Moocher Mom Misunderstandings

by admin on January 19, 2017

This week’s theme of moocher week, and some of the comments, had me wanting to get opinions on a situation I was just in. I don’t honestly think I was a moocher, but maybe I was.

Backstory. I am good friends with a lady I will call Sara. Sara and I have sons around the same age, who are also good friends. As Sara does not have family in the area, and doesn’t trust baby sitters, I often watch her son for her. This does not go both ways, as I am lucky enough to have two sets of eager grandparents nearby. This past summer I also picked up her son along with my son from camp every day, and watched him for a few hours until Sara got off work. I did not receive payment or any show of appreciation other then verbal thanks for this, and I was okay with that.

But a couple months ago, on a Saturday, Sara called me and told me that her husband and she had a project they needed to work on, and could my son come over to play with their son and keep him occupied as they would be housebound all day. As we had no plans, I said sure and brought him over. Then, a few hours later, I received a text from Sara saying that they had decided they needed a break and were out to lunch. They wanted to know if they could take my son miniature golfing after. I said if they didn’t mind having him for longer that would be great, and thank you so much!

When Sara dropped my son off after she informed me that I owed her $30 for the outing. I was totally taken by surprise. She had invited my son to her house for the day, then taken him to lunch without asking/telling me till after the fact. She had asked about the miniature golf, but since I have never charged her for things I have done for/with her son when he is with me, I just assumed she was covering my son the same wrong. But you know what they say about assuming. 🙂

I admit I am soured against my friend after this experience, as I can’t believe that after all I have done for her and her son she can’t treat my son to one outing. I have also come up with excuses on the few occasions she has asked to have my son since then, as I don’t want to be hit by a surprise invoice if she decides to change plans while having him.

Am I wrong? Was I actually trying to mooch off my friend? Or was my son an invited guest? If I had asked her to take my son that day, versus her asking for him, I definitely would have offered money.

Thanks EHellions!  0111-17

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Op January 20, 2017 at 7:38 am

Thanks everyone for your input! I love some of the wording suggestions and will definitely use them. I was too surprised at the time e to speak, as within our group of friends this has never happened. We either all go out together on planned outings, or you cover the kids you have for unplanned. I would have sent money if I knew they were going somewhere, but this was suppose to be a play date at house, while the parents worked. No money should have been needed.

As for cost of outing. They went to a nicer, sit down restaurant with no kids menu. The boys are 9 so they can behave, but they are also 9 year old boys so they will eat their own meal – no sharing. Cost of entree, drink, tax and tip easily hits $20 at this restaurant. It’s definitely not where I would have gone had I been choosing or asked. Then add in mini golf (which as some said, was more then just mini golf), and we are at $30.

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Margaret January 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

Anytime we have invited another child to join us I have always understood that I was treating the child. Sometimes the child shows up with their own money just in case. Your friend was rude to present a bill to you after the playdate. If she expected you to pay she should have told you prior to taking your child out to eat and miniature golf.

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Melissa January 20, 2017 at 10:10 am

Sara should have asked before going to lunch, and mentioned a cost before asking about mini golf if she was expecting reimbursement. OP could have accepted or declined at that time, and/or set a budget/guidelines like “He can play mini golf and spend $5 on games, don’t let him order an expensive dinner entree, he’ll go buck wild if he’s allowed to order whatever he wants from the menu….etc”. $30 is a lot for a small child’s lunch and afternoon activity.

The situation is odd enough and rude of Sara even without the backstory of how much help OP provides for Sara, but given that history, it’s hard to believe that Sara wouldn’t love the chance to pay her back in a small way. It just shows that she’s a taker. If her financial situation was such that she could not afford to pay for OP’s son, then she should have saved the outing for another time when it was just their family, or at the very least, asked OP beforehand and mentioned the estimated amount.

Depending on the closeness of the friendship, I’d either have an uncomfortable but hopefully productive conversation with Sara, or just start being too busy to babysit and drive her son places. The kids can still play together without OP providing so many services for someone who doesn’t seem to appreciate it.

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Callalily Montez January 20, 2017 at 10:24 am

The most I’ve ever seen charged to play miniature golf — and this was for adults, not kids — was $8 or $9.

Sounds like she’s charging you for taking your son, her son, and her and possibly her husband for miniature golf.

Next time she asks for your son to come over, I’d ask if it would end up costing you anything.

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Vermin8 January 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

Here is the conversation I would love to see between OP and Sarah:
OP: Sarah, please excuse me if I was a bit taken aback when you asked for the reimbursement for Junior’s expenses on the outing. I’m accustomed to the host picking up the tab. I take it that you are not used to doing things that way.
Sarah: No, we believe parents should be responsible for their children.
OP: Well I can certainly do that! So given that, your Junior’s expenses run to $x/week. Just have him pass it on to me at the beginning of the week.

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isabella February 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm

“does ‘nt trust babysitters” means too cheap to pay for one, that is why she is using her friend,

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Joanna June 5, 2017 at 12:37 am

I am in Sara’s position, (although not so lucky as to have a husband to help me out,) and I have a friend in the OP’s position. Said friend is a stay at home mom with a well-paid spouse. She watches my kids for free all the time and goes above and beyond by taking them to appointments. I hate that I can’t afford to pay her, but the reality is, that we are in very different financial and family situations. I have no family and struggle to find time to do everything I need to do.

That said, if I offered her child a chance to come to my house for the day, I would very gladly pay for everything knowing how much I “owe” her. It would make me feel better to be able to do something in return rather than always being the charity case.

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