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  • January 30, 2015, 12:32:48 PM

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Author Topic: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.  (Read 3508 times)

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lkdrymom

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #60 on: Today at 06:57:05 AM »
I wonder how Lynn would have reacted if Michele called her and told her she had to run out on a work errand so she needed to come right now and pick up her kids.  I also wonder if her reaction was because the children were left with a man.

camlan

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #61 on: Today at 07:35:16 AM »
I wonder if Michelle had, say, a sister (that Lynne had never met) visiting, and left the kids with her for an hour instead, whether Lynne would have reacted the same way.

In a real life version of this, I went out to stay with my brother and take care of his three kids for a week while my sister-in-law was in the hospital.

There was a pre-arranged play date for my 5 year old niece with two of her friends. One of the mothers called ahead of time to make sure the play date was still on, and when told that it was, expressed her concern, to my brother, that he would be the only adult at the house. Once he told her I was also there, she was fine with the visit. She had been going to cancel the play date if my brother was the only adult.

So my brother, whom she'd known for two or three years, was suddenly unfit to watch her child for a few hours, but she was okay with a woman she'd never met being there.

So, yeah, based on that and some other things I've heard/read, I do think the fact that the SO was a man Lynn  didn't know well played a big role in the amount of her anger.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


lowspark

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #62 on: Today at 08:36:47 AM »
If it all went down as it was told to me ( and I am taking things at face value here ) Michelle was around most of the time and only left to take care of unexpected business and was not gone too long ( admittedly I don't know exact timings ).  To me it's one of those "life carries on" things.

I just had such a different reaction when she told me - I know she was expecting me to be indignant right along with her but all I thought was "Jeez....ungrateful much?'  I think the world of Lynn - she is a warm, generous person and a good mom....but this incident I just wasn't on board with.  To be fair I don't think she meant it as an accusation - she is just really protective of her kids and tends to worry.

I wonder if Michelle feels as you do about Lynn, that she is very protective, even to the point of possibly being over protective of her kids. Because if Michelle is cognizant of that, it sort of enters into how Michelle would handle the kids. I mean, if I were watching over my friend's kids and knew that she was extremely protective of her kids, I'd tend to think twice about doing something that she might not be thrilled with.

Whether Lynn was reasonable or not, if Michelle had an inkling that Lynn would disapprove, she really should have asked in advance.

I'm wondering, since this was a spur of the moment thing as you mentioned above, if Michelle just figured it would be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I could see being in Michelle's spot, with a client needing me, and thinking, "darn, I'm stuck here with Lynn's kids" and rationalizing that Lynn would be ok with Michael watching them for a bit.

Eve_Eire

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #63 on: Today at 08:44:10 AM »
So my brother, whom she'd known for two or three years, was suddenly unfit to watch her child for a few hours, but she was okay with a woman she'd never met being there.

Your poor brother - that must have been very upsetting. Any chance she meant more of a ratio adult:children thing? Like there might be too many of them for him to keep an eye on all by himself?

This whole thread is an eye opener for me (I have no children).  My feeling would be that if you leave your children in a house then you are leaving them in the care of the adults there and if you would be uncomfortable with either adult spending time alone with your children then you shouldn't leave your children there in the first place.   Though now I see that the majority feel differently, I'll know for future, if for any reason it comes up, to clarify this with any babysitters or parents of children I am looking after.  Lesson learned.  I don't think either of them are wrong, but I hope they've both taken the same lesson as me from this to clarify in future.

The way I would have seen it is that you are asking your friend for the favour of supervising your children and then you're not informing them of the additional part you expect which is apparently for them to supervise your own live in partner too. Now I know different from reading this.

gen xer

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #64 on: Today at 10:41:12 AM »
If it all went down as it was told to me ( and I am taking things at face value here ) Michelle was around most of the time and only left to take care of unexpected business and was not gone too long ( admittedly I don't know exact timings ).  To me it's one of those "life carries on" things.

I just had such a different reaction when she told me - I know she was expecting me to be indignant right along with her but all I thought was "Jeez....ungrateful much?'  I think the world of Lynn - she is a warm, generous person and a good mom....but this incident I just wasn't on board with.  To be fair I don't think she meant it as an accusation - she is just really protective of her kids and tends to worry.

I wonder if Michelle feels as you do about Lynn, that she is very protective, even to the point of possibly being over protective of her kids. Because if Michelle is cognizant of that, it sort of enters into how Michelle would handle the kids. I mean, if I were watching over my friend's kids and knew that she was extremely protective of her kids, I'd tend to think twice about doing something that she might not be thrilled with.

Whether Lynn was reasonable or not, if Michelle had an inkling that Lynn would disapprove, she really should have asked in advance.

I'm wondering, since this was a spur of the moment thing as you mentioned above, if Michelle just figured it would be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I could see being in Michelle's spot, with a client needing me, and thinking, "darn, I'm stuck here with Lynn's kids" and rationalizing that Lynn would be ok with Michael watching them for a bit.

Hmmm....Lynn is pretty outspoken about stuff like that.  I can see Michelle being put on the spot and feeling like she has no real choice in the matter - as you say - ask forgiveness rather than permission.   Knowing Lynn as I do I would have let her know before I left...but there definitely would have been a problem if Lynn had tried to stop me from trying to do my job.  I don't know exactly how i would handle it but I would have told her in no uncertain terms not to ever ask me to babysit again.

For me it all goes back to - you are asking a favour.  Show some humility and appreciation - don't be difficult and high maintenance.  That is a sure way of getting people to not want to help you out.  Of course Lynn should expect that her children will be well taken care of...but I think she crossed the line getting angry with Michelle for not anticipating how she wanted things done. 

Lynn2000

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #65 on: Today at 10:45:27 AM »
I also think it's interesting to imagine the reaction if instead of the live-in SO, it had been Michelle's visiting sister the kids were left with. Of course I can't speculate regarding Lynn's thoughts, but for my own, the stranger sister would not necessarily be better than the stranger SO. If the SO is living there with Michelle and her kids, I could at least assume he's used to kids and the way Michelle wants them parented, and trustworthy in the sense of being able to handle a crisis properly.

On the other hand, for some reason I picture a single, no-kids sister visiting for the week, who doesn't ever have much to do with kids, being stuck with the responsibility for four of them while Michelle runs out the door. Probably I picture this because *I* would be that sister, who has not made choice to accept responsibility for children in my life, but feels incredibly put on the spot by Michelle asking me to do this. To me it's kind of like the thread where the pregnant OP wants to know if she should ask her neighbors to be back-up if she goes into labor early--if the kids had an emergency with Michelle there, of course I would try to do whatever I could to help. But to be told *I* was going to be the sole adult in charge, even for a short time with older kids, now I have to worry about what might happen, and think through where I would go and who I would call, in a strange city. Forget the OP's friend being mad at Michelle, *I* would be mad at Michelle for putting me in that position!
~Lynn2000

bopper

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #66 on: Today at 10:52:32 AM »
From Lynn's point of view, it wasn't that the SO is untrustworthy rather that she had no knowledge of his trustworthyness...he maybe a little more than a stranger to her.  I think Michelle should have told her ahead of time that she may have to run out.

LadyL

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #67 on: Today at 11:16:17 AM »
After reading more responses two things seem more important to me now:

1. Michelle was doing Lynn a favor, she was not hired to babysit and paid a wage - typically with favors it helps to be a bit more flexible in your expectations (within reason).
2. Given that favors are usually between people who trust each other, I think Lynn might benefit from being willing to trust Michelle's judgement a bit more - or not ask any more favors.
3. In this case Michelle was called away for what sounds like a time sensitive work errand - but if there had been an emergency, say Michelle's mom was taken to the hospital or their dog ran away - she might have needed to make a quick decision about what to do with the kids. I think if you don't trust someone's judgement to handle any unexpected situations like that, they should not be babysitting for you.

Also, as someone raised by a parent who was pretty strict and eventually wouldn't let me go over to several of my friend's houses because she thought their parents were too lax - at the time it made me feel like she didn't trust *me.* I was around the same age as Lynn's kids (10-13) and many of my friends were frequently unsupervised or even babysat younger children. I was old enough that if anything untoward was going on (like if a parent offered me a beer or something that crossed a line) I could have just said "no, I'm not allowed to do that" and then called my mom to pick me up.  I mention this because this perceived lack of trust in my judgement ended up being toxic to my relationship with my mother for an entire decade.

Dindrane

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #68 on: Today at 11:42:43 AM »
I think there are two main things that stand out for me.

First, in a babysitting situation, you have to trust the person you are asking to be responsible for your children. With anyone (whether you pay them or not), you have to trust that they will follow your explicit directions/rules, that they will behave in a reasonable way when confronted with a situation that was not explicitly addressed in advance, and that they can handle unexpected situations appropriately. If you don't have that trust in a person, you absolutely should not be leaving your children in their care.

With a friend who is babysitting as a favor, I also think that you have to limit your explicit directions/rules to only those things which would be highly problematic for you if done contrary to your wishes. With someone you're paying, you can make any demand you like (and since your relationship is a purely business one, their perceiving you as being demanding has no social consequences). With a friend, especially one you're not paying, being overly demanding will almost certainly affect the friendship.

And, I almost think it goes without saying, but you have to actually state explicitly any directions/rules that really matter to you, and you can't expect someone else to just intuit them (no matter how self-evident you think a given rule is).

Second, the errand Michelle left the house to run was related to her livelihood, and it sounds like it wasn't something she necessarily knew about in advance. Especially if she didn't know about it in advance, I don't really see how she could have done things differently. It's entirely possible she didn't have time to notify Lynn and potentially wait for Lynn to come collect her children. And unless she had time to wait for Lynn to come and pick up her kids, telling her about the errand as she was leaving the house doesn't really serve any real purpose.

I also am of the opinion that if you're going to entrust your children to a person, you have to either accept that any adult in their household might end up with responsibility for them, or you have to explicitly say that you are not okay with specific adults doing that. And honestly, if you can't or won't trust all of the adults to be solely responsible for even a brief window, you shouldn't be putting your kids into that environment. That kind of goes back to the first point.

Regardless, Lynn can feel however she likes about the situation as it went down, but if she made it clear to Michelle that she was angry, then she overreacted. I don't think Lynn was wrong, because I'm not sure she could have anticipated exactly what happened, but for the same reason, I don't think Michelle was wrong, either. Clearly, Michelle is not a good caretaker for Lynn's children, so the best response would have been for Lynn to quietly resolve to never leave her kids with Michelle again, and for Michelle to quietly resolve not to watch Lynn's kids again. Even if Michelle could guarantee that she personally would be present at all times in the future, I think the situation showed that what Lynn assumes would be evident to any reasonable adult is not the same as what Michelle would assume, so there's a better than average chance that Michelle would eventually do something else that would upset Lynn.


Isisnin

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #69 on: Today at 11:58:20 AM »

...snip...

She could have called, but really if Lynne left her in charge as the responsible party, she ought to have been trusted to make the decision herself.

If Lynne cannot respect Michelle's care-taking decisions, she should not be asking Michelle to babysit. If I was Michelle I would not do so again.

PODing Another Sarah and other posters. This is what it comes down to for me. 

Kids aren't capable of making parental decisions. But things happen and decisions have to be made. So parents choose an adult or babysitter whose judgement they trust to make those decisions for a brief period. Even whether or not to call the parent to ask what should or should not be done is a decision that would need to be made.

So super clear instructions, even written ones, need to be made before leaving kids with someone. Also, it might be better to ask the caretaker to come to your house for the duration. So it wouldn't only be "my kids, my rules", but also "my house, my rules". Plus, with only the babysitter coming to the house, there wouldn't be need to tell the babysitter not to leave their SO/male family member alone in a room with the kids (since inappropriate behavior can happen in just a couple minutes. This whole understandable, real worry about childcare makes me so so sad.)

However, in home-sitting reminds me of years ago when my then-teenage sister was babysitting down the street. She suddenly felt very ill (I don't remember what it was). She didn't call the parents, but called our mother. My mother drove down (less than a 5 min walk, so 1 min drive), picked her up, brought her back to our house (leaving the kids alone sleeping in the house), then drove back to the neighbors house and finished babysitting.

Having babysat in that neighborhood and for that family myself, I am confident in saying that the parents did leave the phone number of where they were in case there was a problem. I guess my mother and sister thought that they had a good solution so it wasn't actually a call-worthy problem. The parents had no idea that that had happened until they got home and saw my mother sitting in their family room. I didn't hear that the parents had had an issue with that. Both my sister and I continued to babysit for them.




Lynn2000

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Re: Can you do me a favour....but I don't trust your SO.
« Reply #70 on: Today at 12:18:49 PM »
I definitely think Lynn is entitled to her feelings that her kids should not be left with anyone but the babysitter she designated. However, I also appreciate the argument that in this situation, Michelle used her best judgment and in fact chose the most reasonable option. If Lynn disagrees, and thus feels she can no longer trust Michelle's best judgment, I think it's perfectly reasonable for her to decide they aren't babysitting compatible, and find another solution for her childcare needs.

If Lynn went into the situation thinking this was a given, and found out to her surprise that it wasn't, I can see why she might get a little flustered or heated in the moment. But, she should probably have reined herself in, ended the call, and taken a moment to consider whether this was really a situation worth ending a friendship over (which is what I'm assuming has happened now). Maybe it's a situation worth changing her future babysitting plans, but not IMO worth an argument.
~Lynn2000