Author Topic: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"? - Update p3  (Read 6807 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

DaDancingPsych

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1848
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2013, 12:50:34 PM »
I would be honest so that you don't have to keep dealing with this situation. Keep it short and sweet; I like the phrase "I don't babysit."

Although not "etiquettely" required, you may want to share a list of babysitters that you know and like. Friend is willing to pay and this might really help him out in his new situation. (Not to mention give someone more work... win-win!)

wolfie

  • I don't know what this is so I am putting random words here
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7145
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2013, 12:51:10 PM »
I agree with being honest. However, the "three under three" reason is a bit tricky. Will you be ok with watching them in a few years when they're a bit older? Because he may take the "under three" age to heart and come back to ask again in a few years. So at that point if you're still saying "no", it's going to seen a bit ingenuine.

I don't know - I don't think it would be an issue if he comes back in a few years and she still says no. Right now she can't handle three kids under three. In a few years she might be able to handle three kids under 8, but won't know until she gets to that point. Or in a few years other things might have happened and she will be looking for a babysitter herself. If he comes back in a few years and says "but you said it was cause they were so young! Why can't you do it now?" I would be giving him a weird look and not her.

sevenday

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 797
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2013, 02:00:36 PM »
I would be honest.  Your comment about 3 kids under three is a reasonable talking point in my opinion - explain that your son is a handful for you as it is, and you're concerned about your ability to properly care for all 3 in one go.  If you feel it may be an option in the future you could say that you may feel more comfortable when the children are older or if there's some emergency situation - possibly in which you are not the only adult present (if your husband is there, for example).  If you aren't willing to entertain that, simply leave it at the above.  "Oh, Friend, I sympathize with your situation, but I just don't feel able to babysit your children."  Later, if your opinion changes on this point, you could begin offering play dates, maybe sleepovers, or even go straight out and say "It'll be easier now for me to babysit so if you need me, ask me and I'll try to help out!" 

gen xer

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 546
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2013, 02:19:15 PM »
OP I feel for you.  It's hard to say "I don't want to" without feeling like you have to have a good reason.  I know you "should" be able to say no without explanation but the reality is that is a lot easier said than done for a lot of people - myself included. 

I know everyone is advocating for "just be honest" but honesty doesn't mean you are compelled to share your reasons.  Brutal honesty doesn't always go over that well.  It's not dishonest to say you are unavailable.  So what if he thinks you mean you are too busy.  Hopefully he is not so rude as to pursue it.

Yes there are some people that keep asking and need to be hit over the head but I would hope that most people could take a hint.  I know that if I asked a favour and was told sorry - not available I would not be asking again.


CocoCamm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1274
  • Leader of the 3 ring circus
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2013, 02:20:13 PM »
I'm another vote for just be honest. There is nothing rude or judgmental about not wanting to care for 3 kids under 3. I can think only think of a few things I would want to do less then that!

snappylt

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 460
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2013, 03:02:35 PM »
I'll join the crowd, too.  Be honest.

While it is true that "no" is an answer by itself, I think it is perfectly OK to say to him, gently, what you said to us in your original post.

Tea Drinker

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1415
  • Now part of Team Land Crab
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2013, 03:16:33 PM »
BG: My husband's best friend is divorced and has three young children. Recently, he was unexpectedly given full custody of the children until further notice. It now looks like Friend will probably be awarded permanent full custody.

Friend works full time, and the oldest child is in school. The other two are younger, and Friend's mom has been watching them while friend works. The two kids are close in age to my son, and when we all have time we get the kids together to play. Even when there are three adults to match the three kids, it's so chaotic.

Last week Friend contacted me to ask if I would watch his younger two for a few hours, and offered to pay me. I told him I was busy. But I believe he'll probably ask again.

The thing is, I'm not a kid person, and I have a hard time relating to/dealing with other people's kids. I love these kids, and I wish I could help my friend, but there is no way in heck that I can be responsible for three children under the age of three and still keep my sanity.

First, I guess, I need a reality check. Is it unreasonable of me to not want to watch the kids? Should I suck it up and do it in the name of helping a friend?

Second, if I don't watch the kids, would it be better to be honest and say I just can't handle it, or continue telling Friend that I'm unavailable?

I would just add to what other people have said that you know--and Friend knows--that those three children together are chaotic even for three adults who are not trained professionals, and what he's asking for is imprudent as well as an imposition. So in addition to your not wanting to do it or thinking you'd be good at it, if he looks at the situation, it might be good for him but it wouldn't be good for his children. Something to keep in mind if you start to feel like you "should" be doing this because he's asking you to.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

JoieGirl7

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7390
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2013, 03:21:44 PM »
I agree with other posters who said to be honest and tell him that you don't babysit.

Sheila Take a Bow

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 778
  • Formerly arija but I felt like a name change.
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2013, 03:46:55 PM »
I would be honest with him.  I know it's hard, but it's the only way.

If you do want to help him out, think about what you're willing to do.  It might make it easier for you to say, "Well, I just can't handle babysitting but I can help you with X, Y, or Z if you ever need it."

I have a friend who's a single dad and while I don't like babysitting his daughter that much (after she's in our house it looks a bit like a hurricane hit) I don't mind taking her to lunch or to the park, or being the driver when the girls are invited to a princess party.  I can help with Halloween costume making or share leads on summer camp or babysitters or extracurricular activities.  So I don't feel bad that I don't like to be the sitter (another friend who doesn't mind the chaos that comes with multiple children often helps out) because I know I can help out in other ways.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30929
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2013, 03:50:05 PM »
If you don't babysit, just say that "I'm sorry, I don't babysit."

If you lie and say you're unavailable, they're going to keep asking thinking that you were only unavailable just then and not for any future opportunity.

I agree with this.

And with Sheila Take a Bow. If there *is* another way you'd be willing to help, state it.

metallicafan

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 362
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2013, 04:09:10 PM »
I'm another vote for just be honest. There is nothing rude or judgmental about not wanting to care for 3 kids under 3. I can think only think of a few things I would want to do less then that!

Cast my vote here too.

Marguette

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 351
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2013, 04:18:14 PM »
Consider carefully the wording you use. I wouldn’t decline by saying anything using the word “comfortable” e.g. ”I’m not comfortable caring for 3 kids that young.” He doesn’t care if you’re comfortable – he’s in a tough hole and willing to grab onto anything that can get him out, he can live with a bit of discomfort. What you really mean is you don’t have the qualifications/skills to do it. So tell him that. Let him know that you can’t offer proper care.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13074
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2013, 04:20:30 PM »
One kid in school might be older than three years of age - but might only be four, five, or six (pre-k, kindergarten, or first grade).

Two kids the same age (both boys - one the OP's son) and two younger kids would be a full time job kid-wrangling - no time to keep house, cook while they are there, or run errands (two car seats required, possibly a two seater stroller while out & about).  Taking all four of them to run errands would be a nightmare....

I was the oldest of four kids (five year span in age) - it's part of why I had TWO kids.  I originally wanted more - but found out that VorGuy was not good with small children - say, under the age of eleven or so......he also has the hearing of a bat and was known to ask me to keep the kids quieter when I thought that they were already pretty quiet for their age. 

His parents' had a rather quaint feeling that children should be seen and not heard - they passed along the wrong genes to get that trait in their grandkids - unless I used a whip & a chair like a lion tamer.  Which is NOT allowed when our kids were growing up....

Tell him that you just can't do it on a regular basis - perhaps once or twice a month so his mother can run errands without the kids in tow - but that you don't want to run a day care out of your home, so you can't commit to more than that once or twice a month basis.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 06:01:36 PM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Sheila Take a Bow

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 778
  • Formerly arija but I felt like a name change.
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2013, 04:32:50 PM »
Consider carefully the wording you use. I wouldn’t decline by saying anything using the word “comfortable” e.g. ”I’m not comfortable caring for 3 kids that young.” He doesn’t care if you’re comfortable – he’s in a tough hole and willing to grab onto anything that can get him out, he can live with a bit of discomfort. What you really mean is you don’t have the qualifications/skills to do it. So tell him that. Let him know that you can’t offer proper care.

That's kind of an uncharitable assumption to make about the OP's friend.  He's asked her once, she said she was busy, and he has yet to ask again.  Nothing that the OP wrote suggests to me that her friend doesn't care about her comfort.

I agree that it's better to say you're not qualified/able/willing, but let's not demonize the friend who at this point has only asked the OP to babysit once.

mime

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 796
Re: Babysitting: be honest, or be "unavailable"?
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2013, 04:35:58 PM »
I have 3 kids (8, 3, and newborn) who I love more than anything but I freely acknowledge that is more than I, the mom, wants to deal with sometimes! You're in good company in not wanting this expectation put on you.

If I were in your situation my response would be along the lines of "I'm not up to that challenge!", but I like the wording of the other suggestions better.

As an alternative you could offer to take the one kid that is close to your child's age for an outing for a few hours. It would give Friend a bit of relief and you don't have to corral such a big crew. That's only if you'd feel comfortable with the situation and not worried about it becoming a regular Saturday-afternoon (or whenever) thing.