Author Topic: I know I said I'd help....but not this much  (Read 12914 times)

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BeagleMommy

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #45 on: February 20, 2013, 03:16:21 PM »
POD to everyone who's said you don't owe her an explanation.  "I can't watch your child anymore" is all you need.  If she questions you "Because it's not possible".  Lather, rinse, repeat.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2013, 03:30:02 PM »
If she is paranoid,.I would suggest she ask at local senior center or church for older retired person who might want to earn extra money with babysitting

Winterlight

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #47 on: February 20, 2013, 03:59:04 PM »
There was a thread on here a while ago where the OP had a friend with a son the same age as her own, and he had two little sibs.  The older child spent so much time with the OP, and she was starting to become a surrogate parent, even to the point of monitoring his health condition.  Friend rarely reciprocated hosting and rarely paid the OP back for money that was spent on her child.  Then the other mom/supposed friend wanted the OP to watch the two younger children.  OP said no.  Friend pretended she didn't hear and ramped up the efforts.  Then the friend started playing the 'poor me' card, and it became apparent that the friend had never looked into alternate child care arrangements; she assumed she could dump her kids on the OP.  When the OP said no, the friend got worse.  I'll try to look for the thread.

This one?

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=116934.0
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bopper

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #48 on: February 20, 2013, 04:20:08 PM »
Call her up and say "Friend, I was wondering if you had started looking into more permanent solutions to your child care?  When I said I would help in a pinch, I meant just that...if unusual circumstances occurred such that you needed help.  However, I have been babysitting twice a week, which is no longer a pinch, but a schedule...and an unpaid one at that.  Not that I want to be paid, but I have two kids of my own to parent and i don't want to feel like I am on call.  You need to find another child care solution that will work for you."

Tia2

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2013, 05:26:40 PM »
" . . . 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!"


You DO have a reason! You have other obligations. "Time at home" is NOT "time being wasted."

It's time talking with and building a relationship with your spouse. It's time taking care of your own home, or working on projects, or detoxing/destressing/relaxing in a place that's safe, where you don't worry about other people.

This - particularly your relationship with your spouse and children.  If you work all day, I assume you don't see each other then.  Time you spend with your neighbour is time you aren't working on your marriage.  Please don't misunderstand me, I 'm not for a minute suggesting your marriage is at risk because of this.  What I am saying is that I believe a spouse has a right to be a priority over a random neighbour who can't be bothered to sort out proper child care.  If I were that spouse, I'd feel hurt that my partner would rather assist the neighours than spend time with me.

If you think of yourself as taking from your husband and children to give to this person, I think you might feel less guilty about it.  I'm not saying you shouldn't do this in an emergency, just that it shouldn't be a regular thing.

gen xer

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #50 on: February 20, 2013, 06:52:24 PM »
Thanks everyone for the encouragement...I know I just have to say no but this is one of the hardest things for me to do.
She is a good friend and we have always tried to help each other out - we take care of each others pets when we go away, she has babysat for me on occasion etc.  I don't want to lose the good friend / neighbour dynamic where we have each others back - I just don't want to tip the balance from friends helping out friends to being taken advantage of - and as other posters have pointed out it is a fine line between favour and obligation!
















Lindee

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #51 on: February 20, 2013, 07:12:15 PM »
It sounds like the balance has well and truly tipped.

TootsNYC

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #52 on: February 20, 2013, 11:07:57 PM »
You might be able to tip the balance back by just saying no. Oh, go ahead and sound regretful, but say that your kid needs you to help with homework tonight, or something.

And just don't always be available every time she calls you.

PastryGoddess

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #53 on: February 21, 2013, 12:11:24 AM »
Thanks everyone for the encouragement...I know I just have to say no but this is one of the hardest things for me to do.
She is a good friend and we have always tried to help each other out - we take care of each others pets when we go away, she has babysat for me on occasion etc.  I don't want to lose the good friend / neighbour dynamic where we have each others back - I just don't want to tip the balance from friends helping out friends to being taken advantage of - and as other posters have pointed out it is a fine line between favour and obligation!

GenXer, you are deserving of all of the time that you give to others.  If you continue to give and give and give, there will be nothing left for you or your familiy.  At some point you have to start valuing yourself and your time independently of others.  It seems like you measure yourself on how much you can DO for others. 


I'm going to use the word selfish here. :)  Your wants, needs and desires have to come first .  There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first.  In fact putting yourself first will probably make you and the most important people in your life happier in the long run.  After yourself, you need to prioritize who comes next.


So for example your priority list can look like this:
GenXer
Husband
Children
Parents/Inlaws
Close Family
Good Friends
Distant Family
Distant Friends
etc
etc


When anyone asks you for a favor you should be taking the time to run down your list of priority people until you get to that person.  If you can help out without negatively impacting other people above them, then say yes.  But if the favor will impact someone above that person on your priority list then you can feel free to say no.
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Hillia

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #54 on: February 21, 2013, 12:20:55 AM »
Think of it this way:  it's hard for you to say no to her, but easy to say no to your husband and kids?  Because that's what you're doing - every 'yes' to her babysitting demands is a 'no' to your own family.  'No' to spending time with them, to taking care of yourself so you can be your best for them.  She is stealing from  your family, period.

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blarg314

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #55 on: February 21, 2013, 01:55:22 AM »

It *is* possible to be a helpful, kind person who gives a lot to others, *and* to not be taken advantage of, but it does take some effort.

A few things to remember that can help you do that.

 - You have a finite amount of time and energy to spend helping people.  If one person is sucking up all of it, then you don't have any left to give to other people. If you get exhausted or burnt out trying to manage everything, you ultimately diminish your ability to help.

- Sometimes your help can actually be hurting someone.  If your help is letting them keep up bad behaviour, or put off solving a problem then in the long run, it can make things things worse for them.

- It's perfectly fine to stop doing a long running favour if circumstances change and you can't or don't want to do it any more. The kind way to do this is often to give the other person some warning, so they can make other arrangements, if they are depending on the favour. If they ignore that warning, you may have to cut them off abruptly, but this is their problem, not yours.

- People tend to take long running favours for granted when they get used to them. This is normal and not always malicious. An occasional push back can work wonders with someone who is not doing it on purpose, and keep people from getting too used to it (don't be available every single time someone asks for a particular favour, for example, and sometimes ask for something in return.)

- Some people will deliberately try to take advantage of your good nature, and you have to watch for that. Things to watch for include people who get mad when you don't do what they're asking and people who always take but never give in return when you need it.

- Another category is people who are appreciative, and do genuinely need help but have needs that are too great for you to handle - you can't be their psychologist, or full time babysitter, or care giver, or have them live with you indefinitely. With cases like this, you often have to say no, even when it hurts, to keep yourself sane, and to give them incentive to do something about their problems.

As an aside, it strikes me that your friend is shooting herself in the foot. She doesn't trust anyone who isn't close to her to babysit. But depending on favours  from friends as your primary childcare is a very unstable situation, and I supect more of her friends than you are getting fed up, and starting to say no.

Your friend could be using this time to search for a reliable babysitter, have them over and see how they interact with the kids, calling references, and so on, and find someone she likes. As it is, there's a good chance she'll have to choose between a last minute random person she hasn't researched and checked out, or getting fired, when her stop-gap solution no longer works.

camlan

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #56 on: February 21, 2013, 06:07:13 AM »
If I'm reading the OP correctly, this woman has accepted three separate, different jobs that all involve shift work or being on call. And her husband also does shift work.

Child care would most likely be an issue in that situation, no matter how hard the parents look for help. Just putting the kids in regular day care probably won't solve the problem here. So I can understand why the OP's friend is relying on others to help her out.

But she should still be trying to hire someone who can be on call, and have back-ups for that person. Relying on her friends is going to lose her a lot of friends, or at least a lot of the goodwill of those friends in a short time. Granted, her pool of potential care providers is smaller than usual, because of the demands of both shift and on-call work, but there are people out there who can do the job.

The friend has options. She could have searched for childcare before starting her new jobs, so that she could have the care provider watch the children while she was still at home, and thus get a chance to see how the provider got along with her kids.

She could start looking for a job with better, more stable hours. She could drop the most problematic job. She could ask around for trustworthy childcare providers. She could offer to pay one of her friends, currently providing care for free, to be on-call in the evenings for child care.

As for boundaries--I'm in a slightly similar situation myself. Since Monday, I've had my nephew and niece at my house, while my brother and SIL take care of my other nephew, who needed major surgery with only 4 days notice. The hospital is here, near me, but 500 miles from their home. Nephew and Niece are on March vacation, so they aren't missing any school.

But last night, my brother mentioned that their plans for next week, when Oldest Nephew will still be in the hospital, and the younger two will need to be back at school, have fallen through. The family member who was going to take care of them has had a health crisis of her own.

I'm pretty sure that DB would love for me to jump up and volunteer to get the kids back home and stay with them out there next week. But there are many reasons why I don't want to, most of which boil down to the fact that the kids, while great kids, are exhausting to watch and a huge responsibility and after this week is over, I'm going to be Tired Out. There's also my ancient car, the 8 hour drive in snow season (8 hours with a tween niece who cannot stop talking), the cost--just the gas and tolls for the round trip is about $150.

So I've decided that if they *ask* me to drive the kids home and watch them there, I'll do it. But I'm not going to *volunteer*, because if I do, even if I say I want to be considered only after all other attempts have failed, they'll stop looking for someone else and I'll be stuck. And I am only going to do this because he's my brother. For a friend, however good a friend, I'd be sticking with the one week I promised at the start.

And yes, I feel a little guilty about this. He's my brother! This is a crisis and I should be helping out! And it really, truly is a crisis. I have no doubt about that. I just keep reminding myself that taking care of two children for a week isn't "nothing." It *is* helping out in a very big way. And that in other medical crises (unfortunately, Oldest Nephew has several serious, on-going medical issues), I have gone out to their home and watched the kids for two weeks at a time more than once. It's not as if I never help them out. And it's not as if this will be the last time I'm asked to help out. The chances are high that there will be another call for help within the next year.

Just as the OP should remind herself that she has been helping her friend out, quite a lot. But it's still okay for her to decide that the amount of help she's giving has limits. Limits that work for the OP and her family, not for her friend and the friend's family.
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lkdrymom

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #57 on: February 21, 2013, 06:51:47 AM »
You don't have to stop helping your friend but you need to be unavailable a few times so she is forced to find an alternative. The next three times she asks only be available for one of those times.  If you feel you must give her a reason make up some silly excuse. If she presses you to find a way to accomodate her end the call quickly. If she pushes that much you know the friendship is more about what you can do for her.

gen xer

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #58 on: February 21, 2013, 10:32:15 AM »

With respect to the taking away from family time - don't get me wrong - I don't cancel plans to help her out or rush home from work and stay home to be on call.  Even I'm not that much of a doormat ( and trust me I know I need to go to Doormats Anonymous ) 

I have said no to her before.

Where I am stumbling the most is the later in the evening request ( 9:00 - 9:30 ) when my kids are in bed, DH is heading shortly if he's not there already since he gets up for work very early and I am finally just sitting down after a long day ( I am sure most moms of younger children know what I'm talking about ).  That's when I feel trapped like a rat since it isn't really cutting into family time when everyone else is sleeping ( or about to ) and she tells me I can just sleep on her couch so "I can get my rest too".  I just feel like I'm at a loss for being able to say no - my mind just goes blank and I say my default yes.

This might be a little PA but I think I'll make a point of being "out" more past my bedtime - I won't like it but some things just have to be done... ;)

TootsNYC

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #59 on: February 21, 2013, 10:38:18 AM »
Don't you have things you need to do during that wind-down time?

Like dealing w/ insurance-company forms, clearing off the kitchen counter, checking your calendar for the upcoming two weeks so you feel organized and relaxed when you go to bed? That sort of stuff?
Putting your shoes away from the dining room?

Doing a craft? Sewing on a button?

Just say, "I'm in the middle of something."