to be tired of looking after everyone else??(21 Posts)
In the past week, I have spent the afternoon looking after a new neighbour's child while they move; then spent a morning looking after another friend's children while THEY move.
Had to deal with umpteen minor errands relating to moving friend (can you drop key here; check if we left such and such in the house etc etc).
Then earlier this week, took my DC to a sports class and ended up getting ditched for an hour afterwards, mooching around an empty leisure centre looking after another friend's child while she took her younger son to a subsequent class - which she knew when she signed him up for, she would have no childcare for the older one, unless muggins here agreed to look after him.
I have a friend who is currently in hospital, while is horrible for her, but am also dealing with practical things for her, inviting her DD round as much as I can etc, sorting out delivering keys to her family members who have been staying, etc. I understand she is a stressful situation at the moment and I'm not blaming her, but not once has she or any of her family said thanks for my help, even when I've had to put myself out quite a lot!
I also work in a busy job, albeit part time and have a four year old to look after when I'm not working.
Now I have just agreed to take the moving friend's two kids overnight this weekend because they want a night out in town (and have now moved to the country!) because I couldn't work out any way of saying no!
Some of these were my fault because I seem to be incapable of refusing, but others, I feel I was tricked into - eg "Shall we pop in with the kids on the morning we're moving?" turns into "Hi, is it OK if we just leave them here for a few minutes while we nip round to the house and finish a few things off..." turning into two hours.
Am just fed up of being dumped upon! Have other friends who I do things for who I feel reciprocate evenly, but some of this lot just seem to ask - and in a way where I can't see any way to refuse - without giving anything back. Arrrggghh!
I have spent the afternoon looking after a new neighbour's child while they move; then spent a morning looking after another friend's children while THEY move
Presumably they asked you?
You should have just said "no, I won't be able to do that." Or "no, I'm busy". Don't expand or explain anymore than that.
Don't offer to work for free and refuse to do so when asked.
Don't be a doormat then play the martyr. Just say "no".
"Hi, is it OK if we just leave them here for a few minutes while we nip round to the house and finish a few things off..."
(Sorry is optional)
I know what you mean and I'm honestly not trying to play the martyr, but I just don't feel I can say no. The hospital friend, it would be entirely unreasonable to refuse her anything at the moment as she is in a crap situation.
Some of the others are such small things (Can I nip up the street to check something in the house my friends have moved out of - they're now renting it out and have left a key with me) that I can't really say no as there'd be no reason why at some point in the next week I'm not going to get time to nip up the street - but am just sick of the constant requests.
Others, as I said, are ones where I've honestly not thought they were asking me a favour - eg "Come to ours for a playdate after the sports class" - but then finding there's an hour's gap when the younger son had a class, so having no option but to look after the older one til they're done. Just feels sneaky and like I'm being tricked into doing stuff!
Know there's not really any solutions except putting my foot down, but don't want to fall out with these people as they are nice really, just taking advantage a bit at the moment.
As difficult as it can feel sometimes, you do just need to say no.
Tell people you're knackered, or not feeling well, or have other plans if you have to. You shouldn't feel obliged to look after other people's kids at all.
Just say no.
I had a couple of friends who used to ask if I could have their dcs when they went shopping/beautician's etc. Easy for me to say no, as I work and don't have time to do this stuff myself!
You can still help out in emergencies, or reciprocal lift shares or playdates, but don't agree to anything else.
"Sorry, we have plans for that day".
" Sorry, I need a bit of down time that day".
"Sorry, we're having a family afternoon".
" Sorry, I've got a tonne of housework and errands to catch up on ".
" Night out, lucky you. Sorry, we've got plans and I can't help".
Or "Sorry, that's not going to work my end, but could you have my DC on Saturday for the day, as I've got a luxury spa day booked".
If you have friends who regularly have form for this stuff, I would distance yourself from them for a while. Or just make up an excuse that you have a prior engagement and you can't look after their kids for a minute
in a way where I can't see any way to refuse
Do you mean "where I can't see any way to refuse without annoying/offending them?"
There is often no way to get what you want or need without some kind of negative reaction, however unreasonable it may be. You will have to persuade yourself that your needs are just as important as everyone else's, and accept the risk of pissing people off.
Of course, anyone who is annoyed with you in the kind of situations you've described is being thoroughly unreasonable and probably a cynical user.
You're a people pleaser op and what you will find is if you say no to them they will stop being friends because your role in their life is to do what they can't be bothered doing. Stop thinking so little of yourself that you have to do others bidding in order for them to like you.
Honestly you just need to be more assertive. I doubt I'd even be asked to do any of those favours.
Even if you feel you have to say yes, you can (politely) make clear that it's a bit of an imposition so they hesitate before asking you again, or at least show a bit of appreciation.
It's not being rude, it's just not being a doormat.
Just to be clear I do favours (sometimes massive ones) for people who are actually friends, who genuinely need help, and who are willing to reciprocate. I'm just always puzzled by these threads on mumsnet about women who can't say no to obvious users!
It's tricky, because we have no family nearby, so very occasionally have to rely on friends to help out when we have a childcare gap or whatever so I've usually been willing to help others so that I didn't feel bad if I had to ask myself.
But our ones usually are genuine emergencies - and are v few and far between and I feel it's gone far too far the other way with some friends now. Will start being assertive!
'Sorry, that won't work for me'
It really comes across in your post that you are playing the martyr. If you don't want to do something then don't. But if you agree then you can't complain about doing it or lack of praise
Sounds to me as if some of you 'friends' have sussed that you struggle to say no and are taking the piss.
Might I suggest:
"The hospital friend, it would be entirely unreasonable to refuse her anything at the moment as she is in a crap situation."
But you've been sorting out keys for family members who are staying. She has family. They should be dealing with it. She is not your responsibility.
"Can I nip up the street to check something in the house my friends have moved out of - they're now renting it out and have left a key with me"
Hand them back the key, tell them you are uncomfortable with the responsibility. Especially since it sounds like they're asking you to do this a lot. Otherwise I can foresee you'll be getting treated like a management agent. Fuck off, they can employ someone for that. If they're going to rent their place out, it is their responsibility to oversee things, not yours.
""Come to ours for a playdate after the sports class" - but then finding there's an hour's gap when the younger son had a class, so having no option but to look after the older one til they're done."
That was a particularly sneaky one, and I'd be wary of anything coming from that person again. I'd have handled that with 'Oh, I didn't realise! No, that doesn't work for me, I have to get on with things later, can't just hang around. Maybe another time, when you're actually free. Sorry, were you expecting me to look after your son for an hour? Why didn't you ask me if I could? That was taking a risk! No can do.'
Now, you do say that you have "other friends who I do things for who I feel reciprocate evenly" - those are the ones you can safely ask for emergency help. These chancers that you have described, I very much doubt they'd struggle to respond to your request with 'So sorry, I can't' - so don't put yourself out banking favours, because you're never going to get to redeem them. They're takers, not givers.
What WhereYouLeftIt said.
"Sorry, I'm not available that day." Is something I say quite a lot. Great for all situations. I could be out with George Clooney or I could be sitting on the sofa watching Homes Under the Hammer for all they know.
Whereyouleftit has great suggestions for how to respond to these people.
The one's who have just moved and want you to have their kids so they can go out can fuck right off.
Tell them you have noro and can't do it.
I would also make your excuses and cancel the weekend sleepover..... who needs that shit midterm.
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