in thinking I've had enough of this 'friendship'(33 Posts)
Background: met a nearby mum when dcs were toddlers, became friends. By the time our boys were starting preschool and school problems started. I'm really supportive of other mums and would go out of my way to help someone in a crisis. However, just as they started preschool I was about to have my second and she just having the one, she started some work for a nearby college which offered support work flexibly within the 9-3 day. There was going to be a problem for her to get there at 9 as the preschool opened then, so I offered to mind our two dcs (who are good friends) in the playground for ten minutes or so to help her out. (pregnant at the time- wouldn't have obviously with newborn!). But she was late. Each time. So I stopped. We were applying for schools and wanted to send the boys together so we did.
When my second baby came it was a struggle getting them both out and to the preschool and I often thought it would have been nice to have had her support in terms of something simple like getting together for the older boys to play and it would have made it easier to go somewhere like the park, but there was none of that (she did 3 days/ half days at college and wanted to keep the rest of her time for her ds. Often would say she coming to meet me out somewhere then change her mind (leaving me stressy and rushing home on occasion)
Then she found trouble with the settling in period (6 weeks of half days) I was quite assertive at this point as with a 8month old and school starter knew it would be enough for me just mine. I can't remember what happened in the end, think her ex (who shares custody and is very reliable and kind) did a lot/took leave. There was a bit of a guilt trip though.
They're in year 2 now. We have to cross a couple of busy roads and up a steep hill to the school, and with both of mine it's quite a challenge. At the start of each term she gets really friendly, like we've hardly seen each other in the hols (she seems to really dislike meeting up with my new dc (now 2) and will either ask us all somewhere really inappropriate like rollerskating or the cinema, or Pizza Express.) Then she's start off going on 'thank you for blah...yes isn't it funny blah...on i was just wondering...then asks me to collect her ds as an arrangement, in return mine can go a playdate another time. But it's too much. Like me taking them all into town with toddler in town (neither of us drive) waiting till 4 for them to do a drama club, for example. Every week, on a set day. And then every second week, after football. (mind you that time she did ask for my ds to hers the other week, in return). So she will offer something in return, but not something useful/helpful to me.
I've only once asked for her help, when my dp was away, the baby was ill, I asked if she would take the two boys to school in a taxi paid for by myself. she did that.
The worst thing is that if I say no she stops the boys playing together. If I don't do things as she asks she'll just say 'well we'll leave it then' and not ask ds round. And when I tried to arrange a playdate with her ex she wouldn't let him, got really funny saying no
So, today things came to a head. Last week had arranged for alternate weeks on a Thursday boys to go for tea and and mine/hers. Ds pleased with this, although it's a bit tricky for me as after football club so the lollipop man for the busy road will have left, I'll have to get them sorted out of their football stuff with a busy toddler but I agree as it's the only day suits her.
Today- Second week back and I think her first week/ day back at work. 8.40am phone rings, rings and rings, she rings 3 more times leaving a message about the after school pickup on Wed 'I wondered what arrangement we have..' I think will ring her later, return from toddler group to more missed calls also on mobile. Ring her "I've been trying to get hold of you.." I am reprimanded then asked to pick up each Wed, take them all into town, the though of which fills me with dread, take them to the drama club which starts at 4...I keep saying no but each time get told 'but she can't get up to the school on time' 'she can't afford a taxi' 'she 'has to load disabled people onto a bus' 'she won't get any maternity pay if she cuts her hours down' Well join the club! (I didn't get that either did I with my second as was sahm!)
I eventually agreed to try it for a few months, (I did do it once putting all 3 in a taxi which scared me too and sorting the buggy etc with the taxi driver was a struggle) Then, I was upset when off the phone and texted her to say I had decided not to as she had been offered a lift with a mother with a carseat and this would be a safer option. She texted back to say better not do the other playdate then as 'would also be a safety issue'
So now feel very silly, and guilty- why! Dp tells me they have 3 adults and one child (she has ex and new husband/stepfather) whereas we have 2 so they should be able to cope. Argh! Sorry this is so long, and a bit garbled. I'm tired and a bit frazzled about it all. One time it was a sports after school club and I was collecting from school and helping the boys with their shoes. My toddler vanished in the crowd/ muddle- it was so scary. (school near a road and open) the TA found him thankfully and quickly but I was in tears, her main concern was to call her hairdresser to say would be late as an incident...so now made to feel am a safety risk/not confident! It's not like that though, surely she should understand that with a 2 yr old and a 6 yr old living in a busy city I only have two arms. And quite often want to hold them both across the road (cars around here a scarily fast- I'm from the country and it still terrifies me the traffic.
Anyway what would you do? She is going to have a baby soon and I can see that will be a tricky one. My gut feeling is to want to move away! (bit extreme). I don't really think the friendship has much hope really I'm too cross. The boys are sweet together though. I'll have to explain to ds not why they can't play on Thursday. Feel like it's my fault arrgh!
Spoke to her ex, we are friends a little. He says she is just like that with him, in fact he always has to fit in with her and change his work days etc. That it will blow over and by next week she'll have forgotten about it. I'm not a partner though!
Also just out of interest, AIBU getting stressed about popping children in taxis with no safety belts?
Drains and radiators......you do find someone who just takes and doesn't radiate
All I could get from that was '... But I have 2 children!' 'I was a sahm when I had my second' etc
Prob not what you were intending and she dies sound UR in regards to all her favours, but You remind me of someone I used to know from work who had it so much harder than everyone else because she had 2 and her friend only had one
It's like a playground!
She sounds awful. She's totally playing you. Wide berth. Your dcs can make other friends.
One thing though. I'd be very wary of chatting about her with her ex though as you could find yourself being quoted.
YANBU re the taxis, IMO kids in taxis without proper seating is only for emergencies
YABU saying that pizza express and cinema etc are unsuitable places to meet someone who has a baby, they are two of the most baby friendly places there are?
Pineapple yes I did think of that. Especially he could use it to back himself up 'not just me..' so I made sure I was very polite and said we had had an issue and just explained it exactly as happened. he seemed to groan in recognition.
Kayano yes you're probably right, I do go on a bit about it being 'tricky with two' must be irritating..kind of trying to make her aware of the practicalities though as she's having her second. And it was a shock to me I found it much harder with two than one, and would have done working or not.
This is not a friendship. She is not a friend. Not to you, not to anyone. Whatever arrangements you currently have in place, tell her you cannot do any more. Whatever she says, uses that MN stalwart response of "No, that doesn't work for me". And repeat. Don't contact her, don't respond to her, block her number of you can.
And don't worry about hurting her feelings, what few she has she's unlikely to listen to.
And above all, don't feel guilty!
You don't need her and neither does your son need to see his mate outside of school.
She's probably alright in herself, but she sounds like a spoilt princess. I'd keep saying no to the things that aren't convenient for you, and I suspect she'll behave like a spoilt mardy brat when you turn her down. You won't need to ditch her, she'll be in a huff when you keep saying no....
Grumple- baby friendly yes agree...just not with my toddler. Not ours. (pizza express tiny and spiral staircase, she would choose a regular showing at Odeon rather than kids one...oh is tricky to explain.) She has idea is a bit naff for parents to just take them to 'children's showings'.
Agree some cafe's/ restaurants great for little ones. The other little cinema does a great Sunday childrens showing I take them to, for example.
It is not about her, is about you. You need to learn to say no, and if you can't, don't pick up the phone. What is the worst that could happen? that you loose her "friendship" ? [ahem... what friendship?] . That you stop feeling taken advantage of? say no.
the worst that can happen that the DSs are sad because they can't see their little mate
children's restraunts etc have never been my cup of tea, and I don't see prob with spiral staircases etc so still think YABU on that, We do mucky festivals, 'normal' restraunts etc. If I invite someone with a baby/toddler it's not because I'm not being considerate of the fact that they HAVE a baby/toddler, because it's gonna be somewhere I found manageable with mine.
Ah thanks for your messages. A great help.
Yes I don't answer the phone to her/let go answerphone. She has been asking about this though and said I should get a new phone! She also leaves these demanding messages 'please can you get back to me ASAP and let me know' Arggh! So, putting it in my hands iyswim!
Yes I will do as you say. The main thing I worry about is the boys missing out but hey I guess they're 6. I mean thinking back do you really remember a lot from playdates at 6...don't think it had the importance it has not..but that's another thread altogether...
and think he'd be fine with the spiral stairs now grumple. Thanks for your msg. My pint was that she's just consider what suited her 6 yr old, not my 2 year old, who at the time was mad to climb anything. I'd have spend the who meal by the steps!
Oh yes and I'd not be keen on some 'children's restaurant; either do you mean like McDonalds or something? Argh. Have taken them to lovely Lebanese and Nepalese restaurant, both of which had cushions on the ground. Great! Festivals too. Just being thoughtful about a easy place for a certain stage of development is helpful.
Can you not just say: I was really pleased with our thursday arrangement. I'm sorry I can't help you on other occasions. I want to help but it is simply too much for me. DS was very sad about the thursday date being cancelled. Could we reinstate it for the boys' sake?
what I meant is she may be considering her 2YO too, but in terms of how hers was fine with those kinds of places at 2
Ah thanks grumple..yes you may be right hers was a placid little one who liked to sit and eat for ages. also it's 4 yrs since he was two, think it may be a change to have a toddler around again...aren't babies for long
Just get the kids together when her ex has his and stop dealing with her
Ah eagle good plan. Have tried that. Went and mentioned it in a lapse and she found out. He got a bollocking. He is not allowed to arrange pickups with me now (me to pick them both up) although is allowed to come along for tea.
OP, if the two boys get on well, they will continue to be friends at school.
So don't worry about the playdates.
If the next 'promised' playdate is cancelled, do something else fun with your DS, he'll soon forget his disappointment.
And OF COURSE it is more difficult when you have a 2 year old to mind in addition to a 6 year old. And adding a second 6 year old into the mix can be quite difficult. I remember those days vividely, even thought it is 5 years ago!
You 'friend' seems to be all about herself and her DS. I'd advise stay pleasant but distant.
She sounds demanding and a control freak.
Why do you let her dictate situations that you obviously do not feel comfortable with? busy traffic, kids in taxis, etc.
Don't let her run your life, for god's sake!
And I agree about not getting too "pally" with her ex. Could have repercussions you just don't need on top of it all. She would probably use it against you.
MCos, Suburbo, great points. It's crazy isn't it. She made it feel like it was me who 'couldn't cope' with the traffic etc. Am glad to know it's just daft what she was expecting. My gut instinct was telling me it's not safe. And she tried to turn it into me being some kind of health and safety risk! Like the world and it's risks and , em my fault? She needs to take responsibility for her child and situation. And I need to like said me pleasant but distant and assertive. Luckily we are not close with the mums in playground/ groups whatever so that should be okay. Am worried about the new baby coming- big guilt trips then!
She has two partners involved though too, plenty of support if needs be.
So, is it or not not a good idea to arrange playdates with the dad/ex then?
I can't believe you are getting into all this trouble just to protect the playdates... and what for if at the end of the day she cancels all the time? Forget about the playdates, believe me, children won't die or become strangers if they do not play a each other's houses after school...
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