My Neighbor Humiliates Me for Refusing Babysitting Her Kids

People
4 weeks ago

It's always nice to have a kind neighbor who dearly cares for us. But that's not the case for a Reddit user who shared her unpleasant situation. At first, she was more than happy to watch for her neighbor's kids, but over time, she felt like her neighbor only took her kindness for granted.

She shared her story and turned to people on the internet for advice.

I (38F) have a neighbor, we’ll call her Sara (38F). I’m married with 2 girls (8 & 11), and she has 2 boys (8 & 12). Sara is married, but her husband travels a lot for work, and she works from home. I am a teacher, so I have school breaks and summers "off." <strong>Over winter break, Sara’s kids kept coming over to see if my kids could play. ("Play" means they have been sent over because they’re annoying their mom, and she’s trying to work).

Backstory: the kids were friends when they were younger, but as they got older, they don’t really have much in common, and they’ve drifted apart. Her kids go to a parochial school and my kids go to public school, so they don’t even have teachers or classmates in common. They don’t have a lot in common anymore, and when they do play, Sara’s kids fight, a lot! (With each other and with my kids).

One day over winter break, the younger one came to the door to see if my kids could play, and I told him they didn’t want to play right now. Sara sent me a text saying that she was on a work call and could really use some time with the boys out of the house. I caved and told my girls to just try and find something they could do together.

Ten minutes later, my oldest came upstairs crying, saying that one of the boys made a nasty comment about how boring our house was and that it was dumb that I wouldn’t let him play Xbox. (The Xbox is my husband’s, and it’s in our family room, where I was doing laundry and watching a show). I told the boys that if they were bored, they were more than welcome to leave.

Now it’s almost spring break, and Sara just asked if I could watch the boys for two days because she has two busy workdays, and I’m "off work." I told her "no" because we would be on vacation in Florida visiting family. She said okay and "jokingly" said, "I guess I’ll just hit you up in the summer." I replied and said that I will NOT be babysitting her kids over the summer. (True emergencies, sure).

I said, "I’m sorry, but just because I’m not at school during the summer does not mean that I am your free childcare." Yes, I don’t physically go to work over the summer, but I take online classes for my master’s and I teach online summer school. Meaning, I am also working from home.

She blew up at me and told me I should help her because she’s alone a lot and now that the kids are older, it’s harder to keep them entertained all day. I told her that I didn’t care if the kids played together outside during the summer, but I was not going to be a caretaker or responsible for her kids unless she was going to compensate me.

I tried explaining to her that the kids do not get along the way that they used to, my kids don’t fight with each other the way her kids fight with each other, and my kids don’t really want them to be at our house all the time. Now she’s pissed and not speaking to me, and her oldest told my oldest that I’m not a good person because I won’t help my neighbor.

Many people justify the Reddit user's actions.

  • "Fair enough. Plus, her kids don't really get along with yours anymore. You're studying & working over summer break. You didn't owe any explanation, but you gave her a reasonable one anyway."
    Apart-Ad-6518 / Reddit
  • "Say nothing. Explain nothing. You are correct (and you know it) that you are not obligated to provide free childcare or help another mother out. She should be signing her kids up for summer camp so she can have a few free hours every day.
    If she takes this to the “neighborhood committee” and if another parent says something to you, simply smile and ask if they have volunteered their time over the summer to supervise her children." Tinkerpro / Reddit
  • "You set a boundary that your neighbor didn't like. An appropriate boundary. You living in the house next to hers doesn't make you responsible for her kids." alexis_adeline / Reddit

Some of them even share their similar experiences.

  • "My daughter started teaching after the military, and too many of her neighbors assumed she was available for their kids over break. It doesn’t matter if you’re busy or not…that’s YOUR time. You do NOT need to justify your unwillingness to become responsible for someone else’s kids." campganymede / Reddit
  • "I work from home, and people really seem to struggle with understanding the “work” part of that. I'm in meetings, answering emails, and taking calls all day. I can't watch your kids, chat on the phone, go out for coffee, or take a three-hour lunch whenever it's convenient for you. Would you go to an office building and expect someone to be able to do those things?" IWillCallYouCutie / Reddit
  • "I'm a teacher who spends all summer on the chaise by the pool, and I would resent anyone who wanted me to do free labor for them. I don't even like babysitting at all, and I never have liked it. Babysitting is 100% different from teaching, and I don't babysit." HalfPint1885 / Reddit

A woman, 35, fell in love with her married neighbor. However, her impression of the neighbor changed after she tried to babysit his kids. She shared her emotional story with us and desperately needs advice.

Preview photo credit Surfergirl7681 / Reddit

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