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I’m Not Your Free Babysitter! Courageous Conversations With Parents that Take Advantage

We all know that it takes a village to raise a child, and we’re (mostly) happy to help out our fellow parents on occasion, with the understanding that they’ll return the favor when we need help.  But what happens when your friend, sister, neighbor or fellow elementary school mom starts taking advantage of your good nature, dropping off her kids at your house while she runs errands, goes to the gym or gets a manicure?  (I know.  It’s SO INFURIATING!)

  • Explain your feelings.  Perhaps she doesn’t realize that she’s taking advantage of you.  She may think that as a stay-at-home-mom, you’re “home anyway,” but not realize that you have stuff to do – and watching her adorable little munchkins distracts you from your busy agenda.  (Or she may think that since “you have a babysitter anyway,” she can drop off her kids and your sitter will watch them for free.)
  • Offer a “kid swap” – You scratch her back, she should scratch yours.  Propose a kid swap where, say, you take turns watching each others’ kids every Wednesday afternoon.
  • Offer a solution.  Give her the name of a reliable babysitting service and suggest she hire someone to watch her children, as your schedule won’t permit you to continue to do so.
  • Have an excuse ready.  If she still doesn’t get the hint, have an excuse ready when her kids show up at your doorstep.  “Gee, I’d love to have you stay here today, but I have to run errands/paint my attic/reorganize my closet and I just won’t be able to do it today.  Sorry.”  And shut the door!

 How do you deal with parents who regularly “dump” their kids on you?

2 comments to I’m Not Your Free Babysitter! Courageous Conversations With Parents that Take Advantage

  • Karen

    I had a friend who was regularly “dumping” her kids at my house – because I worked at home, had a nanny care for my children – and I feel as if she felt I was doing nothing. I did have a busy schedule with conference calls and numerous hours of paperwork. We are great friends and I didn’t want to ruin our friendship over this little matter. We came to a conclusion to do a nanny share. The nanny would work at her home 1 week (with my kids there as well) – and at my home the next week (with her kids at my home) – and it was a great solution for us.

  • Bree

    former nanny here… a 14hr day with 3 young children…. and as i returned the parents had a “surprise party” and 6 other kids were there… i suspect they wanted me to do some extra “free childcare” but i promptly said “im going to start my weekend”

    Parents: you get what you pay for. dont abuse your friends kindness.. dont take advantage of those who care for ur kids

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