Play dates do not equal babysitting services

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A few weeks ago on a late Tuesday afternoon, Emma received a phone call from one of her closest friends. She was calling to invite Emma to play at her house for a few hours that evening.We had just walked in the door from the beach, and it was chaotic. I told Emma to tell her friend that that time wasn't going to work, but suggested that Emma invite her to play at our house on Thursday. Two seconds later Emma hands me the phone and says that the friend's mom wants to talk to me.

Here we go.

"Hello. Oh. Ok. Well, I suppose that would work. Ok. Well....uh...Ok. Sure. That's fine. See you then. Bye."

As it turned out, Thursday didn't work for them. Actually, it did work for them, but the mother had a class reunion of sorts on Saturday and was hoping that we could arrange the play date around her plans.

Hello? I'm not your babysitter. Not your free one anyway. But what was I to say? The girls hadn't seen each other since school ended and were anxious to play together. It wasn't the child's fault, after all. Her mom just has a hell of a lot of nerve or is completely clueless.

On Friday, she calls to confirm change the play date and dropoff/pickup times. She needs to dropoff earlier (12:20) so that she can make her appointment for a blowout. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Take the kid with you, for crying out loud. And she needs to pick her daughter up a little later as it is her brother's birthday, and he's planning to make a stop at the venue where the reunion is being held but can't get there until 5.

OK, I was getting close to my breaking point. I don't mind hosting play dates. In fact, they usually benefit me because they keep the kids out of my hair. And if any of my friends ever needed me to babysit, I would do so in a heart beat. But this wasn't a friend. She was an acquaintance of mine whose child is a friend of my child's. Totally different. Just feeling the need to point that out. I know many friends read this blog, so it's important that they know they can ask me ANYTIME to watch their children. And I'd gladly do it.

So, as it turns out, the friend's mom needed to drop off at 12:20 and pick up at 6:30. Huh? Are you kidding me? What was initially a 2 or 3 hour playdate had turned into a 6 hour stint.

But wait. There's more.

About 2 weeks prior to the playdate phone call, the mom left a message on my cell phone informing me that her older daughter (who's 13) is available to babysit my girls anytime. She continued to say that she's reliable and readily available, responsible, and conscientious. So, I had to wonder...where exactly was this older daughter on this particular Saturday. If she's readily available, why was she not around? And 13? Isn't that a bit young to be babysitting?

In the end, the friend came over at 12:20 and went home at 6:20. I took the girls to my sister-in-law's house to swim, and the they had a lovely time. But I was still bothered by the situation and the sheer audacity of the mother long after the girl had left our home. At the pickup, the mother kept saying "I owe you one. I really owe you. I wouldn't have been able to go if it weren't for you".

But seriously. It's not like I am going to call her and say, "Hey, remember that favor that you owe me? When can I drop off my kids?" Who does that? Certainly not I. I'm not that bold, and I cannot believe that there are people out there who are.

As is the case with many posts, as I was typing this and replaying it, I wondered if I were somehow wrong. Was it wrong of me to be annoyed by the mother's actions? What would you have done? Has something similar to this ever happened to you?

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