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Would you ask me for childcare in these circs?

(12 Posts)
wormofbooks Fri 07-Apr-17 14:29:31

Name changed as it's about someone I know IRL!

Background: I've known this woman for quite a few years now. We met through a shared interest and struck up a friendship when we had kids around the same time. As I got to know her better I did start finding her a bit overbearing and she clearly wanted a closer friendship than I did. Eventually I started putting a bit of distance between us, helped along by my DS stopping their shared activity. We used to see each other quite often, but apart from the DC's respective birthday parties we've not crossed each other's doorsteps for over a year. No falling out, we chat if we bump into one another, but we've drifted apart quite a bit from how things used to be.

One way we didn't click was that I'm very introverted and independent, whereas she likes constant company and wanted an it-takes-a-village setup where we and our DC would be in and out of one another's houses non stop, swapping childcare favours several times a week and so on. We have each done lots of favours for one another over the years, and I was always willing to help in an emergency, especially as she's a single mum (ex still very involved and financially supportive, though). But she wouldn't really try to avoid needing help, IYSWIM. She'd schedule things on the assumption that I or some other friend would have her son for the day, and then ask me afterwards - feeling sure it would be fine because she'd be fine with it in reverse. Or she'd ask a regular favour that could have been avoided if she'd compromised on what she wanted to do. For example, I used to wait with her son after school for 15 minutes every day while she got back from work. I thought she couldn't make it any earlier because of her shift times. Later I discovered it was purely so she could park at her house and then walk to school rather than drive straight there from work and have her son get used to going home in the car. Only a tiny favour, but every day it adds up, especially in the rain!

I know lots of people would be more chilled about this stuff, but I find it hard work having people round (and her son's behaviour is less than delightful but that's another post!) so for me it's a biggish ask.

Anyway, the whole point (I'm getting there) is that despite seeing very little of her these days, I still seem to be on the childcare roster. Occasionally she'll need an emergency pickup if she's stuck in traffic, which I don't mind doing, but it's not just that. Every school holiday I get asked to take her son for at least one whole day while she works - that's how she organises her care, she patches it together with friends.

This time I've politely said no because I'm genuinely not well enough at the moment - that's not something I can change so I'm happy that I'm NBU about that. Am I being curmudgeonly though to roll my eyes at still being asked? She's always OK about it if I say no, she knows it's a favour, but then she hasn't been asked to help me with anything for a very long time, we've not even sat down for coffee together for a year, and the only messages I ever get from her are asking favours - I wouldn't feel able to ask in her shoes. I'd use the blinking holiday club!

TheRealPooTroll Fri 07-Apr-17 14:34:21

Well yes it is cheeky if she never texts aside from asking for favours but I guess she's entitled to ask and you're entitled to say no (and I would as well in similar circumstances).

Theworldisfullofidiots Fri 07-Apr-17 14:36:43

No your not being curmudgeonly. I'm sure she would say no if inconvenient just as she would say yes if it fitted with her plans. If it doesn't work for you just say no.

Aeroflotgirl Fri 07-Apr-17 14:37:20

Start learning to say no, I cannot.

rookiemere Fri 07-Apr-17 14:41:16

That thing about the school pick up is very cheeky indeed !

I work and have a circle of DS's friends Mums who work also and we swap favours. DS hates after school so whilst I'd love just to chuck him there, he'd create merry hell if it was too often. I do make a point of inviting DCs round often and trying not to rely on other people.

It just sounds as if she doesn't really understand how reciprocal child based friendship favours work. If literally the only time you hear from her is to ask for a favour, then I'd text her back and say that as your circumstances have changed ( she doesn't need to know what the changes are) you won't be able to help out in the future with her DS and hope that she understands.

OfficerVanHalen Fri 07-Apr-17 14:41:42

I think you're being a bit curmudgeonly. I don't think you should do the favours, absolutely not, but to resent even being asked, if she's fine with you saying no is a bit grumpy. You sound like you're not each other's types, which is fair enough, and she sounds a bit flaky and airy fairy and like she has different expectations of friendship etc than you do. But that doesn't necessarily make her a bad person. Holiday clubs are a lot of money, maybe she patches her childcare together for free because that's what works for her, and her other friends are happy enough to have favours in the bank, and call them in as and when - you just don't know.

If all it takes is a 'sorry i can't' text back to her and no subsequent ill feeling or pressure, I don't see what's so wrong about that tbh. Maybe one day you'll have an emergency of your own and no one but her to turn to, and you might be glad she's remained so oblivious to your dislike of her all this time grin

I have drifted away from playgroup mum friends or neighbours who've moved as the years have gone on and dcs have got older, but I would never be irked at getting a text from them, in fact I find it quite nice when we do bump into one another and just pick up the thread as normal.

OfficerVanHalen Fri 07-Apr-17 14:51:11

...just to add, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a bit curmudgeonly and I am that way myself. I also have a couple of school mums in my circle that only ever text about babysitting, but are never available to repay the favour - I just say no sorry can't help really sorry hope you find someone etc etc. Can't blame em for trying though i guess.

HoldBackTheRain Fri 07-Apr-17 15:06:22

i can't answer because I don't know what curmudgeonly means! blush

Stormtreader Fri 07-Apr-17 18:11:21

"Occasionally she'll need an emergency pickup if she's stuck in traffic, which I don't mind doing"

This is your problem right here. Youre still available for some on-call stuff, therefore youre still on the rosta. You need to make it clear that its very unlikely youll be available for any favours at all. If you then decide to help out in a genuine final desperate emergency then thats totally up to you but you have to be much clearer that she should expect the answer to be no.

ExplodedCloud Fri 07-Apr-17 18:17:30

There's helping each other out and then there's taking the piss. YANBU

TyneTeas Fri 07-Apr-17 18:24:49

I'm shock at the getting you to wait with her kid for 15 mins every day!

wizzywig Fri 07-Apr-17 18:42:22

I know someome like this, stated loudly that our local state school wasnt good enough for her kids so sent her kids to the private school (which is fair enough), however, doesnt want to pay for childcare for the very long holidays they have. She dumps her kids onto my nanny and she brings them to my house or takes those and my kids to her house. The cheek of it. I yes i know i need to say "i only want to pay for you to look after my kids"

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