doesn't have to be an argument, or even a discussion. Tell her you still love her kids, tell her kids directly you still love them, and still look forward to time with them, but that you need to take care of some other things and it will be noticieably less time.<br><br>
If she gives you any guilt trip or anything, seriously, you need to appreciate yourself and she needs to appreciate that you give her FREE CHILD CARE FOR THREE CHILDREN!!!!!!! That is HUGE!<br><br>
I live by the once burned, twice burned rule: You burn me once... shame on you. You burn me twice, shame on ME.<br><br>
You have to set boundaries and you can NOT complain about feeling used when you haven't simply said "This doesn't work for me anymore, I love you and your kids, but it's too much time." You are very much playing into the dynamic and are partly responsible if you keep allowing it to happen.<br><br>
It's that simple, although I know for many people SAYING something about it is not simple. But the truth is, you're still doing her a huge favor if you watch them at ALL. And YOU need to realize that as much as she does.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LROM</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15441338"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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You have to set boundaries and you can NOT complain about feeling used when you haven't simply said "This doesn't work for me anymore, I love you and your kids, but it's too much time." You are very much playing into the dynamic and are partly responsible if you keep allowing it to happen.</div>
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I usually don't complain. Yes, I know it's just as much my fault. I was having a low moment.
 

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You have 5 kids and she expects you to watch her 3 on top of that????? You must be a saint!<br><br>
It sounds like you aren't comfortable with confrontation. Why not just not be available as much as you are now? If she calls, tell her "I am sorry but now is not a good time". I know it is better to just be direct but if you just can't, it's ok.
 

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There are some people who are deceptive with their intentions, whether intentional or not, and you are not responsible for that. Once you see it and feel it, I think it is okay to be honest about it--being honest about something is not merely complaining about something you could have avoided.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I hope you can talk with your neighbor about how you feel at some point and I hope it goes well. Do not be too hard on yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you....I know that I blur that line between being helpful to someone and being walked on-I'm not a martyr about it (not saying anyone said this!) But I just want to be superwoman, I just want to prove that I am a good friend and that I am someone to trust(big time childhood junk, i know) But I just can't keep feeling like this. I'm thinking I'll try to be a little more vocal about 'time to go home, it's family time!' or something like that and if that doesn't get me to a place of feeling less used I'll just talk to her. If she weirds out she'll have to get over it.<br>
My friend (her boyfriend) will understand and help if she gets moody about it, I think.<br>
Thanks, everyone. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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I think you'll find that once her kids are at your house at all, you've lost that battle for that time. You can try sending them home when you need to, but the time to let your friend know that it's not a good time is when she first asks you, not after you've already said yes.<br><br>
I say the following sincerely and out of the center of my heart: I wish you'd think more about the definition of a "good friend". In my book, a good friend is not someone who lets me walk all over them. A good friend is someone who loves me and wants the best for me, which includes telling me when I'm being a selfish wench. (And I have good friends that do!)<br><br>
If your definition of what it means to be a good friend continues to include not saying anythign when someone takes advantage of you, I truly hate to tell you this (I really do) but you will continue to attract friends like the 2 who just let you down. It is only when you decide that being a good friend means being at least a little considerate, and being able to handle honesty, that you'll attract people who treat you the same way.<br><br>
My heart goes out to you, because I know for some people just simply saying "I need a break" is terrifying because you're worried you'll lose her friendship.<br><br>
But for me, if someone would get upset with me after I've watched her 3 kids for free for AGES without a peep, then I really... truly.... don't need her as a friend, because she's taking advantage of me and what friend does that?<br><br>
I hope you'll be able to realize how generous you've been with your home and time, and tell her that you need to cut way back. Or start sending your 5 over to her once a week or more and take a break yourself. One way or the other, things need to either even up or change drastically or you're gonna have to get used to feeling walked all over... cuz it's gonna continue.<br><br>
I truly, sincerely, wish you the best and hope things turn out better than you think they will.
 

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There's lots to do in the summer months. Take your kids to the local pool, library shows/storytimes, free concerts, water park and all the cool stuff around town. Maybe you can break the pattern you've set here. Don't be so available for her kids unless its an emergency.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
LROM-I didn't take your post negatively at all. Thank you for your thoughts. I know I needed to hear them.<br>
Last night I tried some affirmations to myself, that I am a good person, that I can advocate and boundary set for myself and it doesn't make me selfish...that sort of thing. If any of my IRL friends saw that they would laugh cause I usually don't have a problem voicing my opinion esp. in regards to 'injustices'. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"><br>
You're right, I am afraid of losing a friend but do I really want a friend like that?<br>
Ok, all of these responses have helped boost me. I know it will take little steps for me but I am going to stop being used.<br>
Philomom-I definitely have some projects for the summer-library, free museums in the area, and some at home stuff that will keep us 'inaccessible' for the most part!
 

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That's the spirit!!! You are SO SO SO **NOT** being selfish by setting boundaries. Truly, you're acting in the best interest of all involved. Even if your friend's kids love your house, you, and your kids, they still most likely know when they're being pawned off so their mom can go hang out with her boyfriend... and that never feels good if it happens a lot.<br><br>
Not that she doesn't deserve "Me Time", but seriously, if she needs it that much, how is she being considerate of YOUR need for it and you've got 2 more kids than she does???<br><br>
You don't need friends like that. Either it's an oversight and she'll be glad to work with you and correct it... or she will get upset and try to guilt trip you and then you really really need to be clear: she isn't a good friend and she's only looking out for herself.<br><br>
By the way, from what I've seen, when you do try to set boundaries it's very likely she's just "up the urgency". Instead of regular playdates, now she'll say she really needs to go somewhere important each time. But that's just to make you feel bad/guilty. Don't fall for it!<br><br>
Stand firm on your schedule and your boundaries!<br><br>
She's totally lucked out for a good period of time with so much childcare, and it's time for her to adjust, no matter how much of an emergency she has.<br><br>
By the way, if she really has an emergency and she's living with her boyfriend, why can't he stay with the kids while she goes out if it's really important??? Any emergency they'll likely be able to handle on their own. It's time they start doing it.<br><br>
Good luck, and you've got the right attitude and I wish you a ton of great outcomes!!!
 

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lot of good advice in the above posts!!<br><br>
and for the record, she's no longer a single mom if she's got a boyfriend who moved in with her. she has help! living with her at home! don't allow people to use you. you deserve good friends, not users! and the friend who sees his girlfriend use you and do nothing about it, I don't think that's a friendship worth keeping either.<br><br>
I hate Dr.Phil... but I got to say I really like his '<i>We teach people how to treat us</i>'.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well yesterday my friend was outside helping dh work on the lawnmower and my ds asked if the kids could come over. I said 'No, not right now, I'm needing a break for a little while'.<br>
Fastforward to about an hour later and she came by to 'just say hi' with the kids-this on top of having brought some chicken soup over the day before(which I though was super sweet of her)<br>
She went outside to talk to boyfriend and after a moment took off with her kids without even saying goodbye. I guess he mentioned what I said. I thought about it and talked to dh and he mentioned that anytime she does just comes by to visit within an hour she's wanting babysitting so she and boyfriend can go out. I thought about it and that does seem to be the track record. I guess we thwarted the plan.<br>
Ah well. I'm sure I will hear from her soon enough.
 

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OP, I noticed you said, "My friend (her boyfriend) will understand and help if she gets moody about it, I think." That should tell you everything you need to know. How dare she even think about being moody because you may not want to be her on-call babysitter? For her "me" time? Why can't her boyfriend provide her with "me" time? She's not a neighbor, she's a leech.<br><br>
You owe her no explanation whatsoever. But if it makes you more comfortable to have a reply at hand, you could tell her something about how you're trying to be more organized with your time and/or you have some projects planned with your kids, so spontaneous stuff won't work very well right now.<br><br>
And if that chases her off, then good, she'll leave you alone.
 

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she needs me to watch the kids for 'me time' or because she and our friend need 'time away'. (which is ridiculous, they are both unemployed and have all day together while the kids are in school.)<br>
I'm just starting to feel used and my friend even told me he feels bad about it. I have set some boundaries(like her calling at 10pm wanting to 'just run out real quick for a couple beers')<br><br>
Woah! Huge red flag here. This girl sounds like she may have substance abuse issues and if that's the case then you would be enabling her by watching her kids and this is only going to get worse.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mauinokaoi</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15451667"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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Woah! Huge red flag here. This girl sounds like she may have substance abuse issues and if that's the case then you would be enabling her by watching her kids and this is only going to get worse.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">
 

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I would practice my aloof, off-handed dismissal wave. As if to say, "Not right now, too busy and important over here." You're a good friend, but people do take advantage of that. (Insert different, unmentionable "friend" whose kids you've raised.)<br><br>
It doesn't mean that you like her any less if you make it VERY clear that her children are invited over when YOU invite them. Don't allow her to just drop them by. Make something up--errands, whatever--until you get the balance of power shifted back to the middle. She will likely balk at the loss of her freedom, and she'll take her boyfriend with her, to an extent, but then I suspect things will return to a more normal existence for you both.<br><br>
You are generous and kind and passionate and vocal, but get why you can't find your voice here. Peace, S.
 
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