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About this babysitting arrangement with friends

(114 Posts)
Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:29:33

I’m annoyed about a babysitting arrangement and I’m sorry, but I need to give a (long) backstory for context.

Me, DH and our two kids live in London. Our extended families live in different parts of the UK, nowhere near London. Nonetheless, they try to help us out as much as they can and my mum, in particular, frequently comes to help with school holidays, etc.

Our closest friends (literally. They live around the corner) have a daughter the same age as our eldest (six) but their families live on the other side of the world, and they therefore get no support at all.

They have a long-standing babysitter, but we help out whenever we can by having their daughter for sleepovers if they want to go out. We recently had her for the weekend when they went away for their anniversary, and my mum has had all the kids (their daughter and our two) a few times to allow us to all have a night out or attend a wedding or similar. The girls are now at an age where it’s actually easier to look after them when they’re together, because aside from the odd spat, they entertain themselves.

However, while they occasionally have our daughter for the afternoon, she has never had a sleepover at theirs. This is because our kids get up early (around 6am, there seems no way to prevent this) and, fair enough, they don’t want to wake up then. Can’t blame them, cos I don’t either ! Just explaining this, because we have had their daughter sleep over countless times - she often gets left here if they come round for dinner, it goes on late, and she falls asleep with our two. We always let them sleep in until they’re ready to come and get her the next day. The reciprocal sleepovers stand at nil. of them is having a birthday lunch in a restaurant soon. It’s not a ‘special’ birthday, but he’s taken the notion to invite lots of our friends who have left London for more affordable climes. Loads of folk are coming, they’ve all arranged babysitters, and we’d been really looking forward to it.

There was WhatsApp chat about asking one of the women who works at the nursery all our kids attended/attend to babysit while we go for lunch, but when I spoke to her she had another commitment. Our friends were making noises at that point that their usual babysitter wasn’t likely to be available.

I thought we’d either find someone else the kids knew, or just bite the bullet and take them all with us (like I say, the girls are at an age where they’re not too difficult when they’re together.)

Today, I got a message to say they’d booked their usual babysitter, but as she’s recently been in hospital, probably not fair to ask her to look after more kid than one kid, so here’s a link to a babysitting website that charges £12/hr for up to three kids.

What I took from that was, ‘I’m alright jack. Sort yourselves out!’

If I’d been in their position, I’d have felt like it would be the decent thing to see if we could sort something out together still. I just wouldn’t have sorted out babysitting for our two and left them to it. I just would not have done it.

It’s really rankled with me!

In their defence, they have ‘rescued’ me a few times when I’ve been running late for nursery/school pickup, and there was a day last summer when I was puking and they looked after my kids for the day while DH was at work. I know if we were desperate, they would do whatever they could to help us out.

Should I say this has irked me, or should I stay schtum? I am annoyed, but I know I can get overly worked up about things. I equally hate confrontation, so when stuff like this comes up, I typically silently seethe for a bit and then get over it.

But AIBU to be annoyed? Am I a wet blanket if I say nothing, or would I be making a fuss over nothing if I mentioned it had pissed me off?

Provincialbelle Fri 05-Apr-19 18:33:39

Trouble is you’ve set a precedent by always giving a lot more than receiving. That doesn’t excuse them but people who are used to taking the Mickey will keep doing it. I’d be a bit less obliging in future and a bit more fair. Easier said than done I know and it took me years to learn to spot the scroungers and ditch them

Weebitawks Fri 05-Apr-19 18:37:06

It wouldn't piss me off. It sounds generally like a give and take relationship. They haven't had your kids to sleep over but neither would.i if they woke up at 6 am.

It's their event/lunch so them sorting out babysitting is a bit more of a priority.

LittleLongDog Fri 05-Apr-19 18:37:23


You have had a lot of ‘thoughts’ and there have been a few ‘murmerings’ but nothing was ever properly spoken about or organised. If you felt so strongly about the kids all being together you should have said so or organised a babysitter.

They have a babysitter, it’s an unnecessary hassle for them to not use her and hunt for someone else. Especially as it’s their birthday!

(The sleepovers thing is a completely separate issue.)

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:37:25

I know, but the thing is, I don’t see them as scrounges, I see them as our best friends! And the reason we’ve always contributed more to the babysitting ‘pot’ is because our circumstances are usually more favourable than theirs (in a babysitting context)

Alwaysgrey Fri 05-Apr-19 18:38:27

I’d probably start offering less help. I can understand why you’re annoyed. I’d be the same. Sadly a lot of people take more than give.

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:40:07

LittleLoneDog yes, I know what you’re saying, I just wouldn’t have sorted us out and left them high and dry.

I think the sleepovers are relevant in as far as, we help them out a lot and I don’t think it’d be unreasonable for them to return the favour in this instance?

Cailindeas35 Fri 05-Apr-19 18:42:21

This seems really mean, you have been far too generous and accommodating of them in the past. I don't like getting up at 6 with anybody's kids including my own but I absolutely would do it, for my friends and especially to reciprocate what they have done for me.
Me personally I would be pulling back on the friendship but then I loathe confrontation.
You seem like a lovely friend, too nice and I feel your kindness has been taken advantage of.

Namelessinseattle Fri 05-Apr-19 18:44:24

Have you had one babysitter look after the three of them before?

cabcab Fri 05-Apr-19 18:44:33

I'd be irked ..... they have long lie ins after nights together when you end up with their DD, but don't have yours for a sleepover EVER because yours wake at 6?

Selfish, start doing less they are taking the piss!

MargotLovedTom1 Fri 05-Apr-19 18:47:19

Has their babysitter looked after your children in the past too, when babysitting for their child?

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:48:17

My mum has looked after all three a few times, but we’ve never had them babysat together, no

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:48:42

We’ve never used their babysitter

MargotLovedTom1 Fri 05-Apr-19 18:49:37

How do you think they should return the favour in this particular instance? By booking the agency worker for the three children, and paying the fees? Not saying that would be wrong, just wondering what you think they should have done saying as their options are fairly limited.

SavoyCabbage Fri 05-Apr-19 18:50:18

Yanbu to be pissed off. You’ve always considered them in your arrangements and put yourselves out to accommodate them.

And they haven’t considered you when they made the arrangements although I do think the fact that the event is ‘theirs’ makes a difference somewhat. I do think they should have invited your dc for a sleepover before now, whether they get up at the crack of dawn or not. It’s almost a reason to do it rather than not! They know you never get a lie in but will happily get lie-ins for themselves whilst you look after their child.

Going forward, you have to say no more. Having someone’s child form the entire weekend so they can go away together is quite a big deal!

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:54:39

MargotLovedTom1 I know what you’re saying, but it might have been nice of them to offer to arrange a babysitter for all three, and we split the costs 2/3-1/3.

It’s the fact that they’ve not even bothered to explore that option, just booked their sitter and left us to it.

I wouldn’t have done that to them.

Namelessinseattle Fri 05-Apr-19 18:56:48

The sleepover bits and reciprocity of the whole thing would annoy me.

But it would never occur to me when organising a lunch for my birthday that I should suggest my friends kids stay in my house and are baby sat by my babysitter.

As a babysitter it would really annoy me when parents landed two familis on you- I would think that’s a bit geeky.

cantstopeating01 Fri 05-Apr-19 18:56:54

From my experience over the years I found " best friends " were friends of convenience. Once the kids got old enough to branch out and make different friends we seldom saw them anymore . Not saying that's the same thing but it sounds a bit one sided really

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 18:58:13

Also, when I said the cost of lunch + babysitting would probably be too much, and I’d probably stay at home with the kids while they went, my friend replied, ‘you could always just bring them. The restaurant doesn’t charge for under-8s’

And I’m thinking, ‘you know all the reasons you don’t want to bring your kid? Well..’

Plus my daughter will whinge her face off if she has to go without her pal...

MargotLovedTom1 Fri 05-Apr-19 18:59:03

They've been upfront and said they don't want to have OP's children due to early wakings, and yet OP has continued to have their dd, even saying it's easier because they all entertain eachother, so really - are the friends in the wrong or is OP being a bit martyrish? Either do the sleepovers willingly without expectation of reciprocation, or jack them in.

Surfskatefamily Fri 05-Apr-19 19:00:20

I would try to let it go and just hire a babysitter if you want to go to the lunch.
Other option is dont go
It does sound like your more giving however your friend is not obliged.

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 19:02:33

I have always done the sleepovers happily and without expectation.

But this scenario has left a bad taste in my mouth

MargotLovedTom1 Fri 05-Apr-19 19:02:43

I do see your point babay when you've been really helpful to them. You're only going to pay £4 ph more though if they don't chip in? Shouldn't be too much if it's lunch thing (ie. not all night).

Holidayshopping Fri 05-Apr-19 19:03:54

I think they are taking the piss having taken advantage of lots of sleepovers from you but never offered one in return. I wouldn’t be offering again. Take a step back and see what they do.

This is a separate issue though. I wouldn’t have expected the ‘birthday girl/boy’ so to speak to arrange a babysitter for my kids-I would want to do that.

Babayaggatheboneylegged Fri 05-Apr-19 19:06:15

The reason I had an ‘expectation’ was because they asked me to try to source a babysitter.

When my ‘lead’ fell through, they didn’t tell me they were branching out on their own. It was just presented as a fait accompli

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