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To not want to provide childcare to...

(191 Posts)
TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 22:52:10

a recently bereaved father for a day?

A bit of background: a friend of my SIL lost his dearly beloved DW in May, only 18 months (or so) after the birth of their son. He has given up his job and started his own business in order to be more flexible and be able to have his DS home with him.

SIL, being the lovely person that she is, has offers him some work (he is a contractor, let's say) for which he will be in town on Friday. As it is quite a commute from where he lives he will be coming up on Thursday evening and bringing his DS with. He will be busy working between 9am and 3pm on Friday.

Now, he obviously does not have childcare in place. SIL (childless) has asked if I'd look after him.

I have met friend and his DS once over ice cream for about 1.5hours. He and DS did not get on particularly well (not badly but not brilliantly either IYKWIM) and that is it. I am not a childminder/nanny/nursery nurse etc and I have no experience of child care other than my own.

I just don't feel very comfortable looking after this child in this ad hoc manner. I have suggested SIL contact the CHildren's Centre as they may be able to help with suggesting a sessional childcare provider. She however feels he might no be comfortable leaving his child with someone he doesn't know. (Well, he doesn't know me FGS)

I appreciate that it is a difficult time for him and that he needs help, but feel like his (and SIl's) inability to sort out childcare has somehow been made my problem, which pisses me off.

DH is of the opinion that I should 'just help the poor man out'

AIBU to refuse?

FabbyChic Wed 03-Aug-11 22:54:10

Why can;t your SIL look after the child whlist the work is done? Not sure why you have been asked if you already have a youngster one is enough.

I don't see why you would even consider doing it why would you?

FunnysInTheGarden Wed 03-Aug-11 22:56:31

just do it, it will give your DC someone to play with. How old are they BTW?

thisisyesterday Wed 03-Aug-11 22:58:31

it seems a bit mean not to help him out.
i would if i was in your situation.

but it's up to you. you are the one who would have to do it, and if you don't want to it's not unreasonable of you to say no.

emsyj Wed 03-Aug-11 23:00:51

I see what you mean when you say they have put this onto you and now you're in a position where you can't say no without looking like a tool - but if I was in your position, I would do it. It's just a one-off, and he has had a shit time of it really so it would be nice to do him the favour.

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 23:01:56

My DS is 19 months old and his is a few months older (almost or just turned 2)

SIL will be at work all day so she can't provide the childcare either.

snippywoo2 Wed 03-Aug-11 23:02:48

you've already stated your DS and his don't get on so well so why should you. SIL decided to take him on so its her problem not yours don't be pushed into something you don't want to do.

notlettingthefearshow Wed 03-Aug-11 23:02:52

Is it just one day or every week?

I would do it as a one off. No big deal for one day.

If it's long term, I would be unwilling to commit - but you could offer to do the first week or two to give him chance to find an alternative. That's quite generous.

Merrylegs Wed 03-Aug-11 23:03:22

I wonder why your SIL can't look after the little boy as she has organised the whole thing? I wonder why he hasn't sorted childcare out himself? Perhaps your SIL gave him the impression she had taken care of it all?

I can see your dilemma- but then, oh god oh god, the poor kid's mum has died. I think on balance I am with your DH on this - just help the guy out. It's only a day. He'll be feeling more wretched about it I'm sure - having to rely on the kindness of strangers.

bubblesincoffee Wed 03-Aug-11 23:04:48

I can understand you not wanting to be put in a position like this, especially by a sil, but I would do it if I were you.

It would be kind to do the man a favour, and the world needs more kindness. Wouldn't you appreciate it if someone did something for your dc and dh in a simelar situation?

malovitt Wed 03-Aug-11 23:05:14

I wouldn't think twice about helping someone like that out.
It's only for a few hours.

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 23:08:52

I know, I do feel really bad for them both sad but, I wonder worry about the informality of it all. Would those of you who've said you'd do it not be worried about the event of an accident?

I suppose I'd feel differently if it were a close friend asking my, one who knew me and who could reasonably be expected to k ow how I would respond in an emergency.

squeakytoy Wed 03-Aug-11 23:09:17

I would say give it a go to help out. Chances are the children will get on fine this time..

emsyj Wed 03-Aug-11 23:13:06

No, not really confused. I babysat for my neighbour quite soon after they moved in and we never had a conversation about what to do in an emergency etc. I guess she assumed I'd use common sense? And she is a child protection social worker grin !!!

Rhinestone Wed 03-Aug-11 23:13:26

I completely and totally see your point of view and YADNBU. SIL has definitely put this on you and made it your problem. You are well within your rights to say no.

But...it would also just be nice of you to help the poor man out. We all need to rely on the kindness of strangers occasionally and this is your time to be that stranger.

If I were you I would do it but also have a friendly word with SIL that you don't want to be volunteered again!

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 23:14:17

What about taking him in your car? We have a weekly NCT get together on a Friday afternoon, which I would prefer not to miss.

SnapesMistress Wed 03-Aug-11 23:16:28

As its just a one time thing I think it would be kind of you to help out. It would be different if it was going to be a long term thing though.

emsyj Wed 03-Aug-11 23:16:29

I wouldn't take someone's child in my car in that situation tbh. I have driven my neighbour's child to nursery once (when she had had a major op and couldn't drive, and her DH was away for work). I found it really nerve-wracking, and I knew them quite well by then.

But I would miss the get-together as a one-off. Sometimes it's more important to do someone a favour.

If you really don't want to do it then say no - you don't need Mumsnet's permission. But IMO your DH is right and it would be a bit mean, sorry.

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 23:16:35

But I would be willing to skip it if as it seems I am slightly over reacting with the whole 'Health and Safety' mentality here. grin

snippywoo2 Wed 03-Aug-11 23:16:41

Will he pay you the going rate for child care, are you insured or qualified to offer childcare? What if something go's wrong whilst you have his child. Is he planning to get child care sorted or is he expecting to randomly dump his child on any convenient stranger every time he has a job. It's a big responsibility taking someone else's child especially as you don't know him or his child. Sorry to look on the negative side but you have to think about these things.

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 23:19:22

I know I don't need Mumsnet's permission smile. But it is nice to gauge what other's think/would do in a similar situation

I really don't have much experience in this as I am the first of all my school/Uni friends to have a baby and my 'mummy' friends all have three of their own. I don't know what it 'normal' IYKWIM.

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 23:22:37

Will he pay you the going rate for child care, are you insured or qualified to offer childcare? What if something go's wrong whilst you have his child. Is he planning to get child care sorted or is he expecting to randomly dump his child on any convenient stranger every time he has a job. It's a big responsibility taking someone else's child especially as you don't know him or his child. Sorry to look on the negative side but you have to think about these things.

Except for the payment aspect (as I wouldn't ever consider taking money in this situation) those we my thoughts exactly.

I'm not qualified/insured. What if something does go wrong? Unlikely I know, but what if?

It is a big responsibility (and especially so given what the man and his son have already endured).

Maryz Wed 03-Aug-11 23:23:41

Saying you have a get together that you don't want to miss makes me very sure that you really, really don't want to do this. Also, the fact that you are worried about H&S but have said you would do it if it was a close friend. In my opinion, if you really don't want to, you should just say so.

But bear in mind that some day you may need someone to do you a big favour, and in my experience what goes around comes around smile. Do this for him this week (with enthusiasm and a smile) and someone, some day will do it for you.

Your child is young yet - wait a couple of years and you will be grateful for a network of people who can take your children, or you take theirs; the world of parenting is made so much easier by a little give and take and putting yourself out for someone else.

CristinaTheAstonishing Wed 03-Aug-11 23:26:38

It's inconvenient for you to look after an extra child, I can see that. And it's someone you hardly know - although I can't remember when i last spent 1.5 hours with just an acquaintance.

I wouldn't worry too much about the children not getting on, they are only 18 months-2 years old. What could they have fallen out over?

I think basically you'd rather be able to go and see your NCT acquaintances than inconvenience yourself. Which is, obviously, your choice.

Rhinestone Wed 03-Aug-11 23:27:43

I actually wouldn't give up your NCT meet up. Why don't you ask SIL for his number, phone up and say, "Hi BereavedDad, this is MBJ. SIL asked me on your behalf whether I'd look after your DS for the day. I'm very happy to help on this occasion but I just wanted to let you know that in the afternoon I've got this thing I go to so wanted to check that you're happy if I drive DS. You'll have to provide the car seat of course. And just so you're clear, I have no official childcare qualifications or first aid training, although I'm sure that won't be necessary, ha ha!"

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