Neighbors and Favors...............

Updated on February 26, 2011
K.M. asks from Angola, LA
18 answers

Hi I have a little situation that I would love to have some advice on. My neighbor whom I have recently developed a friendship with in the past 3 months has asked me to keep her 2 year old son. Heres the backstory: We both have boys 8 years old and 2 years old. Our older boys go to school together and we frequently carpool the older boys to school. However she recently decided to take her toddler out of full time daycare for financial reasons. She has her own business and teaches a 3hr class twice a week. Well she asked me to take care of her son one day this past week and I willing did so. I was afraid she would ask again and she did. I really dont want to, but I feel obligated to do so because she is so nice and would do it for me if I needed her to. BUt on the other hand I work from home overnight and I have my 2 yr old on a schedule and we wake up and nap at the same time each day. Keep her son on this one day interferes with our routine which throws of my work schedule because if my son is ate to nap that means he late to go to bed and that mean I have o start working later and stay up longer and in turn I cant get up to take my son to school the next day and I'm super tired and dont have the energy I need for the day for my toddler thats home for me. She has offered to keep m 2 yr old for me another day in the week but Im not comfortable with leaving him with anyone which is why he is still home with me. I just dont know what to do. I dont want to ruin this new frienship or hurt the frienship with our older boys. Please give me your opinion on what you think I should do. She does have the option to put him in a mothers day out near our home but I dont think she wants to do that because she doesnt want to pay for childcare but I dont think that its right of her to impose on me in this way.

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answers from Washington DC on

Just say that it doesn't work with your family or schedule. If she's the type to take offense, then she's not going to be a good friend.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

If being honest with her and not being able to say no except ruining the friendship is how things are, she's not really your friend. Do you really want to be friends with someone who only wants to be your friend so they can use you? I hope not.

Tell her you cannot do it and why.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I think if it were me I would tell her it is just too much on me. Tell her you work during the time your son is taking a nap etc. If she wants to be friends I am sure that won't change anything. Good luck to youl

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Be honest. It's ok if it doesn't work out, and if it has an impact on your friendship- is it really worth it? Her finances aren't your issue. Her situation is having an impact on your situation. Doesn't seem fair, and as a friend you should be honest with her. If she's your friend she'll understand and respect your position.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If she hasn't out and out asked you to watch him regularly yet, here is what I would do:
Ask her for a few minutes of her time to talk to her. Say something like, "The other day, you asked me to watch X, and then asked me again. We enjoy having X over to visit and play, and I'm happy to watch him occasionally, in a pinch, but I just wanted to let you know that our schedule doesn't permit me to watch him on a regular basis." Then, segway into something else, like, is your 8yo planning to try out for soccer this year? Our son Billy was asking about that last night. (or something else).

For me, it's easier to say no, when the person is not asking in that moment for something....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I have encountered this with the neighbors across from me. We were neighbors for about 9 years and he quit his job and then started asking people to pick up his kids, watch them, take them to football practice, you name it. Well, my turn came. I watched his son one time. He was about nine years old, so pretty self sufficient, however, I felt bad to walk up stairs and to my routine, as he lie on the couch. So the following week, called and asked again. I asked, who normally watches him, where is he going, will he eat before coming over, where is the mother, where is the step mother, what time will he be picked up, by who, does he have things arranged for the next week, and on and on, yet very polite. I received a call about an our later to never mind, he had it handled. The next morning, I stepped outside and waived and said good morning like I normally did.

They moved and he called my husband and asked what he was up to and said they would be right over and my husband played 20 questions and we never saw them.

It seems she never asked you, so ask her some questions about her intentions, you are entitled.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I feel for you, this is a tough position to be in. If you give in you will be bitter and it will ruin the relationship, you will take it out on your kids and you will be very unhappy. After being a "yes" girl for so long I started getting so angry and not realzing why until it was pointed out to me by a councelor. After awhile it gets easier standing up for yourself and it is so freeing being honest with others and it always works out okay and no one is upset. It took me a long time to get this way and boy do I love it, when I can help I do with a helpful attitude but when it doesn't work out I say "sorry, no". I would be honest with her and tell her what you told us. Tell her how you don't mind helping her out when she is in a bind but she can't commit to a schedule like this because of your schedule. If you say yes I can see what will happen, you will feel so take advantage of. I encourage you to be honest in a loving way and I bet the no relationships will be bruised. Good luck, it will turn out ok and you will feel so free. You are not a bad person for saying no, it is hard enough being a mommy and pleasing our family all the time let alone the outside world.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I don't think your reasons (the whole nap/work thing) are something you need to worry about when you talk to her. It really doesn't matter what your reasons are and you don't need to justify yourself. You don't mind doing it in a pinch (like the first time) nor once in a while if something else falls through for some reason, but it doesn't work for you. period.

She certainly realizes that it can interfere with daily plans, as that is why she is having to find care for him during the day to start with. If you WANT to soften it, just be careful that you don't turn it into "excuses" why it doesn't work.. because that will just give her an opening to try to "fix" them and continue asking you to keep him. It would probably be best to just let her know that it just doesn't work for you, and that you hope the Mother's day out (or whatever else is available in your area that she is considering) works out ok.

Be happy and cheerful, when you have the conversation, and she should be the same. If you go into it with too much of an apologetic attitude, she will follow THAT cue and assume that you have a reason to apologize.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Make yourself unavailable for the next time she asks and see what she resorts to. If she asks yet again just tell her you cant and dont offer any excuses or explanations.



answers from Seattle on

I agree with the other ladies here - just be honest and tell her that you certainly don't mind doing her a favor in a pinch, but doing it on a regular basis would be too disruptive to your schedule. Why do you feel obligated - yes, she may do the same for you, but would you ask her do watch your child on a regular basis like she is asking you to do? I'm guessing no! I just told a friend of mine that I could no longer watch her daughter one day a week - had offered to do this because of a financial issue but began questioning my decision when she began really inconveniencing me by showing up late (making me late to kid activities or having no choice but to take her kid along with me). The whole situation was beginning to stress me out, so I told her she would have to make other arrangements because it was becoming too difficult for me to make plans, get the kids to nap, and have some sorely needed quiet time (had been doing this during kid nap time). Also, her child tried hard to get my attention (I think she was used to this at home), and I told her mom that I was having trouble focusing on her daughter at the expense of my own kids, who need/deserve my attention and energy on what is supposed to be our "off day" (they are in day care 3 days a week. I didn't feel guilty at all - I figured if she were really a friend she would understand, and so far, things are fine between us, as far as I can tell! Say something before you begin resenting her - now, that will do nothing for your relationship!



answers from Birmingham on

Sometimes honestly seems brutal even when you know it's the best thing to do. I had a similar thing when our daughter was young. I loved my time at home ALONE with her when our older child was in school and our routine was wonderful. I was honored that another mother thought enough of me to ask that I keep her daughter on different times but after the 1st few times, I just didn't want to do it any longer. After one time I just had to do it .. I told her that "I felt honored to be trusted with her little one, but I couldn't do it anymore because I enjoyed the time alone with my child and I had committed myself to keeping our routine going that way. If I think of anyone else that I could recommend to her, I would be glad to pass their name along." I really didn't have any thoughts on that but it sounded like I would still be HELPING her in some way by doing that. She did seem a little surprised but I just wanted to end this situation. I acted the same as always to her and our neighborhood friendship didn't seem to change. Good luck!



answers from Lafayette on

It's ok to say no. Friends understand that. Some people don't have a problem asking for favors regularly. Those people expect to hear no sometimes but would rather ask because they have a 50/50 shot of hearing yes and she's probably one of those people. Tell her that if you can help her out that you will but if you have to say no it's because it conflicts with your schedule. As her friend that doesn't obligate you to always tell her yes. I don't think she actually trying to impose you. She did offer to keep your child in return (which switching kids for a few hours is really a nice tradeoff) You just have to learn to tell her no and she'll still be your friend. I doubt her interest in you is to use you for a free babysitter.



answers from Houston on

I totally understand your feelings. You sound like a warm, caring person who would treat people the way you want to be treated. But would you ever impose on someone this way? Would you ever expect such a huge favor from someone you are just getting to know? Of course not.
It is her duty to pay for her childcare. It is not in you and your childrens' best interests. You do not have to explain. Just tell her you and your husband have discussed it and you are not available to babysit.
I love Momwithcamera's answer and would add "Now, let me think about it and I will get back to you later." LOL
She needs you to carpool far more than you need her so I bet she won't have a fit.


answers from Alexandria on

be honest w/ her b/c otherwise you might grow to resent her b/c you were too nice to say no and then you could ruin the friendship anyway. if she's a real friend she will understand. if she gets mad she'll get over it.


answers from Houston on

tell her your son is sensative to a set scheduale and you cant throw him off by sending him to her house. that yours is a very routine kid and has a bad attitude if his routine is broken. which is true with most far as keeping hers you can till x time when your sons scheduale is set for and cant beyond that. that way your not saying no and it wont be late enough for her and she will look elsewhere



answers from Lincoln on

Just be honest with her and tell her it doesn't really work for your schedule to keep her son on a regular basis. Tell you don't mind watching him OCCASIONALLY, but you just can't do it once a week.
She doesn't want to be a burden on you and she be mortified if you did it and then resented her for it. She's asking, that gives you right to say no. There is nothing wrong with respectfully saying no and giving an honest reason. She's your friend, treat her that way.


answers from Tulsa on

You are right...she has no right to impose upon you in this manner. I think you need to gather your thoughts, write them down if you need to, and invite her over for coffee and a chat. Explain how having her son messes with your schedule and decline to watch her child in the future. If she gets mad and stops the friendship it probably wasn't much of a friendship to begin with. She has no right to EXPECT you to watch her child for free. I realize childcare is expensive but she's gone too far expecting you to fix her financial issues.

Another option is to ask her for compensation for watching her child. If her son is disrupting your work schedule that means it affects you financially also and you would need to be compensated.

Either way, I'm afraid to say, you might be putting this budding friendship in jeopardy. If it is meant to be these circumstances won't change it, she'll understand. If she doesn't understand then she truly isn't your friend, simply a woman trying to get something for nothing.

I wish you the best of luck. It's hard standing up for your rights for some included...but I think it's absolutely necessary that you nip this in the bud asap.


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