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AIBU to refuse to babysit?

(59 Posts)
BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 16:41:50

As in title?

I live with my BiL, SiL and 2 DNs, as well as wifey and MiL.

DNs are 4 and 1. Pains in the neck though they can be, I love them.

However, a family thing has come up, and it wouldn't be appropriate for either I (being foreign and not related) or the nephews (being too young) to go to, so the suggestion is that I babysit them.

I really don't want to, for the simple reason that I would have no idea what to do if there was any problem. I have no siblings or cousins of similar age, and I have never been around kids before.

I think SiL is silly to think it is a good idea to leave them with me for what will be about six hours.


MagicHouse Sat 08-Dec-12 17:09:38

I think if you feel incomfortable then you should explain that. I think if I had little experience of looking after young children and I were in a country where I couldn't speak much of the language, I wouldn't be too happy either. Just be honest, apologise and say you want the best care for them, and you don't think that's you!

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:12:50

I didn't think of neighbours, nanny, that is a good point. I will ask about that

As for key phrases, I can say, for example, Ambulance quick, my baby is sick, but describing what is wrong might be beyond me.

The likelihood is that nothing would happen, but I would hate for it to happen and me being unable to deal with it.

VisualiseAHorse Sat 08-Dec-12 17:15:45

You live with them, but have never been around children before? Do you just leave the room when they come in?

Does not compute.

StuntGirl Sat 08-Dec-12 17:16:31

I think if the safety/health is your genuine reasoning then explain your concerns to your brother and sister in law and let them make the call whether they would be happy fo you to go ahead. Medical emergencies probably haven't crossed their mind, or they think you could handle it if it did.

TheMonster Sat 08-Dec-12 17:18:05

You shouldn't have to look after them if you don't want to.

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:22:36

Visualise, I meant prior to the current arrangement I hadn't lived with young children.

That said, this is a big house, and that particular part of the family have their own living room and bedroom, where they spend most of the time. For that matter, so do DW and I. And also I work long hours - out the house from 6am to nearly 10pm weekdays, and I also work on Saturdays. So if the kids go out on Sundays with their parents, which they sometimes do, I don't see much of them despite our living in the same house.

And any problems, my MiL or SiL deal with, from medical problems to dirty nappies.

I think, as Stuntgirl and Worra said, I will just tell my in-laws why I don't want to do it. It's not as if I don't like my nephews.

ImperialSantaKnickers Sat 08-Dec-12 17:22:53

I merrily offered to look after DN when she was three, so that SIL could have an operation at day hospital. I honestly thought that being the eldest of five children myself would be sufficient experience.

It was unmitigated hell, DN, although adorable, was nothing like my dsiss and dbros. Luckily I didn't break her.

It was almost enough to put me off having my own children.

nannynick Sat 08-Dec-12 17:30:23

Just tell them you are not able to do it. Looking after other peoples' children is not easy. Whilst you know the children a little it does not sound as though you have spent much time with them so they may not like being left with you.
What would their parents have done before you lived with them?

BadLad Sat 08-Dec-12 17:46:20

Ironically, the youngest loves me to bits, and hurries across the room to hug my leg whenever he sees me. Older one can take me or leave me.

But anyway, seeing as if I have a few replies telling me I am not being unreasonable I will tell my sister-in-law that I don't want to have sole responsibility for them in case there is an emergency.

Then if she gets one of the neighbours to be the emergency stand-by, I'll happily do it.

Thanks all.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 08-Dec-12 17:48:15

I don't think you're being unreasonable in the circumstances. Yes, you may be old enough to father kids of your DN's ages but if you were chances are you'd have had a lot more input into their lives by now and would ferl far more capable of looking after them for a few hours. Would it be feasible to do some childcare for the DN's when another family member was around so if a similar situation occurs in the future you'll be more prepared?

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 08-Dec-12 17:53:58

I think if it's 6 hours when they are in bed, you should do it.

6 hours of look

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 08-Dec-12 17:55:33

6 hours of looking after a 1 year old if you are not used to sole care of toddlers would be a bad idea.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sat 08-Dec-12 18:01:54

Weird one. i don't agree with the 'you don't have to if you don't want' in every situation.
Usually, in countries where its common for families to all live together, its also common and expected to help out with childcare, housework etc.

I think it could cause problems to say 'yes I am free that night but can't help as I don't know what to say if I have to call an ambulance.'.

But I get your reservations as well. The neighbor as an emergency contact may be a good idea.

Cahohohootz Sat 08-Dec-12 18:07:09


I wouldn't want to look after two little DC's, unless it was an emergency. They can take the DC's.

I do think the language/safety thing. Is a bit of a red herring. Your English on this thread is very good.

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Dec-12 18:07:48

The emergency services in most of the world have someone with enough grasp of English along with your grasp of the local language to get assistance to you, as will opening the window and shouting.

You should have no problem being able to deal with their basic care - it's very simple.

So I think YAB A Little Bit Wimpy to not want to help out. However if you don't have the confidence then you shouldn't do it, and YANBU to ask? Could you not get the confidence between now and the occasion though?

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Dec-12 18:08:42

Cahohohootz I'm assuming he's not in an English speaking country and its the local tongue he's not fluent in?

maddening Sat 08-Dec-12 18:10:30

Yanbu to worry - how far away is the function and would bil and sil be connectable by phone.

Also if your dw's sibling's spouse is considered family enough to attend why not you?

gordyslovesheep Sat 08-Dec-12 18:12:15

maybe he's not in the UK Cahohohootz?

OP YANBU to not want to look after kids if you don't feel it's safe for you to do so.

BarceyDussell Sat 08-Dec-12 18:16:24

I don't understand your OP.

You live with these children but say you have no experience of children.

Is that right?

RedHelenB Sat 08-Dec-12 18:16:46

I think you don't want to do it & are looking for excuses not to tbh. If you are all living together I think you should know enough about meeting their basic needs for 6 hours.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sat 08-Dec-12 18:37:45

can you think of all the worries you have (choking etc) and then talk to your MIL SIL about them. They can show you what you need to do in such a situation.

catwomanlikesmeatballs Sat 08-Dec-12 19:14:07

I don't think yabu, I wouldn't be happy with having to care for somebody elses one year old, there's no way I'd be able to change their nappy, my own dd ones are disgusting enough. To ask that of a childless person with no clue or experience is unreasonable.

Jacksmania Sat 08-Dec-12 19:23:30

BadLad, in your situation (I've read some of your backstory) I wouldn't feel comfortable either. 6 hours is loooong.
I am sure that emergency services in the country you live in would speak some English, but if it's all making you a bit nervous, then you should just say so.
Good luck.
For what it's worth, it sounds like things are a bit tough for you living where you do, and I admire you for doing your best to cope.

(But maybe don't call DW "wifey" anymore smile.)

quoteunquote Sat 08-Dec-12 19:29:31

why not view it as an opportunity to fill a gap in your education.

You could really enjoy the experience.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Sat 08-Dec-12 19:32:57

Do you speak the same language as your DN? Do they speak the same language as any other likely babysitter? Maybe see if you and wifey could look after them for shorter periods of time so you get more used to looking after them? When is this event, in a week, a month, 6 months? If in a week and you don't share the same language then YANBU, if in 6 months and you speak the same language then it might be more appropriate.

Is there anything else in the place where they are going? I'm thinking it might be easier say if it were an hour there and back to then go for lunch + a soft play area for 4hrs, so the parents have them for the travel time.

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