SAHM - automatic babysitter for working nbrs?

amyfiddlerApril 1, 2007

What is it about my working neighbor who appears to assume that since I stay home, that her kid can just hang out at my house all day?

He is welcome,but her attitude isn't.

My other girlfriend who has never been a SAHM also has odd ideas - when she brings her son over to play she just drops him off and doesn't come to the door to say hello, or thanks, or anything. It's just drop and go.

I'd like to make an unwritten rule book for people who don't have a clue.

1. If I have your child at my house for most of the summer, please acknowlege it. Perhaps an occasional reciprocation on a weekend would be nice. You could take my kids out to a movie, for example, so I could take a shower in peace and quiet.

2. When you drop off a child at my home, come to the door. Make sure I, the parent, am there. Chat, exchange pleasantries, and establish an approximate reuniting time. Don't just drop and drive.

3. Since I have a pool, offer at least once to be the parent in charge. I have sat, day after day, minute after minute, by my pool side to ensure the safety of all children. Offer to take at least one shift this summer. At least sit with me, so I can maintain some adult conversation and sanity.

4. If you work full time, please don't ever say this to me again: "I don't know how you stay home. i'd die."

5. Send a few snacks with your child if he's going to be here all day. I make regular costco runs, and my cupboards are open to all - but it would be nice to know that you acknowlege the fact that your child has hunger issues.

6. And hey - thanks for trusting me with your children. I always wanted to have a 'happy days' home with an open door policy, and I'm living the dream. This house will carry years of happy memories because of all the children who have entered my home.

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Well thought out, I agree with all you said, 100%.

I too am a SAHM, and it used to really bother me, when the parent was at work, and their child was at my house ! This used to happen with neighbour's children. I think it is free babysitting for their child.

I think you should speak up, when this happens to you again.

Sounds like a nice household, like a real home. Good for you.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 3:33AM
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Aha...I know this song and dance all too well! However,in my case,I was taken advantage of to the point where I finally had to say,"Sorry,I'm not having anymore kids at my house"
It's even worse when family does it to you,because you feel more obligated.
My question to you,amyfiddler,is what happens when they continue to not do the rules you've listed? Will you become like me and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 3:38AM
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It is up to you not to enable the bad behavior. Set up specified times when the child can be over and that is that.
I am a working mom and would never consider doing this to someone. It would be taking advantage - which is never cool. It is amazing to me how some people are just missing the "consideration" genes.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:44AM
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I don't know the age of the child you're talking about. One of my best friends had the same problem except the other mom was also a SAHM and the kid was a preschooler with bad habits like cursing, hitting, etc. It was really bad in the summer because everytime they would go out to play, the kid would show up. My friend finally had to say that they were having family time. She set time limits and would only let him back for a couple of hours every other day. Maybe you could say Mondays and Tuesdays are for friends. The other days are for us.

My friend then was asked to babysit some kids after school each day until the parents got home. She was afraid the parents would start taking advantage of her so she and I brainstormed some ideas. Maybe you could also apply some of them.

-My friend set a time when the parents were to pick up the kids. The other parents couldn't decide just to run some errands and show up 15 minutes late. Your situation is different, but you could say we won't have friends here after 4 pm. I need to cook supper and we need family time for the rest of the night.

-My friend sat down and figured out a two weeks snack menu and approximate costs. She showed the other and asked for snack money. In her case, it worked to ask for money because she was afraid of the other mom sending junk food. It would be harder to ask for money in your case, but how about asking for potluck picnic supplies. Tell the other parents you're having a picnic and ask them to send x, y, and z.

-Some things like certain toys and activities are off limits. In your case, I'd close the pool to neighbor kids if the parents don't want to help out.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 1:19PM
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Amy, you do it because you want your kids wherer you can supervise them and you like them to have kids to play with.
It's inconsiderate of those who drop their kids without a thought but you already know that.
I suppose you could do things like say to one mom.."Amy brought sandwiches to us as thanks for Justin being here all day, so your son may not be hungry for dinner"...or perhaps say something like Emily's mom will take my kids to the movie tomorrow as a thank you for keeping Emily all last week, so the pool won't be open that day."
But even if they don't "Get it", I know you will just continue as you have been, because you are a good person.
It's not really right....but for those of us who are or were SAHMs it's the way it is!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 2:04PM
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I have had that situation in the past. I only got out of it b/c we moved, so that's no help to you.

Lately I had one parent of DD's friend try that with me. The girl is in 1st grade with DD. Her mom called on a school break day, asked if DD was available to play. When I said yes, she said "Great, how about your house b/c I had to bring her to work with me today and this isn't working. I'll be there on my lunch break." OoooK. I wish she had enough respect to just call me the day before and say "I've got a childcare crisis tomorrow, can I ask a big favor?" I'd have said yes and been great about it. Now, when she calls, I say "how about next week sometime?" and she always says "I'll get back to you."

I actually babysit my nextdoor neighbor's toddler, but I offered and she pays me. She even gives me generous gifts at holidays and offers to watch my kids for a night out as a favor. So that is a good mutual arrangement.

I guess we cannot change the behavior of others, only our own. I finally know I don't have to "be nice" to everyone else when they aren't playing fair. When this has happened to me, and I've had enough, I say no a couple times and people quit doing that to me. In our former neighborhood, when it got bad, I also had days of the week when it was "no neighbor kids allowed." Sunday and whatever other day I wanted. If they had snacks, it was popcorn and ice water. When I've had enough kids in my home, I say "It's 4:00, if you don't live here, go home." The time is just whenever I've had enough. If I have chores for my kids to do, any kids on my property are fair laborers. Pretty soon the kids who want a good time and cool snack for nothing quit asking to come to my house. I end up with only the kids who come for the company of our family.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 2:41PM
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Ah - you all know of that which I speak!

I agree, always best to go to the source. Last summer I did go to one neighbor, and I voiced my concerns that johnny was ringing the bell at 9am, staying for lunch and dinner. Too much - they agreed, and spoke to the babysitter. (Wonder how much she was getting paid...hmmm....)

Good ideas here - I think in my position the best thing to do is to address issues directly before they fester. Ultimately I teach people how to treat me -

Incidently neighbor kids are laborers at my house too! It's one of the perks. To play the wii, they have to each do a simple chore. And I've never had a behavior problem I couldn't nip in the bud - language or whatnot. We're pretty strict, but the kids all know that we know how to play and if they want in they gotta earn it. it works out for was just the parents I was cranking about... :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 2:47PM
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"But even if they don't "Get it", I know you will just continue as you have been, because you are a good person. "

There is being a good person,and then there is being a doormat. When I finally said enough is enough,it is because during summer vacation,I had the child Monday-Friday overnight every single week.Breakfast lunch,dinner and all snacks in between.The kids started getting on each other's nerves...we had no time to ourselves...I just had to put my foot down.I'am a good person too, but that was just ridiculous.

I have less an issue with neighbors.We all respect each other and try to help out. One day the kids play here,the next at one of their houses.We have open communication so no one feels like their toes are getting stepped on.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 7:52PM
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I have had this happen to me. this lady shows up at my door one day (did not even know her nor her me!) and asks me if I would mind letting her 3 and 2 year old kids play with mine while she did housework. She let her kids come into my house and did not even know me!!!!!!! I was shocked and couldn't think of anything to say but "sure" well these little buggers would "escape" from their house, and run up to my house constantly after that.
She would call me after they had been at the house for awhile and then it would be, well as long as they are playing..... this went on alot, then it got to where she would call and say we need to run to town do you mind if the kids stay at your house while we go? And they would be gone FOREVER! 1 hour usually turned into 3 or even 4.
they did curb the taking off after the girl disapeared one day, had to canvas the whole neighborhood just to find her on a far road playing in a house with another little girl, scared the crud out of them, always after that if she showed up I was to immediatly call them and they would meet me half way to get her back home, so it was a good wakeup call for them, it could of turned out much worse.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 1:31AM
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