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Discussion Starter #1
i have a friend, A. she is married to D, and they have 2 kids.. S+J who are now 10 and 6.5. they live down the road from us, there's about 8 houses separating us. i really, really like A, she is one of my best friends, and we have alot in common. i've known her for about 6 years now. i'm not quite sure if i even like her hubby, D, just based on a few little things he's said/done in the past.. not huge things, just things that make me not so sure if i want to be friends with him. but that's okay, i don't need to be friends with D to really like A.<br><br>
i run a home daycare, and i have done daycare for her in the past, since J was 1 until he was about 5. in the last year or so, S+J have switched schools, so i don't do daycare for them anymore. which is all cool.<br><br>
the problem that i'm having is that over the last few months, J has been over to our house ALOT. like, there are days when i turn around, and he's standing in my kitchen asking for a snack.. and i didn't even know he had come over. i really like J and don't mind him coming over to play.. he is really good friends with my two oldest.<br><br>
however, there has been many times when i've found out that not only was i not aware that he was at my house.. but he didn't even ask/tell his parents that he was leaving either.. i would get a call asking if J was here, and i'd have to search my house and yard, and usually he was here. so i told J that it was okay to play here, but he would have to ask his parents first. i also told him that i would like it if he knocked on my door and/or asked me if he could play here too... when he is here, i feel like i'm responsible for him, and i need to at least know that he's here or not. well, he hasn't been asking me at all, still coming in, playing without my knowledge. so i let A and D know what was going on, making sure that they understood that i'd like J to ask me first.<br><br>
so J is still coming to play all the time, and i make sure to ask him if he's asked his parents yet. he always says yes, but i later find out that this isn't the truth.<br><br>
one weekend, A was out of town, and S was at a sleep over, and A had told me that J was going to have a fun weekend with his dad, D. well at 8:30 saturday morning, J shows up at my house. uninvited, of course. i told him that he could stay and play for a bit. well, 6 hours later, he was still at my house, and when i tried to send him home (a few times over that span), J told me that he couldn't go home because D wasn't there. so i kept him, because i didn't want him all alone at his house.<br><br>
the part that is bothering me, and why this is in Personal Growth... is that D has started coming around after J has been here 15 or 20 mins to ask me if J asked my permission to come play. if he did, then i'll say yes, and that it's fine for him to be here. then D will stand around awkwardly for another 15 mins, not saying anything to me, and then say "well good, because *i'm* working!" (he works at home). then he'll leave. all while i usually still have a few of my own daycare kids here, so really, i'm working too.<br><br>
i'm starting to feel that D is using me for unpaid daycare services, and i really am uncomfortable about him coming around, being awkward (and i feel, rude). so i talked to my friend A about this, i told her that i don't mind J coming to play, but that D's behaviour was bothering me. and she said to me "that's what you get for complaining about J being here all the time!". that really hurt me.<br><br>
i'm not sure where to go from here. in talking to A, i really thought the result would be for her to (nicely) tell D to stop coming over to check on us. and i would just send J home if i wanted to. i'm feeling pretty used right now, but D, not A. i am hurt with the way that A responded to my concerns. for now, i've just been sending J right back home when he's come to play.. i don't really want to punish him or my kids, but i feel like i need some space between my feelings and this situation.<br><br>
what would you do? i really value my friendship with A, but i don't want to be free daycare, especially nobody asked me whether i wanted to do it or not. it's not about money too.. i don't feel like i need to be paid for the time that J spends here. i just want it to be less often, with permission being asked first. i guess it would be different if D and/or J would ever ask MY kids to play at their house for hours at a time, but it's very lopsided.. J is only ever here, D has never volunteered to take my guys over there.<br><br>
sorry so long. this has been bothering me for the last few weeks.
 

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Hmm. You really are sending mixed messages. I'm not even sure from your post what the real issue is.<br><br>
D asks if it's ok for J to be there and you tell him it's fine. But then it seems as if it's not so fine. Which is it?<br><br>
Telling A that D creeps you out isn't really going to go over well.<br><br>
I assume he's standing around awkwardly because he's trying to decide if it really is fine or what. Yes, he would really like for you to watch J if it's really fine with you but it seems like he's not taking this for granted. It seems like he's undecided because of the mixed signals, and he doesn't know what to do. Part of him thinks he should just scoop up J and take him home, but he'd really rather not if it's really truly cool with you. But it doesn't seem really cool with you.<br><br>
Anyway, I just think the challenge for you is to be clear about what you want and stop sending mixed signals. If you really are cool with J being there, next time D shows up just tell him sincerely "J is fine, I'll call when it's time to come pick him up" and walk D out the door. If you're not cool, say "Yeah, I'm a bit busy with my daycare kids, thanks for coming to get J." And walk them out the door. If there are some times when you're cool and some times when you're not, communicate clearly the difference - and follow through. If J comes at a not-cool time, call and ask for someone to come get him. Then D can relax and know that he's understanding you correctly. If D knows, for example, that you are cool with J coming weekdays from 10am-1pm, then I bet he won't show up to check during those times.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
sorry, i know i ramble.<br><br>
i feel like i am being clear with D and with J.... when either one of them asks if it's okay to be here, and i say yes, i mean it.. otherwise i would just send J right home again.<br><br>
it's just that i don't want J over here all the time... sometimes for hours and hours every single day (A works later than D does, and J will often stay until i send him home so i can make supper for my family). and if he is going to be here, then i want to be asked so that i know if he's here or not.<br><br>
and i don't like the way that D seems to be saying that it's good that i'm letting J play here, because he is so busy working. i mean, if he needed some daycare time, we could work something out. otherwise, i don't mind playdates.. just not all the time, without it being reciprocated. i feel like D is taking advantage of all these "playdates".<br><br>
i'm not sure if i'm making much sense anymore, lol.
 

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It sounds like you are being taken advantage of. Since J is having problems with letting you and his parents know he is there, I wouldn't allow him in unless A or D has called you to see if it's a OK for J to come over. That way you have control over when J visits. I would also set time limits, and tell A or D what time you will be sending him home. You are not a free babysitter and you need to stop allowing yourself to be treated like one. I know you value your friendship with A, but your time and control over your time is more important.
 

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To be honest, it sounds like you are not fully taking responsibility to communicate with J's parents about what is and isn't working with you. I dont see in your posts anywhere where you went to your friends' house and sat down with both parents and said "I really do enjoy J being at our house, but at this stage it's too many hours and I'm not comfortable with that. Can we [fill in an option that works for you: certain days and hours... no more than a certain number of hours a week and when he reaches that he can't come over anymore until next week... something else]?"<br><br>
Also, the time you said you didn't expect him at all and then 6 hours later he's still there... ok you said you tried a few times to send him home but you're the adult - did you pick up the phone, call his folks and say "Hey, it's been great having J over but I've got my hands full right now and I need you guys to come get him"?<br><br>
Also, why are you still waiting for your friends to "volunteer" to have your kids over? Why haven't you sent your kids over to play there? It seems like you haven't tested the relationship to see if it is 2-way or not, you're assuming that they know they need to volunteer to have your kids over and they haven't.<br><br>
It just seems like you're wanting your friends to read your mind re: how you feel when you haven't told them directly nor set any specific limits to J's time. You need to communicate more clearly, both that you truly do enjoy having J over but also that you need to have some limits and it's too much time. And also check into your kids going there.
 

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And I'd get A's work number. Because on the off chance J was telling the truth about D not being home, instead of making an excuse to stay at your house where there are kids instead of at home where there's just D doing work, you needed to have a way to contact A.<br><br>
I'd definitely start sending my kids over there.<br><br>
If A&D want J to spend all day at your house, they can pay you for it.<br><br>
With the houses so close together, I'd wouldn't bother asking them to come get him, I'd just call and tell them I'm sending J back home.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thank you everyone for your replies. it has made me really think about what i want out of this situation, and i know i need to be really, really clear about it with everyone involved. so here's what i'd like to see happen:<br><br>
1) J needs to ask/tell his mom or dad that he is coming over to my house<br><br>
2) J needs to ask me if it's okay to play here, and if it's not, he needs to go home (sometimes, he tries to sneak in the door past me when i'm telling him no).<br><br>
3) it needs to be not everyday<br><br>
4) it needs to be not during my working hours<br><br>
5) there needs to be some reciprocating going on.. not even a 1:1 ratio, but at least take my kids occasionally in return.<br><br>
6) if D would like me to take J for an extended period of time, he needs to make arrangements ahead of time.<br><br>
do these things sound reasonable to everyone?
 

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Yes, very reasonable. I have 2 suggestions if that os OK!<br><br>
First, I think you should make a policy of phoning first. My dd has a neighbor friend that she is very close to and they want to play all the time. So far they seem really good about playing at both houses, but I learned from the other family how polite it is to call first. So, my 6 year old knows her number by heart and calls and asks if they can play together and their dd (5 years old) also calls our house. It is really sweet and I think it is teaching them both good manners. In your case this would solve some problems in that you could make sure he told his parents he was coming over, you would know he was coming, and you would avoid the dad checking in at your house. Also, phone first is pretty easy as far as rules go, if he can't phone himself his dad can do it for him. It might alsop show them how much he is going to your house.<br><br>
Second, it might help to think of this as sort of outside the realm of your job. Since you do take care of kids and get paid, and have been paid to care for this child, it's hard to think of this situation out of that context, but I would try. I would think of it as "I have to work, so is it OK for my kids to have a friend over on a playdate or am I too busy?". Sometimes it helps me work to have my kids on a playdate, other times not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
those are good points, thanks!<br><br>
i actually think that me working with kids allllll day long is sort of complicating this situation.. on one hand, i want my kids to be able to play with their friends, and on the other hand, some days i'm just too wiped out. that's why i figured that if at least J didn't show up within daycare hours, it wouldn't feel so daycare-ish to me. (plus we've had issues of J being too noisy while toddlers are trying to sleep, and other times it would throw my ratios off if J showed up). and i think i need to get better with just sending him home when i feel like it's gone on too long for one day.
 

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I think your list is totally reasonable, but what I can't tell from it is how you plan to use it? Are you going to go over it with your friends? I just wanna make sure you aren't gonna somehow expect the son to carry the word back, or otherwise dance around what you are now clear about.<br><br>
How will you let your friends know this?<br><br>
And the phoning ahead thing is a good plan - why don't you ask your friends to do the same? I guess I just feel like putting it on the kid and having to rely on the kid to do the communication takes the resposibility away from the parents a lot. If they call everytime he's going to come over, they also may start to realize just how much it's happening.<br><br>
Also, will you send your kids to them or do you expect them to invite them? I'd think that given the way they've handled their end, it's not reasonable to expect an invitation each time, so hope you're comfy sending your kids.<br><br>
Let us know how it goes!
 

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Is it possible that D doesn't know how to communicate well? Maybe he's a little hurt that his son wants to spend all his time at someone else's house, instead of with his own family, and D feels powerless to do anything about it? So he's being weird?<br><br>
I would talk more to A, tell her precisely how you feel. You may feel a little awkward, but misunderstandngs happen all the time, better to talk about it and understand each other from now on.And you are not <i>accusing</i> him of doing it. You are really hoping he is not doing it, and you want to understand what he <i>is</i> doing.<br><br>
Also, I would have a talk with...J?? (the lttle boy) privately. And tell him that you are not going to let him play t your house if 1. he hasn't asked his parents and gotten an 'ok', or 2. he hasn't come to you immediately to ask if he can play. Tell him that if he is over at your house without both of thse requirements having been respected, you will send him right home. If he is lying about his parents saying 'yes' then I would talk to A and get a 'pass'. If A tells her ds he can come over she gives him a ... specific thing that lets you know.<br>
Make sure you are consistent though about sending him home.
 
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