To be posting on AIBU rather than just being a grown up and figuring this out myself?

(60 Posts)

Because I feel a bit pathetic! I'm a single parent, 3 kids, stbxh left when I was pg with DS2, now 5 months old. Was hideously horrible time, included him having deep and meaningful fb conversations with female friends about how awful and what a "nutter" I was. Anyway, today I received a message from one of these women (who fully engaged with the "yeah she is a nutter chat") asking if I will teach her daughter....

I teach privately, only person in the area in this subject. The money from an extra student would be very very very helpful (no maintenance for the DCs), and I do love teaching, but I don't really want to be involved with this woman who was laughing about what a nutter I supposedly am when I was seriously ill in my pregnancy and struggling to cope with my other DCs alone.

Argh. I know I should just be a grown up and either say yes or no, but I would rather sticky head in the sand and ignore the message. If I say yes, I will keep getting reminded of what was a black time , if I say no I have to give a reason and it means her DD cannot learn the specialist thing I teach. Which seems mean to let a little girl down because I am in all probability being a bit precious about some slightly bitchy fb conversations.

So, AIBU for feeling like this is an actual dilemma. And, because that is how I feel, WWYD?

brightnearly Sun 12-Jan-14 11:19:54

I think you've given yourself the answer and should say yes.

financialwizard Sun 12-Jan-14 11:20:03

No, I think it must be difficult and can understand why you would feel torn. Business head on, I'd do it.

Does the lady know that you saw the message? If so have the conversation - be upfront. I know you know I went through a tough time but I have come out the other side and I would like a fresh start. You might want to do it even if she doesn't know. That way it is out in the open and this little girl isn't disadvantaged.

magimedi Sun 12-Jan-14 11:21:19

I have read some of your other threads, Waves & I think you would be daft to teach this child - it's only going to keep reminding you of things that are now in the past. You are also going to have to see this women, when she drops of her daughter & it's just not a good idea.

All you need say is that you are too busy atm to take on any further commitments.

brightnearly Sun 12-Jan-14 11:21:24

And I admire your strength, and the matter-of-factness and lack of self-pity of your post!

dayshiftdoris Sun 12-Jan-14 11:21:56

No it's a dilemma for certain

And I am not sure either hmm I would be a little bit suspicious of her motivation if I am honest

Your ex sounds a delight btw and it sounds like you are doing an amazing job under the circumstances

navada Sun 12-Jan-14 11:23:09

No way I'd do it - I'd rather starve.

IDontDoIroning Sun 12-Jan-14 11:27:05

If you do it do it in your terms.
For the money and for the girl.
Don't engage with her mum except on a professional level.

Tell her your will give her a trial period of x weeks and then you decide if you want to continue.
Tell her if it doesn't work out its x weeks notice on both sides.

No one can make you continue and you should do it as long as you feel happy to do so. If mum oversteps the mark, makes references to your ex your "issues" etc you terminate the arrangement.

Itsaburrdiee Sun 12-Jan-14 11:27:34

I don't think you are being precious at all. I am somewhat surprised at the other mum contacting you but she must either not realise you've seen said messages, not care or be desperate for her daughter to learn what you teach.

You may find seeing this mother may help you move on. She obviously does not believe what she and others said on facebook or she would not be in contact with you.

Ultimately you and your children are most important in your decision making. Will it have a longlasting effect seeing this woman or is it a temporary embarrassment? Does the money out weigh having to see her?

PulpsNotFiction Sun 12-Jan-14 11:31:40

Not a chance.

So you're only a 'nutter' when it's convenient for her?

I would decline, but tell her it's because you have no availability as otherwise she may continue to bad mouth you to other parents which in turn could have a detrimental effect on your reputation as a teacher.

Why isn't your ex supporting his DC's financially?

thenicknameiwantedisgone Sun 12-Jan-14 11:36:23

Sorry but I wouldn't do it either. Money is fabulous but if you can survive without it, don't be beholden to this woman who has been a bitch to you.

She would potentially teat you as an employee too, and you'd have to be nice to her because she was a client. Not something I'd like to do. In fact I turned down one client last year as his now partner had spent a couple of years previously trying to bed DH (I'm sure she wouldn't agree with that but it was a commonly held view by people who know her). I just didn't want to be anywhere near them.

If you can survive without the money, then say no.

NoelOfLorst Sun 12-Jan-14 11:36:35

"no, I'd rather not. Thank you"

And move on. Done.

stephenisjustcoming Sun 12-Jan-14 11:37:21

I can see the dilemma. Do you think this mother had the whole story, or was her 'she's a nutter' in response to a crazy, exaggerated version of events recounted by the ex? To be honest, I've probably over-sympathised in the past with friends, about people who've turned out to be perfectly normal. Embarrassingly enough.

If you think the mad ex has put her up to it in order to get info about your current situation, say no. If you think the mother is asking for genuine reasons, and you want to teach the little girl then say yes, take the money and congratulate yourself for being dignified and skilled enough to be having this dilemma in the first place.

DesperatelySeekingSanity Sun 12-Jan-14 11:42:02

Charge her double?

Salmotrutta Sun 12-Jan-14 11:43:24

Whilst it would be lovely to sarcastically say to this woman
"Are you sure you want a "nutter" teaching your daughter hmm" - it probably wouldn't be the best way to handle it grin

The trial period sounds like a good idea smile

Tabliope Sun 12-Jan-14 11:43:33

I'd say so you think it's fine to call me a nutter on a public forum, discuss my business and yet think I'll help you out in this way? No sign of an apology from you so why should I bother? I'd say no even if she apologised. You're far too soft if you're concerned about being mean to a little girl. Maybe this woman will learn the consequences of her actions from this. It's a definite no - no amount of money would be worth it for me. Why would you want the constant weekly reminder, the chance for the mother to get under your skin, the chance of the mother complaining you haven't taught whatever it is to her child properly - after all she hardly sounds reasonble.

You're unreasonable to even consider it.

Salmotrutta Sun 12-Jan-14 11:43:56

Or ^^ charging her double! grin

stephenisjustcoming Sun 12-Jan-14 11:45:38

Actually, thinking about it, this is one of those situations where it's too easy to tell other people to be dignified. Unless the mother was actually very nice (she doesn't sound particularly nice), or finances were unbearably tight, I'd probably say no, and write off the stress.

Suspect it comes down to the people involved, not the principle...

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 12-Jan-14 12:33:57

Agree with those that say to charge her more.

cardibach Sun 12-Jan-14 13:47:31

I'd go with the trial period (you can cancel a private student at any time anyway, but this would get it out in the open that you have reservations) but I would also charge her more - if she genuinely wants you she will be happy to pay, if it is malicious, probably not. In either case, it is more effort for you to teach this child so only fair you get more money!

whereisshe Sun 12-Jan-14 13:58:55

I think it depends on how you process this kind of emotional stress. If you can compartmentalise and keep things on a purely professional basis (in your head, not just out loud) then as you say there are good reasons to do it.

If you can't keep the past separate from the present, and the two different aspects of your interaction with this woman compartmentalised (I can't keep this sort of thing segregated, I don't think it's more "adult" to do so, just a personality thing) then don't do it. You have to make your own happiness I think, and this doesn't sound happiness-inducing for you!

HereIsMee Sun 12-Jan-14 14:02:10

My first thought was to say you are booked up at the moment so you couldn't take her on just yet but then I realised that it wouldn't help you in anyway. How about tell her you need to meet her face to face and tell her how you felt about the comments she made. Tell her you'd be happy to teach her daughter (if that's true) or if not say so. But most of all let her know how it felt and then you can agree or refuse to do it depending on her response.

If you need the money then do what one poster has suggested and double charge her.

drbonnieblossman Sun 12-Jan-14 14:13:12

Tell her (a) you will do it for her DD's benefit, (b) you will do it for own (financial benefit) (c) in so uncertain terms is it for her benefit, given the history, but that you will engage with her in a professional capacity when the need arises re discussion of her DD but nothing else.

That way, you have taken control of the situation, she is in no doubt of your feelings towards her and you haven't shot yourself in the foot money-wise. Principles don't pay bills, after all.

Damnautocorrect Sun 12-Jan-14 14:15:46

I remember your posts.
Tricky tricky one, if you enter it you do it as a normal customer as if it's someone you don't know. Enter no conversation and no friendship.
But It depends how much you need the cash.

hackmum Sun 12-Jan-14 14:19:33

The beauty of being self-employed is that you can turn down clients. This woman called you a nutter. She sounds like she's not a very nice person. Why would you want to have anything to do with her? How do you know she's not going to find an excuse not to pay you, and spread more malicious gossip about you?

I would certainly say no - you don't have to give a reason - but I would also focus on legal avenues to get child support from my ex.

Poppy67 Sun 12-Jan-14 14:25:06

Charge her double!!!!

Thanks everyone for replying... I really thought people would think I was being completely ott and pathetic.

It is very difficult, especially as I really am not the sort who can compartmentalise feelings and I do think it would be hard, but I feel really bad at the prospect of letting her DD down. I don't think the woman knows i saw the messages, and I don't believe she can actually think I am a "nutter" as if she did, why would she want me to teach her DD. In a way that makes me feel a little better as it hurt for a long time that people were believing me to be a nutter as stbxh put it, but she evidently doesn't believe that or wouldn't have asked me about lessons.

I'm tempted to buy some time by saying I have a waiting list just now and that I will maybe have space next term (love the idea of charging double but just couldn't do that)

Stbxh is too broke to pay maintenance for our baby (apparently, but still pays for his older children from previous relationship). My older two DCs' dad did a total disappearing act about 5 years ago as he doesn't want to pay, so I've been pretty self sufficient for a long time. We could manage without the extra one student, but it would obviously make life easier with the extra .

Definitely think that taking some more time to think about this is worthwhile. Oh, and for those of you who remember by earlier threads when I was in the throes of pregnancy hyperemesis etc, my little Acrobat is going to be 6 months old in a couple of weeks shock

drawohamme Sun 12-Jan-14 14:43:58

Agree with the charge her double posters, what's the opposite of mates rates? grin

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 12-Jan-14 15:03:33

I think the idea of putting the child on a waiting list is an excellent idea. It will give you some time to think clearly and as unemotionally as possible about what you really would like to do.

You and your family come first: don't worry about the other woman's child. Take some time to think it over and always remember to put your family first.

YA absolutely NBU to think that this is a horrible dilemma to be in. Good luck.

sillymillyb Sun 12-Jan-14 15:32:44

Waves I remember your posts (I was on my own when pregnant so posted a few times) I think the waiting list idea is fab, but if I'm honest I couldn't teach her daughter. My mental health and sanity was / is too fragile to have a live connection to the past. Your very brave and much stronger than me to even consider it. Pleased and amazed to see that acrobat is 6 months old already! That's flown past! I hope you are loving being a mummy again x

helenthemadex Sun 12-Jan-14 15:48:57

I don't think I would teach her dd, everytime you saw dd you would mentally find yourself dragged back by memories of what sounds like very bad times it just isnt worth it.

You are not letting the little girl down, her mothers actions have done that.

Toecheese Sun 12-Jan-14 16:14:22

Can you outline the conversation you read between them? I'd like more detail as it might be that be was sounding off and she was just appeasing him?

Phineyj Sun 12-Jan-14 16:17:36

If you feel you can teach her, I agree with others - a special 'you called me a nutter' rate is called for. When I freelanced, I used to have a special rate for irritating clients grin

I read some of your earlier thread & am v. glad things are improving for you now.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 12-Jan-14 16:23:53

Like the waiting list idea. Can you meet her some place neutral as well, ie not at your home? I would also want to build in other guarantees of privacy for myself.

BuzzardBird Sun 12-Jan-14 16:23:57

I don't think if the conversation ever came round to the subject of x I would be able to resist saying something along the lines of "on yes, he was such a lovely man calling me awful names when I was ill but not as bad as the women that actually fell for that crap!" grin

Her choice to cancel then or apologise.

Gennacy Sun 12-Jan-14 16:34:44

If you did decide to teach the child, make sure she pays you in advance, if that's possible?

She doesn't sound very nice and its totally your choice at the end of the day, I would advise against saying you were full (word may get out)
Good Luck!

youarewinning Sun 12-Jan-14 16:41:14

Waves I saw some of your posts. I think your strong woman and if you decide to tutor this girl she'll benefit from a great role model. And if you don't then it's totally reasonable as I wouldn't want to engage with the mum either.

Poloholo Sun 12-Jan-14 16:42:01

Goodness no way. I'd just say unfortunately you can't take her daughter on due to workload and leave it like that. Take her on and it will be a continual reminder. Do anything else like say really why or charge double and you will be playing straight into the hands of your ex when he wants more ammo against you.

domoarigato Sun 12-Jan-14 16:51:04

She probably didn't really think you were a nutter, just jumped on the band wagon. Now you can go 2 ways... say no and feel smug that you're the only person in the area to teach the subject or, you could charge her more that you usually would. If you don't want to talk to her, tell her she will get a monthly written report about her dc progress.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 12-Jan-14 16:57:03

Teach her all the wrong things grin

BalloonSlayer Sun 12-Jan-14 16:59:53

I think I might be tempted to reply "I am afraid that I do not think this is a good idea. I saw the conversations that you had with Ex during our breakup, in which he told outrageous lies about me, and I also saw that you appeared to lap all this up and join in. I can see that you now realise that these things were lies, as you have asked me to teach your DD, but I regret that I am quite unable to forget what you said about me in your messages, at a time when I desperately needed a friend. You may find a teacher on ...."

Jacksmania Sun 12-Jan-14 18:14:55

I like BalloonSlayer's suggestion. Very dignified and well worded.
I wouldn't be able to not say anything, the resentment would eat me up.

SecretNutellaFix Sun 12-Jan-14 18:23:42

Dear Mum,

I have seriously considered your request that I teach your dd my subject.

However, I have some serious reservations based on previous conversations I have been privy to during my recent marriage break up and ill health, in which you were fully participating.

These conversations referred to me as a "nutter" and discussed what a dreadful person I am. As such I feel it would be detrimental to any working relationship between us where I might need your support with your daughter and as a result I have decided to decline your request.



Jacksmania Sun 12-Jan-14 18:36:12

^ that one's good too!

<bows to Nutella and Balloon's way with words>

wildfig Sun 12-Jan-14 18:48:11

I think that old 'never complain, never explain' adage works best here, if you've decided not to go ahead and teach the child.

If the woman is a complete cow, then any explanation from you beyond 'I'm sorry, I don't have availability' will just be picked over and used as evidence by your ex that you haven't moved on/can't move on/are still a nutter.

If she's actually a nice person, she'll know exactly why you've declined to teach her child, and she'll feel bad and want to explain herself.

Either way, you know and she knows what the problem is, and she'll squirm far more because you haven't stooped to spelling it out.

waves I read your old threads, although I don't think I ever posted. Can't believe your little acrobat is 6 months old, wow!

In your position I would say no, without giving an excuse. Her daughter's education is really not your responsibility.

IamGluezilla Sun 12-Jan-14 19:22:05

Does she still have contact with your ex?
Could this be a situation (trap) of "accept this client and your tax better be in order" vs. "Refuse this client and it proves you don't need maintenance?"

IamGluezilla Sun 12-Jan-14 19:22:31

Would the mother be close at hand whilst you tutor?

phantomnamechanger Sun 12-Jan-14 19:37:41

would you be doing this teaching in your own home? would the mother be waiting in the next room?

as one of a small class of kids, dropped off at a neutral venue it might be bearable. You would not have to interact too much with cow mum.

As a one -to-one lesson where the parent is dropping off/picking up/having a chat or even worse waiting in another room, I could not do it. unless I really needed the money.

is there any part of you that thinks she is a spy being planted, rather than a genuine customer?

PrimalLass Mon 13-Jan-14 06:11:13

I think I'd be tempted to do it and be fabulous.

Waves, I would not tell her any reasons why you can't teach her dd.

You want other people's children to turn up for tutoring, so don't spread the word you are fully booked, and don't give her any ammunition to go and bitch about you (if you pull her up about her bad behaviour she might just do that).

I would not teach her dd unless I would starve otherwise. Your sanity is worth more than an extra student. You'd be reminded of that crappy time in your life every week.

deXavia Mon 13-Jan-14 06:41:00

Cinnamon has it right - don't risk losing other clients, or causing problems with other parents.

Personally I'd do it for the funds and for the DD.

But if you really don't want to - short and dignified is the only way to go...

paxtecum Mon 13-Jan-14 06:46:11

Don't do the waiting list idea - that is just prolonging the agony of indecision.

saintmerryweather Mon 13-Jan-14 06:48:46

I would answer with what nutella said. Its the most mature dignified response anyone has posted so far

MinesAPintOfTea Mon 13-Jan-14 07:25:54

Iirc you are in quite a small community. If you are going to have to deal with this group of women regularly as your DC grow up then its best to start on your own terms.

Draw up a formal contact even if you don't usually have one though.

It is a tough situation, I still haven't replied, but to be fair I am having to go away with work tomorrow and have been working out what I need to pack for me and the baby. So, I think I will consider all your advice and ideas some more and get back to her when I am back home at the end of the week.

If it helps formulate further ideas then here are some details: the lessons are one to one, with usually the parent dropping off at the start and picking up after, from my own home. So, definitely close contact with the mother required.

The FB conversation that I saw was along the lines of "Hey [stbxh] how are things going with you and Waves? Baby due soon?"

He went back saying "things aren't going at all with waves, she turned out to be a total nutter who hated my kids and I am glad to be shot of her"

She went back reminiscing about when they were an item then said, oh, I remember Waves from years back, she was a nutter back then too. Can't imagine why you were with her"

He went back saying, yeah, enough people have told me that since. Well rid.

She agreed etc etc

That kind of conversation.... (Please note, I have NO recollection of who this particular woman is, I don't know how/if she knows me) And I am pretty sure she has no idea that I know about the conversation.

Interesting that someone suggested it could be a trap, another way of getting twunt to spy on me. I try not to be paranoid, but he does have a tendency to online stalk me.

SomethingOnce Mon 13-Jan-14 11:12:43

Hmmm, tricky.

Could you say to the mother that you're happy to do it, as long as the mother feels you are a fit person to teach the daughter (nicely PA reference to the messages grin)? Then see what she says and then, if you're happy with her response, do it for the love of your specialism, the girl herself, an the money.

waves, after this info - never ever would I let her come to my house every week. What a cow.

ReindeerBollocks Mon 13-Jan-14 20:07:34

I wouldn't be teaching her daughter in a million years.

What a cow! (Her not you). You'd be a more dignified person, but with her attitude is it worth the money?

Hope the work trip goes well - it's lovely to hear you're doing well after all that rubbish your STBXH threw at you thanks

helenthemadex Wed 15-Jan-14 12:58:52

after seeing the update I would absolutely not teach her daughter, she instigated the conversation about you, I think SecretNutellas reply is perfect and professional. It also puts the reasons back on her where they belong

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