Author Topic: I know I said I'd help....but not this much  (Read 13461 times)

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gen xer

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I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« on: February 19, 2013, 05:50:19 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!! 



susantoyota

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 05:57:37 PM »
All you have to remember is 4 little words and one principle.

That won't be possible. The principle?  Never JADE.

MOM21SON

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 06:01:00 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?

Hillia

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 06:02:09 PM »
You don't owe her an explanation of why you won't do it it.  You're offering a favor, which by definition is on your terms.

That said, it would probably work best if you decide on your limits...how many days a week, so many hours, between x and y times, and let her know what they are.  Then she can plan around the rest.  Don't budge from your limits, even for 'emergencies' - because everything will be an 'emergenct'.  That's what disorganized people call their failure to plan.  (Yes, there are true emergencies - like a sudden severe illness or injury - but these things are few and far between.  'I forgot' isn't an emergency).

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VorFemme

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 06:11:20 PM »
I had a SIL (now my DYounger Brother's ex-wife) who asked me to take care of her kids "for the summer" - and was paying for it.  I was tracking the hours and charging only for the time I had them (new baby nephew and older niece).  I was clear that when school started on X August, I would no longer be able to watch them 3 pm to midnight as I had to get up at 6 am to get DD (Ambrosia Hino) and VorGuy off to school and work.

There were also issues where she would show me something she'd gotten while shopping Tuesday and then have no money to pay me on Friday - or not enough money, at least.  But that's another annoyance.....the third week of school, I got tired of nagging her and told her that after the next Friday - she would be finding other child care because I could not keep going on five hours of sleep (she also got upset because I put her two to bed - at their house - at a reasonable hour - say 10 pm - so I could nap while waiting on her to show up before driving home after midnight).  She showed up late (after 1 am) quite often.  I had let her know every Friday how many weeks until school started, I was going to stand up for my right to SLEEP, in my own bed, for longer than three to four hours a night.

She wasn't happy - but finally found someone......then the soap opera began....but here's hoping that your friend doesn't go that crazy......

Just tell her that you are willing to work no more than X hours a month (say, two hours alternate weeks) and that if she can't find child care, you have friends who really like XXX Nursery, Day Care Center YYY, or the fourteen year old down the street who can do two hours a night, four nights a week, according to her parents.  As long as she is home by 9 pm to get things set up for her school the next day......

Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Deetee

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 06:12:47 PM »
First it is OK to say "No". You said you would help out in a pinch and that is just great. It is so nice to have emergency back-up childcare because sometimes you need that.

(I remember one day in particular when 5 levels of childcare were unavailable and it was so nice to have another couple lined up. The five levels were daycare (kid was sick) my husband (in very important meeting) myself (giving a lecture) my dad (out of town), my step-mom (working) and finally I got my sister to give up an afternoon with friends. However, I still had another few people who were emergancy back-up and it was nice to have that comfort level)

However, you are not being treated as emergency childcare. You are being unpaid childcare. So your choice is
1) Continue being unpaid care.
2) Say No.

Here is a (semi-cowardly) suggestion for saying No. Phone her up and let her know now that you are quite busy and you will NOT be available for the next two weeks. Tell her you wanted to let her know ahead of time. Ask if she needs any help finding a paid childcare worker. A good place to start would be some of the local daycares. They often have employees and people on call who are willing to pick up a few extra hours in the evening. Or she could ask at the local high school or somesuch.

JenJay

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 06:16:32 PM »
I'd be proactive and email/text her something like "Hey friend, I know you've been scrambling to line up babysitters so thought I'd make it easier on you and let you know in advance that I'm available on X and Y nights." If she calls on any nights other than that either don't answer or tell her "Sorry, like I said, I can help out on X or Y nights."

Lindee

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 06:36:10 PM »
You don't need a solid reason. Your offer was to help out "in a pinch", covering the known in advance gap between their working hours is not a "pinch".  I wouldn't even be offering selected nights as you were only offering emergency back up care not a regular unpaid babysitting gig.  "I'm sorry, I have other plans."   (the detail of these plans,  watching TV, relaxing with "my" family, reading etiquette hell, playing with the cat ) are not her business.   You are being taken advantage of and it is up to her to step up and organise her childcare needs herself.

gen xer

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 06:42:50 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!

Hillia

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 06:46:08 PM »
Her paranoia is her issue, not yours.  If she's that concerned about leaving her kids with strangers, she either needs to rearrange her work so she doesn't need child care, or invest the time in getting to know some professional caregivers, doing background checks, etc.  This is just a spin on the 'Oh, you have to do/make/provide XXX...no one else can do it as well as you can!' which is intended to guilt and flatter you into compliance.

Don't let her issues become yours.  These are all her choices to make, and her consequences to deal with.

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QueenfaninCA

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 06:49:08 PM »
Just remember, you are not being used as the emergency back-up sitter that you had volunteered, but as the unpaid regular baby-sitter.

In a pinch for me is one or two hours per month on average. If she needs significantly more than that she needs to look into paid options.

Roe

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 06:49:36 PM »
Having your own family is reason enough!  Just because you are two houses down doesn't mean you are at her beck and call.

"It's not going to be possible."
"Why?"
"Because it's not. I hope you find someone. Gotta run." 


weeblewobble

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 06:52:28 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!

Her refusal to find a solution to her own childcare dilemma, is not your problem.

MOM21SON

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 06:53:39 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!

I am with the others, it really isn't your problem.

It's a shame that she is not open to other options.  When DS was about 9 months old, DH and I needed care between the time I left for work and the time he got home.

I called the best high school in the area.  I spoke to the principal that had the guidance dept call me back.  He came up with a name, I called the girl, went to her home, spoke with her parents, went with her to her school and spoke to her principal and counselor.

We adored her and were very sad when she went off to college.

Slartibartfast

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Re: I know I said I'd help....but not this much
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 06:59:19 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!

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.