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To be really honest with my friend about childcare

(132 Posts)
mincepiewithbrandy Fri 29-Sep-17 18:43:49

I'm probably going to get flamed for this but here goes!!
My friend has recently fallen out with her friend who provides a LOT of childcare for her. They are no longer speaking.
She has a cycling hobby (that she sees as a necessity) that involves being out at least twice a day for an hour or two, she pops out when her DH gets home and asks whoever she can for help to watch her DD when she goes a second time.

I'm seeing her in a couple of weeks and I know she's going to ask me to help as I've just handed my notice to be a SAHM and she's recently moved to a 5 minute drive away from us.

She's hinted many times before and I've previously breezed past it but I don't think I'll be so lucky this time!!
The thing is I don't mind if it's an emergency type situation- I would definitely be there for anyone in a situation like that, BUT I don't want to be tied down looking after someone else's child on a regular basis. If I say yes to one day occasionally, she's a lovely CF sometimes!
Thing is I don't know what to say?
I don't have any reason other than, I don't want to.
Part of the reason for me handing my notice is my previous pregnancy was hard and complicated and as we're ttc, I don't want to put myself under any pressure. Thanks in advance!

mincepiewithbrandy Fri 29-Sep-17 18:45:17

Sorry! Meant to say if I say yes once, it'll turn into several times a week!

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 29-Sep-17 18:45:41

No sorry - can't do that. That is the time I have allocated to write my novel (the real reason you have given up work obviously!)

Bearcrumble Fri 29-Sep-17 18:46:10

If it were me and I wanted reciprocal childcare I'd say let's sort out the same number of hours to look after each other's kids.

If she thinks she can dump her kid regularly without some sort of payment then it's just 'NO, that won't be possible'.

MrsDustyBusty Fri 29-Sep-17 18:46:50

I suppose all you can say is that you don't want to commit to caring for other people's children because you can't guarantee that you will be able to meet it and that you could never blur the boundaries of friendship by entering into a commercial arrangement. Plus, I assume you don't have the proper facilities.

PurpleTango Fri 29-Sep-17 18:47:15

"Sorry that doesn't work for me" works well OP. That one statement says it succinctly and provides no opportunity for discussion.

TheBakeryQueen Fri 29-Sep-17 18:47:43

If you can't manage to say no without feeling like you need to give a reason then just make something up. Studying online? House renovations? Something with an element of truth would be best so you don't forget what you've said.

She sounds mega cheeky!!

Appuskidu Fri 29-Sep-17 18:48:48

She sounds like a total piss taker-I don't blame you. I'm afraid for someone like that, I would be permanently busy and never answer her messages.

junglebookisthebest Fri 29-Sep-17 18:49:27

Tackle it head on - first question from you is to ask her what shes going to do - give up activity or find a babysitter. If she counters with a response that she was counting on you - just say well thats silly as you have no intention of being regular childcare and just keep saying no.
Don't give lame reasons she will try to overcome - you don't want to spend your time looking after other peoples children. And repeat....

WineGummyBear Fri 29-Sep-17 18:50:13

You don't have to say yes even once.

Nor do you need to provide a reason.

Can you have my DC?
I'm afraid not.
Why not?/sure you can...
It's not convenient...

And don't make the mistake of ' I'm afraid not...' it's just a no.

Practice it so that you are prepared!

Beamur Fri 29-Sep-17 18:54:21

Be honest. The simple fact is you don't want to.
So, just say you don't want to be tied on any given day to be looking after her DD. You have other things to do and are giving up work for personal reasons that you don't want to discuss, but you're not available for this favour. Sorry!

CorbynsBumFlannel Fri 29-Sep-17 18:55:24

Do you have your own child to look after? If so just say something like you can't manage 2 or that your child naps at that time or whatever. If not then just say you're busy around the house, in the garden, need to go shopping, have plans etc etc. Maybe suggest a babysitting service/child seat for her bike.
I'll bet she'll be making up with the other friend pronto when she realises she can't dump her kid on someone else.

Anecdoche Fri 29-Sep-17 18:56:01

i had this once. years ago. fellow parent at primary school.

i said
oh god no. i barely tolerate my own kids i cant stand other peoples

i didnt plan to. it just came out. i was having a bad day 😂

i was never asked again.

so i can assure you that ⬆ works 😁

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 29-Sep-17 18:58:19

Don't stress OP - this is not your issue. If she outright asks you, just say "I'm sorry, no." Literally that. You don't need to give an explanation or justify why you will not be taking care of her child every day while she goes cycling.

Delatron Fri 29-Sep-17 19:00:28

Yes agree, don't give lame wishy washy excuses. Just a firm 'no that doesn't work for me'. Don't even do it once.
Honestly, such a cheek dumping her kids to get some exercise in..

Bluntness100 Fri 29-Sep-17 19:00:54

I agree with the tackle it head on approach. Simply say, “I meant to ask, what will you do about child care, give up or have you find a child minder”if she says I was hoping you’d help, just say, gosh in an emergancy I’d love to, have you not got it sorted then?

Footle Fri 29-Sep-17 19:01:34

Phoebe of Friends : “I’d really love to help, only .. I don’t wanna”.

Iggi999 Fri 29-Sep-17 19:02:07

I love that Anedoche!
"That won't work for me, sorry" is also good (without the sorry if you can manage it).
I'd love a twice a day hobby.

Backingvocals Fri 29-Sep-17 19:02:20

I wouldn't be able to be friends with someone who would even ask.

Tell her no - you've taken up mountain climbing and you need to be out several times a week to do it so in fact she'll need to have your kids at these times.

DrKrogersfavouritepatient Fri 29-Sep-17 19:03:13

YANBU. Just say you can't do it

HeteronormativeHaybales Fri 29-Sep-17 19:05:58

I agree, don't make excuses. Look at it this way: what she's asking is so socially unacceptable (an 'hour or two' of free childcare several days a week on a permanent basis?!) that it doesn't call for a socially acceptable polite-excuses response. Just say 'No, I won't be doing that'. If she asks why, just say 'I have my own life to lead and things to be getting on with'. And if you're feeling really brave, say that requesting such out-of-all-proportion favours puts a strain on friendships.

mincepiewithbrandy Fri 29-Sep-17 19:07:40

Thanks for all the replies! I definitely feel calmer about saying no now. I struggle with being assertive but I think I'll need to be as she will be cheeky enough to question it, so I'll have to leave no room for questioning!!

I'm trying to think of it the other way around to keep me strong in my response- I love running but no way would I ask a friend to watch my dc so that I can go for a run.

@Anecdoche hahaha 😂😂 that's amazing!

I'm pretty sure that things will blow over with other friend once she realised.

Si1verSt0rm Fri 29-Sep-17 19:07:50

Does she live far from you OP? What do you think she might ask you to do - have her child EVERY day for an hour?
I would simply have to say that it is something you are not able to commit to.
I have had similar with one of my neighbours who wanted me to bring home her son every day from school (15 min drive and he's in the same class as my DD) and then "just hold on to him" until 5.30!! I really didn't want to as the car journey home is quite a special time with my DD when we can chat without interruption from my other 2 DC. Also this boy is very hyper and it makes driving stressful. I just said, I was not able to commit to more than one day per week. She said, "Well how are we going to sort this?" as if I was now involved in this area of responsibility confused. At least I could give the excuse that I have older DC in another school who I may need to pick up on some days, and ferry to clubs. She said she didn't mind if her son was taken along on any extra car journeys - "as long as you give him a snack and an I-pad he won't notice!" So I also said (which was true) that if DD is invited to someone else's house, as she usually is in Fridays, I still have to be there to collect her son, or if DD has a friend over here after school, he will always be part of her play dates. She didn't get any of these dynamics as she's never done school runs. But she did make me feel awkward saying no. If I had her son from 3.30-5.30 5 days a week, that's 10 hours free childcare! And I have 3 DC if my own.

Just say you cannot commit to anything at present as you can't tell where you will be on any given day.

bimbobaggins Fri 29-Sep-17 19:11:59

Absolutely don't agree to this if you don't want it.
Just say no, you don't need to give a reason.

I wonder why the other friend has fallen out, anything to do with the childcare arrangements I wonder.
I'm all for helping people in emergencies but be careful they don't become a regular thing

CorbynsBumFlannel Fri 29-Sep-17 19:14:33

As much as it would be entirely justified I'd find it excruciatingly uncomfortable to just say 'no' bluntly to a friend. The op doesn't have to make an excuse. I'm sure she will have plans for the time that her friend wants her to provide free childcare. Whether she's folding washing, going to Tesco or having a long bath she can say that.
I once told a friend who wanted to drop her kids early one weekend that I couldn't do it because I wasn't planning on being up at that time.

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