Hello, I've not been on for ages but have a thorny problem and wondered if anyone else has had similar and found a way through it... my DD is now 9 yrs...
My DD's best friend's mum is a single parent with involved grandmother to hand. I have always had DD's best friend round to tea; over to sleep; taken her out with us and treated her on DD's birthday; always buy her birthday and Christmas presents etc. whilst DD is virtually never invited round to her best friend's house and we have only once even had a Christmas or birthday present from them and this was a used item from the girl's own possessions. In the past I have been texted by the mum to ask if I will have her DD to sleep over and I have agreed because I value my DD's friendships... she has also texted to invite her daughter round after school when she is busy. I have never had the nerve to do the same and was always taught that you treat others the way you would like to be treated. So it kind of galls me that my DD is never invited round but I have had this little girl over SO many times. In fact, several times we have gone to drop her round after a sleepover, only to find that the mum has gone out shopping and not told us so we have had to involve her in our planned day out etc. Now, my husband is fixing her laptop for her (for no payment, I may add) as he works in IT, and still the girls always ask for me to play host. How do I broach the subject politely without falling out with this woman, bearing in mind that DD and her best friend are actually in a friendship triangle with another girl and DD sometimes feels left out. EEEK!
It sounds like she sees you as a free baby sitter rather than a friend. I wouldn't say anything, because i wouldn't want to spoil the friendship between the 2 of them - but i wouldn't put myself out to help her. If she wants her DD to come over after school - no problem - as long as it doesn't involve me going out of my way.
You can't force someone to reciprocate in terms of invitations, birthday gifts etc but you can start saying no to the girl coming over when it's not convenient for you. I wouldn't go raising the issue specifically with the mother because I think it will just result in a row and not achieve anything. Just be more willing to say no when she asks favours of you. "Sorry, that's not convenient" is all that's required. You shouldn't feel you have to give a reason. If the mother presses you for a reason, just say that you've decided you'd like to spend that day/night just as a family. The mother may not like it, but ultimately there's nothing she can do about it. Either stop giving birthday/Christmas presents or give on the basis that you are giving because you want to give whether the other family reciprocates or not.
No need to raise the issue but just give yourself the freedom to say no.
Another thing to consider is, is the kid good company for your daughter, and to you, when she is around, or do you feel like the kid is using your daughter too? If she is a good kid who's not aware of any issue and loves your daughter, then I would try to protect the friendship.
Also the kid might really LIKE spending time with you and your family and feel it's not as much fun at her own house, and I think kids that age don't stop to consider whether it might be inconvenient or unfair on you...
Thanks everyone. Developments are... received a text today saying that she would have my DD to dinner after school tomorrow if I had her DD stay overnight on Saturday( and then stay to the party at ours on the SUnday). I said it wasn't convenient on the saturday and I would pick up on the sunday. Return text said she'd forgotten her DD was busy tomorrow evening, sorry. Just as I expected. We exchanged texts after that but the upshot is, she doesn't want to reciprocate. Unfortunately, my DD and her DD may not see much of each other after this as I just feel unwilling to be an unpaid, unappreciated babysitter anymore after 3 years - I've had enough. I've often had other DDs saying they wished I was their mum, which is nice, but also rather sad as some mums just don't value their child's friendships.