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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: Book Giveaway! 'The Portable Pediatrician'
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Perfect Dad March 22, 2011, 1:19 PM

2 things from a man’s point of view:
1: Don’t make it about the fact that they haven’t compensated you — he probably don’t even notice that you’re inconvenienced, or assumes that you like it since you keep doing it and haven’t mentioned anything.

2: If you can’t watch them because you have to do something then tell the other parent. But if you can have them over at your house then do it, because you’re building up a good relationship. I like it a lot when my kids friends come over. It mostly makes it easier for me.

THE ULTIMATE IMPORTANT THING IS: Don’t let the resentment build up. That’s toxic and terrible.

But that’s a man’s view :) I just saw an episode of Modern Family where I learned that a more appropriate response would be, “Aw, that guy sure is an oblivious ungrateful butthead, imposing on you day after day like that! Some people.”

Peggy Brister March 22, 2011, 1:31 PM

I would talk to the dad and let them know that playtime is taking up too much time AT YOUR HOUSE and that it needs to be limited to one hour per day. When the kids get sent home and come back pounding on the door 30 minutes later, tell the kids that playtime for today is over and that they need to go home. Let them impose on some other neighbor for a few hours every day. I guarantee you that other parent won’t put up with it either.

WhoCares? March 22, 2011, 2:54 PM

Just say NO!!

Perfect Dad March 22, 2011, 4:50 PM

But why should she just say no? Maybe Brenda is doing the neighbor a huge favor. Maybe she’ll be able to send her kids over there when she really needs it later. If the workers are there 24/7 then it should be over soon.

Maureen March 23, 2011, 9:55 AM

This is a highly informative article. Thank you very much.

College Degree Fast

Adam Friedrichsen April 2, 2011, 9:03 PM

Your thoughtful insight and great ideas is largely why I will continue to read your website. I can tell you’ve spent a lot of time on this. Great job!

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