Musings of an unconventional LDS housewife
Well I'm not, so I need your advice.
Published on September 27, 2008 By AngelaMarie88 In Parenting

Problem:

A mom I met at a parenting class (that we were both required by law to attend) has been asking me to babysit her kid.

I did it for a couple days before I noticed she was taking increasing advantage of my kindness (read: if you ask me a favor I won't say no right away, therefore you've got a window of time to walk all over me until I come to my senses).

She'd say she needed me to babysit him for 6 hours, the next day it became 9 hours, then before the next day was done she'd jacked it up to 12 hours.

"And oh, by the way, rather than pay you with money, I'll pay you with the books I'm selling. The reason I need you to babysit my kid is because I'm selling books at the PX."

Well like I said, I came to my senses and came up with a GREAT explanation for no longer being able to watch her kid. I would love to tell her that I simply hate babysitting and that I have a tendency to get really mean when irritated, but that's not a polite thing to say. So I told her another truth instead: I'm not FCC certified, and never will be. She understood that military housewife lingo right away which means that I am not a certified child care provider, therefore it is unlawful for me to provide routine child care while living in the military quarters provided to us through my husband's career.

So she kept her kid with her on Friday. It was not my concern how difficult she told me it was for her to sell books with a wiggly 2-year-old strapped in a stroller all day.

Friday night, 9pm the doorbell rang. Can we babysit her boy all day Saturday? Just Saturday, she promises.  He'll be here at 9am, but no end time was specified.

I was caught off guard, in my jammies, watching the debate, half-asleep, and as if those serve as some sort of excuses for being caught off guard as a doormat again, I said, "Sure! no problem!"

By the way, she still hasn't paid me in "books," so I'm on my way over to her PX kiosk here in a bit to pick some out (even though I really don't need books - that's what the library is for. What the world has taught me that I deserve for my time and services is money, and it's hard for me to reprogram my brain into believing that payment in books will suffice instead). I'm just scared to death that she'll give me those pathetic 40-year-old puppy dog eyes that should have learned effective mothering skills by now after 23 years of parenting...


Comments
on Sep 27, 2008

I used to have the same problem when I lived on post.  Not to that extreme, but it was easy to be taken advantage of regarding child care since I was always home with my kids. And obviously if you're home caring for your children, you're "not doing anything" and are available to babysit.

Good for you, though, for recognizing that your time and mothering skills have value.  I think bartering is cool and something like trading off child care is great (assuming you would trust this person with you children!), but that only works if what you receive in return is something of value or worthwhile TO YOU.  Lame books you would never have bought otherwise don't seem to fit the bill.  

Maybe you can sell them on CL for $$.

 

on Sep 28, 2008

And obviously if you're home caring for your children, you're "not doing anything" and are available to babysit.

I HATE that assumption! I've never had a more difficult / crappier / more rewarding job in my life!!!!!

Lame books you would never have bought otherwise don't seem to fit the bill. Maybe you can sell them on CL for $$.

Thanks, good idea!

And after sleeping on this, I woke up with a renewed resolve to say at the outset, "Nope, I don't babysit." period.

Until the next time I've forgotten just why it is I hate babysitting so much.

on Sep 28, 2008

I think bartering is cool and something like trading off child care is great (assuming you would trust this person with your children!),

Thanks for reminding me of a point I meant to make when I said I met her at a parenting class. NO, I WOULD NOT trust her with my precious children, not even for a heartbeat!

We've got a childcare trade thing going on with some other families, and I'm fine with them. But not this particular lady.

on Sep 28, 2008

I'm glad you realsied too that you were being taken for granted.  Why do people do that?  I have some issues too with some neighbors of ours and I've put a halt to their shanaigans!  I don't mind helping people, but I hate being used and I hate being put up on and made to feel like I'm supposed to do it for them,  You should definitely stand your ground and don't be forced into doing what you don't want to.  It doesn't make you a bad person if you don't. Look at it this way Angela, if you weren't in the picture, she would find someone else to do it to because this is what she always does, apparently. 

on Sep 28, 2008

YEAH!  Hi Angela.  It's so good to see you back. 

I hate babysitting.  I'm not a big fan of the time and energy it takes to teach younger kids (5+) the house rules.  Not to mention so many kids today think they can correct adults...and that just gets on my LAST nerve.  For example one of Gavin's friends spent the night last night (my husband invited him over).

I was talking to my husband while they were watching a cartoon in the family room.  I laughed and said, "Oh shut up!"  As in oh my goodness, that CAN'T be true...and this kid looks at me and says, "That's a bad word.  Don't say it again."

I told him, "G in this house children do not correct adults."

I am sure he will run home and tell his mom, but I don't care.  I'll tell her too if she asks.  Our house, our rules.

Anyway, its ok to tell someone you don't like to babysit.  Just because I am a mom doesn't mean I want to mother ALL children, just my own thanks.

Since I know this about myself, I assume it's the same for at least some other moms, so I go out of my way to make sure my kids aren't inconveniencing others, or being disrespectful.  And I won't ask another mom/friend to babysit because it feels too much like taking advantage.

 

 

on Oct 09, 2008

 

I don't mind helping people, but I hate being used and I hate being put up on and made to feel like I'm supposed to do it for them

I feel the same way. That reminds me I've been thinking about a really old article by KFC or LW or someone(?) about just how far a Christian should go to help people in need. Where do we draw the line when we see that we're being taken advantage of? I think Gideon had a hand in it too...something like, "Why do good things happen to bad people?" (sorry, just thinking out loud here. It's my thread, so I can do that, haha.)

Last week I came across the Sermon on the Mount part of Matthew (in The Bible). I was struck by, "If a neighbor asks you to walk with him a mile, go with him twain...and pray for those who despitefully use you." * So I felt like I might have done the wrong thing by turning my back on her need. But I don't regret it. I'm not perfect and babysitting someone else's child is no way for me to smooth out any wrinkles right now.

Just because I am a mom doesn't mean I want to mother ALL children

Well said!!

Since I know this about myself, I assume it's the same for at least some other moms, so I go out of my way to make sure my kids aren't inconveniencing others

I act the same way with my kids in public. Until now, I'd never been able to put my finger on why I feel so anxious when out with my kids.

I wanted to clarify something that's been bugging me ever since first writing this. I stated in the first paragraph that I was required by law to take a parenting class. Since I didn't go into detail about it, that might have left some questions in some people's minds, even though it's unrelated to the topic at hand. So I'll say here that there was good reason for me to go to that series of parenting classes, even though the reason was blown out of proportion.

I only wish I'd taken some parenting classes before. I guess the topic never interested me until I had no choice but to be interested! It was either "Get interested and serious about being a parent NOW," or, "Flounder and be a loser parent with loser kids." Ha, so I chose the former.

on Oct 09, 2008

Ha, so I chose the former.

I think parenting classes are a great idea, especially if you didn't see any successful models growing up.

As for being a good neighbor, yeah it is the Christian way.  But so is taking care of your own family.  God doesn't say starve your kids to feed the masses.  He says share...and when you don't have it to share (the patience, desire, experience, etc) to watch other people's kids, then you don't have it to share.

No reason to feel guilty about it. 

 

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