Author Topic: I know I said I'd help....but not this much  (Read 13811 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6380
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 07:01:36 PM »
"I could help you....but I don't want to" that I am tripping over.  Honestly I feel like such a sitting duck - the one who can't say no!

Well there's your problem. You're thinking of it like "I guess I should help because I don't have a good reason not to." but that isn't true! Wanting to put on your jammies and watch tv, or spend the evening with your DH, or catch up on a hobby, or go out to dinner, or get a full night of sleep, or call up a friend and chat, etc. are all completely valid reasons to decline helping a friend last minute. You should start thinking of caring for yourself in the same way you'd care for someone else you loved!  :)

Sheila Take a Bow

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 780
  • Formerly arija but I felt like a name change.
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 07:25:53 PM »
It's not "I could help you....but I don't want to."

It's "I could help you, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my family time to be your unpaid childcare."

Or "I could help you, but you will be better off coming up with a long-term childcare solution so you don't have to rely on what is not actually an endless supply of my goodwill."

Or "I could help you, but after a long day at work my family would like to see more of me than a kiss goodnight."

Or "I could help you, but you're using my offer of help as an excuse to put off finding a permanent and equitable solution to your childcare problem."

joraemi

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3798
  • Crystal of Enchantment - my current project
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 07:49:58 PM »
POD to the others.  This is just not your responsibility.

A simple "I'm sorry I have plans." is in order here.  It is compltely irrelevant that your plans are to stay home and relax/read a book/watch your TV show, etc.

You could always go with, "Neighbor, I know I said I'd help you in a pinch, but quite honestly I don't have as much extra time as I thought.  After (2 weeks from now- or whatever time period you determine) I'm not going to be able to watch them anymore."

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.




Courage is the price life  exacts for granting peace.  ~Amelia Earhart~

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13024
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 08:07:58 PM »

BG - A close friend of mine very recently rejoined the workforce after over ten years as a SAHM.  She has accepted three part time / on call jobs which involve shiftwork....and her husband works shiftwork too.  She has been struggling with the childcare aspect of it and I offered to help if she was ever in a pinch.

Trouble is....she's in a LOT of pinches.  More than I ever expected.  Quite frequently she will call and ask if I can come over to fill in the gap between her DH leaving for work and her returning - often later at night.

I don't mind doing this once in a while....but I don't want this to become a habit...and we're starting to head down that road.  She is relying exclusively on friends to help her out rather than looking for paid childcare.

I know, I know I should just say no...but I really struggle with saying no when it is obvious that I have no solid reason to....and knowing that she will ask WHY I can''t do it.  After all the requests are later in the evening, when either DH and I are usually home.  She is only a couple of houses down from me so she knows when we are home. 

I wan to be a good friend....but I work full-time and I have two young children as well.  I don't always want to be at someone's beck and call.  She is a good friend but she does have a tendency to think she has it worse than everyone else and that people should be rallying around to help her.

Please help me polish up the spine!!  I always get so flustered when I feel like I don't have a good excuse / reason!!
Not that you need an excuse, but read the bolded above and maybe use that as an opening line when discussing this with her.  It sounds like she needs to get someone she can rely on other than her friends. 
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Rusty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 162
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 09:35:52 PM »
I think you've been a very generous friend but like everyone else says, it was never meant to be a permanent arrangement was it?

If it were me I'd probably approach her and say that I'm only available 1 night per week, and only if she cannot find anyone else.

You need to tell her she needs to find a permanent solution which does not involve you, that you are only willing to be an emergency backstop.

Its difficult because she lives so close, is a good friend and you want to maintain your relationship.  But the way things are now I can guarantee you will not be friends much longer, so its better to get it sorted.

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5729
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2013, 09:42:59 PM »

Next time she calls you, you can use this word-for-word:

"[Friend'sName], as much as I'm happy to help out in a pinch, I'm feeling used here.  You're calling me a lot more than I expected, and so far you haven't really looked at more permanent childcare options.  I will watch your kids this one last time, but after that I really am not comfortable doing it more than once a month or so, and only if your other options have fallen through.  [Substitute your own frequency for this, obviously!]  I really feel that it's not fair to my husband for me to be spending so much time with someone else's family instead of enjoying the precious time I get with him.  I'm sure you understand!"

DON'T offer to help her find someone else, especially since it sounds like any solution you come up with will be "not good enough" for her.  Don't offer to keep helping "until she finds something," either, because as long as she can rely on you, she won't.

I agree completely and congrats on a great 10001'th post.

(I want to substitute the above advice for my earlier advice. I had suggested helping her find care, but if she is paranoid mama-bear, she should be on her own for that)

Amara

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2409
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2013, 10:07:04 PM »
This seems so similar to your previous thread, OP, where your co-worker began riding to work with you out of necessity and years later was still riding to work with you. I sense you are having the same guilty feelings and I hear, in your words, the same "oh dear is me" sounds.

Since you seem to have some difficulty just saying no to requests that mushroom into expectations I really think it would be best for you to just say no. Tell her that as of a given date--and I'd say it should be no more than two weeks out at the most--you are sorry but you will no longer be available to do any sitting for her. If you wanted to add an explanation, and I think you should not, then simply let it be, "My family must come first."


Quote
Here is another little twist - she is a paranoid mama-bear type who will not trust anyone she hasn't known for a long time.

That is not your problem or concern. Her standards for sitters are legitimate, but she and her husband are the ones who must find the answers to them.

jedikaiti

  • Swiss Army Nerd
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2858
  • A pie in the hand is worth two in the mail.
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2013, 10:14:41 PM »
This will destroy your friendship if you do not end it.  I have seen it happen many times.

Are the time gaps as such that she can hire a local teen for a after school job?

Here is another little twist - she is a paranoid mama-bear type who will not trust anyone she hasn't known for a long time.  I hinted around to her that she should check some ads out for just such a solution - a teenager who is looking for some extra money and her response was that she would never be able to trust them.  If they weren't pedophiiles they would be stealing stuff, not doing things the way she would like etc etc.

I know I don't owe her an explanation and I SHOULD be able to say no ( I should really practise in front of a mirror ) - it's that awkward conveyance of "I could help you....but I don't want to" that I am tripping over.  Honestly I feel like such a sitting duck - the one who can't say no!

Then she's going to have to get to know other people! Perhaps she can start with sittercity.com (if you're in the US - don't know if anything similar is available elsewhere), or a licensed & bonded service? She could talk to other Moms she knows for referrals, or ask around at church if she's into a religion. Heck, she can have background checks run on potential caregivers! Maybe one of her employers has a deal with a child care center.

What she can't do - unless you let her - is use you as her primary child care source.
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

"The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture

Raintree

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6052
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2013, 10:33:27 PM »
Next time she calls you: "Friend, I know I said I'd be happy to help out if you were in a pinch, but I meant occasionally; I never expected it to be a regular thing. I will help out this time, but after that I'm afraid you're going to have to find another backup as I can't keep doing this. It's cutting into my own family time."

If she's mad, let her be. Her childcare arrangements are not your problem. And I agree with a PP who said, do not offer to help her find someone else, as then suddenly she will think it's your responsibility if nobody materializes.


sammycat

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6145
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2013, 10:51:21 PM »
Next time she calls you: "Friend, I know I said I'd be happy to help out if you were in a pinch, but I meant occasionally; I never expected it to be a regular thing. I will help out this time, but after that I'm afraid you're going to have to find another backup as I can't keep doing this. It's cutting into my own family time."

If she's mad, let her be. Her childcare arrangements are not your problem. And I agree with a PP who said, do not offer to help her find someone else, as then suddenly she will think it's your responsibility if nobody materializes.

I agree.

I'm just curious OP - does this lady ever reciprocate babysitting, or has she done so in the past?  Is she willing to reciprocate in other ways or do other 'friendly/neighbourly' things?  Or does she just take?

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2013, 11:06:00 PM »
Next time she calls you: "Friend, I know I said I'd be happy to help out if you were in a pinch, but I meant occasionally; I never expected it to be a regular thing. I will help out this time, but after that I'm afraid you're going to have to find another backup as I can't keep doing this. It's cutting into my own family time."

If she's mad, let her be. Her childcare arrangements are not your problem. And I agree with a PP who said, do not offer to help her find someone else, as then suddenly she will think it's your responsibility if nobody materializes.

I agree.

I'm just curious OP - does this lady ever reciprocate babysitting, or has she done so in the past?  Is she willing to reciprocate in other ways or do other 'friendly/neighbourly' things?  Or does she just take?

Thirded

kudeebee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2223
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2013, 02:06:59 AM »
Why are you so willing to sacrifice time with your family, having a relaxing evening, getting a good night's sleep in order to help her so much?  You offered to help in a pinch--to me that is a once every month or two situation that comes up at the last minute.  She is using you a lot as unpaid daycare so she doesn't have to shell out money for a sitter or get to know anyone else/go to the trouble of finding anyone else.

You have gotten several good statements to use from pp's.  I actually agree with the ones who say to keep it simple.  the next time she calls tell her "I can't help you tonight.  I have plans.  Hope you can find someone.  Got to go."  Do not JADE.  After doing this two or three times, she will probably start in on you, so then you can say to her something along the line of "I offered to help you out in a pinch, a real emergency situation, not on a weekly basis.  I have a full time job and want to spend my free time with my family.  So, I won't be helping you out any more except in a real emergency, at the most once a month."  She will probably get mad about this, if she does, she does.  I wouldn't worry about the friendship at this point as she certainly isn't, except in what she can get out of you.

Try it.  The first time will be the hardest and it will get easier each time.  After you tell her no, focus on the time you are spending with your family or doing things you want to do. 

Aquamarine

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1941
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2013, 03:20:06 AM »
You need to get yourself out of this and fast.  It seems like you have run across a member of the subspecies "give an inch, take a mile".  Tell your friend you will no longer be babysitting, I wouldn't even offer to help her out any more at all because with a user like you described there will be lots of "emergencies" all the time where she will neeeeeeed you.  Do not offer to help her find someone, divest yourself of the whole thing.  Doing this may end the friendship but so will your continuing to be a doormat until it reaches a crisis point over something.  If she is old enough to have children she is old enough to put on her big girl pants and deal with finding competent child care out in the community.  It's not rocket science but she hasn't done this because - well she has you and you have been going along with her wishes so far.

Every minute you spend on her and her family is a minute you are not spending with your ownOf course your friend is running you like Seabiscuit because what you are actually doing is putting her family above your own by giving them time that should belong to your own family.  In your situation one family is being put first and it's not yours.  I don't know how to put it any plainer than that but that's exactly what is happening.

Use this time to make memories with your own children as opposed to keeping the children of someone else occupied and looked after.  She may pitch a fit and demand answers but you do not need to explain yourself to her, all she needs to know is that you will no longer be available to babysit!  If you feel you must explain something then tell her you want to spend more time with your own children - I fail to see how that can be argued with but a user will still probably try to guilt you over it.  Perhaps sign your kids up for some extracurricular activities with you that would make you unavailable, the first step in putting your own family first.

Do not even offer to watch her children for an hour a month, this whole started out with a modest offer of help and you can now see how she latched onto your offer and started taking advantage.  Don't give her a second chance to do this all over again, get out and stay out of her childcare arrangements!

No one can use you or take advantage of you without your permission.  Don't give it to this person anymore.  You have gotten lots of good advice with this thread but all the advice in the world is useless unless you take a positive first step by following it.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

Miss Unleaded

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1725
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2013, 04:58:56 AM »
This seems so similar to your previous thread, OP, where your co-worker began riding to work with you out of necessity and years later was still riding to work with you. I sense you are having the same guilty feelings and I hear, in your words, the same "oh dear is me" sounds.

Oh I remember that thread.  How did that work out in the end Gen Xer?


I agree with all the other advice you have had here.  I especially like Raintree's wording.  It's not going to be a fun discussion but you really need to stop the childcare gravy train before you and your family really start to feel it.

eltf177

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 173
Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2013, 05:56:54 AM »
There's a lot of good advice here, and I agree with it. Get out fast before you're buried in the avalanche of "but I neeeeeedddd you!"

BTW VorFemme, did you ever get the back pay you were owed?