Author Topic: I know I said I'd help....but not this much  (Read 13537 times)

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rose red

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #60 on: February 21, 2013, 10:43:38 AM »
She wants you to go to her house, sleep on her couch, wait for her to return home, wake up, and then stumble home? 

"That won't work for me."

GlassHalfFull

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #61 on: February 21, 2013, 11:12:28 AM »
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.

But it's cutting into your time, which is as much if not even more important.  What's that saying, "A happy wife makes a happy life"?  I'd not be a happy wife if I were dragging myself out to sleep on someone else's couch right after I just sat down.

I get you on the "at a loss, default yes".  Here's what I learned to do.  I now say "Let me think about this for a minute."  And I pause, and I think.  I used to feel like I had to just answer, immediately!, and the pressure got to me.  But you don't have to blurt out an answer.  Especially when it's a favor being asked.  And then you could say, "You know, that's really not going to work this evening."  Friends asks, "Why?  You can just sleep on the couch."  You answer, "Sorry, not going to work."  Repeated questioning, you answer, "I'm not going to list the reasons.  You should get going so you can find yourself an alternative.  Good night!"

Please do, though, call her first, before any more requests, and say the friendly "Here's a heads up, you need to find someone else" talk.  I'm a bit aggravated on your behalf that this friend is being so cavalier with your time so she can take any work shift she wants.  This is not an emergency, this is selfishness, poor planning, and her taking advantage of your kindness.

rashea

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #62 on: February 21, 2013, 12:13:18 PM »
Op, one solution would be to ask her, after all you're friends, how the hunt for a more permanent solution is going. If she's looking, ask to be kept up to date. If she's not, then I think you have to be honest with her that she needs to be.

I think it's great when people have values for their children, and I see nothing wrong with having a value that the only people who watch them are long term friends or family. But, she can't provide that right now. Similarly, I have a value of local organic food over things shipped in. But right now, I can't afford that. That's okay, I just have to be realistic and admit that I value other things (like having money to put gas in the car) enough right now that I have to compromise on this value.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

Roe

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #63 on: February 21, 2013, 12:34:34 PM »
Just because your children are asleep doesn't mean you are now free to take care of everyone else and their problems.  Having time to de-stress (whether that means vegging out in front of the TV or not isn't anyone else's business) and relax is just as important!  Resting on someone's couch isn't relaxing to me but being at home is!  Even if I'm cleaning the counters, I'm still at home in my pj's relaxing and no one has the right to intrude on that time. 

Before you start saying 'no' to anyone, you need to change your mindset and realize that YOU can come first.  It's okay.

I'd knew your screen name sounded familiar from the car story.  Now imagine babysitting for a few years because you can't say no.  It was your own fault last time, for allowing yourself to get in such a spot, don't make the same mistake twice.  It will, ultimately, ruin your friendship if you don't set boundaries. 

And I do not recommend staying out past your bedtime just to say 'no.'  Can't you just say "that won't work for me. Sorry. I hope you find someone."  And just leave it at that? 

(note: I do realize how difficult it is to say no.  It's hard!  But the more you say it, the easier it gets, trust me)  :)  Good luck!!! 

Tea Drinker

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2013, 01:16:30 PM »
Another thought on your friend's argument that "you can sleep here": Not only would it be interrupted sleep, which isn't as restful, she is pressuring you to drive home while just awakened and sleepy, which is dangerous.

You need not tell her out loud "No, I won't endanger my life and those of random strangers to come watch your kids," but it's worth remembering that if you give in to her request, that's part of the outcome. (So is longer-term sleep deprivation, which has its own downsides for physical and mental health.)
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

camlan

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #65 on: February 21, 2013, 01:19:47 PM »
Yes, you can sleep on her couch. But that is not the same as having a few quiet minutes to yourself, getting ready for bed and then falling asleep in your own bed, not to wake until morning (or one of your kids needs you).

It's getting ready to leave the house, gathering your bag and cell phone and whatnot, driving over to the friend's house, dozing uncomfortably on the couch, then having to wake up, gather yourself together again, drive home, get ready for bed in a hurry because you are tired and it's late, and falling into bed wishing your friend hadn't called and you hadn't said yes. I can't see how this doesn't affect the quality of sleep you are getting, and therefore how awake and able to deal with things you are the next day.

It's also time out of your house. Time when you would be putting things away, or getting them ready for the next day, working on a project, or something like that. In your friend's house, you can't do that. It's time that you could have spent on something of value to you, but that choice is taken away. Even if it is just time that you would spend resting, that's rest you aren't getting, because you are driving over to her place.

So it is physically possible for you to babysit her kids in the late evening. That doesn't mean that you should do it, or that you have to do it.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Deetee

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #66 on: February 21, 2013, 01:38:56 PM »

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.


You can still say "No". It's OK. It really is. Her request is out of line (well, actually her repeated requests are out of line) and a refusal to a rude request is NOT rude.

I mean you keep talking as though this is something that shouldn't bother you or that you don't have the right to say no or "You aren't doing anything anyway". That's not the point. The point is that
a) You don't have to.
b) You don't want to.

You obviously don't want to or you wouldn't be posting here. So come up with some excuses. Start baking in the evening. Go out for a walk. Turn off the phone. Answer with a "I can't tonight, sorry."

Personally, I love my couch time and going to someone else's house to do this on a regular basis would.not.happen. (without some serious reciprocity in money/baked goods/overnight babysitting while I go on a trip)

And I don't think I'm a jerk. I just think that my life is important and I get to choose to help people only when I want to.

PastryGoddess

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #67 on: February 21, 2013, 03:22:16 PM »

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... ;)

It's not cutting into family time, but it is cutting into YOUR time.  You keep coming up with ways to dodge the issue when you could just say no and be done with it.

Roe

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #68 on: February 21, 2013, 03:23:12 PM »
GenXer, if you say 'no, that won't work for me" is she the type of friend to ask "why?"

JenJay

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #69 on: February 21, 2013, 03:27:56 PM »
"Sorry, we're already in bed." She doesn't need to know that technically DH and the kids are in bed and you're watching some tv with your feet up. If you need to close the blinds and turn the front lights off so your house looks the part, so be it.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 03:29:40 PM by JenJay »

TootsNYC

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #70 on: February 21, 2013, 03:37:21 PM »
"I'm in the middle of something I can't leave" is a good line.

bloo

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #71 on: February 21, 2013, 03:38:37 PM »

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.


You can still say "No". It's OK. It really is. Her request is out of line (well, actually her repeated requests are out of line) and a refusal to a rude request is NOT rude.

I mean you keep talking as though this is something that shouldn't bother you or that you don't have the right to say no or "You aren't doing anything anyway". That's not the point. The point is that
a) You don't have to.
b) You don't want to.

You obviously don't want to or you wouldn't be posting here. So come up with some excuses. Start baking in the evening. Go out for a walk. Turn off the phone. Answer with a "I can't tonight, sorry."

Personally, I love my couch time and going to someone else's house to do this on a regular basis would.not.happen. (without some serious reciprocity in money/baked goods/overnight babysitting while I go on a trip)

And I don't think I'm a jerk. I just think that my life is important and I get to choose to help people only when I want to.

POD to pretty much everyone but this being the last one and an excellent point.

I've posted before that I agreed to be a regular babysitter for a friend when my kids were 3 yo & 6 mths. Why?

Because since I was a SAHM, I thought I couldn't say 'no'. I had no excuses and the real reason (I didn't want to) didn't occur to me to say.

Until I mentioned it to DH, who then kinda exploded because he said I had no right to make unilateral decisions that affected our family. We had our own company at the time and I was already running to the bathroom, locking the door and running the taps to field calls from clients w/o them hearing kids yelling or laughing. DH had odd hours as he handled the sales, estimates, repairs and overseeing bigger jobs so he had downtime and didn't want someone else's kids underfoot when he'd be working from home or trying to rest.

Someone else would be perfectly fine with that, but DH and I regard our home as our personal space and get edgy when people try to encroach on it. I wish I was different but for now I'm only comfortable for people to be in my home when I invite them and for a set period of time.

DH informed me that being young, inexperienced parents with no support system ourselves, we were not going to take on the part-time raising of someone else's kid. He said, 'Tell her whatever you want, blame me and say 'my mean DH said NO!' just tell her it's not going to happen'. I was so relieved.

I picked up the phone and called her and explained that I had spoken too soon in agreeing to be her babysitter and that after some thought I would not be up to that task. Unlike me, she had a lot of family in the area and used her mom and dad for daycare much to their chagrin.

But that phone call was a turning point for me. I told someone 'no' and the universe didn't split, a hole did not open in the floor and suck me through it. She was disappointed but she dealt with it.

I then was drunk with the 'no' power after that. I started saying 'no' to anybody and anything because I found out I could. It was a heady and exhilarating time! I calmed down, not long afterward and generally say yes when I want to.

A couple of years later, the kids were 5 and 3 and another friend wanted me to babysit her toddler. At this point I'd decided to homeschool my 5 year old and with no thought whatsoever I said 'no' because I totally knew that homeschooling a 5 yo with an active 3 yo underfoot while running a house and doing the books and phones for our business was the max I could handle. Raising someone else's child for 20-45 hours a week (depending on her DH's schedule) was beyond me. She tried to convince me that I could handle it and I just laughed and said 'no' again, but told her she was free to call for an emergency if whoever she found for daycare got sick or whatever.

While this next one is not entirely related, I lived close to the local Pre-K-12 up in the mountains. Even though both my kids were babies (and therefore, not in school) you would not believe the moms that thought I had nothing better to do than pick their kids up at school and chauffeur them home or keep them at my house til their parents could get them ("Bloo, could you pick them up? The bus doesn't drop off at your house cuz you're so close and I don't want them crossing the street."  :o Really, your 13-17 yos can't cross the street?).

I did it once for one parent. When it showed signs of turning into a regular thing and others started asking, I quit answering my phone.

RubyCat

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2013, 03:49:16 PM »
This may sound silly but would it help you to say no if you had already gotten into your pajamas before you settled into your down time?  Years ago, a very wise maternity nurse advised us new moms to stay in our pj's and bathrobes because it dicouraged visitors (and family) of from making too many demands. Would it be easier for you if you could say "Sorry, I'm already in my pj's and I'm in for the night?"  Or could you just honestly say that you're just too tired (and seeing how you work & have young children of your own, I'm sure it's the absolute truth.

Ceallach

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #73 on: February 21, 2013, 04:03:34 PM »
How about not answering the phone after 8:30pm?  Put on your PJs and chill out doing whatever you want to do. Dim the lights. If she asks about it later say you've started having early nights as you're tired. You don owe her any apology or excuses for not being accessible. 
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Giggity

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #74 on: February 21, 2013, 04:14:41 PM »
Don't answer the phone when she calls that late.
Words mean things.