AIBU to refuse to babysit?

(59 Posts)
BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 16:41:50

As in title?

I live with my BiL, SiL and 2 DNs, as well as wifey and MiL.

DNs are 4 and 1. Pains in the neck though they can be, I love them.

However, a family thing has come up, and it wouldn't be appropriate for either I (being foreign and not related) or the nephews (being too young) to go to, so the suggestion is that I babysit them.

I really don't want to, for the simple reason that I would have no idea what to do if there was any problem. I have no siblings or cousins of similar age, and I have never been around kids before.

I think SiL is silly to think it is a good idea to leave them with me for what will be about six hours.


wifey? wtf
family thing that not appropriate but you are family?

CreamOfTomatoSoup Sat 08-Dec-12 16:44:37

It's the best way to learn.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 08-Dec-12 16:45:26

Are you really that incompetent that you don't know how to deal with a 4 and 1 year old.

Are you under 13

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 16:45:35

That's not the issue - I have no desire to go to it. Just want to know am i being rotten in wanting SiL to make other arrangements for her kids?

TisTheSeasonToBeJolly Sat 08-Dec-12 16:46:43

No I wouldn't babysit anyone elses child if I didn't know what to do with them

Im being nosy now but why do you all live together?

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Sat 08-Dec-12 16:46:50

YANBU but you live with your DNs so should have some idea about what would entertain them, what food they like, their routine etc so looking after them for the day shouldn't be too hard.

I'm also guessing that you have your BIL, SIL, wife etc number in case of emergencies?

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 16:47:55

I am not under 13, but if there it an emergency and the worst happened, it would be my fault.

I can speak the language here for everyday uses, but if, say, I needed to call an ambulance, I'm not sure I could describe, say, a child child choking.

You're a real charmer aren't you?

NatashaBee Sat 08-Dec-12 16:48:24

Why do you live with your MIL? I'm imagining it's possibly to allow you to save money or because you can't afford to live alone, so in that case, your MIL is doing you a favour and you should make the effort to help out the family. I can see why being left with a 1yo is a bit daunting if you don't have one of your own though. Can you have a few practise runs before the event?

pinkyredrose Sat 08-Dec-12 16:49:33

Maybe for family harmonics you could try it? It may not be as bad as you think and as they're young I expect the DN's would be in bed early.

As it's family I would do it and it'll probably earn you big brownie points too.

blackeyedsusan Sat 08-Dec-12 16:49:33

6 hours is quite a long time to start...

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 16:52:33

It's not that I don't want to help. I do plenty with them. I just don't want to have sole responsibility for them for a period of a few hours, for their sake. I am worried about the worst happening.

Extended families living together is not uncommon in this country.

No idea why I am being sarcastically described as a real charmer - I presume some wrong grasp of the situation.

WorraLorraTurkey Sat 08-Dec-12 16:56:28

I don't blame you OP

With the language barrier possibly creating a safety issue/other problems and your total lack of experience...I wouldn't agree to six hours either.

Not for children so young.

SandStorm Sat 08-Dec-12 16:58:11

I was going to say YABU until you mentioned the language issue.

Narked Sat 08-Dec-12 16:58:35


Reverse AIBU?

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:00:25

Not a reverse one, Lulu. I assume that means you think I am being unreasonable.

nannynick Sat 08-Dec-12 17:00:44

6 hours is a long time, especially if the children are awake all that time, so doing daytime care, rather than evening. Whilst you do know the DNs a bit due to living with them, it sounds as if you may not know them that well, so are worried that you won't be able to cope for that length of time. Things can happen, children do get ill and can go downhill fast. However it does not happen that often and their parents I presume would be contactable.
Calling emergency services in a country where you don't speak the language will I suspect be tricky but what are the chances of that actually being needed?

StuntGirl Sat 08-Dec-12 17:01:03

If the safety angle is the genuine reason then can you not explain it to them from that angle? That you feel uncomfortable having sole responsibility of them for so long given you don't have a good enough grasp of the language?

If its more that you just don't want to be inconvenienced by it then YABU.

longjane Sat 08-Dec-12 17:01:55

one bad lad you live in house you know the kids
two you dont phone 999 for child child choking you deal with your self this could happen to anyone anytime you tube and learn what to do
three you and your wife could have kids who would want to babysit if you say no now they would say no in future .
four would want to share a house while everyone was out with a babysitter.

if you really dont want to do it you will need a work night away to make it seem right to everyone.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 08-Dec-12 17:02:18

Ok fair point given the language barrier

suburbophobe Sat 08-Dec-12 17:05:21

You need to grow a pair.

Never too late to learn how to take care of kids.

Millions of people all over the world do it single-handedly 24/7.....

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:06:20

Nanny and stuntgirl, I speak the language for my own purposes, but as I have no kids, and have been in good health since I arrived, medical words aren't my strong point, and I don't want to have to describe a child's symptoms over the phone in a hurry. I suppose the chances of it happening are slim. I am happy to spend time with them, and regularly do so, but knowing that if there is a problem I can call someone else.

As it says in the first post, the reason is simply that I worry about coping with any problem. Part of the six hours is a drive there and back.

I read this back before posting and it sounds more flippant than I want to be - I appreciate your posts.

nannynick Sat 08-Dec-12 17:08:28

Can you resolve the safety issue by having a neighbour you could call on for help, by doing some basic first aid training (even by watching videos online and reading about it), learning some key phrases to say to ask for help, maybe see if the emergency services have any language specific phone numbers (don't know if any do but you never know they might) or find out what languages the emergency services call centre supports.

MagicHouse Sat 08-Dec-12 17:09:38

I think if you feel incomfortable then you should explain that. I think if I had little experience of looking after young children and I were in a country where I couldn't speak much of the language, I wouldn't be too happy either. Just be honest, apologise and say you want the best care for them, and you don't think that's you!

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:12:50

I didn't think of neighbours, nanny, that is a good point. I will ask about that

As for key phrases, I can say, for example, Ambulance quick, my baby is sick, but describing what is wrong might be beyond me.

The likelihood is that nothing would happen, but I would hate for it to happen and me being unable to deal with it.

You live with them, but have never been around children before? Do you just leave the room when they come in?

Does not compute.

StuntGirl Sat 08-Dec-12 17:16:31

I think if the safety/health is your genuine reasoning then explain your concerns to your brother and sister in law and let them make the call whether they would be happy fo you to go ahead. Medical emergencies probably haven't crossed their mind, or they think you could handle it if it did.

TheMonster Sat 08-Dec-12 17:18:05

You shouldn't have to look after them if you don't want to.

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:22:36

Visualise, I meant prior to the current arrangement I hadn't lived with young children.

That said, this is a big house, and that particular part of the family have their own living room and bedroom, where they spend most of the time. For that matter, so do DW and I. And also I work long hours - out the house from 6am to nearly 10pm weekdays, and I also work on Saturdays. So if the kids go out on Sundays with their parents, which they sometimes do, I don't see much of them despite our living in the same house.

And any problems, my MiL or SiL deal with, from medical problems to dirty nappies.

I think, as Stuntgirl and Worra said, I will just tell my in-laws why I don't want to do it. It's not as if I don't like my nephews.

ImperialSantaKnickers Sat 08-Dec-12 17:22:53

I merrily offered to look after DN when she was three, so that SIL could have an operation at day hospital. I honestly thought that being the eldest of five children myself would be sufficient experience.

It was unmitigated hell, DN, although adorable, was nothing like my dsiss and dbros. Luckily I didn't break her.

It was almost enough to put me off having my own children.

nannynick Sat 08-Dec-12 17:30:23

Just tell them you are not able to do it. Looking after other peoples' children is not easy. Whilst you know the children a little it does not sound as though you have spent much time with them so they may not like being left with you.
What would their parents have done before you lived with them?

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:46:20

Ironically, the youngest loves me to bits, and hurries across the room to hug my leg whenever he sees me. Older one can take me or leave me.

But anyway, seeing as if I have a few replies telling me I am not being unreasonable I will tell my sister-in-law that I don't want to have sole responsibility for them in case there is an emergency.

Then if she gets one of the neighbours to be the emergency stand-by, I'll happily do it.

Thanks all.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 08-Dec-12 17:48:15

I don't think you're being unreasonable in the circumstances. Yes, you may be old enough to father kids of your DN's ages but if you were chances are you'd have had a lot more input into their lives by now and would ferl far more capable of looking after them for a few hours. Would it be feasible to do some childcare for the DN's when another family member was around so if a similar situation occurs in the future you'll be more prepared?

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 08-Dec-12 17:53:58

I think if it's 6 hours when they are in bed, you should do it.

6 hours of look

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 08-Dec-12 17:55:33

6 hours of looking after a 1 year old if you are not used to sole care of toddlers would be a bad idea.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sat 08-Dec-12 18:01:54

Weird one. i don't agree with the 'you don't have to if you don't want' in every situation.
Usually, in countries where its common for families to all live together, its also common and expected to help out with childcare, housework etc.

I think it could cause problems to say 'yes I am free that night but can't help as I don't know what to say if I have to call an ambulance.'.

But I get your reservations as well. The neighbor as an emergency contact may be a good idea.

Cahohohootz Sat 08-Dec-12 18:07:09


I wouldn't want to look after two little DC's, unless it was an emergency. They can take the DC's.

I do think the language/safety thing. Is a bit of a red herring. Your English on this thread is very good.

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Dec-12 18:07:48

The emergency services in most of the world have someone with enough grasp of English along with your grasp of the local language to get assistance to you, as will opening the window and shouting.

You should have no problem being able to deal with their basic care - it's very simple.

So I think YAB A Little Bit Wimpy to not want to help out. However if you don't have the confidence then you shouldn't do it, and YANBU to ask? Could you not get the confidence between now and the occasion though?

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Dec-12 18:08:42

Cahohohootz I'm assuming he's not in an English speaking country and its the local tongue he's not fluent in?

maddening Sat 08-Dec-12 18:10:30

Yanbu to worry - how far away is the function and would bil and sil be connectable by phone.

Also if your dw's sibling's spouse is considered family enough to attend why not you?

gordyslovesheep Sat 08-Dec-12 18:12:15

maybe he's not in the UK Cahohohootz?

OP YANBU to not want to look after kids if you don't feel it's safe for you to do so.

BarceyDussell Sat 08-Dec-12 18:16:24

I don't understand your OP.

You live with these children but say you have no experience of children.

Is that right?

RedHelenB Sat 08-Dec-12 18:16:46

I think you don't want to do it & are looking for excuses not to tbh. If you are all living together I think you should know enough about meeting their basic needs for 6 hours.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sat 08-Dec-12 18:37:45

can you think of all the worries you have (choking etc) and then talk to your MIL SIL about them. They can show you what you need to do in such a situation.

catwomanlikesmeatballs Sat 08-Dec-12 19:14:07

I don't think yabu, I wouldn't be happy with having to care for somebody elses one year old, there's no way I'd be able to change their nappy, my own dd ones are disgusting enough. To ask that of a childless person with no clue or experience is unreasonable.

Jacksmania Sat 08-Dec-12 19:23:30

BadLad, in your situation (I've read some of your backstory) I wouldn't feel comfortable either. 6 hours is loooong.
I am sure that emergency services in the country you live in would speak some English, but if it's all making you a bit nervous, then you should just say so.
Good luck.
For what it's worth, it sounds like things are a bit tough for you living where you do, and I admire you for doing your best to cope.

(But maybe don't call DW "wifey" anymore smile.)

quoteunquote Sat 08-Dec-12 19:29:31

why not view it as an opportunity to fill a gap in your education.

You could really enjoy the experience.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Sat 08-Dec-12 19:32:57

Do you speak the same language as your DN? Do they speak the same language as any other likely babysitter? Maybe see if you and wifey could look after them for shorter periods of time so you get more used to looking after them? When is this event, in a week, a month, 6 months? If in a week and you don't share the same language then YANBU, if in 6 months and you speak the same language then it might be more appropriate.

Is there anything else in the place where they are going? I'm thinking it might be easier say if it were an hour there and back to then go for lunch + a soft play area for 4hrs, so the parents have them for the travel time.

How far away is the event the others will be at?

What time of the day is it?

BadLad Sun 09-Dec-12 07:54:13

Barcey, I have explained that.

FredFredGeorge, it isn't that I don't want to help out. I quite often play with them on Sundays, and when they are older, I will be happy to do this sort of thing. The possible language problems when phoning ambulances are just an example - I wouldn't want to call the emergency services out for something that turned out not to be a problem. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to fail to call them because I thought something wasn't a problem when it was actually very serious.

The older boy does speak the local language, the younger one doesn't speak anything yet.

This event is next Sunday - anticipating setting off about noon and coming back about six, about an hour drive away.

Thanks for all the replies. I have decided to tell my sister-in-law my worries and see what she says.

Proudnscaryvirginmary Sun 09-Dec-12 07:59:37

Why on earth were people being so rude to OP?

OP you don't have to babysit for them if you are really uncomfortable with the idea - I completely understand the 999/choking thing. If that is genuinely your concern (rather than just not wanting to do it - which is OK too as long as you are honest but would have to accept you will probably upset your relatives if you say this) then just tell them that.

Solola Sun 09-Dec-12 08:03:16

YANBU, aside from all your reasonable concerns, you don't have to look after any children that are not yours if you don't want to. Can't understand some of the comments on this thread???

schoolgovernor Sun 09-Dec-12 08:08:20

They were being rude to him because he was a man, and from the first post, managed to nit-pick about the light-hearted way he referred to his wife.
To compound his sins, this childless person was hesitating before agreeing to babysit two young children for a significant period of time (who says it will end up being only 6 hours if people have fun?). What a horrible man. Doesn't he know that all adults should not only embrace parenthood, but they should grab every opportunity to learn about it in advance by practising on other people's children?
Then there were those who didn't bother to read the thread and completely overlooked the language barrier, and also the fact that he's genuinely worried about what could go wrong.
Op, of course you're right to have doubts about this. One of these children is just a one year old baby. Unless you share daily in their care then this would be far too long a stint for a first go at babysitting. Added to that the fact that their parents would be so far away, and you wouldn't be confident in dealing with an emergency - of course YANBU. I am sure the responses would have been completely different if you'd been a woman - even though of course all women are supposed to spring forth with an inherent instinct for motherhood.

I definitely think YANBU. Never mind the language barrier, I think that not wanting to look after young children is a good enough reason.
I would never ask a childless person to look after my DCs unless it was an emergency. Fine if they offer, but I wouldnt ask.
A lot of people just dont like kids til they have their own grin

I was just wondering - has this plan been offered as a solution by the parents of the children or by your in laws?

I can't imagine wanting to leave my 1 year old for that long with someone who has limited experience of children.

We have a lodger who is a very good friend, he has lived with us since before the children were born, I still wouldn't ask him to look after the children for that long. He babysits once I have put them to bed but only ever looks after them in the day if I have to pop to get bread/post a letter.

They are being U expecting you to do it.

BadLad Mon 10-Dec-12 02:12:16

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are the parents of the two children.

Anyway, I have spoken to my sister-in-law and told her why I don't want to do it, and the solution is that one of her aunts - great aunts to the boys - is going to come over while it's just me and them. She has had her own children and presumably helped with her grandchildren, so she'll know what to do if anything happens. Meanwhile I'll be there if they get a bit rowdy.

Much obliged to all who contributed.

All is well that ends well then

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