...to not want to look after her 2 kids?

(91 Posts)
PuddleCuddle Thu 06-Feb-14 15:24:47

Have known this friend for a few years now and it seems like whenever she is contacting me it is because there is a favour she will ask for.
She has 2 kids and works weekends and her DP is away on weekends quite a lot so most of the time not there to look after kids.
I have every sympathy for her it is must be tough having 2 with no family support. Initially I have done things for her like take her to XYZ because she doesn't drive. I looked after her kids ONCE and after that swore I will never do it again as within those 2-3 hours ALL of the toys were scattered on the floor and her eldest (4 at the time) was trying to get in the fridge and office even when I told him not to. I found it very stressful and spent 2 hours tidying up afterwards as I am not exaggerating, every single toy was out!

I know she has been relying on her other friends a lot for providing childcare while she is working. I saw her recently and from what she said I suspect she is going to ask me to look after them sometime very soon. And not for just a few hours (which I am still reluctant to do given my experience) but for a whole long day! I have a 4 y/o myself and work full time (but not weekends). On one hand I feel like a mean bitch refusing to help her out but on the other hand why do I have to sacrifice my weekend and rest to enable somebody to work?? Surely it is between her and her DP to sort out the childcare! I get the feeling her DP is of the view that her friends are always there to jump in and that that's how it should be. She once asked me to look after the youngest on Sat because her DP wanted to go play football and while the older boy was ok to go with dad the younger one was too small! I did refuse rather angrily on that occasion stating that I would like to have some rest myself!

She had a babysitter looking after them once but that was too expensive apparently...

I do like the kids but that doesn't mean I am happy to have 3 to look after instead of my own 1!

AIBU? WWYD?

Mellowandfruitful Thu 06-Feb-14 16:03:37

I would do this to help out a friend in difficulty (as I have done and as people have done for me) but not if I suspected that I was being used as a free childcare substitute for people who don't want to pay up / make the effort themselves. Since the latter sounds like your situation, just say no - every time she asks, clarify the date and then say you are busy. 'Is that Sat 15th? Can't do that I'm afraid, we're on a trip / meeting friends / spending the day with family'. every time.

There is a school of thought that says tell her honestly you don't want to be taken advantage of. IME people like this always turn that around and decide you are mean and unhelpful. There's no telling them. So personally I don't get into why, but just decline every time.

Mellowandfruitful Thu 06-Feb-14 16:04:07

I would do this to help out a friend in difficulty (as I have done and as people have done for me) but not if I suspected that I was being used as a free childcare substitute for people who don't want to pay up / make the effort themselves. Since the latter sounds like your situation, just say no - every time she asks, clarify the date and then say you are busy. 'Is that Sat 15th? Can't do that I'm afraid, we're on a trip / meeting friends / spending the day with family'. every time.

There is a school of thought that says tell her honestly you don't want to be taken advantage of. IME people like this always turn that around and decide you are mean and unhelpful. There's no telling them. So personally I don't get into why, but just decline every time.

DontmindifIdo Thu 06-Feb-14 16:15:18

the other thought I had was if you wanted to you could say "oh I'm glad you called, DH was going to take me out on Friday night but we cna't get a babysitter, how about you sit for mine on Friday night and I'll have yours on Saturday?" or something like that. I'll only do free childcare now if I've already locked in that it's something I expect to get back in return. I've been "busy" when someone I know who takes the piss has asked, I've said yes when another friend has asked because I know she'll sit for mine a few weeks later.

missymayhemsmum Thu 06-Feb-14 23:42:11

Well if it doesn't suit you say no, but does your 4yo enjoy having the other kids to play with?
If it's a combo that works for the kids I'd try and negotiate her being your backup plan/ babysitter too so it feels fair and equal, and just accept that having 3 kids in the house is more riotous than 1, but probably good for your only.
She's being a bit cheeky, tho. If I asked a friend to babysit so I could work I'd expect to offer to share the proceeds!

fluterby Thu 06-Feb-14 23:50:28

No she's using you. She needs to sort out a job and childcare so that she can manage. It's not ok to use friends to save yourself money on childcare. I only help two or three friends but they'd neveŕ ask for more than an hour or two unless it were a real emergency. And they'd never ask regularly to cover their work hours.

Mellowandfruitful Fri 07-Feb-14 00:01:20

Dontmind good in theory but I suspect that the friend would agree to the exchange, but say Fri isn't possible and they will do it 'later' - and that day will never come.

FootieOnTheTelly Fri 07-Feb-14 00:03:51

This wouldn't be a dilemma for me grin I don't like looking after other people's kids and I would simply decline. I wouldn't give any convoluted reason - I would just say I don't want to do it.

pigletmania Fri 07-Feb-14 00:06:26

No is a whole sentence. Don't do it!

Lioninthesun Fri 07-Feb-14 00:18:14

I'm a single mum and I have a friend like this too - she kept on telling me I should become a nursery when our DC were really small. She then moved on to suggesting I do her childcare when she went back to work, at a reduced rate obs. When it became clear I was going to do no such thing, she put her DS into nursery but guess who gets ALL of the last minute "Oh DH has booked a dentist apt 2 hrs before I get home from work..." calls [anger] . She now has another DS, so I have 2 toddlers and a crawler when I get lumbered. I am moving house this week and have already babysat for them and been booked in for 3 other appts over the next month! It never works both ways. I think she has had DD about 3 times in 2.5yrs...
Say No. I wish I had been stronger sooner. I always feel like saying "just plan AROUND your kids, not do whatever the fuck you like and expect someone else to turn up and have them!" If I have to do this, why don't they?

Are you nervous about saying 'No' OP? Do you need the vipers to come up with some ready-prepared excuses?

eg. No. DC has nits/worms/sundry other lurgies. I have to fumigate.

hoppinghare Fri 07-Feb-14 00:32:16

I'd say no. Have a reason ready for why you are unavailable. I have never ever asked a friend to mind my children. I have only asked my mother about 3 times and my eldest is 4.

NoodleOodle Fri 07-Feb-14 00:38:25

I only ever babysat for small children when it was an emergency as it is quite a responsibility. Her having a weekend job isn't an emergency, she knows she has the job so she ought to have her childcare in place. Therefore, I agree with all the other say 'no' answers.

expatinscotland Fri 07-Feb-14 00:43:36

Say NO. Her DP needs to sort it out, no more jollies for a few years. 'No. We do things as a family on weekends.' The end.

bellabelly Fri 07-Feb-14 00:46:39

I would happily babysit for a friend in need. Thats what friends do - help each other out as necessary. With 4 DCs of our own, one or two more really doesn't make much difference and our house is already strewn with fucking toys so that aspect wouldn't bother me at all. But if it was someone who is not really a friend and who wouldn't be likely to repay the favour if I was ever in need, then I'd be reluctant. Is she a friend or just a user, in your opinion?

perfectstorm Fri 07-Feb-14 00:56:42

I have a brilliant friend who is stellar at collecting DS from school and keeping him all afternoon for me when need be, and who has been amazing in terms of impromptu childcare more times than I can recall. But... I have her DD and DS when need be, too, and I make sure I offer for eg parents' evenings for her school, as well as her feel able to ask me. They're lovely kids and it's no bother (I do have to say though that more than one kid that age, and the toys always do end up all over the floor - that's an inevitability) because it's reciprocal. And my son loves her to pieces, which means I never need to worry when he's in her care, so I try to ensure her kids are as happy here themselves.

This woman doesn't sound like a friend, tbh. She sounds exploitative. I'm sorry she has childcare issues, but she needs to either sort her employment situation or find a minder - not lumber other people when she doesn't offer mutuality.

greenfolder Fri 07-Feb-14 06:47:00

Just close her down "weekends are family time for us,sorry" and change the subject.

pigletmania Fri 07-Feb-14 09:14:54

Bella there is a difference with it being the odd occasion, and a regular occurrence every weekend. I somehow don't think you would do it every weekend, sacrificing your free time when you have been working all week!

KitZacJak Fri 07-Feb-14 09:36:24

YANBU - she needs to have proper childcare set up with her husband, grandparent or baby sitter. She should be asking friends as a last resort ie. if the baby sitter is ill, not just because her husband happens to be out.

JRmumma Fri 07-Feb-14 09:54:06

How often are you talking about OP? Have you only been asked once so far? Do you know that she is asking friends on a rotation basis? Is it the case that she would rather not ask and her DP just leaves her in the lurch? Or does she need regular childcare but just not want to pay for it?

All of these questions would be factors in whether i would do it. No, i wouldn't do it regularly as, like you say, if she needs regular need for childcare then she should be paying for it. Plus working all week and then effectively working on the weekend too (for free!) isn't a situation id like to find myself in.

I'm feeling that you are worried about finding yourself as the regular childcare provider and getting to the point where she relies on you and then you would find it difficult to wriggle out of that. So in that case you should probably just say no, as you have commitments at the weekend that make it difficult for you to have 2 more children in tow.

Lucylouby Fri 07-Feb-14 10:11:43

I have a couple of friends who I don't mind having their children for them at the weekend. The same friends who will offer to have my children if I have something come up or don't mind if I Ask them to look after my three children. But if they were working and using me as free childcare and I wasn't getting any favours back, then there is no chance I'd help. There are people who do this as a job and they get paid. It is hard work looking after young children. The majority have to pay for childcare so she is taking the mick IMO.

"She has 2 kids and works weekends and her DP is away on weekends quite a lot so most of the time not there to look after kids."
If anything, it makes it worse that her DP is away working - "irregular hours away from home and sometimes need to go at short notice" for his "dream career". They either need to make formal arrangements for childcare when she is working, or they need to change their jobs. As it is, the mother repeatedly asking friends for favours, is just not a long-term solution. "She had a babysitter looking after them once but that was too expensive apparently..." - again, they need to sit down and factor in the cost of childcare to their lives.

Tulip26 Fri 07-Feb-14 10:34:48

This is actually illegal as they aren't family members. If you were looking after them at their house it'd be legal. You're liable if they get injured, don't do it. This is why childminders have to be registered.

Pigletin Fri 07-Feb-14 10:45:35

This is actually illegal as they aren't family members.

that's a bit over the top, isn't it?

Tulip26 Fri 07-Feb-14 10:50:52

No, it's the law. OP is liable if they hurt themselves.
Sorry to link to netmums * balk * but it proves my point.
www.netmums.com/back-to-work/childcare-swaps-the-rules

YANBU, just say no. For years as a SAHM people assumed that I would be delighted to look after their children when they were on holiday / training days / off sick. In a genuine emergency I would help out but users who would happily take but never reciprocate got a "no"

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