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Favours to other parents not returned...

(60 Posts)
flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 18:28:30

I often do favours for other parents from dd's school - taking a child into school or on to an after school activity. Most parents never return the favours in any way - partly because work commitments make it difficult for them to. I have a particular dilemma though:

I am taking one child to an after school activity each week - collecting her from a different school to dd, taking her 5 miles to a class, then dropping her back at her own front door - which is not on my way back home. I volunteered to do this, but thought that her mother would try to return the favour at least in a small way - but nothing has been forthcoming. The mother of this child does not have restrictive work committments - she works part-time, very flexible hours and is very well off - 4 or 5 very expensive foreign holidays a year etc. I really like the child but dd is not very keen on her & would rather we didn't take her with us.

Am I being taken for a mug & should I end this arrangement mid-term? Or am I a miserable old cow?!!

Puff Thu 09-Jun-05 18:30:40

have you asked her to do something(s) for you - sometimes people need a gentle nudge - -f that doesn't work, I'd pull out as it sounds like a lot of hassle.

TrophyWife Thu 09-Jun-05 18:32:22

agree with Puff,
some people do not relise that other people might need a favour too..

flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 18:33:21

I could try asking - I just don't really like to! But that seems like good advice, thanks!

zebraZ Thu 09-Jun-05 18:34:06

I think I'd be honest and just tell the mother that your 2 DDs aren't getting on very well so you'd rather not take them to class together for a while.
DS1 changes which of his classmates he likes every other week,I think most children are similar in being fickle, the other mother would be weird to take it personally.

flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 18:37:35

The kids aren't bad together really - it's just that dd would rather not have the other child along - the honest reason I am thinking of ending the arrangement is that I feel taken advantage of - but then I did volunteer myself! (Mainly because the child was desperate to do this class & wouldn't have a chance otherwise!)

Catsmother Thu 09-Jun-05 18:39:23

I'm intrigued ... if as you say this woman has no work restrictions and you are making quite an effort by going out of your way .... how come you volunteered to do this favour in the 1st place if you don't mind me asking, particularly as this child isn't a special friend of your daughter's ?

Has this woman expressed her appreciation of what you're doing in any way at all ? For example, my son has stayed at a friend's house quite a few times recently preceeding or foillowing school trips because we live 15 miles from his school. I can't return the favour like for like as it would be impractical though my son's friend is welcome to stay over at weekends and in holidays etc. However, I have made sure to properly thank his mum with cards and small gifts like chocolates or bath oil.

If she seems to be taking you for granted though I would do as you suggest and stop doing it - you can always say that you hadn't realised how awkward the going out of your way would be beforehand. Otherwise, you are just going to end up feeling terribly resentful and put upon.

Puff Thu 09-Jun-05 18:40:02

flobble - you were being helpful! If you just want to call a halt to it anyway, I think that's fair enough. Good luck!

Blu Thu 09-Jun-05 18:40:55

She is taking you for granted Big Time. If you did this for me I would definitely return the favour, and if that wasn't possible, you would find a case of wine on your doorstep at the end of the 'term' of activities!

zebraZ Thu 09-Jun-05 18:45:24

well, if it's more a case of being taken advantage of... ok, yes, that's not nice, BUT
what about the child? Maybe consider it charity work for her sake, not for the ditsy mother.

flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 18:47:24

She notionally works at home 3 days a week and uses a childminder as after school childcare. However she is doing contract work, hasn't got much work on, and finds plenty of time to go to the gym etc during the days she works. So although I originally thought she would be working after school, I don't think she really needs to be working then...and I am sure that she could be finished by the end of the class at 5.30pm to pick up her child if she wanted to.

No expression of appreciation or attempt to return the favour in any way (any small gesture would keep me quite happy)! But as I say, I did volunteer myself!

I think I am a bit jealous that she has such a relaxed lifestyle while I run around frantically trying to take dd to activities and earn enough money to even pay for one low-cost holiday a year...and then I run around for her as well!

flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 18:48:42

I really like the child - and if I pull out before the end of term the mother will have paid for the whole term on the understanding that I will take her child...

flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 18:50:23

Blu - I would be the same as you - but in fairness it is not yet the end of term so I have only done this about 8 times so far - maybe she is thinking of a thank you at the end of term & I just need to wait and see...

Puff Thu 09-Jun-05 18:53:03

flobble, from your last post, it does sound as this woman could make alternative arrangements if you said you could no longer do it.

If it's causing you a lot of hassle, extra rushing about etc, I'd call time on it.

If it's the lack of returning favours that's basically the problem, I'd see out the rest of the term and put it down to experience. Then, find someone you can rely on to do swapsy favours with .

flobbleflobble Thu 09-Jun-05 19:03:41

Think I might suggest that I take the girls and then she picks up both children after the class... & see how that goes down...I will have to be feeling quite brave to ask though!!

lillies Thu 09-Jun-05 19:17:22

Tell her that you can take them, but can't pick them up as you have a visitor coming or something. Then if it works well, you can bring up the idea of her doing that every week.

If she can't pick them up, then cancel taking her child as you are making effort and she isn't.

alhambra Thu 09-Jun-05 19:25:58

Be honest and say that you are only willing to do it for a couple more weeks. Has she said thank you, been generally friendly and smily? She might be planning a big present for you...........

flobbleflobble Fri 10-Jun-05 08:19:57

Last week I had to pick the child up from a different location - my friend gave me duff directions and it took me ages to find it - there was no real apology from the mother - and it did get on my nerves driving around and around for ages! And then her child did a small wee on the back seat of my new car probably because she waited so long for me to pick her up!

After the class I generally drop off the little girl & get then fish and chips for my family - my friend suggested that next week I bring fish and chips around to her house to eat them there. So this was friendly, but did also mean that she would have both her child and her dinner delivered to her door - and my dp would get no dinner .

If she had offered to make dinner for me & dd I would have been happy that she appreciated what I was doing, and all would have been fine! She doesn't ever really say thank you, but she did tell me how much her child likes the class & that the child is much happier generally as a result of this. I think I will just come out and ask her if she will pick both kids up after the class and see what she says!

Miaou Fri 10-Jun-05 09:11:22

Some people just don't say the words "thank you", it just doesn't seem to be part of their vocabulary. I used to work quite closely with someone who NEVER said thank you for things I did, even if I went out of my way, or offered to do things that were outwith my job description. It used to really pee me off, after all, how much effort is it to say two little words? But gradually I came to realise that she WAS grateful, just didn't show it overtly, it would come out in other ways (eg she would compliment me on how well I handled situations or say "I'm glad to have you around" etc).

Also she was never gracious in accepting thanks either - she arranged a leaving do when I left my job and I was profuse in my thanks, but she didn't respond at all, not even to say "that's alright" or "it's a pleasure", which left my thankyous sounding overeager and slightly insincere! Made me feel uncomfortable.

However, having written all that....I don't think it is particularly relevant to your situation! I do think that she is probably self-centred and doesn't look at what's happening from your pov at all. I think your idea of asking her to pick up is a good one, and if she won't, then say you won't be picking up her child in future. And be honest - say that it's because it is taking too long/out of your way/doesn't leave you enough time etc - she sounds like one of those people to whom you have to spell out exactly what your life is like because she hasn't got the imagination to work it out for herself. Best of luck. Sorry for the waffle.

HappyDaddy Fri 10-Jun-05 09:50:02

flobbleflobble, I'd stop the arrangement. Espcially if dd wanted it to stop.

Chandra Fri 10-Jun-05 10:43:10

I think that the ideal solution would be to ask her, as you said, to pick up the kids. I believe that the fact you volunteered doesn't change a thing, a volunteer needs to be thanked all the time not deal with as if she as part of the service.

I have a so called ecological neighbour who refuses to use a car but then every time she needed one, hey she just called me and requested a lift, the last time I did the favour to her was when she was so insistent to go to a museum that is 50 miles away though I expressely said I didn't want to, so at the end I accepted just thinking that that was the last time ever. So we went and once there she met with other friend and forgot that I was there. She also kept going about paying for the petrol but... lots of words and never show the money. Never again. There are people who you offer a helping hand and then end up giving them the hand, the feet, your purse, etc.

Chandra Fri 10-Jun-05 10:49:06

refused to have a car not to "use" it.

shimmy21 Fri 10-Jun-05 10:56:12

I think I'll be in a minority on this one but I think you should keep up the arrangement until the end of term. It's not that many more weeks and the woman did pay for the term because you volunteered to take her dd in the first place. I think it would be a bit off to stop just because your dd isn't that interetsed in the other child. You may regret your offer now but you do have a commitment because she has forked out cash for this.

I agree that if you want a favour in return then ask!!! You can't expect her to read your mind and know telepathically what she can do to help.

If I was you I'd invent a reason why you need her to pick the girls up (a class you want to do at the gym makes it difficult to get there or whatever). If she says no then you can pull out of the arrangement with a clearer conscience. If she says yes then you've won yourself a bit of time back.

assumedname Fri 10-Jun-05 11:18:32

I agree with shimmy - keep up the arrangement until the end of term.

If you had expected something in return, maybe you should have mentioned it at the same time as volunteering to take the child.

People's unvoiced expectations are very hard to deal with. I used to work in town O and commuted from town B. To save me money, friend P offered me a lift to work with her and her husband. Refused any and all offers of petrol money. She then complained to me that I hadn't bought her dp a birthday present. WTF?

jambo1707 Fri 10-Jun-05 11:50:54


I would not be treated like this hun.

You are doing her a big favour and understandably you like this little child, but what gives this woman the right to ask you to runn about after her, she should be doing these things for her child.

Ok if it is on occasion but this clearly aint and now she has bec ome to comfortable with the situation.

Maybe asking her for financial help i.e petrol money, payment for your time as you have stated this aint near where you are on a daily basis/

Maybe then she will wake up and smell that coffee-realising that "she is a mother" wake up to her responsibilities

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