To expect a babysitter not to be drunk when we get home...

(64 Posts)
Sticklebug Wed 31-Jul-13 20:21:00

Ok, I have delayed all day posting this as I may be being unreasonable.

We have a usual babysitter (aged 17) who babysits for us on a regular basis, but she is on holiday this week. I asked a good friend with children the same age as ours to babysit last nigh so we could go out on DH's birthday. Her DH birthday is tomorrow, so I am reciprocating by babysitting for them.

So... said friend turns up last night with a large bag - first to come out is a pari of slippers - good idea, our house is really cold. Second to come out is a bottle of red wine...ok, fine to have a glass of wine on a Tuesday night. Cue me showing where wine glasses stored and joking about needing a glass mid week on occasion.

We went out and had a lovely evening, really good food, some wine.

We got home and friend was asleep on the sofa - fine, it was 10.30 and late for me! She was really hard to rouse though and then we noticed the empty wine bottle...she had drink an entire bottle of wine in just over 2 hours...whilst in charge of someone elses children!

She shuffled to her feet and left in a hurry (lives 3 doors up so no driving), leaving us a bit unsure of how we fell about this.


Squitten Wed 31-Jul-13 20:22:08

I would not be happy about that at all. Don't ask her again!

kinkyfuckery Wed 31-Jul-13 20:24:53


Only j/k of course YANBU! Why do you even have to ask?

Was she actually drunk though?

Bowlersarm Wed 31-Jul-13 20:25:16

Yes it does sound a bit much. Obviously there's nothing you can do about it after the event, but I don't think i would ask her again.

You say she is a good friend so do you think this is out of character?

Turn up to hers with a bag with slippers, a bottle of gin, and a straw. Take a picture of her face and post it! grin

maja00 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:32:23

I don't know, how old are your children? If babies/toddlers then totally out of order - if 10+ then not so much.

NatashaBee Wed 31-Jul-13 20:33:09

1 glass is fine... But not the whole bottle. If you're looking after kids you need to be on the ball and able to wake up!

Depends on age of children.

Sticklebug Wed 31-Jul-13 20:49:28

My children are 9 and 11.

She was proper drunk.

It is a bit out of character. She has babysat for us before and I have noticed her bringing her own before. She has a bit of a reputation for getting really drunk at weekend gatherings (ie a bit of a binge drinker), but I was really surprised at a full bottle and how hard she was to wake up when we got home.

on one hand it is really not an issue as my 2 never wake once they are asleep - and she knows this - on the other hand, I was shocked that she would think that this was acceptable as a babysit...

GW297 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:53:16

Don't ask her again.

dietcokeandwine Wed 31-Jul-13 21:03:17

The thing is OP - it IS an issue even if your children never wake once they are asleep -what if there was a fire, or a break in?

I wouldn't ask her again either. A glass yes, a bottle no!

Sticklebug Wed 31-Jul-13 21:08:23

Thanks Diet, that is how I feel. It is the "what if'

itsonlysubterfuge Wed 31-Jul-13 21:08:45

I would not let my babysitter drink period. So I don't think you are being unreasonable.

deleted203 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:08:51

I'd be pissed off - and as she is a good friend I would be telling her so, frankly. It is not appropriate to be so drunk you are practically comatose whilst looking after someone else's children. As diet says - what would have happened in an emergency?

AvonCallingBarksdale Wed 31-Jul-13 21:14:28

I would actually be quite upset if a friend did this to me. 9 and 11 isn't that old. I would probably need to speak to her, otherwise it would just be "there" IYSWIM. I definitely wouldn't have her to babysit again!

Sticklebug Wed 31-Jul-13 21:17:06

I am babysitting for her tomorrow and plan to turn up with a can of lemonade and raise the conversation that way -
'I am a bit surprised at how much wine you drank at ours on Tuesday night' type approach

CaptainSweatPants Wed 31-Jul-13 21:21:15

I'm not sure I'd bring it up

She'll probably get belligerent & defensive especially if she has a problem

I'd just not ask her again

Only bring it up if she's a good enough friend that your worried about & think needs help

aturtlenamedmack Wed 31-Jul-13 21:21:46

If you aren't going to ask her again the I don't think you need to raise it with her.
It was too much but if she won't be taking charge of your children again then I'm not sure you need to discuss the amount that she drinks.

Sticklebug Wed 31-Jul-13 21:31:00

Thanks for the advice.

My initial concern was for my children, but actually - a bottle of wine on a week night - is that normal?

I am so knackered at the end of the day that a single glass knocks me out. I would not consider taking along my own supplies to a babysit...

She is a very close friend, so my concern more is for her...

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 31-Jul-13 22:18:13

I can drink a bottle of wine on a week night on occasion. Not on my own though and certainly not when I'm responsible for somebody else's children.


WilsonFrickett Wed 31-Jul-13 23:16:29

Actually I am surprising myself here by saying YANBU. I like a drink and can easily drink a bottle of wine on a weekend night, or indeed a night where I don't have to drive/be up very early next morning. But I don't think it's rig to drink that much when you are looking after other peoples children.

And it would take me a lot longer than 2 hours as well - that suggests she necked it really fast, which is a worrying characteristic IMO.

But would I say anything? I think not, unless you have that kind of relationship, ie proper friendship rather than neighbours/chat that kind of thing. However I would not have her babysit again.

bellablot Wed 31-Jul-13 23:24:33

Taking the piss, what if something had happened!? A bottle of wine on a Tue, is it just me or is this just excessive!? Each to their own and all that but not when in charge of my kids. YADNBU.

TallGiraffe Thu 01-Aug-13 02:25:23

YANBU - I would be worried about someone who thought it was ok to do this. Is she having a tough time at the moment? Wouldn't let her babysit again though!

garlicagain Thu 01-Aug-13 02:37:52

YY, she was in the wrong. But I see what else you've said about her drinking and your concern for her ... which makes me think, if she's an habitual drinker, one bottle of wine doesn't seem much to have knocked her out iyswim? In my big-drinking days, a bottle of wine wouldn't even make a dent. Have you checked your booze cupboard to see if she padded it up with something of yours?

It's always a tricky thing to raise with someone who's starting to depend on alcohol to sleep/relax/take a pain away. If you're close, maybe you could have a chat about her troubles and what, exactly, she's using to cope. Could she be mixing it with sedatives or pain meds??

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 01-Aug-13 02:38:14

A bottle of wine on your own, on a weeknight, over two hours, is fairly dedicated drinking, to put it mildly. I also wonder, given that she was asleep, and hard to rouse, whether she'd already had a glass or two before coming over.

That, combined with the fact that she's already 'known' to drink on weekends, points to someone with a significant drinking problem, to me. She drinks heavily at 'allowed' events like weekends/parties. She drinks a bottle of wine or more alone on a weeknight. She drinks when she's babysitting friend's children. She brings her own regularly, which is the mark of someone who gets anxious at the idea that there won't be 'enough' alcohol to go around.

OP, your friend has a drinking problem, and she's probably in denial about it but it's definitely a significant problem if she's overstepping social norms this regularly and to this extent.

everlong Thu 01-Aug-13 04:46:25

9 and 11?

So not babies. A full bottle is a lot but she probably got bored? I don't know.

EmmaBemma Thu 01-Aug-13 05:50:51

I wouldn't be happy either and I wouldn't ask her to babysit again. But if she regularly gets through a bottle of wine on her own a night, I doubt she was that drunk. Long before children I went through a stage of drinking that much in the evenings (I was miserable with work stress) and although obviously I wouldn't have driven a car, I was far from incapable.

Sticklebug Thu 01-Aug-13 06:39:00

Ok, am definitely going to have a quiet word tonight. I know that my friend is having some challenges with her DD's (also 11 and 9) at the moment, so maybe it is getting on top of her.

Also, I know she babysits for others locally in a babysitter circle and this may be even more of a problem if it happens at someone elses house.

Catsize Thu 01-Aug-13 07:28:18

I would be annoyed. Good job there wasn't a fire or accident.

MrsOakenshield Thu 01-Aug-13 07:39:56

don't ask her to babysit again.
What happens when she babysits other people's children is none of your business, those parents can deal with it.
Ask her as a friend if everything is OK.

FWIW I always provide wine (and chocolates) for friends who babysit, but they've never drunk it all or passed out.

greeneyed Thu 01-Aug-13 07:48:51

I'd say tonight is not the time to raise it on her way out. Could be hard for her to hear. Can you pop around another time to discuss?

WilsonFrickett Thu 01-Aug-13 10:45:24

Oof, no, don't bring it up as she's on her way out - presumably to drink. You won't be heard if there's a real problem, and she'll probably be terribly upset if there isn't a problem.

And what happens at other peoples' houses isn't your business. Presumably if she was comatose drunk in someone else's house they wouldn't have her over either?

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 01-Aug-13 12:15:53

totally out of order as she was in charge of your children regardless of a friend or not

i bs a lot and do night work (night nanny) and most of my famillies offer me a glass of wine and i always refuse as im working and looking after 2/3/4week old babies

saying that if i bs for one of my reg famillies i may have a glass of wine (they offer) but its one with lemonade as 1) im working and need to be alert 2) im driving

maybe have a gentle chat with her when just the two of you, ie not when you are meant to be bs for her

and never let her bs your children again

OrangeLily Thu 01-Aug-13 12:33:56

That is so much for one evening! Maybe she did it by accident? Like had one and just kept going? I seriously doubt that though. She wouldn't have been able to act in an emergency.

I think I drink a bit because I normally drink at least one night during the week but was out with a family member for dinner last week mid-week. DH was driving so was sober. Family member then ordered a bottle of wine, when I explained I didn't drink red they said it wasn't for me! I had one drink and they polished off the entire bottle over two courses!

Dahlen Thu 01-Aug-13 12:34:01

If she's a habitual drinker, one bottle of wine is probably her equivalent of you having two glasses. She'll be damaging her health drinking like that regularly, but it wouldn't have necessarily meant she was incapacitated. If she was hard to rouse, I'd be looking for a further explanation.

You say it is out of character. In what way? If you say she's a regular drinker presumably you mean it's out of character for her to turn up and babysit while drinking that much? If that's the case, I'd say you weren't happy about it but use that as a platform to ask her if everything is ok.

Dahlen Thu 01-Aug-13 12:34:52

But unless she can promise not to drink while babysitting and you believe her, I wouldn't use her again.

shotofexpresso Thu 01-Aug-13 12:41:46

A full bottle and hard to wake up?

not good at all, be thankful your kids are older that's all I can think.

musicismylife Thu 01-Aug-13 12:43:57

Hi OP,

I agree with Dahlen. I think if it is out of character for her to drink a whole bottle, then it sounds as if something could have happened to make her want that drink. I'm only plalying devil's advocate but like Dahlen said, I would ask her if everything is ok.

Good luck and no harm done (this time).

Remember, no one is perfect and she is only young. That said, she was looking after your children because you feel that she is responsible enough to enable to do this.

God no yanbu. What if there was a fire?

When you drink yourself unconscious, it's usually a sign you went too far, to say the least. And actually it's pretty scary trying to wake someone who's drunk. When they don't rouse it's a horrible feeling. Ugh.

To do that whilst caring for someone else's children is fucking unforgivable. I wonder if she regularly does it at home.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 01-Aug-13 12:47:24

I wouldnt have her to babysit again either, there is no way i would drink whilst looking after somebody elses children. Surely people can forgo alcohol for a few hours.

Whilst i drink little, neither of us would drink together whilst looking after DS either. Whilst he might not wake, he could get ill or there could be a fire etc and you need your wits about you.

musicismylife Thu 01-Aug-13 12:47:58

Ignore my last post, OP, I thought you were saying that the babysitter was 17 blush

That said, if she is your friend, you NEED to be there for her but also make it clear that she cannot behave so irresponsibly around your children.

Good luck (again)

lottieandmia Thu 01-Aug-13 12:49:23

shock no, YANBU at all. I would not ask her to babysit again.

Grumpywino Thu 01-Aug-13 13:13:49

It is a criminal offence to be drunk while responsible for children. Clarify this with her, as the police and social services do take this very seriously.

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:20:39

It's only an offence to be drunk in charge of a child in public isn't it? There's no law against drinking at home.

TartyMcTart Thu 01-Aug-13 13:20:46

OH and I will sometimes get through a couple of bottles of wine (one each) on a midweek night. The kids are in bed so yes, you cold say that we are drunk in charge of our children. However I would never babysit someone else’s kids and get through that much wine.

My friends always have wine in the fridge and offer me a glass but a) I’m nearly always driving and b) on your own when babysitting isn’t for me, the best time to have a drink. More like a cuppa and a biscuit!

FoFeeFiMum Thu 01-Aug-13 14:39:33

YA most definately NBU

DH and I left MIL babysitting recently. When we got back she had not only finished the half bottle of wine in the fridge, but had also helped herself to and drunk a whole second bottle - whilst responsible for our 2 & 4 year old.

I was livid!

She is known for liking a drink but I had assumed she would limit her intake whilst responsible for two pre-schoolers. Clearly I was naive! Needless to say she will not be asked to help out again.

cfc Thu 01-Aug-13 16:57:38

Exactly the same thing happened with my sister, except my little one had woken and we could hear him screaming from outside - she was out cold, having locked the door from the inside and left the key in the we couldn't get in.

Turns out she was a (barely) functioning alcoholic. She's in rehab now. This happened 4 years ago.

What she did is so out of order. She knows it, just as my sister did. She schlepped off as soon as she could the next morning.

pigletmania Thu 01-Aug-13 17:03:20

Yanbu at all, I would not bring it up nor would I ask her again!

aldiwhore Thu 01-Aug-13 17:05:44

I don't drink a lot, but can easily polish of a bottle of wine without feeling drunk, but I would never EVER do it whilst in charge of someone else's children!

I think the fact that she's done it whilst in charge of someone's else's children is more of a red flag that she has an issue with alcohol than simply drinking a whole bottle of wine on a Tuesday. (I say this purely because we don't have strict 'weekends', for example our "Saturday night" this week will probably be on Tuesday!

YANBU to feel very angry.

My friend suggested her DD to me as a 'number 2' babysitter, I politely declined when my friends said "Oh she's brilliant, just give her the remote control, a corkscrew and an ashtray and she'll be fine" - erm, no. (I drink and smoke) Just no.

cacamilis Thu 01-Aug-13 17:09:32

Yanbu, it sounds like she has a problem.

Just wondering though if people think its not right the babysitter drinking what about when mum and dad both have a few drinks, be it at home or on a night out? Surely if its not ok for the babysitter it's not ok for the parents either?

arethereanyleftatall Thu 01-Aug-13 17:18:26

I was just tginking that caca. Definitely unacceptable for a babysitter, but dh and I are often drunk at weekends, in charge of our, sleeping, children. So, the 'what about a fire't comments still apply. I never thought about it before. Do other people not drink ever at home?

HoikyPoiky Thu 01-Aug-13 17:29:25

Obviously YANBU.

I had a teenager turn up drunk and high but I didn't realise it until later. I don't know why I didn't realise at the time but it crossed my mind halfway through our romantic meal out. I guess I had noticed subconsciously. confused. I wasn't too worried as my kids were quite old and almost too old to be babysat.

I am interested by those saying 'what if there was a fire' etc. Does that mean they wouldn't ever get drunk when they are in charge of their own kids? wine wine

It doesn't effect me as I don't drink. <<goody two shoes>>

HoikyPoiky Thu 01-Aug-13 17:29:50

Oops x post

HoikyPoiky Thu 01-Aug-13 17:32:10

Isn't a whole bottle of wine an awful lot to drink in two hours confused. I know some wines are stronger than others but it is a lot of alcohol.

lurkerspeaks Thu 01-Aug-13 17:33:29

I don't subscribe to the "no drinking while babysitting" rule for friends doing people a favour.

I wouldn't however drink masses (so 2 glasses max.) while responsible for other peoples' children. I don't think any of my friends would drink more than that but the vast majority of us would have a glass or two. I wouldn't babysit for free for anyone who didn't trust me to regulate my EtOH intake. None of my friends abstain from alcohol when supervising their own children so to expect a friend to do so is a but hypocritical.

If I'm paying a babysitter then my views change radically. I'm buying a service and I want them to deliver it sober!

I think your friend has just unwittingly outed herself as having a big problem with alcohol.

maddy68 Thu 01-Aug-13 18:45:49

Actually it's only two large glasses of wine. (I do have big glasses) perhaps she drank more than she intended?
I could drink a bottle quite easily without feeling really pissed

cfc Thu 01-Aug-13 18:49:26

One of us is always able to drive. It's rare I'll drink these days, but if we had a particularly nice bottle of red, I'd have a glass.

Pregnant and nursing for the last 5 years has put paid to my drinking career.

So I agree, it's not right for both parents to be drunk when in sole charge of chlidren. But as always, there are shades of grey. At least 50, or so I've heard...

auntmargaret Thu 01-Aug-13 18:53:22

I think you're all being a bit judgy. There was no harm done.

My MIL has issues with alcohol. Her house burnt down because she'd drunk so much and forgotten to snuff out candles in her living room. She only woke up when the flames were licking at the sofa and the dog was barking in her face, terrified. She woke up and the whole room was in flames. Her young DD was asleep upstairs, they got out safely but they lost EVERYTHING.

I don't think it's ever a good idea to get drunk when you're the sole responsible adult! Ever. You never know what will happen.

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 19:02:26

I do get drunk at home, and neither me nor DP drive so that isn't an issue for us.

However, we wouldn't both get passing-out drunk (or I wouldn't if home alone) while DS is here as you need to be at least able to wake up if there is a fire.

cfc Thu 01-Aug-13 19:05:57

There was no harm done this time - but as I ask myself sometimes, "what would the coroner say?"!!

Cold hard facts speak volumes.

I just think passing out fluthered whilst minding someone else's children (or your own, but that's your own business) is wrong. I don't think it's judgey to think that - it's just opinion. I'm not judging her as a human being, I don't place her next to Mugabe on my list of "Bad Peeps" - just in this case, she's made an error in judgement. That's all. We've all been there, to some degree.

Branleuse Thu 01-Aug-13 19:08:26

I wouldnt be impressed but no good can come of bringing it up with her. shes not your regular.

EvaBeaversProtege Thu 01-Aug-13 19:10:10

How closely did you look @ the bottle? Are you certain the bottle was full & not just half a bottle?

She may have been exhausted & fell asleep - you say she's been having problems with her children, perhaps she used the time in your house to get a proper relax?

My mil babysits & I usually leave wine for her, I wouldn't be offended if she drank it.

My kids are 9 & 11 and I figure my house could burn down at any time, not only when a sitter is in charge. (more likely to happen with me than with a sitter as they wouldn't be cooking!!)

1944girl Thu 01-Aug-13 19:12:27

I can remember when my two children were about 6 and 4.DH and I had been invited out one evening and DH's niece offered to babysit along with her friend.They were both 16 then and had babysat before with no problems.Both children were settled in bed before we left, and the the two girls were happily watching TV when we went out.
We came back and everything seemed in order.DH walked the girls back home.After they left I noticed two burn marks on the settee which had not been there before.Anyhow we went to bed as too tired to do anything else.
In the morning DS1 told us he had enjoyed his cousin and her friend looking after him and they had made him laugh by stamping on the settee.After further questioning I discovered that he had woken and came downstairs and watched TV with the girls, then they started smoking and one had dropped a lit match on the settee and a ''thing like a fire had come on the settee''.DN had then stood on the settee and stamped her foot on the ''fire''.We, understandingly were furious.Not so much about the smoking as I was a smoker myself, and this was the 70s when people smoked around children.It was the fact there could have been a serious fire and shuddered to think of the consequences.
DH had a few words with his niece later that day, and she was never allowed to babysit again.

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