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To think my married friends might cough up for a babysitter occasionally

(168 Posts)
Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 10:58:38

I am a single parent and have my DS 99% of the time, apart from in the school holidays when he goes away with XP for up to 3 nights.

This means I don't go out much in the evenings and if I do want to go out I generally have to pay a babysitter. I don't begrudge this, although it does mean I don't have much of a social life because money is tight.

What really rankles is that on the rare occasion when DS is away, my married friends never seem willing to get a babysitter themselves if their DHs aren't around.

So the conversation usually goes:

Me; "Hi DF, I've got a night off later this week, do you fancy going out?"
DF: "No sorry I can't - DH is out that night."

So, if I want to see them we have to find a time when they can go out for free and I have to find a babysitter!

I find this annoying and hurtful on so many levels - mainly because I think they must not want to see me that much, but also because I think they are mostly much more able to afford a babysitter than me as they have two incomes coming in.

So AIBU or do I have crap friends?

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Mon 11-Feb-13 11:43:55

Miserable and lonely? If left for a couple of hours, really? Surely if he has pizza and a move he can cope? If you didn't think he would be safe that would be one thing but I think he will probably need to toughen up at some point.

LtEveDallas Mon 11-Feb-13 11:44:16

I suppose it depends on the type of person you are. I was a 'hell raiser' in my youth, but once I had DD the appeal of going out, whether to a pub or cinema whatever just lost its appeal. Partly because in the early years I was just too bloody tired, but as DD got older because I just couldn't be bothered with all the palaver involved.

DH is similar - he's quite insular and would rather have a beer sitting on the sofa than paying pub prices (and frankly, with the amount he drinks, he'd bankrupt us!)

We go out as a family, to family friendly pubs etc, but once in a blue moon otherwise.

Maybe your friends have reached that stage? Could you arrange afternoon get togethers or similar?

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:45:29

theredhen maybe it is hard to understand if you've not been through it - I'm glad some people on here do thanks

AWimbaWay Mon 11-Feb-13 11:48:25

It's because people are selfish, and I include myself in that. On the rare occasion I do organise a babysitter, which is only about 4 times a year as I don't have family close by and wouldn't feel comfortable leaving the children with someone I didn't know well, I use it to go for a very rare night out with my husband.

Although I agree it's shitty people aren't doing it to be mean, they're just doing what's best for them, and most people aren't going to go to the hassle and expense of a babysitter for someone else's benefit, like I said selfish, but I know I wouldn't.

The thing is it's actually not fair to say married friends give less of a shit about friends because they have ready made socialising at home in the form of their husband.

I give a massive amount of a shit about my friends. I have a 2 single parent friends, one who is widowed and one separated, and I go out of my way to spend time with then. Both because I appreciate how lonely they must be but also because they're my friends, who I love and love spending time with, and part of spending time with good friends is considering their circumstances and doing what makes things easy for all of you.

I also have someone else to consider, my husband. To put him lower down in the pecking order so I can be seen to consider my friends just isn't something i'm going to do. He is very supportive to me in spending time with my friends but sometimes what he wants needs to be a priority whether that is in appreciating that he also has a social life, or prioritising family money on babysitters to benefit us both, or actually spending a night in with him.

You are asking for consideration of your different circumstances from your friends which is only right. But apply the same consideration to them too and if you want to see your friends that much then compromise by going round to their houses if their husband are already out rather than expecting them to stump up for a babysitter.

Because while you have the big negative of no ready made babysitter, someone in a relationship has a partner that they must always consider when they make arrangements to go out. And while this can seem like a non issue to you, be mindful of the fact that it will be an issue to them.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:54:40

LtEveDallas - the key thing is that you have a DH, so you have adult company most evenings. I have to go out to get this, I'm certainly not a hellraiser - a quiet half in the pub is all I'm asking for!

theredhen Mon 11-Feb-13 11:55:39

Yep getting a babysitter when you're on your own is stressful enough. Finding one you can trust, making sure kids are fed, in bed, making sure babysitter has food, making sure no private stuff is left out etc.

None of which people who have partners have to do before they go out. Just have a normal afternoon and then wave their hubby a cheery goodbye knowing it will all be sorted.

The attitude tends to be, well you're on your own so that's what you do.

There were times I couldn't afford a sitter and they went out without me and times I just physically didn't have enough hours in the day to get ds fed etc after work and get ready.

I had other single friends whose kids lived more with their parents than with them and they didn't "get it" either!

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:58:47

YellowDinosaur - you are a good friend - I wish I had one like you!

However, I should stress that most of the time I make the effort, finding a babysitter etc.

It's very rare I ask my friends to do the same for me - maybe once or twice a year, so I don't think their DH's would feel neglected!

Skyebluesapphire Mon 11-Feb-13 12:01:21

i don't think you are BU. If you have very little free time without your DS, then your friends could make the effort to get a babysitter for just one night.

I second the others though, if you want some company then invite them over one evening when their DH's are home to babysit.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 12:01:53

theredhen - yes! The number of "girls nights out" that I've been told about the day before, so no chance of even getting a babysitter even if I could afford it.

Makes me feel, however it was intended, that they don't care whether I'm there or not.

LtEveDallas Mon 11-Feb-13 12:02:07

I do have a DH Sheila, but actually my circumstances dictate that I have adult company in the evenings very, very rarely.

Like I said, different people. Being on my own doesn't bother me - although I do work, so possibly if I didn't I'd be screaming for adult attention in the evenings!

I wasn't insinuating that you wanted to go out and get shitfaced BTW.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 12:03:41

Skyeblue - I'm glad you understand - more difficult now DS is older and goes to bed late, but I appreciate the suggestion.

I do get that you are not asking for this all the time Shiela and understand you would find their response hurtful.

However dh and I get a babysitter maybe 3 times a year. So if I used one of those times to go out on my own I don't really think that's fair on dh. Equally comparatively I go out with my friends much more than dh does so if you asked me out on a night he already had something arranged I'd feel totally unreasonable to ask him to change his plans.

I appreciate your ex doesn't have your son very often but do you get a bit of notice? Maybe arranging things further in advance with your friends is the way to go.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 12:05:37

Well sometimes an evening getting shitfaced would be just the ticket LtEve, but generally just some company over the age of 12 would be good.

HugeLaurie Mon 11-Feb-13 12:06:10

I'm a single parent too (for the last seven years). My son is 8, so baby sitters are still required if I want to go anywhere.

I think the problem with the comments about inviting your friends to your house is that when you are a single parent you already spend every single night of the week in your house. After my son goes to bed, at around 8pm, I don't see anyone. Most of the time I don't even see anyone at the weekend either. It can be a very lonely existence, even with my son for company.

What I have found is that if I want to see my friends then I have to go to their house and I usually take my son with me. He watches a dvd and we have a few glasses of wine, a meal and a catch up.

I also make sure that I have one night out a month. Even if I have to pay for a sitter. That one night out gives me something to plan for and look forward to.

It can be very, very isolating and lonely when you are effectively stuck in the house for most of the week. I think that your feelings might be more about this than being upset with your friends for not getting a baby sitter. The problem, when you have too much time to think, is that things can get out of proportion in your mind. Trust me, the one night out a month is a lifesaver in this situation. Try and aim for this and get your friends on board. Explain how you are feeling because they might not even be aware of how hard it is for you.

AWimbaWay Mon 11-Feb-13 12:07:29

But do you see that when I can only get a babysitter a few times a year I'm probably going to use that rare occasion to go out with my husband rather than a friend? I do understand that's hard if you're single, I was widowed at the age of 24, no children but there were times when I felt lonely and needed a night out, I just had to accept other people had their own lives to lead too.

Skyebluesapphire Mon 11-Feb-13 12:08:23

I was going to say what dinosaur said too, how much notice do you get of when your X has DS? Would it be possible to give your friends loads of notice and claim the evening first?

My XH has DD every other weekend at the moment, so I just message friends and say I'm free, are you? I don't expect them all to come out EOW because they have homes and families, but I would expect them to make an effort to come out once in a while, like I used to before XH left.

Also, are there any child friendly places nearby, that you could go to with friends and let the kids play while you have a quiet drink?

ENormaSnob Mon 11-Feb-13 12:10:23

Your son is 12.

If you are after a few drinks in a local pub opposed to an all nighter then I think yabu to pay a baby sitter tbh.

Maybe your friends think the same and that is why they're reluctant to fork out for a sitter themselves.

CunfuddledAlways Mon 11-Feb-13 12:12:19

i think yabu to have a babysitter for a 12yo!!! i started babysitting at 12!! more than capable of looking after themselves for a few hours if you pop to the pub or something??

NopeStillNothing Mon 11-Feb-13 12:14:39

Yabu

I have a single friend who were not very keen to come to my place at all.

DH was travelling a fair bit, and the kids were small, and I used to go and spend some time at my parents to catch up with old friends, and for some company.
My parents were not in a position to baby sit (long story involving disability and dementia) and they were no keen for me to get a baby sitter.

My friend used to call me and ask if I wanted to go out. I would reply "sorry not possible as dh is not here, why dont you pop down for some tea (she does not drink) and a chat" To which she responded rather snippily "Sorry, but I fancy going out, you offer me tea at yours, well, I might as well drink tea at home"

I very much felt like it was not MY company she wanted, just anybody to go out with.

Do you think your friends feel you dont have much interest in THEM, and see them just as somebody to accompany you out?

HugeLaurie Mon 11-Feb-13 12:16:08

However I do agree that at 12 your son is old enough to be left on his own for a few hours. As long as he can contact you in an emergency and he doesn't go to bed until 10pm anyway I can't see the problem. If you have never left him before then I would recommend leaving him in the house while you go food shopping or having a coffee with friends in the daytime to get him used to it before you actually have a night in the pub.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 12:16:21

HugeLaurie - I think you're right.

I've just spent the entire weekend with DS, who is lovely, but the only adult contact I've had has been a phonecall to my mum. At least DS is now old enough to be left on his own for a short while during the day, so I can pop to the shops if I need to.

Your suggestion of one night out a month is a good one. I'm glad you've got something to look forward to.

HugeLaurie Mon 11-Feb-13 12:27:08

Honestly the monthly night out is brilliant. All of my friends know that this is the one night out that we have together. Barring accident or injury we make sure that we all go. It's a fixed night of the month too (we have picked the last Friday of the month) so everyone knows exactly when it is and we can all plan for it.

This weekend I went for a curry after work with my work friends for someone's birthday. I then spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday on my own. There was a couple of texts to reply to but that was it as far as adult company went! I was glad to get back to work this morning actually, sad as that sounds, just for someone to talk to who doesn't want to have a three hour chat about dinosaurs!

Try and get your son used to being on his own for a few hours in the daytime so he feels happier with you going out at night. I can't wait until my son is old enough to spend time on his own occasionally.

HappilyUnhinged Mon 11-Feb-13 12:28:27

A few people have mentioned this, OP, but I don't think you have commented, but why not ask your friends if you can bring your DS to their house, leave with their DH and you and your friend can go out together? I see this as an easy alternative and one which needs no one to be paying babysitters. Going out is stupidly expensive no matter what your financial situation, adding extra costs that are unneeded is daft. There's obviously someone (the husbands) sat somewhere on 'parent duty', why not use this fact efficiently?

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