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AIBU - told friend it isn't my fault she can't cope with her brood

(80 Posts)
EspressoMonkey Wed 26-Jun-13 10:46:44

We live abroad and have two DCs, 3 and 1. I would like more but feel at the moment that 2 is our lot. We have no family support and my DH works long hours and spends a lot of time out of the country.

I am friends with another expat mum who has 3 DC, aged 4, 2 and 1 and she is pregnant with her 4th. She struggles to cope and so doesn't take her DCs out by herself. I often help her with her DCS when we are out and about at the park, zoo etc. I do it whenever possible and have been happy to do so.

Last week we all went to the outdoor pool. It was a hot day and we agreed to meet outside the pool complex at a certain time. We were on time but my friend and her DCs were 35 mins late, thus my DCs and myself stood outside in the heat waiting for them. We did this as we have membership which gives my friend a discount on her admission.

When she arrived her DCs were not ready for the pool, but mine already had sun lotion and swim suits on. My DCs are hot and bothered because we were waiting around so we went straight in and i said to my friend "see you in the pool when you are all ready".

I had my hands full in the pool, DC2 is not very steady on her feet and so was holding both my hands. DC1 found the water cold and was a bit apprehensive. Another friend's DC waded over to us and chatted to us and played so i felt as if i had the responsibility of three DCs. I was coping but it was not relaxed.

Then there was a bit of commotion at the other end of the pool, splashing etc. The pool was very busy, there were plenty of mums and dads in there with free hands. I briefly glanced over at the commotion but then another DC splashed my eldest in the face, who then started crying. Her friend then hit this other DC and i had to break up a squabble, speaking a mixture of English and French so all parties understood. It was hectic.

A while later my friend joined us in the pool. She was very off with me and asked why i hadn't helped her 2YO DD when he was struggling in the pool? Then i realised that the commotion was her DD struggling in the water. I apologised but said that i didn't know that the child who was splashing about was her DD, i had my hands full at the time plus there were lots of parents in the pool with free hands who helped her out anyway. What i didn't say was that your DCs are your responsibility and you never asked me to be responsible for your DD. I didn't even know she was in the pool!

My friend then made a big deal about how she can't come to the pool without adult help as she can't cope and that i KNOW that etc. I had enough of her using me as free childcare and snapped back that "it isn't my fault you can't cope". I was hot, and bit ratty because yet again we had been standing around waiting for them. My youngest DC is now mobile and needs my help more than ever. My hands are pretty full as it is. I will help her as much as i can but my DCs come first from now on. We didn't have a third DC as i feel i wouldn't cope. My friend will shortly have four DCs under 4.

AIBU and how do i get our friendship back on track without being her unpaid childminder again?

formicadinosaur Thu 27-Jun-13 07:15:41

No think swimming is a daft idea if you aren't up to supervising kids. Maybe choose easier outings? I expect she is ultra exhausted being pregnant or suggest she gets some help. I ddo think its nice to help each other but there has to be a limit due to your own responsibilities.

ithaka Thu 27-Jun-13 07:26:14

YANBU - my sister was like this with her children & it would drive me potty. Anywhere we went we would somehow contrive to swan off and leave me with 2 boisterous toddlers to control as well as my own, any time I had my hands free she would dump her baby on me and leg it off somewhere.

I started to avoid seeing her, but as she is my sister I couldn't totally dump her! She is annoying, but you can't choose your family - I certainly wouldn't have chosen to have her as a friend. Move on from this friendship, I think.

Bunnygotwhacked Thu 27-Jun-13 07:34:32

YADNBU I am expecting my fourth child and before our recent move we used to live 400 miles away from any family members dp is a chef and works shifts so it used to be me on my own with three most of the time I never accepted help I wouldn't take lifts we could get buses and i would never go anywhere eg a pool with my three if i knew i would be relying on someone else as that would mean i couldn't cope.
I think what i am trying to say is that it is perfectly possible to cope on your own with three and if you stop helping her she will see that. Either that or be stuck in all the time in an entitled strop.
If your eldest child is friends with hers and you're happy continue with that then just invite her eldest child as in .. dc wondered if your dc would like to spend the day with us on saturday

StayAwayFromTheEdge Thu 27-Jun-13 08:09:54

Surely her DD was wearing arm bands / float suits / swim fin and wasn't in that much danger. If she wasn't then she needs to get something. I agree that she needs to take responsibility for her own children, but with the right equipment it shouldn't be that hard - I speak as a Mum 3 (all under 5 at one point).

internationallove985 Thu 27-Jun-13 12:29:35

I would never be closed minded and say. "Well don't have more kids than you can cope with as I do not people's reasons and also none of my business!
Howevever in a nutshell I don't think you were being unreasonable in what you said because bottom line is "It's not your fault she can't cope".
A parent has enought to cope with looking after her own children, I mean it's okay to help her out now and again but she should not be taking the piss. xx

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