General Question

Supacase's avatar

Do I need to stand by this commitment for the duration?

Asked by Supacase (14538points) January 4th, 2011

I told a friend of mine that I would watch her son (now 9 months old) one day a week. This was so she could work part time. I have since learned that she is not actually an employee. She is considered a volunteer and they are paying her in store credit. (This is an upscale children’s shop, so she isn’t volunteering her time for a cause.)

I have been doing it since the beginning of September, but I honestly do not want to continue. The child is wonderful, but babysitting is not for me. I understand now why I never did it as a job during high school.

It seems to me I have three choices:
1. Tell her I don’t want to do it anymore.
2. Tell her I don’t want to continue, but will stick with it until she finds someone else.
3. Say nothing and just keep going until the end of May.


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13 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If there was no ‘consideration’ (return, remuneration: money or other compensation), then there’s no ‘contract’. You don’t have a debt or duty to perform any longer. If I were you then I’d offer the second option, but define a time limit, say, two weeks, perhaps?

SuperMouse's avatar

Personally I would probably go with number two but with a caveat. I would giver her a finite amount of time to find a new sitter. If you don’t do that she is bound to keep you on the line longer than you might want her to.

wundayatta's avatar

You’re not a slave, so you can do what you want. You don’t owe her anything (unless theres’ something you haven’t told us). Presumably, your concern is social—how will she feel about you, and what will she say about you and how will this affect your standing in the community.

I think you’ve done quite enough—volunteering to care for her child, and if you don’t feel you can do it any more (for whatever reason), then you should have no problem with her. Why would she want someone who doesn’t want to care for her kid to care for her kid?

I agree with the others about option two. Think of it as two weeks notice. Then you’re done, whether she’s found someone or not. And that’s being very generous. There’s no problem in finishing out the week and saying no more. But give her as much notice as you can.

Supacase's avatar

She is a hair stylist, but hasn’t worked in a salon since she had her son 3½ years ago. We were trading her doing my hair for me watching her son, but she mentioned last month that she wants to change that – keep them separate and start writing each other checks. (Stylists sure make a lot more than babysitters!)

My main reason for not wanting to do this is not only how she will feel about me, but that I know she has been going through a really difficult time since her second child was born. The first one is now having some behavioral issues, she has some depression and anxiety issues (which I also have and completely sympathize with) and the whole thing is really pushing her to her limit – much, much more so than other women I know who have had a second child. I don’t want to add to her stress.

chyna's avatar

I’d go with number 2 also. Since she changed the details of the contract by not wanting to trade for doing your hair, I wouldn’t feel bad at all. Just tell her babysitting isn’t your thing, and as @SuperMouse said, give her a time limit to find someone else.

blueiiznh's avatar

I would also recommend going with the option like number 2. You dont have to disclose full details that you just dont want to do it. You can simply state that there are other things you need to do that impacts your ability to go through May. This is certainly tricky as you dont want to cause stress or harm the relationship, but your sanity is important too.
If she has issues with depression and anxiety and a child with behavioral issues then SHE needs to get those under control.

perspicacious's avatar

Tell her the truth

marinelife's avatar

Tell her that babysitting is not for you, and you are sorry but she will have to make other arrangements.

Blueroses's avatar

Am I correct in understanding that she wants you to pay her more for her service than she pays you for yours? If she isn’t working, how is her time more valuable than your time? Bartering should be about perceived value not market value. I think it’s rather arrogant behavior on her part and you should feel no regret about terminating your arrangement.

john65pennington's avatar

Have you ever known a person that was being used by another person? this is your situation. your friend has found a “golden egg” in you and is milking it for its worth. remember, these are her children and she is their mother, problems and all.

End this situation as soon as possible. if she is an employed hairdresser, she is making money and just using you as a free babysitter. she will continue to use you, until you make a stand for yourself.

Get on with your life and tell it like it is to your friend, the user. john

Supacase's avatar

@Blueroses Not exactly. It costs $65 (including a discount) for my cut and color, which takes about 2 hours. I “earn” $10 per hour babysitting, so I have to babysit for 6½ hours to get my hair done. So, yes, her time is more expensive but it also requires a skill set and training that babysitting don’t. We don’t pay stylists by the hour, but we commonly do so for babysitters and $10 an hour in this area is more than fair.

Anyway, today is my day to watch him and I was a little surprised at how drop off went. He is getting more mobile and I mentioned (as I picked up three Barbie accessories hiding under the chair) that I have been worrying lately b/c my house is absolutely not baby-proofed. She said not to stress myself over it – to just let her know if it gets to be too much for me. She is very considerate of my own issues with anxiety since she knows what it is like. So, I think the problem is solved – she gave me an easy out.

Blueroses's avatar

@Supacase Well that’s good. I’m glad she gave you an option.

Don’t sell yourself short though on the skills needed to provide childcare. There are plenty of people I wouldn’t let look after a pet rock. You’re giving more than a kid-parking service. You’re giving peace of mind to the parent that her child is in capable hands. That perceived value increases your worth, on top of what your regular pay might be. :-)

blueiiznh's avatar

@Supacase glad that your pressure has become less on this

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