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?

ImNotDrunkIJustCantType Mon 11-Feb-13 11:00:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImNotDrunkIJustCantType Mon 11-Feb-13 11:01:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Saski Mon 11-Feb-13 11:02:01

Have you explained this to them?

Maybe these friends can't afford it either. If you're paying for a sitter to go out at their prompting and they can't reciprocate, then I think that's a bit shite, yes.

But you have to say something.

WowOoo Mon 11-Feb-13 11:02:19

Can't you find a night where the dhusbands are available for babysitting and your ds is away?
Wouldn't that work?

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:03:10

If you read my post you'll see that I do, and don't begrudge it. I just expect my friends to do the same on the rare occasion when I can go out for free.

MortifiedAdams Mon 11-Feb-13 11:03:19

Maybe they dont want to leave their dcs with a babysitter?

On nights when they are able to go.out and you have DS at home, invite them round for wine and takeaway instead of going out.

BlackAffronted Mon 11-Feb-13 11:03:21

I have no babysitter, paid or otherwise. You cant just magic them up! Plus 90% I wouldnt be able to afford one. Plus, I would only leave my children with trusted people.

Having 2 incomes doesn't necessarily mean they have plenty if money, they might have lots of outgoings. Me and Dp haven't been out since Ds was born 11 months ago and part if the reason is the cost if a babysitter.

Yabu to expect them to fit in around your Ds being away, it might not be the best time for them.

roundtable Mon 11-Feb-13 11:05:06

I think you probably don't know their financial situation, they may have a lot of debt etc. They might just not be happy with leaving their child with a babysitter.

Why don't you tell them how your feeling? If they're your friends I don't see why they would be upset if you to explained your reasons for needing to go out on that particular evening and not being the one to always get the babysitter. smile

roundtable Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:07

Oops cross posted with lots of people!

LtEveDallas Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:12

It may not be that they don't want to 'cough up' for a babysitter.

DD is 7, nearly 8, and has NEVER been left with a babysitter. She only stays with family. If none of my family are available (and quite often they aren't - the closest member of my family lives 64 miles away) then we don't go out.

Personal choice. You don't have crap friend, you just don't have friends that feel the same way you do about socialising - and neither is wrong.

snickers251 Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:51

Two incomes means nothing!!

My married friends who both work full time are living on the breadline and can barely afford to go out let alone pay for a babysitter.

And yet I have a single parent friend who can afford a babysitter ...

Both rely on benefits yet have a totally different situation and so I'm sorry but yabu!

aldiwhore Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:58

YABU. I'm married, we don't pay babysitters because it costs £50 plus taxi fare (another £20) for the babysitter even before we've had our first drink... DH works away a lot, so I understand how stuck you must feel. Me and my friends tend to meet up WITH the children at each other's houses during the school holidays, and we have a 'wine and food' rota, at each other's houses. There's only four of us, and we meet once a month...

Yes, if you're married it does mean you are freer to go out when the DH is at home, that is NOT SELFISH, that's just the way it is.

YABU because you assume that a married family is richer than you, they may have more money coming in, that doesn't mean that they have more spare cash to spend on 'frivolities' (like babysitting). It is U, as U as me saying that a single parent is 'lucky' becase they often get to go out every other weekend because the NRP has the children... you can't compare you life with someone else's and blame THEM for your limitations.

I think you're expecting too much from your friends, I would try and find a way of seeing each other that doesn't cost either of you quite so much.

I am married. We hardly ever get a babysitter to go out for us, it means a massive extra expense to the evening. Would not really be keen to get a babysitter to go out on my own. Sorry, just cant justify the expense.

WowOoo Mon 11-Feb-13 11:09:42

It would be more fair if they did this.

Perhaps it's nothing personal about you. Maybe they don't want to go out as much as you do? I don't know.

Ragwort Mon 11-Feb-13 11:13:00

Personally I always hated paying for a babysitter, maybe that makes me sound like a cheapskate but to pay £20 ++ for a teenager to loaf around my house eating my biscuits & drinking coffee (or swigging from open wine bottles) and doing not much else really irritates me grin I used to do a lot of babysitting when I was younger so I know what I used to be like blush.

To put an extra £20 odd on top of a night out is just an expense I would rather do without it, if I had a spare £20 I would prefer to give it to charity/put it in savings/go out for lunch etc etc.

At LtEve says, going out socialising is not everybody's priority in life. If my DH is home I will go out to the cinema/for a meal etc but I wouldn't pay a babysitter for the 'privilege' of going out.

DonderandBlitzen Mon 11-Feb-13 11:13:26

Could you make arrangements for your XP to have your ds on a night when your friend's dh is around to look after the kids?

Ragwort Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:00

£50 for a babysitter shock - think I will start offering my services grin.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:54

WowOoo - yes that sometimes works out, it's the repsonse "No, I can't possibly go out with you" that really gets my goat. It's not that they CAN'T go out, it's that they don't want to.

And this is from people who can clearly afford to pay a sitter - they shop at Waitrose, live in bigger houses than me etc. I think they just can't be bothered to be honest - it's a hassle to find a babysitter.

To be honest it's less about the money and more that I feel my friends don't acknowledge the difficulties of my situation.

I have never discussed this with any of them as I don't want to make an issue of it and make them even less likely to want to go out with me sad

megandraper Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:59

Could you suggest going over to your friend's house when you have a night free? If her kids are in bed and her DH is out, you can get a takeaway/have a drink and a chat - and it's cheaper than going out too.

Saski Mon 11-Feb-13 11:16:17

A good friend would recognize that it's cheaper for the OP to go out when her kids are away, and would try to make it work out for everyone. It doesn't neccessarily mean paying a sitter, it might mean her friends prevailing upon their own husbands to shift plans around to accommodate the OP, who says she pays for a sitter on occasion (when her friends don't have to).

I do have a friend in this boat, her divorce is impending, and I am conscious of the fact that her income has been reduced dramatically & I wouldn't turn her down if she wanted to go out when her husband has the kids. I would ask my husband to plan in advance, or I'd get a sitter.

Softlysoftly Mon 11-Feb-13 11:16:40

Even if we could afford it I won't leave the DCs with anyone but Dh or family. Have you asked if they'd be comfortable with a babysitter?

ENormaSnob Mon 11-Feb-13 11:16:48

I wouldn't pay for a sitter for a random night out if dh already had arrangements.

Unless it was a big important do, then I would go out at a different time.

We have 2 incomes but are really feeling the pinch atm and this just wouldn't be a priority tbh.

VenusRising Mon 11-Feb-13 11:17:12

Babysitting is not always about money.
Maybe pop over to theirs when you want to have an evening, and order a pizza?

Maybe bring your DS over to theirs for a lazy afternoon, or them to yours.

stormforce10 Mon 11-Feb-13 11:19:08

I was a single parent for a while and had (have) a wonderful friend who used to inform her DH that we were going out and HE was looking after their DD AND having mine for a sleepover.

This was a brilliant solution especially as our children get on well but I realise that this makes me incredibly lucky! Would any of your friends consider informing their DH he is also baby sitting yours?

Ragwort Mon 11-Feb-13 11:21:40

Sheila - read my comments, I shop in Waitrose and have a big house grin but I just don't value socialising enough to justify the cost of a babysitter - perhaps thats why I can afford to shop in Waitrose. It doesn't mean I don't like people, just that I would be happy to meet up for a coffee/weekend lunch/with the children etc rather than a 'night out'.

Or perhaps they don't like the sort of places you suggest to go out to? I have a good friend who loves going to pubs for a night out, that is not my sort of thing - I would prefer to drink in the comfort of my own home - so I don't go out for 'nights out' with her. Equally another friend loves going to obscure films with sub-titles, thats not my thing either, doesn't mean I don't like them as friends, just that our choice of entertainment is different. I'm sure they don't like the sorts of things I enjoy either grin.

LtEveDallas Mon 11-Feb-13 11:22:05

And this is from people who can clearly afford to pay a sitter

Have you read any of the previous replies? What makes you so sure it is anything to do with the money?

aldiwhore Mon 11-Feb-13 11:22:07

ragwort I think my sums are out a little!!! It's probably £50 WITH taxis... whoops. It's still a lot of money... smile

ZacharyQuack Mon 11-Feb-13 11:24:22

Sorry, I wouldn't pay for a babysitter for a random night out, if I could wait till the next night and get DH to look after the kids for free.

Your friends have a different situation, and different priorities to you. Talk to them and try to work something out.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:25:12

In response to some of the comments - my XP is non-co-operative so will only have DS when HE wants, so I don't have every other weekend to myself as some single parents do. It's a very rare occasion when I can go out without lots of hassle and expense.

The friends I'm talking about are not on the breadline by any means, although I can see that they might PREFER not to spend money on babysitting.

I can see that in general you not be too worried about socialising if you've got a DH at home with you, but I would hope that my friends would understand that I'm in every night on my own with a 12 yo, and no adult company, so make more of an effort. I hope I would do that for them.

TwoPoundCharityShopShoes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:26:07

I wouldnt pay a babysitter for a night out like others have said...

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:27:25

By the way my wireless connection is laggy so I may be a bit behind reading respones - don't flame me for that (I'm lookng at you LtEveDallas!)

KellyElly Mon 11-Feb-13 11:28:11

It's one of the hard things about being a lone parent, arranging nights out, babysitters etc. I can't afford a babysitter and my solution to this is to reciprocate sleepovers with other mums. Then you can ask them to have your DS when you want a night out and won't have to pay a sitter. Unfortunately you do have to return the favour. I had two crazy three year olds this weekend. I need next weekend to hurry up so I can recover grin

nkf Mon 11-Feb-13 11:28:54

I wouldn't pay for a babysitter either. Sorry. Too expensive.

lynniep Mon 11-Feb-13 11:28:57

YABU. I dont have spare cash to pay for a babysitter for a random night out. DH never goes out so its not generally an issue if I do want to go out, however DH and I NEVER go out together because a) we have no family to help b) we cannot afford a night out AND a babysitter.

You need to plan better with your friends for occasions when you know your DS will be away, not feel personally offended because they arent able to fit into your timetable.

OR suggest you go round theirs with a bottle and some choccies - I like those kind of nights just as much (and they are much cheaper for everyone!)

I think maybe part of the problem here is that op is a single parent, and from the sound of things, most of her friends are not. So, in the evenings they don't go out, they are still enjoying adult company, have someone to chat to about how their day went, and share their lovely Waitrose food with.
After I lost dh and before I met dp, I wanted to go out sometimes with friends....mostly the married ones would manage a quick trip to the cinema, but would prefer to go for lunch, or coffee, or "just come to ours and we'll have a wee glass of wine", and definitely not at weekends.
I'm sure they didn't mean to, but sometimes they made me feel crap.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Mon 11-Feb-13 11:32:09

Your DS is 12 and you get a babysitter for him? When I was that age when my parents went out (which wasn't often) I just stayed at home. Unless he is particuarly immature or has SN could you not trust him at home for a few hours in an evening?

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Mon 11-Feb-13 11:32:33

If their DHs are away, can you go over for wine and a DVD?

DelGirl Mon 11-Feb-13 11:33:40

I would invite your friends to you for a 'night out'. I used to do this fairly frequently as well as paying for a sitter for nights out. It still feels very social. A lot less hassle too if you have a good sleeper.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:34:09

2blessed - yes, exactly that! My friendships don't feel equal and I feel I have to do all the running and put all the effort in to work around them.

Just really gets me down and makes me feel resentful sometimes.

I wouldn't pay for a babysitter so I could go out when dh was not around. If I did that I wouldn't actually have the spare money to go out which would make it kind of pointless. If I didn't have lots on though I would ask you over to mine for dinner. I also go round to my friends who are single parents for dinner so they don't have to pay for a babysitter, and sometimes take the food so they don't have that expense either.

YANBU to want friends to consider your circumstances, but YABU to not consider theirs also, which as others have said may not be exactly as you are thinking.

Bramshott Mon 11-Feb-13 11:36:08

I agree that this kind of thing is annoying (and I'm not a single parent), but I think TBH "I can't come out because my DH is out/away" really means "I don't want to go out that much". Maybe they're not that interested in having a social life - it's their loss.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:36:11

I used to have friends come to me for a drink and that worked well, but now DS isn't in bed much befeor 10 pm it's more difficult, especially during the week (and I'd never be allocated a Saturday, sigh).

Sorry, but YABU.

Your DC are used to being left with a babysitter and you have, presumably, through trial and error found one you can trust.

My DC would not easily be left with a babysitter as they have only ever had me, my DH or GP look after them at bedtime. If it was going to be a weekly thing, like a class etc, then it would be worth pushing though this but not for a one off.


coldcupoftea Mon 11-Feb-13 11:36:19

YANBU, they don't need to pay for a babysitter, get them to take it in turns and look after each other's kids! DH and I do go out together occasionally, and I have been out when he is away, but we have never paid a babysitter, I get a friend to babysit and I will do the same for her kids if she wants to go out. What's not to like- sitting in someone else's house eating crisps and watching what I like on the telly!

whateveritakes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:36:21

2blessed2bstressed that's it exactly.

Judging from the comments on here some of the married folks really don't get it.

I have friends popping round for a chat and wine in the evenings a few times a week. I go out maybe once a month and DS goes for a sleepover at a friends then.

thefarmersintheden Mon 11-Feb-13 11:39:20

We dont habe babysitters.

I would come over to your house with a takeaway and a bottle of wine though, if youd have me smile

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 11:39:30

Yes DS is 12 but I wouldn't leave him on his own in the house while I went out - he would be miserable and lonely. I guess I don't want to go out that much!

theredhen Mon 11-Feb-13 11:40:57

Yanbu. I used to get this when I was single. Expected me to pay out but refused to do the same.

Finances do come into it but in my case I knew they had more money than me.

In my opinion friends who have partners tend to be a bit more fair weather simply because having a partner gives you socialising everyday so it's not as important to then to see friends as it is when you're single.

My answer was to find single friends or married friends who were happy to stay in with kids or get their husband to babysit my ds too if we went out. smile

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


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?

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 12:30:40

Sorry crossed posts! I have left DS for an hour or so in the evening when I had something I had to do, but I wouldn't leave him on his own while I went to the pub.

I'm sure he would be safe, but I'm not prepared to do it.

nkf Mon 11-Feb-13 12:32:03

To be honest, I don't know anyone who can afford to go out.

Skyebluesapphire Mon 11-Feb-13 12:36:34

My friend leaves her 12yo son looking after her 9yo and her 5yo, but only if she is in the pub down the road. If she is any further away, she gets a babysitter in. I have friends with 13 yo's that wont leave them on their own. So I don't think that you should leave a 12 yo on his own, you are not being UR to not want to do that. Each to their own. BUT have you thought about having a friend over? A boy of the same age or slightly older? Then you may be happy to go out locally and leave them on their own?

I agree that babysitters are expensive. My mum is available most of the time, but sadly she does still have a life of her own too grin and occasionally I have to pay. This is usually £20. But if it is something that i really want to go to, then I will do it.

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 12:36:43

why dont you pop round to your friends if they dont want a baby sitter you are free they are not . not everybody wants to pay for a baby sitter on a random 'tuesday night' and tbh not everybody is that keen just to go out iyswim,

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

I only left my dds with 1 baby sitter I knew she was my friends sister and then family not everybody is comfortable getting a babysitter they dont know well either.

Tbh it wouldn't be the money that would bother me, I just wouldn't leave ds with a stranger. He only gets looked after by dh, my parents or sister.

SeeYouSoon Mon 11-Feb-13 12:43:23

I don't know anyone to ask and I'm not having a stranger look after my child, that's why I don't. The few occasions we go out a friend babysits, we have reciprocal agreements with them.

Pigsmummy Mon 11-Feb-13 12:45:54

Give them plenty of notice and create an event on FB? Show them it means a lot to you? If any of my friends asked me to go out this week, requiring a babysitter I would probes say no tbh.

You say that you DC is away 3 nights? Well find out which of those nights is easier fir your friends?

kickassangel Mon 11-Feb-13 12:46:11

Sheila, I get what you're saying. I think sometimes people just like staying home but don't want to say so.

Dh often works away and weekends can be quite lonely as other people are having family time. Even if you meet up during the day the evenings are a bit too quiet. I think you need to encourage your ds to have friends over and/or go out with friends, so that there's a bit more variety and flexibility for you. I'd also be thinking about finding a club or activity (most things end by 9) so you have some adult interaction.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 12:47:36

HappilyUnhinged, yes I have done this on one occasion, and it worked well, although it's not something I feel I can do very often as it asks a lot of my friends' DHs and of DS too, who has to be willing to go out late and sit around someone else's house (although he was exceeedingly happy to do this when I tried it!).

I have in fact done all of the things that people have suggested at one time or another (apart from going to the pub and leaving DS on his own!).

I just wish that my friends would sometimes make a similar effort to see me - that's my point really.

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 12:50:43

just wish that my friends would sometimes make a similar effort to see me - that's my point really.

sometimes 'stuff' gets in the way and it can seems a 1 way thing with friends if you always seem to be making the effort to see them it is hurtful when they dont return the effort but I just think your friends are busy, and some might not want to go out,

Sheila now that your DS is 12, is he not having sleepovers in friend's houses?

I got a much better social life over the last few years due to this (made sure I returned the favour though!)

Also, if you can then suss out which of his friends are reliable (and also suss out that his parents would be happy with it) you can leave two of them in the house while you go out for a couple of hours (per Skyeblue's suggestion)

BranchingOut Mon 11-Feb-13 12:59:59

I feel for you, as although I am married we have had problems in the las tfew years and there have been times when I have really needed some friendly female company. It still hurts a bit when I realise that a friend doesn't value the friendship in quite the same way I do.

On the other hand, I can kind of see their rationale - you ask them if a date is convenient, they say no, it isn't convenient for them...because we all have our own definitions of what we are prepared to give up/reorganise/reschedule in order to accommodate other people within our lives.

Unless you are prepared to actually raise this with them, then I think you just have to accept it.

Skyebluesapphire Mon 11-Feb-13 13:02:45

yes, obviously the other child's parents would need to be happy with the situation. we had babysitters until we were about 13, then friends would come over so we weren't on our own.

My babysitters are all children of local people that I have known for years. obviously if you don't know many people where you live then that would be a problem, but generally there are always neighbours/friends kids looking for some babysitting. I have 2/3 teenagers that i can call on that are sensible and reliable.

I do get what you are saying though. I find the same sometimes, in that if there is a friend's birthday on a weekend when I have got DD, I get a babysitter and go out, but then if I organise a night say for my birthday, people don't make the same effort in return, so I do see where you are coming from

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 13:09:06

I think acceptance is the only way to go, and most of the time I can do it. Just getting to me at the moment.

Thanks for all the suggestions, and for understanding. A bit of that goes a long way.

Those of you who have friends who are single parents - give them a ring tonight and suggest a night out!

Adversecamber Mon 11-Feb-13 13:15:23

My DS is a similar age, he has been allowed to stay up when friends are round. He has also been made to go to bed at 8pm with a DVD and some snacks as a bribe when DH work colleagues have come round.

Your DS may like being up till 10 pm, mine DS does, doesn't mean I let him.

Invite your friends round, just make your DS go to bed, if you do that once a month it's not much to ask him.

DIYapprentice Mon 11-Feb-13 13:24:06

I feel for you, Sheila - and I think YANBU at all, actually.

Your married friends are in a mindset which prevents them from thinking that a babysitter is actually a reasonable way to go. My DH used to travel a lot and work long hours when he wasn't travelling, no family in the country, and relatively new to the area so few friends that could babysit for me (especially as i couldn't reciprocate as DH wouldn't be available to be at home to enable me to babysit friends DC). So if I wanted to go out I always booked a babysitter.

It is a hassle to find a babysitter, but it is a worthwhile hassle quite frankly. But because it is a hassle, and it costs, they simply can't be bothered. All of the people who say 'I won't leave the DC with a stranger'. Well actually, if you didn't have any alternatives then yes you would. But because you 'sometimes' have an alternative then you can't be bothered for the few times you don't. Whether you like to to admit it or not, that is placing your friendship into the category of - I will go out with you if it is convenient and hassle free for me. The friendship is not worth a bit of work and effort.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 13:26:53

I get you OP.
It is interesting how most of the married people on here agree that they don't really need to go out, that if they were to go out then it's with their DH, and that they can't afford a babysitter, or don't have anyone they could ask.
(Married life seems like a whole other world sometimes!)
First of all, when you have always needed babysitters you find them. I have never had a "stranger" babysit for me.
If it's not my mum, then it's a mum I know from ds's old playgroup, a girl who used to work at his nursery, or even a boy I used to babysit for when I was 14-17, whose mum was a single parent! (I like the continuity that I used to change his bum!)
I guess that married people get a bit insular, don't feel like they need to go out, and really don't understand the need for single parents to cut loose sometimes.
Having said all that, your ds is old enough now to do sleepovers at friends etc. Would he be into that?

AWimbaWay Mon 11-Feb-13 13:35:45

IfNotNowThenWhen, it's not that we don't get it, I get it and openly admit it's very selfish of me. I'm not proud of that and agree makes me a poor friend at times, but I am unlikely to change. I may be on my own again one day and wish I'd made more of an effort.

Fightlikeagirl Mon 11-Feb-13 13:43:20

Maybe the problem is that we all have the tendency to get caught up in our lives and don't often see things from someone else's point of view.
I am guilty of doing exactly what you are accusing your friends of. To me it's logical that if DH is not about (works shifts do happens often) I don't go out if any of my single friends ask. I'n not being nean or spiteful, Just a bit selfish eithour realising I am! I'd hate for them to be feeling like you are!!
You've made me realise that maybe I should make more of an effort. Thank you!! smile

Fightlikeagirl Mon 11-Feb-13 13:45:24

Whoops....Excuse the mistakes, I'm sure you get the gist!!!

sweetestB Mon 11-Feb-13 13:47:20

I have £££££££ on my bank acc and I wouldn't dream to pay a babysitter, I don't like strangers in my house nevermind looking after my child

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 11-Feb-13 13:50:12

I never go out with friends unless DH can look after the DC and I wouldn't expect my friends to either. If we get together at all it's mostly at one or others house as we can't usually afford to go out for dinner and get a taxi back these days. In your situation I'd invite you over to mine for dinner if my DH was away

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 13:53:26

that would be nice Funnys smile

Troubledjo Mon 11-Feb-13 14:05:13

I am also a single mum in a similar position to you and find this really annoying too. I think most people who are used to having another adult at home to share childcare (including most of those posting here) just don't think about the practicalities of being a single parent. It probably isn't that they are rubbish friends, more that it's human nature to find it hard to understand situations different from your own. Unfortunately, the reality is that as a single parent with a child who is always at home you HAVE to pay for a babysitter or have zero social life - for couples they can have a social life without paying so I guess it makes them a bit lazy/ spoiled. I don't make a big deal out of it but I do sometimes make comments just so other people think about it as I think most people genuinely aren't aware of the practicalities of what it is like to cope on your own.

Bluemonkeyspots Mon 11-Feb-13 14:12:41

I have been a parent for 12 years and have never used a babysitter. If dh or my parents can't have the dc then that's it I don't go out. Would not cross my mind to leave my dc with someone just because it suits someone else's timetable.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 14:12:45

Also, if you are single, you don't always want to just stay in at someone's house. The more you are out and about, the more chance you have of pulling meeting a nice chap. wink

PrincessScrumpy Mon 11-Feb-13 14:17:20

I would only pay for a babysitter if it was a special occasion, like a birthday. I don't like leaving others in charge of my dc and feel looking after my 3 dc is a big responsibility. Plus, we really don't have money to spend on babysitters when a different night dh would be home so would save me lots of money. Recently dh and I went out together (the only occasion I would organise a babysitter) and it cost me £25, so add to that drinks, taxi and a meal and it's very expensive.

You may be a single parent but the world doesn't revolve around you. You do not know their financial circumstances so I think YABU

Ragwort Mon 11-Feb-13 14:24:24

Good point about your son going to his own friends for a sleepover, does he do this?

And are the friends that you want to go out with actually going out for 'nights out' anyway - is that their sort of thing?

I was very close friends with someone for quite a long time, we did a lot together in the evenings, cinema trips, meals out, exercise classes etc. Then she and her DH separated and her idea of 'going out' changed to going to a pub and (to be basic) looking around for another man - that is just not the sort of thing I wanted to do. Was I being unkind for not tagging along with her? confused I would have been more than happy to continue going to the cinema etc but she clearly no longer wanted to do that, our friendship eventually fizzled out.

Perhaps you have different social interests to your friends?

SeeYouSoon Mon 11-Feb-13 14:35:06

IfNotNow, in our case we don't have parents or other family closer than 2 hours away and not that many friends! It's our small group of friends or no one for us.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 11-Feb-13 14:39:00

I wouldn't pay for a babysitter to go out if DH was out/away - unless it was a special occasion, a big birthday or something similar.

I use a babysitting agency, with a minimum booking fee so the minimum it is going to cost me is £25.

DH and I only go out on our own every couple of months, in part because the cost of a sitter for an evening is so much and then meal or cinema and possibly taxi into the bargain.

And we live in a decent sized house and shop in Waitrose grin It is just a question of priorities.

I agree that you shouldn't allow your DS to dictate whether you invite people over. When we were young and my parents used to have people over for dinner or whatever, then we would be sent upstairs at 8pm and expected to make ourselves scarce, even when we were 15/16, and certainly at 12.

Troubledjo Mon 11-Feb-13 14:48:14

I think this thread makes it really clear why your friends don't understand - most people just don't get it. If you are stuck in a house every evening never being able to go out once your child is in bed then when you do see friends you really just want to get out - not to find potential boyfriends - just to go out and see a bit of life and enjoy some adult company (it isn't the same seeing friends in your home or theirs). I think most of those who have someone at home all the time just can't understand what it feels like. Babysitting is expensive for everyone but for some of us it is a necessity - that's the difference!!

YouOldSlag Mon 11-Feb-13 14:50:46

I just don't like going out. I am knackered by the evening and don't see why I should go out and spend money and do something I don't want to do, just because a friend thinks I should.

I spend all day doing things for the kids, so my evenings are just for me.

YABU. Not everyone wants to go out as much as you and that's not a crime.

Bluemonkeyspots my dh was taken from us in a car crash. My parents live 150 miles away, but since my dad now has Alzheimer's and my mum has her hands full looking after him, the distance is irrelevant. How I wish I was in a position to write a post as patronising as yours.

TheMagicMumber Mon 11-Feb-13 15:16:44

Your child is 12 and you claim to only want to go out for a swift half? What is this thread all about then?

HugeLaurie Mon 11-Feb-13 15:22:50

Surely the whole point of friendship is that you put yourself out for the people you are friends with? And that you think about your friends and their individual situations?

I have friends that like a meal in and a few glasses of wine. I don't really enjoy doing that, particularly on my very rare nights without my son, but I do it. Because I want to spend time with them, because I like their company, because we have been friends for twenty years.

Similarly I have friends who know that on my child free nights I like to go out and have a few beers, listen to extremely loud music and have a bit of a flirt. They might have partners/husbands/boyfriends but they are more than happy, once a month, to accompany me to the pub (mainly so I can try and find myself a man!).

But surely that is what friendship is. Give and take and thinking about what your friends like to do and sometimes going out of your way to make that happen.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 15:25:29

Well you could try reading it Magic, then you might understand.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 15:26:54

Exactly Huge. That's what I feel is missing here.

zlist Mon 11-Feb-13 15:27:18

YABU - I don't go out if DH isn't around. If DH and I go out as a couple then it is a night that it is convenient for the ILs to have DS for us (usually it is the offer of overnight babysitting that comes first).
There are plenty of nights when DH is around to make paying a babysitter/having someone I don't know very well in my home something that I just wouldn't do unless it was a special occasion. Staying up late midweek is also almost never worth it for me!

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 11-Feb-13 15:28:55

I guess because my family is all abroad and DH's don't live nearby I find the 'never used a babysitter' thing hard to grasp.

Also: Am I literally the only person ont his thread who babysat for extra cash as a teen? Is it really that out of the ordinary for parents to want to go out for a meal together or with a friend and socialise? Or is this some new bad thing these days? In the rough and tumble 70s parents seemed to be out in the evenings with some regularity....

OP: I don't think you are being unreasonable to find this situation frustrating. Another point I'd make is that it's nice to be friends of a couple too not just only ever hanging out with a female partner. But I have a few unmarried single friends and I wouldn't ever only socialise with them without DH.

Skyebluesapphire Mon 11-Feb-13 15:34:27

ladyharriet - I agree with you. i babysat for people once I was aged over about 14/15 and have used babysitters myself. I only use people that I know their families, and therefore they are not strangers.

Huge - you are right - it is all about give and take. Since my divorce, i obviously have different needs to my friends regards going out. but I go out with them, in couples and I also go out with them on their own. I am thankful to be included in "couple" things such as meals out, but it is nice to go out with just girls as well.

It is funny how people change though. I have one friend, who insisted that Friday night was girls night, no men allowed. Then once she split up with her H and got a new man that she can only see at weekends, she now insists on bringing him on "girls night" otherwise she would never see him.... I understand where she is coming from and don't have a problem with it, but it does make me laugh how her priorities changed

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 15:36:02

Ok, I'll give another example. I have a married friend who I love dearly. She said she'd like to try a cheese making class and would i like to join her (wasn't that but I'm covering my tracks in case she's on here!). Now I'm not that interested in cheese making but to keep her company I went along one evening and paid a babysitter to do so. Her DH stayed at home with her kids. My choice to do this - I enjoy her company and thought it might be fun (it wasn't!).

Come half term she CANT go out with me because her DH is away all week. How would you feel?

CuriousMama Mon 11-Feb-13 15:36:14

Sheila shame you don't live near to me. My ds2 is 12, we could get them to be friends, dp could babysit and we could go on the lash grin

I think a lot of people in relationships get too cosy and don't empathise enough with single parents. I've been a single parent but one of the lucky ones who's exdh had the dcs a lot. I got to go out and meet up with friends or go on dates.

Maybe you should try to make some new single friends? Or less selfish? Don't they ever invite you over to stay the night? I would if it were my friend.

If you feel they are really good genuine friends then you need to open up, if you haven't already. Tell them how hard it is. They may just not have thought about it? It could very easily be them one day for one reason or another.

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 15:38:46

Im not really a going out person either I do like to sit in Id much prefer going round to a friends house for a wine or 5 than actually going out it is quite expensive and loads of hassle I just cant be bothered

CuriousMama Mon 11-Feb-13 15:39:37

I'd feel she wasn't a very nice cheesy friend, more one of those stinky ones than a nice creamy brie wink

I'm very fussy with friends now. I have lots of aquaintances but am finding as I get older friends need to be really nice thoughtful people. I've distanced myself from a few who I still like as people but I've found are too self absorbed.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 15:40:48

Thanks Curious, yes that would be nice. Strangely, I know no other single parents. Surrounded by coupledom, it's no wonder I need a drink!

mrsjay Mon 11-Feb-13 15:41:26

shelia maybe next time ask one of their husbands if he would babysit for you maybe your friends just dont understand that you fork out a lot for a babysitter it probably just doesnt occur to them how much you are paying out and the organising of it,

Skyebluesapphire Mon 11-Feb-13 15:44:29

Another good example is which pubs you go to, my married friends want to find a nice quiet pub where they can sit in a corner and chat. I want to find a pub with a bit of music and a few people so there is half a chance of meeting somebody one day.

I suppose we just want different things from a night out. But like Sheila, I don't have any single friends... the two who did split up from their husbands moved on to other people very quickly as it was their decisions to end the marriage.

Byt yes, using the cheese thing as an example - Sheila - you are putting yourself out for your friend, but not getting anything in return.

HugeLaurie Mon 11-Feb-13 15:46:43

I have got five friends (close friends), who I have gone out to pubs and clubs with since we were 17. In the last 20 years all of our lives have changed massively. Two are married (one with children, one without), one of us is single, no kids, one of us is divorced with a young son, one of us is single with a 15 yo dd and the other has just split up with her long term partner.

Not one of us is in the same situation. But we are still friends. Close friends. Because we care enough about each other to keep in touch and do things together.

Yes, I spend a lot of time alone because of my current situation (no money and a young child), but I make sure that my friends know that I am there for them just as they are for me.

I would lie down in traffic for any of these women. Men come and go in my experience (unfortunately) and if I hadn't had that support when my ex and I split I don't know what I would have done.

LightTheLampNotTheRat Mon 11-Feb-13 16:35:27

OP YANBU - at all. I'm astonished at the lack of empathy among smug marrieds on this thread. Am married myself but can totally put myself in the position of a single friend who's dying to go out when she has a chance. Heck, I'm usually ecstatic to have a break from my own four walls myself. And yes, if I want to see a friend and DH is out, I will pay for a sitter. Not because money's no object, but because seeing friends is a big priority. And good friends understand each other's lives and are prepared to give and take. Sheila, there's a great pub near me - I'd meet you there like a shot!

I've just caught up on this thread and I'm wondering how old your friends' DC are?

I posted earlier that I wouldn't leave mine with a babysitter, but they are only 2 and 4. It would be different if they were closer to your DS's age.

That said I hate (and have always hated) pubs/clubs/bars, so wouldn't want to blow my budget on that sort of evening even if my DH could babysit. A meal or bowling or whatever would be different. I guess it depends whether your main aim is grown up time with friends or meeting new people.

My DH works away during the week (sometimes weekends too at the start/end of projects) and it can be terribly isolating. I can't imagine how tough it would be to not have him on the end of the phone every evening or know that I have someone to share holidays etc with.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Mon 11-Feb-13 18:10:34

If I asked someone to do a course with me and they came along, I would assume that they wanted to do the course.

I've just noticed in your OP that you talk about "later this week". Even if DH was around, I wouldn't necessarily be Able to go our with a couple of days' notice and if he wasn't, I doubt I could get a sitter that quickly - tend to book ours 2-3 weeks ahead.

12ylnon Mon 11-Feb-13 18:14:48

Babysitters are expensive- and i am one! I get between £25 and £60 per evening (generally- sometimes i get more). I think that's incredible amount of money to add onto an evening out. Thats why i don't hire babysitters for DS smile

YouOldSlag Mon 11-Feb-13 18:19:44

TBH I think married folk are getting a hard time on here.

I loathe pubs, clubs and bars, and hangovers last about 3 days now I'm in my 40s. However, if a single friend wanted to go out I would suggest a meal somewhere, or a day out together, maybe shopping and lunch.

My nights out are few and far between and I would hate to spend it doing something I loathed just to please someone else. I would offer an alternative or a compromise, but I wouldn't waste money on a noisy pub or club if it was the polar opposite of what I enjoy doing.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 11-Feb-13 18:42:44

Why did you do the cheese course though, if you didn't think you wanted to do it? Sounds like your friend was going to do it anyway and thought you might like to come along, that's all. Don't paint it that you were doing her a huge favour.

Tbh it doesn't sound like you actually care about having your friend's company here. What you want is someone to come out with you so that you can meet a bloke, and I can understand that your friends don't want to do that.

FutTheShuckUp Mon 11-Feb-13 18:50:40

They dont want to go out and find a bloke? They dont have to- its perfectly feasible to have a night out without copping off with someone if you are attached- even if your friend does!

YouOldSlag Mon 11-Feb-13 18:53:23

yeah but it's awkaward being the wingman.

sarahseashell Mon 11-Feb-13 19:11:13

YANBU at all and I'm shock at some of the smug marrieds on here
they just don't get it, but sadly would do if their h left or died sad

I think most single parents have encountered this tbh - I find school parents' socials difficult because I have to pay for a babysitter to go on top of the cost of the evening, whereas it'd be rearranged if someone's dh were away or they'd complain if they had to get a babysitter etc. It's just ignored that as an lp you have to get a babysitter to go out.

On the plus side only a couple more years and you won't need to pay for one as ds will be old enough not to need one smile

ChestyLeRoux Mon 11-Feb-13 19:19:30

Out of my friends none ever get babysitters so I doubt many people would do that for a night out.

Bit confused here wont their dhs ever babysit? Surely if one friend wont go out just ring someone else.

If you had just come with me for cheese-making, I would definitely come out with you! wink

Do you think it is the age of the children rather than them being married?

Most of my friends have children the same age as mine. We go out together now and then, and some times, to make it possible for us all, one of us might have to get a baby sitter. That is fine.

But one of my friends whose child is a LOT younger, will never come out. I have not seen her without her baby at all since her child was born. No question of leaving her with her dh, not for lunch, not for the evening, not even for evening seminars and networking events in the field we work. My friend has not been to see me at all since she got pregnant. First it was a drag on the train because of her bump. Fair enough. And now, it is "too far" to take baby. ok. hmm

Do your friends have younger children than you?

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 19:37:20

For what it's worth, I wouldn't expect my friends to go out 'on the pull' with me - frankly I wouldn't have a clue where to do that round here anyway. Maybe I wouldn't have been single so long if I did!

Nights out I enjoy are a quiet pub, the cinema or something to eat- that's it really. I don't think I ever mentioned pulling so I'm not sure where that's come from.

Sheila Mon 11-Feb-13 19:41:29

Their kids are mostly the same age as DS, but they generally have more than one.

And yes I do ring round but sometimes I just want to see a particular person who I haven't seen for ages, so it's upsetting to get the brush off.

So not that then.

Personally, I love being social. But find it hard to afford baby sitters.

I sometimes envy people with lots of family who are willing to babysit. When dh is away with work I stay in most nights, and cant even get to the gym. The funds simply wont stretch to baby sitters.

My cousin is a single mum, and I think she can relate to a what of what you are saying. But for daytime. She says I am the only one of her friends who will call up on a Saturday/Sunday morning to ask her and her dd out to do stuff with me, my dh and our boys. Everyone else just wants "family time". Dh was away for 3 months when ds1 was a baby. I had the same experience. I got so pizzed off in the end I took ds out to Pizza Express for Sunday lunch all by myself! Weekends were extremely lonely those months. Nobody to do anything with.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 20:10:30

Itb was me who mentioned pulling Sheila! And tbh I don't really go out on the pull, but I also know that it is very unlikely that I will ever meet someone sat on my friends sofa, so I like be out and about sometimes.
Agree with PureQuintessence about weekends too. I never call my married friends on a weekend to do anything in the day because they are always doing family stuff, and it can be really lonely.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Mon 11-Feb-13 20:16:01

I'd happily meet another parent on the weekend with our kids and give DH a break at home.

HoneyStepMummy Mon 11-Feb-13 20:17:57

OP I'm totally confused! You're upset because your friends don't want to get a babysitter instead opting for their dads to watch them- but you're doing the same yourself confused. On one hand you don't want to leave your 12 year old by himself which I understand, but you don't seem to keen on any other ideas people have suggested.
Surely you could tell your friends a few weeks ahead of time that you will be child free and would like to make plans? And surely you could mention to your friends that you would really appreciate it if they told you way in advance about social plans so you could make arrangements for your son (such as a sleepover).
When my DSD was 12 we would sometimes leave her at home when we went out to dinner. We would only venture about 20 minutes away and keep our mobiles on the whole time. She really enjoyed having the place to herself and watching whatever she wanted to on TV smile

YouOldSlag Mon 11-Feb-13 20:19:46

IfNotNow- what is that you want them to do? Cancel their plans with their children or include you in their plans with their children?

I don't splash out on babysitting because there is nobody we can ask so it would mean paying a stranger and I won't do that, not for anyone.

I also know that it is very unlikely that I will ever meet someone sat on my friends sofa, so I like be out and about sometimes. this is called wanting to go on the pull.

lljkk Mon 11-Feb-13 20:35:28

All the single parents I know have people queuing up to baby sit for them (for free, yes free!!). Literally. It leaves me shock when I hear about their busy social lives. I know if I became a single parent I'd have NO ONE and probably almost never go out.

I am married & we could afford a babysitter, but to be honest, for years I felt that my rambunctious brats were too much for any babysitter we knew, or perhaps at times we knew a reliable adult babysitter but lost her phone number 2 months later. Certainly wouldn't leave them with random babysitter.

last weekend for first time every I left my lot with random teenager (okay not entirely random, regularly minds younger siblings). Keep in mind my eldest is a teen, too, just not a reliable one for looking after younger sibs. That was as challenging as I thought random teen should ever be lumbered with.

I had some (married to each) other friends who used to get short-tempered with us because we wouldn't go out for a meal with them... they wouldn't accept that we knew no one we thought we could ask to babysit (there are NOT professional babysitting services in our area, either). They never offered to sit, I wondered how heavy a hint I should drop but they never got it. They stopped asking, obviously presumed we didn't really want to go out.

So my first thought in OP's case was if the children (of her friends) were difficult and too much of a headache for the married couples to easily find a sitter.

stubbornstains Mon 11-Feb-13 20:42:10

I completely sympathise with you OP. Sometimes arranging an evening out as a single parent feels like climbing Everest, and it makes you feel really stabby when your friends aren't willing to make half the effort (and many of my friends are single mums- they just have kids old enough to leave, or their exes have the kids some of the time).

The insularity of some coupled-up people stuns me. Seriously, you don't socialise without your DP/ DHs? In fact, since I've got a boyfriend, I've become the victim of people assuming I'm like that- "oh, we didn't think to ask you because we thought you'd be doing something with your boyfriend". FFS.

I guess I am slowly and surely combating the problem- by making different friends smile.

ChestyLeRoux Mon 11-Feb-13 20:50:37

This is like a parallel universe to me.Most mums I know are out at pubs and clubs very frequently.Married mums and single mums together.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 11-Feb-13 20:55:10

No, YouOlSlag, it's called wanting to leave the house occasionally.

foslady Mon 11-Feb-13 21:01:02

Know EXACTLY where you're coming from Sheila. I refer to it (to myself, not to anyone else) as my single night out tax. The worst ones are when I'm invited to go to a party plan night at one of their houses......I think I've managed to get through to them if it's not on a night that dd's at her dads to forget it, I've used my spare cash on a sitter and can't afford another £30 for some piece of bakeware to block up the cupboard (if we were on a night out it would be approx £10-15 on wine/pub food). I can see where they're coming from, but like has been said further up, once I leave work I leave adult company, and come bedtime the only contact with the outside world in MN & fb, nights out are precious

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 11-Feb-13 21:43:57

Chesty none of my friends go to pubs and clubs. I do know people who do, but they are ex-work colleagues.

Our friends are far flung, so we tend to see people at weekends and often stay over, so socialising is several bottles of wine and a lovely meal once the kids are tucked up in bed. No need for babysitters.

DH and I do go out independently, but we would always try and organise it so that one of us was going to be in to look after the DCs. Ours are very young though, and getting them to the point of readiness for bed that we can leave them and simultaneously getting ready to go out is not entirely straightforward.

When we go out together we use an agency to get a sitter, at around £30-35 a pop.

drjohnsonscat Mon 11-Feb-13 21:51:22

I know exactly what you mean OP. I am in the same position and it drives me somewhat bonkers. I haven't read the whole thread so don't yet know all the reasons why you and I might be being unreasonable but yes, it is annoying.

I don't particularly want people to do it for my benefit. Why should they? But more because they don't seem to realise I have to do this every time I even want to get a hair cut. Perhaps it's more that it would be nice for some of my friends to appreciate what other people have to put in just to do the simple things they take for granted. I'm very happy being a single parent but do sometimes feel a bit invisible on that front.

pookamoo Mon 11-Feb-13 21:51:59

I've never used a sitter. I go out when DH is at home, and he rarely goes out when I am at home. DD1 is 4 and just before DD2 was due, PIL happened to be staying for a weekend (they live 3 hours away) and sent us off to a local pub for a meal. Before that, the last time we went out together was DD1's due date.

Oh I think PIL might have babysat one other time they were staying with us, but I can't remember.

So that's what, twice in 4 years. <shrugs> We just don't have babysitters.

OP, is there any way you could set up a babysitting circle with some of your friends?

stubbornstains Mon 11-Feb-13 22:10:52

Well no, the OP can't. Because these babysitting circles work on the premise that you babysit for your friends, and your friends babysit for you. Which is lovely.

Meanwhile, who is looking after your own kids?

<tumbleweed, waiting for the penny to drop>

Seriously, the amount of people who have suggested that to me over the last 3 years.... (bangs head on table).

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 11-Feb-13 22:19:08

OP we have a monthly quiz night with the Mums from Ds's year and it works really well.

About 12 of us are on the distribution list and we meet at 8 for food and then some come later at 9 for the quiz. Sometimes there have been 3 of us there and very, very occasionally 9. Doesn't matter of some people cancel, which inevitably happens and it's an inexpensive night out.

I'd admit I'd have to be really keen to do something if DH was already out for the night. Yes I agree it sucks that you have to pay for a babysitter when you go out, but its £25 for the evening on top of what you spend which is not an expense that I want to pay and yes I sometimes shop in Waitrose.

At least given the age of your DC it's not an expense you will have to shoulder for much longer.

simplesusan Mon 11-Feb-13 22:25:42

I agree with other posters who say babysitting isn't just about the cost.
Personally when mine were younger I would rather go out when dh was in to babysit.
Paying a sitter seemed a waste of money unless it was for an exceptional occasion. It would also be a lot of hassle for me for various reasons. I am also of the mindset that the hassle it involved was hardly worth going out for. I am a homebody though, can't you tell!

I suppose it depends how reliable your babysitter is. i have always been the primary carer and even now my dm just doesn't seem to have the natural ability/instinct (whatever you call it) to look after my dcs well. I often wonder how the hell she managed with me as I still have to explain the simplest of things to her. Such as what will they eat? What time will they eat? Leaving them when they were very young was not easy for me as she was quite poor at doing basic tasks.

Also the 2 income thing is insulting, ok your friends may have lots of spare cash, but lots of 2 parent families are worse off than single parents.

sarahseashell Mon 11-Feb-13 22:30:23

hmm but the point is, single parents often have to pay a babysitter if they want to get out of the house/ attend school functions/whatever - therefore they don't have the choice confused

drjohnsonscat Mon 11-Feb-13 22:32:13

All the hassles of having a babysitter, not knowing if you can rely on them, etc etc, apply to all parents. I think having this explained to single parents as a reason not to get a babysitter is rubbing salt into the wound! We have the same issues but have to do it anyway!

If I think about it, I suppose I do really appreciate my single friends who will come over to mine for an evening. They seem to get it to be honest. I make a point of telling them how much I appreciate them doing this and that one day I'll be free to come over to them or whatever.

YouOldSlag Tue 12-Feb-13 09:33:19

Seriously, you don't socialise without your DP/ DHs?

The ONLY way I socialise is without him and vice versa.

Because we haven't got a baby sitter!

megandraper Tue 12-Feb-13 10:09:42

Actually, this thread has made me a bit more aware about LPs and the fact that they need a bit more leeway with social arrangements if they don't have family support.

I only have two LP friends, and they both live too far away for nights out (and they both have other support which allows them nights out without a paid babysitter). But I will be aware for the future.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 12-Feb-13 10:19:25

drjohnsons - I only know one single parent. She gets a lot of support from her family, she moved back to live close to them when her marriage ended.
Her parents babysit for her one night a week so that she can go to an evening class, and they occasionally have her daughter one night at the weekend - and that doesn't include the time that her daughter has with her ex.

Now I know that not all lone parents have that kind of support, or anything remotely approaching it - but it is a case in point that family are often much more willing to rally round and offer babysitting etc where there has been a marriage breakdown.

My parents would do the same if DH and I split up - I would in likelihood move to be closer to them and I know they would help me in this way. There would be no question of that happening as long as DH and I are married, because we look to each other for support first.

Wallison Tue 12-Feb-13 11:36:06

OP, I can see how this niggles at you, but to be honest I view it as being part and parcel of being a lone parent. I am one myself, and it's tough. I also have no family close by and my ex has my son maybe three times a year. So every bit of time when I'm not with my son, I pay for. Whether that be to enable me to go to work or to go out of a evening, I have to pay for someone to look after him. Sometimes I do look wistfully at married friends who bitch about how they have to juggle time and leave etc to make sure they have no childcare costs - would that I had that luxury! But it is how it is. I think you just have to suck it up, tbh.

If I had a husband/partner at home, I would approach things in exactly the same way as your friends do; why go out on a night which necessitates paying for a babysitter, when you can go out on another night which doesn't? It just doesn't make sense for them.

So I'm not saying that you're BU, but I think people who don't know what it's like to have sole responsibility for a child, with no nights off and no-one there to pick up the slack just don't get it and I wouldn't expect them to either.

Wallison Tue 12-Feb-13 11:47:30

Oh yes and babysitting circles just do not work for single parents - thank you for pointing that out, stubbornstains. I have also had a few (private, quiet) head-banging moments over the years when people have suggested it. Now I just smile and say "I cannot babysit for other people because I cannot leave my son on his own". And wait for all the little wheels to slowly click into motion. Sometimes, I wait for a while.

Ragwort Tue 12-Feb-13 16:17:43

Wallison - actually babysitting can work for single people in some circumstances, my (single) friend used to have my DS for sleepovers or look after him in the day time at weekends, I agree it is not totally the same as going to someone else's house to look after their children but there are alternatives - or offering to do a friend's ironing in exchange for babysitting. grin. Those sorts of things might work occasionally.

comingintomyown Tue 12-Feb-13 17:52:14

Some of the responses like bluemonkeyspots have been very unpleasant

I completely understand how you feel. My friends have been sooo supportive of me in the last 3 years and have included me in family things and lots of weekend slots as well ( I appreciated that remark that you would never get a night out with them on a Saturday) and its made a huge difference to me.

As has been said sadly I think it simply doesnt occur to some people to make an effort to do something they may not 100% want to do for the sake of a friend.

Lots of my socialising pre and post marriage break up involved inviting people over for a glass of wine , I cant see why your DS being up until 10pm makes a difference, that way nobody needs a sitter.

Why not be proactive and get some advance dates in the diary so their DHs are booked to babysit ?

I would say to anyone with a single Mum friend try and give them a little time and support you've no idea how much it would be appreciated smile

Pigsmummy Tue 12-Feb-13 18:04:34

If ppl are struggling to find a reliable babysitter look at friends who have a CM or Nanny, asvthey, or their cm/nanny friends (who are fully qualified and CRB checked etc) are mad keen to do a bit of cash in hand babysitting. My lovely babysitter is amazing and after having her care for my baby just two nights I just wish that I could afford her as a nanny.....

Wallison Tue 12-Feb-13 19:38:47

Another good source is colleges that run childcare courses - they often have people training to be nursery nurses who would welcome the experience. I'm ok for babysitters at the mo - have a few reliable trustworthy girls I can call on - but I know that friends have put up notices in the local FE college to get people to help them out.

pookamoo Tue 12-Feb-13 23:46:26

Sorry, feel a bit stupid for suggesting that, but I am sure there are single mums in the babysitting circle my friends have (not local to me). They just sit on the nights they are free - i.e. when their ex has the children.

stubbornstains Wed 13-Feb-13 12:02:16


I cannot tell you how jealous I am of single mums whose exes have their kids sometimes. This is not a luxury I enjoy, and one that the OP makes clear that she enjoys very rarely.

Smudging Wed 13-Feb-13 12:21:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pookamoo Wed 13-Feb-13 15:50:38


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