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I Am Not Your Free Babysitter!

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Our new neighbors dump their three kids at our house all day while they do home improvements on their house. Um, I am not your free babysitter!

stressed out woman

Brenda Simmons: When the new neighbors moved next door in our Utah neighborhood, I was excited. I knew my kids would be happy that they had kids their age. Maybe they could be friends. I remembered the years growing up next to my neighborhood pals. I was so excited that my kids could have that same experience.

The new neighbors decided to do a remodel and put in a pool right away -- and there were workers at the house 24/7. The dad -- who is supposed to be watching the kids -- is one of the construction workers. The mom works full-time. So what did they do with the kids? Send 'em to camp? No, too expensive. Why not send them to OUR HOUSE instead?

The kids have routinely started coming over for hours at at time. Now, I may be a stay-at-home mom, but I still have things I need to get done around the house, and it's impossible to do with my three kids and their three kids running in and out, wanting snacks, and tattling on each other. It's like the freaking Brady Bunch ... but three of these kids are not mine, and I'm not Carol Brady!

I send the kids to their house, but they are back within 30 minutes pounding on our door! These are relatively nice kids, but I am not being paid to watch them, and it's breeding resentment.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?

next: My Friend Ruined My Surprise Party!!
11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Heather August 21, 2009, 12:53 PM

Why don’t you just not let them in? If the kids knock on the door, tell them it is not a good time. If they come back, go straight over to the dad and tell them you are not available.

Doesn’t seem that difficult to me! If this is your biggest issue, you are doing pretty good I say.

Andrea August 21, 2009, 1:09 PM

I think you should tell the kids that your children can’t play right now and that when they are available to play, you will send them outside.

JD In Vancouver August 21, 2009, 1:20 PM

I had this problem. It was mainly on the weekends though. I spoke to the mother involved and now we trade off, one Sunday I take the kids for the afternoon, the next she does. Now we both get some free time to do our errands and I’m much less resentful.

Stephanie August 21, 2009, 1:59 PM

I would definitely have a discussion with the parents. They are clearly taking advantage of you!

Anonymous August 21, 2009, 1:59 PM

Phone the dad or go over there and tell them that you are unable to watch there children because you are busy and you don’t want to be responsible if anything were to happen to there kids while they were over. So maybe you can set up another day they can get together and play

Natalie August 21, 2009, 2:04 PM

I would say that this is a temporary situation. And soon, you will have a neighbour with a pool. Your kids will be at THEIR house all the time after that! :)

Anonymous August 21, 2009, 2:35 PM

I agree with Natalie once the pools is finished your kids will be at they’re house.

Rachel August 21, 2009, 3:15 PM

I don’t know, I don’t think I agree with Natalie and anonymous. Some parents don’t just let their children run the neighborhood willy nilly, particularly at the home of a neighbor, with a pool, who doesn’t have a real great track record of keeping up with their own kids in the first place, muchless someone else’s.

What about setting some boundaries? As an example, communicate to the neighbor children that if you’re home, they may come play from 1 - 3 PM, but that you reserve the right to have the final say?

J August 21, 2009, 3:16 PM

Once the pool is finished your kids won’t be allowed over since the dad won’t want to watch them. Nip this in the bud - they are using you for free child care. When the kids knock tell them they can’t come in, then go talk to the parents.

Katherine August 21, 2009, 8:36 PM

They are just using you for free childcare. Tell them while you don’t mind the children playing sometimes, you are not a free babysitter. If they expect you to watch their kids you should be getting paid or at least they should send the kids over with their own snacks so they are not raiding your fridge.

birdsfly August 22, 2009, 3:58 PM

There isn’t much point in trying to communicate the problem to the kids, I would open a dialog with the mom. She might have no clue that her husband is foisting the kids off on you!

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