Advice on a Situation with a Friend and Her Infant

Updated on January 20, 2010
R.D. asks from Overland Park, KS
11 answers

I am currently watching my friends 7 week old infant. How this came about is an interesting story. Several years ago when my daughter was about 2 I babysat for a friend and another friend said she was trying to get pregnant and wanted me to watch her baby when it was born. It took her 3 years to get pregnant and when she was about 4 months along she said mentioned me still watching her baby 2 days a week. I had not babysat for 2 years... We were at a graduation celebration for my husbands masters degree and I was shocked that she still thought I would want to babysit since my daughter was 5 (now 6) and is in kindergarten. I was busy with the party and figured we could discuss it later. But later never came and I didn't have the heart to tell her that I didn't think it would work out anymore. So a month before the baby was born I told her that I could watch the baby till summer only. I didn't tell her a price and she didn't ask. Her husband and mine have been friends since 3rd grade and her and I have been friends for about 10 years. I have watched her for 2 weeks now and she is high maintenence. The husband told me today that since I have been watching their baby for them and since my husbands birthday was coming up they want us to get a baby sitter for our 11 and 6 year old so they could take us out to dinner. He said they will be bringing the infant. So basically they believe that I would babysit the infant for free. It's not about the money. I feel taken advantage of but half of it is my fault bacause I should have spoken up. I also am not willing to ruin a long friendship over money. I have to get over this and move on but I am not sure how. Any advice on this situation would be great. Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Well I feel much better about things now. I didn't bring up money but my friend asked me to keep the baby for her while she went to a job interview. The job would require three 12 hours shifts every Fri/Sat/Sun. I asked her why she would be okay with working every single weekend and she said they can't afford to pay day care for the baby 2 days a week when I can't watch her anymore so she has to find someone one day a week. The sacfrice of working every weekend made me realize just what their financial situation was. Before the baby they did more things than us and drive pretty new cars so we didn't realize their circumstances. It changed my feelings about things and I have decided to happily watch the baby till summer as I promised. I was also honest with her about how adding the baby in to my schedule was very overwhelming at first. So while nothing has really changed I feel differently about the situation because I understand more about their situation. It has also been a great learning lesson for me in the future. I want to thank you all for taking the time to give your advice.

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answers from St. Louis on

Hello Peggy,
I have read all the other posts and I have another perspective to offer. From a mother's point of view, I would NOT want anyone who is watching my child to be doing it when they don't really want to. That is not a good situation for you and especially for the baby. Infants are hard enough to deal with and if there is any resentment toward the situation that this little one brings to you, you don't want the baby to pick up on the stress that causes you. That is not fair to either one of you. As a mother, I would want to know that my childcare provider needs out of the deal. Mostly for the sake of my child. Let this mother know you are no longer in a position to continue this arrangement. The infant has a right to be with a childcare provider that is ready, able and willing to take on the responsibity of caring for it. This is not about what is right for the friendship, money, you, the mother or anything else. It is about that baby getting top quality care from an interested and able party. There is NO fault on you for not being that party at this time. But you do have the responsibility of being honest and saying this is simply not where you are at right now.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure what it is you really want, do you want to get paid for the services you are giving (which is perfectly justified and reasonable) or do you want to quit babysitting. In any event, at the risk of quoting a cliche, "honesty is the best policy." Explain to them how happy you are they finally had a baby and how much you adore the little one, but tell them how it affects your life and the routine you had before you started babysitting.

If you want compensation - which you have every right to demand - explain that caring for an infant is really tough work and it prevents you from doing other things with your day and it is only fair that you are compensated. If you do not want to babysit, tell them things are not working out as you had hoped and that they have X amount of time to find other childcare.

Friendship works both ways and if they truly are good friends, then they should understand your position.

Good luck to you and many blessings in the New Year!

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answers from Mansfield on

Peggy- maybe because you never said anything they just didn't know you wanted paid. However- When I worked full time and my mom watched my kids.... I still paid her. Yep- I paid my mom for spending time with her granddaughters.
I did this because she was not able to work another job or do the things she really needed or wanted to do because she had my kids. Your friend will probably understand if you tell her you would like to be paid for your time. Or if you don't want to watch the baby anymore... just be honest. As Lori said in the post before me... it is not healthy for the child if you don't want to care for it.

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answers from Orlando on

Did you charge your other friends when you watched their children? I don't think it is too late to discuss payment. You could say something like "You know we never discussed what I charge for babysitting" "I want to give you a good deal since we are friends". Then tell her what you charge. Since you did tell her that you would watch the baby until summer, I would try to stick with that, but you should have a back up plan with her should something come up that you might be sick or out of town.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi R., I'm a little behind on this, and all the advise that you got sounds great. I do think that you should stick it out until summer and yes you should be paid. But also, to soften the blow of not watching the baby and still help out mom and day could you be their back up sitter? So that when they do get a new sitter and that sitter is sick or on vacation they know that they have a back up plan. I don't know if that is even something that you want to do but I know that it is a huge releif to know that you have back up child care. Good luck and God Bless!



answers from Kansas City on

Well the way I see it you should tell her that you feel like they are taking advantage of you and your time. Tell them that you need to discuss any issues with your schedule and I truly believe if the child is high maintenace they need to know. Say that since it take a lot of your time and effort to care for their infant they either need to start paying for childcare or find someone else who has a better schedule. If they are friend they should totally understand.



answers from Kansas City on

Hi Peggy, You might not like my responce but here it goes... I think you were right when you said "but half of it is my fault because I should have spoken up". Your friend has been talking about you taking care of her baby for 3 years now... and never did you mention you "might" not be interested. You should have been honest with her, but the way I see it you have lead her on and she has no idea how you feel, so you can't blame her for that. Instead of being honest you continued to lead her on by promising to watch her kido till Summer, you really should stick to that if you can. Finding a good daycare can be really hard, and if she has been counting on you for 3 years now, it will be shocking for her & could possible ruin your long friendship. I agree with what mommee said, she had a good way of bring up the money situation. Did your other friends pay you back when you watched there kids, maybe you could use that as an example.. "x" paid me this much, but I want to give you a good deal since we are friends.
I do want to say I also agree with Lori, this baby is so important and its not fair for the baby if your are not happy watching her. I guess I am taking your friends side because I was very honest with my current baby sitter & said I only wanted to higher her if she agree to watch my daughter till she was 2 (August) as I did't want her changing babysitters every couple months. She agreed "promised", then 4 months later, the week of christmas, she decided she just couldn't do it anymore, conviently forgot our prior agreement. I was torn, mad that she broke her promise, but also really didn't want her to watch my girl if she didn't want to, it was not fair for my daughter to be stuck with someone all day and didn't want to watch her.
So, you said "I have to get over this and move on but I am not sure how" Well I guess my advise is quit thinking about it from your point of view and start thinking about it from your friends, it is not her fault that you were not honest with her and she can't read your mind so quit expecting her too. You can do it, stick it out, but go with mommee advise on how to start asking to be paid! You can also continualy ask, "so do you know whos going to watch her starting this summer?, when will she be able to start?", just keep reminding her that this is a short term deal and summers not that far away... and be honest!


answers from Kansas City on

Doesn't sound like much of a friendship since they are taking advantage like this. But if you let them, then they must feel justified somehow.

Infants are work and you do feel tied down if you aren't getting paid and or aren't getting paid enough. At the very least get paid for it. But it sounds like you shouldn't be doing this and they don't need to wait until summer to find normal childcare options. People are CRAZY if they really think friends and family are better for children than just some daycare provider. Most of the time grandmas and friends and Aunts secretly resent it and won't say so. How can that be good for a child?



answers from Kansas City on

Ok I just started my own in home daycare and I lost my job back in 07 and immediately started watching my niece I have always been paid to watch her and now that I am registered and have rules to follow and a contract now I expect my sister to follow the same rules as all my other families do. Yes it has been very hard at times to bring up issues with her but as I see it you are working so you should be getting paid for it. I would go ahead and type up a little contract that goes until summer with your rates and any other rules you want. If they get mad then maybe they really aren't your friends. Good Luck



answers from Kansas City on

You absolutely deserve to be compensated for your time. You are not being rude by bringing up the money - they are being the rude ones by assuming they do not have to pay you.

I agree that you should just say something about how you guys had not discussed money and here is how much it is. Or at the end of the month hand them an itemized bill and let them know you took a certain % off your normal rate because they are good friends.

Don't let yourself be taken advantage of or you will be resentful and it will ruin your friendship anyway.


answers from Kansas City on

just from what you're saying, it sounds like you are really just needing help getting out of your "duties". of course the fact that they're not paying you is making it worse. honestly, i would call her up and apologize, and just let her know that you can't do it anymore. i assume you have another reason, a schedule conflict or not having time or something, tell her that. you need to spend more time focusing on "X", whatever. i would not tell her that her child is a huge high maintenance pain and you're not even getting paid. she assumed a lot, but you're right, you should have spoken up. just whatever you do don't let on that her child is anything less than perfect. you know how we moms get! ;)

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