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Thank you for your very helpful discussion.

December 19, 2007

I am not babysitting Friday. Turns out the grandmother on the father’s side is coming to help out! I didn’t even have to say no. The Gods are on my side this week!

I may be a bitch with a bad attitude, but I can only take so much of other people’s kids. No matter how much I love them. And no matter how much I want to help. I feel terrible denying them, I do. But not enough to stress myself out.

Sometimes you have to say NO to others in order to day YES to yourself.

Here’s some of the questions and suggestions that were offered from yesterday’s post…and I thank you all for your honesty and candor. (It’s a long one people)

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah Said:
“I think she probably really needs your help, but if it really is too much maybe you could offer up the phone number to your favorite babysitter.”

Me: Great Idea…But I’m always the babysitter…I don’t have one for myself. I need to get one of those, Huh? I guess that’s my problem. I don’t trust anyone to babysit Fa, other than family. And I just can’t see how they trust me with their child for such a long time. I should be honored, but instead I’m confused by their rationale.

Annie Said:
“First of all – you are doing the right thing being honest – you have a lot on your plate right now and taking on someone else’s child for this long would be a handling for a lot of us – especially someone you don’t know all that well.

Having said that – I can see this lady’s perspective, too. I’ve been there. I had to leave Miss E all day and overnight with a lady I met at ‘Mommy and Me’, when I delivered Baby J – I had nobody else to ask – all our other friends worked.

I like the previous commenter’s suggestion – is there someone trustworthy you can recommend to her? What about her husband’s family – are any of them nearby?”

Me: Nope. I am my own babysitter and I would never ask my family to sit for a friend’s kid.
It’s hard enough to get them to sit for me….

I need a babysitter. But even then, would I just offer up someone else’s services? This is obviously something I’m not used to.

Sam Nova said:
“First of all, you that you refuse to do it all week, very good move to make that clear from the start on and there is nothing wrong with that. Got to agree with the limits ๐Ÿ˜‰

It might be that she is taking advantage of you but without doing it on purpose (If you know what I mean); you been so kind, kids liking each other a lot and at the same time she is in a bad position, so she asks the first one that makes sense to her (a person she trusts)… you.

I would do as Sarah and Annie suggests, check if there are other people (her family!) who could help out. Don’t know if you got ‘day care’ for kids that age where you are living, but the times where we couldn’t take care of our kids because of work we let them stay with a woman close to here who takes care of several kids all day (And we trust her).

I don’t think you are being negative at all and I find it good that you do have these thoughts.”

Me: Thanks so much Sam. Unfortunately, they have no one else, just each other (and me). But I am starting to reach my limit of patience…If you know what I mean. I feel terrible that I can not cope with helping them all week, but I have to do what’s best for me and my family too…especially this week. Too close to holidays and Fa’s birthday. I have so much to do and now no time to do it. Can you tell I’m stressed?

Carrie said:
“You are doing the right thing, be honest and up front. Maybe Friday the other parent can take the day off of work and spend it with his kid? I’m just saying.”

Me: Thanks for that Carrie. I truly think that after a full week of my services, the man could take a day.

cate said:
“i’m glad that you are only taking her two days…you know your limits, and it’s not worth pushing them for someone you hardly know!

i don’t think she’s taking advantage of you…maybe she doesn’t know anyone else who can help her….??? i don’t know. but you shouldn’t feel guilty for only taking her two days…especially if one of them is a full day!

doesn’t she have any family members or other (better) friends that could help her?

and no…i don’t think you are being negative…i think you are being protective of yourself, and that’s just fine! :)”

Me: Thank you Cate. I have had her for four days total. I can not do a FULL day. Especially since they just drop her off and I don’t hear from them the rest of the day. They don’t even call to check up on their kid. I can’t take the pressure.

Rachel said:
“Hmmm~ Iโ€™m jumping on Annieโ€™s comment boat because she pretty much said exactly what I was thinking.
She really may have nobody else to turn to but you, so maybe you could help her with suggestions. Itโ€™s a hard situation for both of you, it would seem.”

Me: You’re right. She seems to not have anybody else…But what would they do if they didn’t KNOW me?

Liz said:
“I agree that you’re doing the right thing by being honest. But it must be a tough situation for that mom to be in. I don’t suspect she’s taking advantage, rather she’s just in a tough spot.
But I’m with you, I couldn’t watch someone else’s kid for a WHOLE WEEK. Hell, I can hardly take care of my own self…”

Me: Ahmen.

Much More Than A Mom said:
“I think it’s great that you’re being honest, but also that she just probably really needs a friend right now and happens to trust you.”

Me: Yes, and yes. And I am truly honored to be that trusted. But I don’t want that responsibility. Am I heartless?

Momo Fali said:
“It’s good that you know when enough is enough. I wish I could say no more often. I don’t think you’re being taken advantage of…yet. If she asked such a big favor on another occasion…then, yes.”

Me: I do have to keep track now. Another thing I hate doing. Scorecards. But I will make sure I allow Fa to go there for a long afternoon one day soon!

janet said:
“as a working mom, i see both sides of this coin. and this is going to be a long comment. so go get a cup of coffee and get comfy.

i know that when my kids were little, i glommed onto anyone who could help me out when i couldn’t do what i needed to do. in fact, i made cold calls from a school roster more than once to find rides, carpools, help.

i also felt guilty if i couldn’t reciprocate, but frequently i couldn’t.

this poor mom saw a little kindness and latched onto it. she has a pressing need and she doesn’t see past it right now. i have been there.

on the other hand, as i look at it from the 20/20 hindsight of 26 years of parenting, she IS asking too much of you. you have handled it correctly by offering the times that you can and feel comfortable with.

i agree with the other commenters who suggested offering her alternatives and other sitters, etc. THAT would be what we call a mitzvah. a good deed.

also, let her help you back. there is nothing worse than feeling like you are always the taker. ask her for a favor. if she’s anything like the rest of us, she’ll be thrilled to offer something in return for your kindness.”

Me: Janet, you are so right. And I am thankful that I am not in her situation. It is all a matter of perspective. And mine is this: I have never had experience babysitting, parenting, making new ‘adult’ friends with kids…This is all new to me and I am negative about this. Because every time I try to help other so-called friends…I get taken advantage of…It’s historical fact. And I wind up losing that ‘friend’ the second I say NO. That’s why my perspective is the way it is. And I guess I don’t want that to happen here, but I just can’t do anymore. I’m lucky I can take care of my OWN family. You know? I am very torn about this, as you can hopefully see. So I hope that I am not coming off a total bitch-hater.

Plus, the small things lead to bigger aggravation. Examples: I’ve had to hunt down a car seat for the kid on the first day because they didn’t leave on with the school. Then, I had to remind the father every day to leave it at the school for me. Plus, the school won’t dismiss anyone without written consent. Guess who forgot to do that too…SO without a number to reach these parents because they didn’t leave me one, I had to ask the school to release his cell phone number to me so I could call him to tell him to call the school to say that I was taking the kid home. C’mon..I’m outta breath just typing all that.

Burf said:
“Yes set the limits, and yes be honest. But maybe ask what she does the other time, if she has a sitter, if the problem is that she can’t afford her etc….Might make her offer you a bit of money. Either that or she will stop, cuz she will realized that she can’t take advantage of you.

I might do it these two days…Christmas spirit and all, but I would tell her up front that there has to be some compensation or other arrangements if she wants to use you as a “sitter” more often.

Play dates fine, and an emergency here and there, but not always.”

Me: Yes. What started out as a playdate has turned into Hell Date! hee hee.

chelle said:
“Yup … what those guys up there said.
I do not think the lady is evil, but you so totally rock for setting your limits. It is easier to make everyone’s burdens our burdens and not be able to focus on ourselves. You are doing the right thing and so nice to help out when another mom is in need!”

Me: Thank you. I do hope that you all see, I do want to help. Just not be stressed about it. And now, it’s become stress. I am still trying to get through the holidays without a breakdown as it is.

Pamela said:
“This is a really tough question. My first thought is that she and her husband have a lot of gall.

Then I felt sorry for the little girl. She just needs someone to look out for her. Her parents don’t know you very well. Would you leave your kid with someone you don’t know?

Well — enough said.

I’m glad the little girl has you. They could have left her with a monster.”

Me: That’s my point. How do they know I’m not a monster? I even asked the father yesterday what this kid says when she gets home at night. I asked if she was happy and enjoying herself here…I’d hate for that kid to be suffering any more than she has to with her mother gone for so long!

Audubon Ron said:
“Yes, you’re being taken advantage of. Sorry, you’re getting gangted.”

Me: Tell it like it is brother! I thought that at first too. But with all the other perspectives out there, (Which I did ask for because I wanted to measure my own against my friends here)…I do see the other side as well. Still, I won’t let it go any further…As I’ve said, I know my limits! And for now, I am finito. Done. Cooked. I must enjoy these next few days and the holidays to follow…then in the new year, I can start over again.

OhTheJoys said:
“I think you’re just being real. Here’s how much I can handle. End of story.”

Me: So I’m not the only one?

feener Said:
“i think the best thing ANY one can do is be honest with what they can handle. That is what you are doing. I am not sure about being taken advantage of, b/c i also am not sure if someone was sick in my family I might just be looking for help where ever I could find it ? I guess that part I wouldn’t judge b/c I am not sure how I would be. But I know that I would only do what I felt I could handle, you are helping her out as much as you can. she has to find other routes if she needs more and that is NOT your problem.”

Me: I agree…thank you. I did what I could and I would do it again..just not the rest of this month!

Multi-tasking Mommy
“I say it’s ok to set your limits and stick to them. Good for you for knowing yourself and being honest. You aren’t being selfish at all–you are a dear friend for offering to take her period!
Just my 2 cents.”

Me: Thanks. My limits have been established. I am proud of myself.

Toni said:
“Stick to your guns. Sometimes people don’t mean to take advantage but it sounds like she is at least a little. Just my humble opinion….”

<em>Me: Agreed. Thank you!</em>

And to conclude my thoughts exactly (I think we are sisters separated at birth):
Margaret said:
“It is OK for you to say no. You don’t have to do everything.

The positive part of me says she isn’t taking advantage and needs help. But You have a crap load going on. It’s OK. You CANT do it all.

Maybe her hubby has to call in sick. Do whatever you can do. That’s it.”

Me: Yes, ma’am. These were my thoughts exactly.

and

Devilish Southern Belle Said:
“Ooh, this is a hard one. I don’t think you are being taken advantage of just yet. Yes, she asked for a lot of time, but she also had some sort of family emergency. However, you certainly should not take on another kid for that much time if you already know you don’t want to or won’t be able to handle it. I know it does probably feel like you’re being taken advantage of, but that’s probably not her intent. I’d only help what days I really felt like I could, if any.”

Me: Thank you. Just the way I’d like to end this post. I did it. It’s done. I will do it again when they need me but not for this many days or hours. I just am not wired for that. This was a lesson well learned from you, my internet friends, and from myself. I learned something about myself this week. I am pessimistic, but I do understand there are other perspectives. And I do, in my heart of hearts want to be helpful, just not to the point where I am getting overwhelmed. I know my limits. I now have to abide by them.

I feel so much better about things now that I have shared them with you friends!

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14 comments

  1. Sorry I missed your post yesterday and I am glad there were lots of people here to offer advice. I have to say that I am really alot like you in this department…..I can’t stand the idea of babysitting other peoples kids…still!! My gremlins are now teenagers and I sorta feel like I did my time ….I guess that isn’t very nice of me but it is honestly how I feel. I don’t blame you one bit for feeling stressed and not wanting to help out more than you already have.

    Hang in there and don’t beat yourself up over it…


  2. I’m so glad that someone else is gonna take her. I sorta got swindled into watching a “friends” two kids for the summer. She said only three half days a week, and it turned into 4 to 5 whole days. She did pay me, and bring alot of snack stuff. But…..It was way more than I could handle, and I was so stressed. Gigantor had to tell her that she needed to find someone else for the end of the summer, so I didn’t hate the whole summer.

    I told her I couldn’t do it the following year, so that was good, now she doesn’t ask for sitting anymore, our kids just play.


  3. Since I wasn’t here yesterday, I’ll go ahead and give my un-needed advice.

    “Keep them and I’ll send a few rolls of duct tape for you”


  4. I am glad you feel better ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Man, I missed a great discussion yesterday. I don’t have much to add, but completely understand your misgivings.


  6. sounds like you have your head on straight about this now. good.


  7. Glad you feel better.
    No brilliance from me today, or yesterday for that matter. Obviously.


  8. You can only do what you can do … but you figured that out already. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for the sweet comment! Hugs!


  9. Dude – you agreed with me.

    Are we, like, twins or something???? ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Oh – and one more thing – I swear, I’d babysit for you anytime you needed it.

    Well, you don’t need babysitting. I’d babysit for Fa anytime. Ever.

    I’m not a stalker, I promise.

    I’d just help you whenever you needed it.


  11. glad to know the gods are on your team this week! that was a tricky situation with your new friend.

    in the meantime…

    if you have a second, boogie on over to my latest post because I’ve tagged you for a quick & easy meme. but ONLY IF you want to do the meme, no pressure! if not, enjoy the tunes and have a GREAT evening…cheers, christine


  12. Great to hear you are on top of things again.

    About not liking to have strangers babysit your kid; we had the same issue long ago. Wanted to find a babysitter we could trust and feel good about. First time was really hard; told them (two very good friends) to SMS us from time to time and we also left town earlier than planned. But all worked out well ๐Ÿ˜‰

    In Denmark (I’m from there but not living there); it is normal to give the kids over to day care when they are VERY young, so that both parents can work. My ex wife (here in Switzerland) thought that was very scary, she would never trust someone with her babies.

    So things are very different from place to place in this world.


  13. Ok, i don’t know how I missed all of this! Ack!

    I know the whole thing is said and done (and I think you did the right thing) but I’m curious why the father couldn’t take off of work while the mom was dealing with her mother? Or did you answer that already and I missed it?


  14. oh, i’m so glad that you got Friday off! ๐Ÿ™‚

    isn’t it great to be able to bounce things off your cyber friends when you need advice and support? it’s like we’re always here for each other! awww…now i’m getting all mushy…..;)



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