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School run - always asked but never reciprocated

(263 Posts)
Fro611 Sun 27-Jan-19 08:58:31

I have a friend (I've known her since our kids started at the school a year ago) who is asking me "casually" almost every day to drop her 4 year old son off at home after school (where the Nanny is waiting). She works fulltime but has permission to leave each day to do the school run. She started off occasionally asking if I could pick him up due to a "meeting she couldn't move" or because she had to drive to another town for a meeting - and it was only once, maybe twice a week. But lately she is asking me pretty much every day and for reasons like "Can you pick him up so I can finish early" or just asking me to pick him up without even giving a reason.

It's difficult as I am friendly with the mum - but I feel like she is pushing the friendship by asking almost every day just because it's convenient for her not to have to do it. Over the past 2 weeks I've started making up excuses to get out of it. It's only a ten minute detour for me to drive past her house. But I also feel that at only 4 years old she should be picking her son up regularly if she can and it's not my responsibility to pickup her kid every day.

It also annoys me because on the days she does pick her own son up from school she NEVER offers to drop my son home - not even once.

Am I being unreasonable in not helping her out every day? I would have thought she would have realized by my response (and excuse making) over the past 2 weeks that it's become too much and backed off - but if anything it's made her ask even more (I think she feels if I don't do it one day then I have to do it the next to make up for it).

Aside from this issue we get along quite well and it's really irritating me that she is totally oblivious that it's becoming too much. She even waits for me at the school gate each day to make sure she can "casually" ask me to do pickup and if I miss her (if I have dropped and left early) she texts me within ten minutes of drop off time asking me to do pickup.

I really really hate confrontation. Do I just keep making up excuses and hope she gets it? Or should I say something blunt and risk making things awkward between us?

DisplayPurposesOnly Sun 27-Jan-19 09:40:34

I think some plain speaking, saying what you mean, might be a plan: "Why do you need to ask me every day? I don't mind helping out once in awhile if youre stuck, but this is too much"

Jeezoh Sun 27-Jan-19 09:42:00

Next time she asks just be honest and say it sounds like she needs a more regular arrangement than you’re able to help with and you wanted to let her know so she can make alternative arrangements. If she’s a true friend and not a user, she’ll understand.

Aeroflotgirl Sun 27-Jan-19 09:42:24

Start saying no, she sounds a bit of a user tbh.

Walkacrossthesand Sun 27-Jan-19 09:42:49

I guess it's about thinking about your wording so you have a response prepared. 'I didn't mind doing it when it was now and again to help you out, but it's become every day now and I don't want to do it every day, it becomes a burden, so I'm going to have to say no. Sorry. Hope you manage to sort out something else. Bye'.

She needs a nanny who drives, if the school run involves driving and she can't/doesn't want to do it herself. Stand firm!

CallMeVito Sun 27-Jan-19 09:43:19

no sorry, I am not going that way

It might be more tricky if she was your next door neighbour, but forcing you to make a detour is not on. I would just say no. Every day.

Villanellenovella Sun 27-Jan-19 09:43:35

'I really hate confrontation' - do you think anyone does? She is taking advantage of your meekness and is not a good friend. Start saying no.

JustJoinedRightNow Sun 27-Jan-19 09:43:56

This happens to me too. Are you a SAHM OP? I’ve found from my working friends that they basically expect me to do these favours because I’m heading to school everyday anyway.
They honestly cannot fathom why it wouldn’t be my job to pick their kids up, because I don’t have a job! Such CFery! I’ve wisened up thought and now just ignore messages and say no way more often.

Iwantdaffodils Sun 27-Jan-19 09:44:21

It isnt out of your way, you are going anyway

It's a ten minute detour. That wouldn't be much in a reciprocal arrangement or for someone who ill or whatever, but this woman is taking advantage, and of her employers too by the sounds of it.

CallMeVito Sun 27-Jan-19 09:44:29

You could also suggest she moves closer to the school so the nanny can walk there and back. It would be healthier for her child anyway grin

Santaclarita Sun 27-Jan-19 09:45:13

Anyone else think EmUntitled is the mother in question?

OP, she isn't a proper friend. Refuse, block her number and ignore. She shouldn't have had the child if she can't be bothered to even pick him up from school, hardly a difficult task. She leaves early from work anyway you say to pick him up, so why should you so she can 'leave early'? She leaves early anyway! Maybe it's this bug I have, but I don't get her excuse there, it sounds stupid. If she wants to leave early, she can pick her own son up.

She is lazy and doesn't want to spend the money on a taxi. Feel kind of sorry for her kid.

roundaboutthetown Sun 27-Jan-19 09:48:15

I'd tell her upfront that you feel she is taking advantage of you to be asking you to help out so frequently and offer absolutely nothing in return. You are not her unpaid nanny, your purpose in life is not to inconvenience yourself so as to save her cash and time, and there is a limit to friendly goodwill, especially when there is nothing to stop her picking her own child up, anyway.

EssentialHummus Sun 27-Jan-19 09:50:45

I am always amazed at these threads. In my social circle a one-off favour like this would be immediately reciprocated/wine or chocs would appear. I cannot imagine actually being in a scenario like this, and I totally understand your reluctance. But practically, I think "No can do xx" to every message is the way I'd go.

mrssmiling Sun 27-Jan-19 09:55:35

It may be ‘only a ten minute detour’ but that’s 50 mins a week, and will certainly be costing you re petrol....she is being very cheeky. You are doing her a massive favour, and she is taking advantage, and giving nothing back...
Is she really a friend, or just someone you chat to at the school gates?
Do you meet at each other’s houses, have play dates?

GetOffTheTableMabel Sun 27-Jan-19 09:55:45

You don’t want her to reciprocate because you like to do your own school run. You want her to stop asking you to do hers.

1. You just say no every time she asks until she gets the message
2. You tell her to stop asking you because you find it annoying/an imposition
3. You formalise it so that you are doing her a favour but with defined boundaries. You say “we use our after school time to go out together most days but we always go straight home on Fridays so I could drop your dc off on that day each week but not on the other days

Any of these could result in a confrontational conversation but, they probably won’t.

I don’t think you should feel bad about it. Her son will never be just stuck at school - she has a nanny. It’s not an emergency.The truth is that a lift home for her son probably makes a big difference to her day. It probably means she can do bath time. What she actually needs is a nanny who can drive.

StripeyDeckchair Sun 27-Jan-19 09:55:46

Dear X
I'm always willing to help out a friend on the odd occasion - maybe once a month - but I cannot take your child home for you on a regular basis.
I cannot take your child home for you today; as you have a nanny and have told me that you have an agreement with your employer that you can collect your child from school daily I'm sure this won't be a problem for you

Do not elaborate, do not explain
If she throws a strop and is no longer friendly with you then you know she was using you.
If she stops asking and the friendship continues then all well and good.

gamerchick Sun 27-Jan-19 09:55:55

OP if you don't confront this head on then it'll keep happening. She's taking the piss and you're allowing it.

Send her a text today saying you won't be picking her kid up from school anymore. Flower up your words if you want.

If she rings you tell her you're not picking up her kid anymore. You don't have to explain yourself.

She's pushing the boundaries of your friendship, she's not entitled to anything now.

TowelNumber42 Sun 27-Jan-19 09:56:39

She has stopped giving reasons. You can do that too!

Seeing as you are scared of confrontation try a standard response like "No, sorry, can't today." Copy and paste each time.

Your current approach of saying no is fine. You'll get the message through in the end if you are sure to not break (don't do even one pick up for a good 3 months).

I'd be way more blunt myself, I couldn't do with the stress of the rather stalky behaviour. No, can't do tomorrow Mavis. I am keeping pick up time as special time for me and LittleFrom so I'm not doing any pick up favours for a while. See you soon Fro x

See how I said no, made it about what I want, referenced the fact that it is a favour, that my child has needs too and very importantly made no reference or suggestions about how she might solve her pick up problem.

Yabbers Sun 27-Jan-19 10:00:43

But it's more frustrating that it doesn't even occur to her to offer to return the favor.

Have you asked her? DD has friends round a lot at weekends and after school. Their parents rarely offer to return the favour. But when I need them to I ask, and they pretty much always oblige unless they genuinely can’t do it.

It's not like she can't pick her own son up - she has permission from work to do it every day
Having permission and being able to do it are not the same thing. I start work at 10 so I can do drop offs. That means nothing when a client calls a meeting.

It’s simple. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

sueelleker Sun 27-Jan-19 10:02:19

Is she still telling work she's doing the pickup, to get spare time for herself?

TaighNamGastaOrt Sun 27-Jan-19 10:03:40

One of my neighbours did this. Our kids are friends as are we and I honestly don't mind helping out occasionally.
Except it started to become nearly every day. Drop off and pick up. And after school.
My childminder said one day why are you doing this? Make yourself less available, she's taking the piss out your kind nature.
So I did. I ignored messages, told her I was seeing family after school so sorry I couldn't help this time. Basically set some boundaries politely.
Now it's no more than twice a week. Don't get me wrong, if it's pissing rain and I'm driving, I say I'll take him cos there's no need for her to get soaked!
But I set limit of a maximum of twice a week and I stick to it. She has offered to help me recently, shes less of a CF now! 😁

qumquat Sun 27-Jan-19 10:04:41

She is a cheeky fucker. It's scary to say no but you need to. I like towelno42s response. If you try to explain too much or make reference to her circumstances it gives her an opening to negotiate. Make your response entirely about you and your son and your needs. 'Never explain; never apologise'.

SaturdayNext Sun 27-Jan-19 10:06:01

Response to texts: Sorry, no

Response to approaches outside the school: Sorry, no I can't. If she asks why, smile brightly and say "It just doesn't work for me". If she persists, smile less brightly and say "Why do you need to know?" And if she still persists, say "Look, I did say no, and I don't think I have to discuss my personal affairs with you".

Fro611 Sun 27-Jan-19 10:07:35

I guess it bothers me because it's not nice to feel like someone is taking advantage. I also don't like being forced into constantly making up excuses so as to save face on the friendship. It would be awkward for me to pull her up on it and that's what I'm trying to avoid. She doesn't seem to be getting the message - or maybe (more likely) she is getting the message - she just doesn't want to give up her free school lifts.

She does seem apologetic when she asks me (every day!!) so I know she's not stupid and is aware that it's a bit much. It annoys me that she cares more about getting the free lifts and making her life easier rather than maintaining our friendship. If she asked within reason I would be totally ok with the occasional pickup - but her greed in asking me to do it every single day is going to bring the whole house down. I should add that I also work during school hours so it's not like I have my mornings free.

messyhousetidymind Sun 27-Jan-19 10:13:26

Just be direct and say

I don't mind doing the school pick up occasionally in an emergency (or say once a week) but I'm sorry I don't want to do it every day because that's special time for me and my son to catch up (true)
Maybe we can lift share when they're older but not yet when they're settling in

howabout Sun 27-Jan-19 10:14:33


No point to these sort of favours as your DF will never be in a position or willing to return them. You will also alter the friendship as she will inevitably start to view you as "staff" to enable her lifestyle.

What Towelnumber said.

Yabbers if you don't start work till 10 then you need to start getting through to your boss / clients that you are not available for meetings etc until 10. My DH stops work at 2. He would always be working afternoons if he didn't push back.

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