Author Topic: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...  (Read 9313 times)

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gingerzing

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2014, 02:13:45 PM »
Having been the "Single" and even still occasionally with the "Childless Couple", I kind of see how you can get that vibe sometimes of being overlooked for going to an event. 
But I think generally it is like MrsJWine said. Not  "Oh,Single has nothing going on,she will be able to watch the kids", but "Single has watched the kiddos and we trust her plus the kids have fun with her." 

Just let them know that you aren't able to watch the kids because you were going to the event and it should be fine.  And really it shouldn't matter if you are planning on taking someone or if you are planning on going yourself.   

GlitterIsMyDrug

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2014, 02:24:46 PM »
I get the sense, and I might be totally wrong and feel free to tell me if I am, but that you might feel a bit guilty about saying no to your church family.

As you point out this is how you give back. You can't, for very understandable reasons, do what others can do. Be because of time or space, it happens we all have things that we'd love to do for others but for a variety reasons just aren't' able too. So we find ways in which we can give back.

It sounds a bit to me like you feel guilty or bad about saying no to, essentially, giving back. I don't think you should feel guilty. Giving back doesn't mean always giving at the sacrifice of yourself. You need to go to these events to reconnect with other adults, to feed your spiritual self, and to have a good time. And giving to yourself, is just as important as giving to others.

I also second the others who say, they mean no harm. When they ask, let them know you'll be attending the event as well so won't be available to babysit. I'd put down money their reaction won't be "Oh, but, you're single so we assumed you'd take the kids", but it will be "Oh great! We can't wait to see there!", at most they might ask if you know of anyone who'd be willing to babysit.

esposita

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2014, 02:39:04 PM »
You're massively overthinking this.  They have no idea what you're planning to attend at church and what you're not.  Nor are they thinking that they don't want you to attend.  All they know is they need a sitter, and maybe you're free.
All you need to say is "I'm sorry, I'm going to be there too! Good luck with finding someone and I'll see you there."

I totally agree. You are ascribing these people some rather unpleasant motives.

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"This feels like a slap in the face to me, as though people don't want my fellowship so much as they want my babysitting services.  "

When all they are thinking is "I need a babysitter". When I read your title I assumed that people were inviting you to specific intimate dinners are fun events and then asking you to babysit. It's not their place to invite you or not. You are already invited and it's up to you to decide if you want to attend or babysit or stay home and play candycrush.

These were my thoughts too. Once you begin to fill a need, especially within a church, people start to think "That's where her gift is!" and roll with it. You have to let people know, through your actions (I wouldn't say anything unless they get fussy at you) that you need to be fed too, otherwise bitterness and resentment will start to build up.

This is a good reminder for members of churches to always check with the people who clean the toilets, who start the coffee, who take care of the sound (if they are volunteers, of course) and ask if they'd like a break! So thank you!!!  :)

Since this is, in a sense, your family, I would not say "I have plans." and then show up. That could create awkwardness. "I'm planning on going!" would be to the point and just as inarguable.

Marbles

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2014, 03:49:28 AM »
As a parent, I always try to keep in mind the event I'm attending when I need babysitting.

For a date night, we aren't socializing with anyone, so any of our babysitters may be asked.

If we're, say, going to a concert for a band that isn't a friend's cup of tea, I might ask her or my in-laws to babysit, since I have no expectation that any of them would want to attend that event in any case.

If we're going to a friend's party, I ask my in-laws to babysit, since our friends-who-sometimes-babysit are likely to also be invited to the party. I think it would be hurtful to ask a friend to skip a party to watch my kids instead. It would be like saying I don't want to socialize with them or consider them a second-tier friend.

So, OP, I do think it's wrong for them to ask you to watch their children at whole-church events. It's just not thoughtful. When you watch kids during smaller meetings, it's for events to which you would not normally be invited/participating in (like my concert example). Hopefully a simple reminder that you will be at the performance should help your friends remember that this is a social event that you are invited to also, which makes you unavailable to babysit.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 03:57:24 AM by Marbles »

gellchom

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2014, 08:51:45 AM »
GlitterIsMyDrug raises a very good point.  This may possibly be one of those situations we sometimes see where someone has difficulty saying no, and therefore feels put upon if she says yes and guilty if she says no. 

I get it; it's hard for some people, perhaps especially kind and generous people like the OP, to say no.  And I see why they therefore feel guilty if they do.

But it is not fair to extend that to "... And therefore people are rude to ask."  Some people do, though.

I'm not saying that's what's going on with this OP; we don't know that.  But we see this pattern in many contexts; maybe this is another. It's human nature for guilt to get expressed in negative feelings toward the other person.  The solution is to work it through and look at whether there's any need to feel guilt to begin with.  Often, as here, there isn't.

So, OP, it might help you to feel better about these babysitting requests if you ask yourself whether it's possible that what's really happening here us that you don't like to say no, and your thoughts about the motives of the askers might be your projection of your own feelings onto them.  If so, maybe it will help to apply your spirit of generosity and grace to this situation, too.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 02:52:33 PM by gellchom »

Mikayla

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2014, 10:42:56 AM »
Quote
it's just hurtful when people expect me to skip events intended for our church family to babysit.

This, as I see it, is the disconnect.  Their asking you if you can babysit just doesn't mean that they "expect [you] to skip events intended for our church family to babysit."  Nor has anyone said "We'd rather have you babysit than join us," the title of this string.

We didn't hear their tone, and you did.  But ask yourself if maybe, perhaps because you're having a bad day for some reason, you are affirmatively choosing to read those things into their asking if you can babysit.

They have no idea if you're planning on attending the event in question, and maybe you're their kids' favorite sitter, so they ask you first just in case you're not planning on going.  They're not "expecting" anything.  They're just asking and letting you decide what you want to do.  I didn't read anything that sounded like they don't want you to attend the events.


I agree with this, especially the bolded.  It's fair to assume when people ask if you can babysit, they don't have an assumption that you "should", or that you will.  Also, they're not paying attention to your breakdown on which events you tend to babysit more.  All they know is you like doing it and you're good at it.

For these reasons, I have a minor disagreement with wording suggestions beginning with the word "Sorry....".   That can feed into unspoken assumptions or expectations.  You don't have anything to be sorry about.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 10:44:45 AM by Mikayla »

shhh its me

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2014, 12:31:40 PM »
Thanks for the reassurance, everyone!

Just to clarify, under some circumstances this response might be necessary:


And I think you need to be busy more when it's a church meeting. shake this up a bit, push back a little, or you're going to find yourself being taken advantage of an resenting it (and them).

...but, it isn't as though my church family "uses" me as a babysitter on a regular basis.  In our congregation, we make an effort to look out for each other- we arrange meal trains for new mothers or the bereaved, when someone in the church is moving we are all there helping them pack and clean, and we try to practice hospitality.  It's been difficult for me to participate in some of these efforts- after college, I moved home with my parents to work some low-pay-but-great-experience jobs that increased my chances at getting into grad school, and I'm now IN grad school living in a tiny apartment, teaching in the mornings and in class at night, so I've never had the space or money to host events or prepare meals for an entire family.  Babysitting is a way for me to take part in our efforts to care for one another as a family.  As I mentioned, I only sit for free when it is a family VOLUNTEERING at our church, such as someone going to worship team practice or a Bible-study leaders' meeting.  When a church employee, such as one of our pastors, needs childcare for one of these events, the church actually pays for their babysitter.  The whole issue here is that I don't mind babysitting at all; it's just hurtful when people expect me to skip events intended for our church family to babysit.

Other posters have answer how to say no but I wanted to address this .  I assume for these events they are offering to pay you?* this isn't critical*  You're private thoughts , motivations ,guidelines and desires are exactly that.... private. The people asking have no way to know you're looking forward to attending some events especially if they are offering to pay and this is something you do for money sometimes (to their perspective you may be doing it for money not as you're contribution to the church)

Waterlight

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2014, 03:07:46 PM »
If we're going to a friend's party, I ask my in-laws to babysit, since our friends-who-sometimes-babysit are likely to also be invited to the party. I think it would be hurtful to ask a friend to skip a party to watch my kids instead. It would be like saying I don't want to socialize with them or consider them a second-tier friend.

POD--this is exactly what it felt like to me when I was asked to provide unpaid babysitting at a (now-ex) friend's parties for a mutual acquaintance, and I can understand why the OP would feel hurt, even if that wasn't what her church family intended.  I've been told I'm pretty good with children, but I came to resent it over time, because I couldn't actually participate in the festivities.  And failure to plan on Acquaintance's part shouldn't constitute an emergency on my part... right?

I finally let Acquaintance know she'd have to make other arrangements for her child--and earned her undying enmity--but at least my self-respect was intact.
“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marbles

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2014, 12:21:15 AM »
If we're going to a friend's party, I ask my in-laws to babysit, since our friends-who-sometimes-babysit are likely to also be invited to the party. I think it would be hurtful to ask a friend to skip a party to watch my kids instead. It would be like saying I don't want to socialize with them or consider them a second-tier friend.

POD--this is exactly what it felt like to me when I was asked to provide unpaid babysitting at a (now-ex) friend's parties for a mutual acquaintance, and I can understand why the OP would feel hurt, even if that wasn't what her church family intended.  I've been told I'm pretty good with children, but I came to resent it over time, because I couldn't actually participate in the festivities.  And failure to plan on Acquaintance's part shouldn't constitute an emergency on my part... right?

I finally let Acquaintance know she'd have to make other arrangements for her child--and earned her undying enmity--but at least my self-respect was intact.

Wow. She really let you know who she was. Good riddance. Good for you for saying no!

LEMon

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2014, 08:28:45 PM »
Remembering back when I was the parent looking for a sitter, I easily fell into a pattern.  I'd call the people who I was used to asking without really thinking about whether they would be attending the activity.  I was just focused on my need and hadn't really thought it through. 

A gentle, 'I was planning on going to that activity too,' would have woken me up and gotten me to think.  I would have appreciated it much more than later realizing that I stopped a friend from attending because of my need for childcare and thoughtlessness.

bopper

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2014, 01:41:38 PM »
At our church we provide a nursery service.  But nobody wants to miss church, so we pay someone to watch the kids.
It seems to me this is a need of the church...perhaps some older teens would be willing to provide child care during the services or perhaps people would chip in to pay for child care.

Marozia

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2014, 02:30:02 AM »
Unbelievably rude of your friends to assume you won't be coming to the church event.
You definitely said the right thing.

Raintree

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2014, 03:52:04 AM »
I don't see anything wrong with just saying, 'Oh, I'm attending that event so I won't be able to sit for you.'  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they might not realize that they are essentially asking you to forgo the event so they can go.  But if these are repeat offenders, then yeah, they're just trying to take advantage of you.

I agree with this; "Oh, I am going to that event too, so I won't be able to babysit."

Piratelvr1121

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2014, 11:49:54 AM »
At our church we provide a nursery service.  But nobody wants to miss church, so we pay someone to watch the kids.
It seems to me this is a need of the church...perhaps some older teens would be willing to provide child care during the services or perhaps people would chip in to pay for child care.

Our church does this too, mostly from 9-10 since there are parents who are either teaching Sunday school and need their youngest looked after, or they're attending one of the 2 adult education programs.   So we definitely need someone in there, reliably but we've had real problems with the paid person being reliable. :P
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Emmy

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Re: We'd rather have you babysit than join us...
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2014, 05:57:20 PM »
If the church or a group of parents at the church is asking the OP to babysit (especially for free) during the event, I can see how she would feel hurt.  If an individual family here or there asked about paid babysitting, it is probably because they are looking for a trustworthy sitter without considering the OP's plans.  I don't think they are hinting or saying they would rather have her babysit, but simply trying to find a sitter.  I think the best response would be "I won't be able to watch your kids, I was planning on attending the banquet too" in a calm and polite manner. 

I am the parent of young kids with no family in the area so I can sympathize with needing a sitter.  I do agree with others who think most likely it's not that the parents don't want the babysitter to attend the event, they are just checking her availability because they need a sitter and knows she does babysitting.  If the sitter was polite in her refusal and said she wanted to attend the event, I would say "look forward to seeing you there" and keep that in mind for future church events.  If she was snippy or seemed very offended, it would probably be an awkward moment for both of us.