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To feel like I am becoming a bit of a sitting duck for childcare and want to say no!

(79 Posts)
angelicstar Sat 22-Sep-12 13:09:06

A bit of background. I am a SAHM and I have 2 children DS is 4 and DD is 2.

Over the past couple of months a few of the mums I know who work have asked me to help out with childcare in the school holidays. I felt a bit railroaded into it and tbh I don't really like looking after other people's kids. I find it hard enough managing my own and it can be a struggle to try and keep them amused, deal with behaviour etc. It also annoyed me that they didn't offer me any money etc or even a bottle of wine for helping out. We are not rich and I have made sacrifices to be a SAHM and it felt a bit "off" that they went out and earned money whilst I provided free childcare and earnt nothing!

Now another mum has asked twice already this term if I could pick her DD up from school and has now asked for a third time and I want to say no but its really hard. I wouldn't mind helping out if it was an emergency i.e. that she was ill or had to take another DC to the docs but its bascially because her and her husband don't want to take time off work.

It puts pressure on me as the walk home is along busy roads (so quite stressful to watch 3 ids) and if I have 3 kids to look after my DD will have to go in the buggy (and she likes to scoot).

I just feel like have become a sitting duck for free childcare but how can I say no? - I mean I have to pick up my DS from school anyway so if I say no I feel like I have to give a reason!!

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 13:11:40

Well, if you don't want to say no you could either say

"Well, I could but as I'm becoming a childminder I'd have to charge you xx that's OK isn't it?"


"No problem you can pick my DC up on Tuesday for me then?"

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sat 22-Sep-12 13:11:59

Just say no, I can't do it anymore. Or ask for a sat morning in return so that you can go and do something, or a Friday nights babysitting in return. See how that goes down.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 13:13:37

Actually though the best thing to do would be to say "I'm sorry I can't it's too much for me with my own two maybe you should get a childminder" And nip it in the bud because if you don't it'll get worse. And you'll get more pissed off and then explode not that I ever did that blush

WorraLiberty Sat 22-Sep-12 13:13:54


As a SAHM I've been put in this position many times over the years. All you can do is practice a firm voice and smile and say, "No I'm sorry that's never going to be convenient".

Don't try to explain why or make up reasons because you don't owe them any kind of explanation about how you live your life.

Beamur Sat 22-Sep-12 13:19:12

Just say it's not convenient but don't be drawn into an explanation. If they are not reciprocating it's not fair and likely she will continue to exploit your good nature.

TuttiFrutti Sat 22-Sep-12 13:21:04

What the others have said. Just say no. I have been in your position several times, and I know it's hard, but you have to be assertive otherwise they will continue taking you for granted.

chrissieagogo Sat 22-Sep-12 13:22:58

Just. Say. No.

You don't have to justify not granting someone a favour. I think that's the problem - the people asking you don't see it as a huge deal (or at least fail to acknowledge that it's not easy for you, either because they're unaware or don't care) and since you've done it before, you've set their expectations up.

Break this routine.

Just say No. Don't justify, or explain in detail, or ever say sorry.

If they press ("why not?", "well what about next week instead?") just keep stating No. Or add on "that doesn't work for me". or "that's not going to work out for me." And change the subject. Any attempt to ask you again should be met with the same - NO, it's not going to work for you, and so on.

HecateHarshPants Sat 22-Sep-12 13:30:30

It is perfectly ok to say no. and if they are rude enough to ask why, to say "because I don't want to."

With the best will in the world, if you feel unable to say no - nobody can sort that but you. Either you become assertive or you continue to do things you don't want to do. It's all on you.

Why don't you want to say no? eg - you want them to like you. You are scared of conflict. Once you know exactly why you are afraid to say no, you can work through it and begin to say no to things that you don't want to do!

RuleBritannia Sat 22-Sep-12 13:33:44

I would say No but an emergency might be different, mightn't it?

DameEnidsOrange Sat 22-Sep-12 13:38:48

Agree, just say no.

Having been a sahm for 7 years I have experienced this too, and I don't mind helping out in an emergency, and indeed do pick up a friend's DC a couple of times a week as it works for me and she reciprocates with looking after DD in the hols.

If they persist and are rude enough to push and ask why, then I've found a passive aggressive insult of their parenting stops "Sorry, we parent so differently that I find it hard to care for a child who has no boundaries and will not do as I ask" has worked effectively for me

Adversecamber Sat 22-Sep-12 13:40:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Teapot13 Sat 22-Sep-12 13:49:53

Second the idea of offering to make it reciprocal -- if you like the idea, of course, and if the kids like playing together. I have a friend with whom I switch every week, so every other week I get a coffee by myself or got to the dentist -- whatever luxurious way I want to spend the hour. It's nice because we don't have family in the area and I dont feel bad asking her when I need help because I know she's happy to leave her son with me. Might be easier to broach than payment.

This is NOT to say you can't say NO -- you absolutely can!

OhCobblers Sat 22-Sep-12 13:50:12

I am always amazed at threads like this as I don't know anyone who would take the piss like this. I would ask a friend in a big emergency once I'd contacted DH first but would be so grateful if a friend had helped that I would buy them flowers just for that. All my friend have children so would have to drag them out too.

You must say no. No explanation needed.

OhCobblers Sat 22-Sep-12 13:52:16

Agree with Teapot but I get the feeling that your "friends" won't want to reciprocate! 3 times already this term by the same person? They've only been back 2 weeks!

MrsBramStoker Sat 22-Sep-12 13:58:10

Use the safety issue as your get out clause -
"I just don't feel confident having to mind your children walking home on such a busy road and would never forgive myself if anything happened. Am sure you understand?"

Everyone should be responsible for their own children!!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 22-Sep-12 13:58:20

The thing is that there are two types of people, I forget the exact name do let's call them the Askers and the Givers.

You are a Giver. You'd never ask for a favour unless you had already considered whether or not it was reasonable (say if you went to feed soneone's cat whilst they were away, you'd feel it was reasonable to ask for that person to pick you up some shopping). Because you would always consider the reasonableness, the assumption is that the person who asks you for something has done this too. You think they think they are beIng reasonable and wonder if perhaps they are..leading to guilt etc.

Askers are not like this. They ask for things but crucially they do not necessarily analyse whether it is reasonable and so are much more likely to accept a No without over-analysing it than you are to say no without feeling bad.

It's like you're speaking two different languages. So speak their language and say No without guilt!

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Sat 22-Sep-12 14:01:30

This is so damn rude, how can these mothers have the cheek to ask? I have always worked and have always paid for childminders or after school club. I wouldn't have dreamt of asking school mums for free childcare.

Just say no and don't feel an ounce of guilt. Have an incredulous face on and shame these cheeky beggars.

BabylonPI Sat 22-Sep-12 14:05:44

Is this one of those times when "No" is a complete sentence? grin

angelicstar Sat 22-Sep-12 14:07:37

Thanks everyone!

I'm just going to have to say no. I think its just hard because it's quite a close knit school so I feel that I have to say no in a polite way as I don't really want any school gate conflict!

I also find that when people ask for favours like this they often catch you on the hop in person (rather than text or email when I would have more time to think before I spoke!)so I end up feeling cornered and saying yes. I've even had one mum who said "what are you doing friday morning?" I thought she was asking me for a coffee or trip to park and said "oh nothing I'm free" and she said "great would you be able to babysit for me?"!!!!

I like the theory of givers and askers - I think that is very true. I would always use me or my DH to look after the kids unless there was a total emergency!!

RandomMess Sat 22-Sep-12 14:11:59

If you are look after a child for less than 2 hours per day you don't need to be registered as childminder...

maytheoddsbeeverinyourfavour Sat 22-Sep-12 14:14:08

Say no

You don't need a reason but I can understand why you find it difficult, if you really want to give a reason there are several...

You worry about the safety of walking them all home
Your dc get upset about sharing you
You like to spend that time chatting with your dc about their day
You have things to do/places to be straight after school
You aren't sure yet if you'll be doing the pick up that day
Etc etc

But really the best one is to be honest, if it's an emergency you'll try to help but otherwise your finding it all a bit much. If they are friends they will be fine with that and if not, fuck 'em grin

WorraLiberty Sat 22-Sep-12 14:15:51

Talking of taking the piss...

I had a phone call from the school one day to say one of my neighbour's children was ill.

I asked them why they were telling me and they said because she'd put me down as an emergency contact number!? shock

I agreed to pick up her puking child just that once but told them to take my number off the form immediately.

Then I rang her at work and she had the cheek to say, "Oh sorry Worra I meant to tell you. I didn't think you'd mind as you don't have much to do all day" hmm

Needless to say I told her to get her arse out of work immediately and come to pick him up.

Lousmart Sat 22-Sep-12 14:20:19

This has happened to me twice. The first time I did see it coming and before I knew it I was looking after an extra for 3 hours every Monday and feeding her too. I did this for a whole term and then said it had to stop. It's hard, as you are a sitting duck. I'm a full time mum who works, but I'm there Ar school kicking out time and you do get taken advantage of.

The second time I was asked, by a different mum, I just said 'No, I can't commit to look after him every Tuesday afternoon, so you'd be better paying a childminder who would' it worked, and nobody has ever asked me again.

You just need to say No, firmly & definitely don't offer a reason.

Good luck!

Lousmart Sat 22-Sep-12 14:20:51

I meant 'did not see it coming'!!

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