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How would you handle this awkward situation?


joannqn
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Our friends are hosting an adult only bunco night. We were invited as are quite a few other families, most of whom we know through church. We've known this family for over a year, and have gone to the small group they host for the past year. The kids (of all of the families) always come to small group and play upstairs together while the adults do the study downstairs. On New Year's Eve, they had a party with bunco. Again the children played upstairs, and came downstairs during a break in the game to snack. So, the adult only part caught us by surprise.

 

The invite came via Facebook, and I immediately rsvp'd no because my son has a prior obligation that I need to take him to. This isn't something he can skip. My DH was invited separate and hadn't rsvp'd.

 

Within 24 hours, the husband of the couple contacted DH and the wife talked to me. They had hoped my 13 year old and their 11 year old could babysit all of the kids for four families. They would be babysitting a 9 year old, four 6 year old boys, a 3 year old girl, and a toddler who is under 2. They want this to take place at a home that neither of the babysitters are familiar with that is a 10-15 minute drive from the adults. From experience, I know that the boys are a bit on the wild side when together and often get into arguments. Bunco takes about three hours to play, so the girls would be on their own with all of these kids from about 5:30pm to about 10pm. DH and I weren't too keen on the idea.

 

I explained my hesitation, reminding her that she had called me for help with a similar group of kids because it was too much for her and her daughter. If she and her daughter can't handle a similar group of kids, how could two young girls do it? She said that one of the families (the one offering the house) had a 16 year old babysitter they could use if it didn't work out, but suggested the same babysitter could be called in to help our two girls. Having three babysitters, one of them a bit older, sounded more doable.

 

So, this morning, we get a message from the other family (the one with the house/babysitter), that she contacted her friend about her 15 year old babysitting and told her that we would all pay the 15 year old $20 per family. There are four families. No mention was made of the 13 and 11 year olds getting paid for their part in babysitting.

 

How would you respond to this?

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I'd say no. That's nice the 15 year old can get a $80 babysitting gig, but sounds like your girls are undervalued. I agree with you, that without an older person their to help, the situation does not sound reasonable or safe for your dds to be in charge of that many kids. In your shoes, I might offer to let my girls babysit at the same house the adults will be at, but I wouldn't agree to the 15 year old being paid $80 while your girls work for free.

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You've already said no. I would reiterate you told her you could not participate in the evening and your dc would not be a part.

 

I'd remind dh to state that you've responded for the you as a couple and will not be attending. I find it bizarre that your dh was contacted after you RSVPd. I'd tell the other family setting up the sitters that you responded to the event that you would not be going.

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I avoid people who make things as complicated as possible.

 

I would reiterate that no one in my family has anything to do with game night that night, and just stay out of it and away from it.

 

 

Exactly this and my number one hesitation would be that the kids are babysat somewhere else in unfamiliar territory to the teens responsible for them. It's one thing to have teens come to your home to babysit your own children. Your kids know the rules of your house. They know what they can and cannot retrieve from the fridge, which things are off limits, etc. The potential for a babysitter to inadvertently let a child do something that might be off limits to the owners of that house is high. Additionally, because this is not at the host's house, this means that one couple could visit longer afterward than another and leave the babysitters hanging at the other house with kids that haven't been picked up and the home owners wanting everyone gone so they can get their own kids into bed. Really, it's too many complications. Too many possibilities for something to go wrong.

 

If this is to be adult only, then each family needs to get their own sitter at their own house.

 

Faith

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You've already said no. I would reiterate you told her you could not participate in the evening and your dc would not be a part.

 

I'd remind dh to state that you've responded for the you as a couple and will not be attending. I find it bizarre that your dh was contacted after you RSVPd. I'd tell the other family setting up the sitters that you responded to the event that you would not be going.

 

 

I wasn't clear. DH was going without me, and agreed to DD being one of three babysitters. The new information is that the 16 year old is actually 15 years old and we have to pay her $20, while no mention of the original two girls getting paid was made.

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re reading it...it seems like she wants your 9 yo and 11 yo to help... you and your dh driving there, dropping off, picking up...and not paying them in any way for their contributions? I don;'t think so. Besides, I have an 11 yo, and while she might do okay watching a 3 yo, the 6 yo's would be too much for her as would the toddler, And a 9yo??? I can't picture any of my 9 yo's as responsible enough to "watch" anyone but themselves. (and my oldest was a very responsible 9 yo.)

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So sorry. This won't work for my family. Ya'll have a great time!

 

I would not want any of my kids in that type of situation.

 

 

 

Yup - plus, you have a prior family commitment. They should have asked you and your kids, first, too about sitting.

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re reading it...it seems like she wants your 9 yo and 11 yo to help... you and your dh driving there, dropping off, picking up...and not paying them in any way for their contributions? I don;'t think so. Besides, I have an 11 yo, and while she might do okay watching a 3 yo, the 6 yo's would be too much for her as would the toddler, And a 9yo??? I can't picture any of my 9 yo's as responsible enough to "watch" anyone but themselves. (and my oldest was a very responsible 9 yo.)

 

 

No, that's not right.

 

They wanted my 13 year old and the host family's 11 year old to babysit all of the kids from four families, which include their own siblings. Then this 15 year old was brought in and is the one getting paid.

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Even with your clarification, I'd back out. I'd just say the evening and your schedule is more difficult than you thought and you and no one in your family can come.

 

It would really bother me that they sent an email to dh after I said no. It seems like they were trying to manipulate.

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No, that's not right.

 

There are four families. They wanted my 13 year old and the host family's 11 year old to babysit. Then this 15 year old was brought in and is the one getting paid.

 

 

Well that's just stupid.

 

Keep your 13yo at home and forget all about it.

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I believe that her daughter is 13 and two on the younger kids 6 and 3 are also hers.

 

My husband wouldn't go to an event like that without me. I don't think he would be comfortable if three other couples were there and he was flying solo.

 

I also wouldn't want to pay a stranger $20 when I could let my 13 year old babysit in the comfort of our own home, with just her siblings for free. I do not pay for babysitting, it's a privilege of being allowed to stay home alone. My kids do prefer to stay home though so that might have something to do with it.

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I wasn't clear. DH was going without me, and agreed to DD being one of three babysitters. The new information is that the 16 year old is actually 15 years old and we have to pay her $20, while no mention of the original two girls getting paid was made.

 

 

 

Are your younger kids going? If so, I guess you do have to chip in for babysitting. But if your 13 year old is helping, she should get a cut of the pay. Seems expensive to chip in $20 to pay for a sitter when your dd could watch your kids at home.

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I agree with everyone else that you should back out of this. If your DH still wants to go by himself, fine - but he shouldn't be chipping in $$ for babysitting.

 

To expect your DD to babysit without (1) asking her or you first, and (2) not offering to pay her while deciding to pay the 15 year old is presumptuous and unfair. Take your DD with you and your DS that evening. You'll be saving yourself a lot of stress and you'll avoid setting an undesirable precedent for future events with this group.

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Nope, I wouldn't do it. If your dh still wanted to go, and you were comfortable having your kids stay at home, that is what I would do. No way would I pay $20 when my kids could stay home by themselves. If your kids didn't go, I would make sure if your dh shows up that you aren't still expected to pay for babysitting even though your kids aren't there. It sounds like they are thinking everyone is in this so we will all split the cost type thing.

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I agree with everyone else that you should back out of this. If your DH still wants to go by himself, fine - but he shouldn't be chipping in $$ for babysitting.

 

To expect your DD to babysit without (1) asking her or you first, and (2) not offering to pay her while deciding to pay the 15 year old is presumptuous and unfair. Take your DD with you and your DS that evening. You'll be saving yourself a lot of stress and you'll avoid setting an undesirable precedent for future events with this group.

 

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

 

 

FTR, I'm not opposed to adult-only activities. I prefer, though, to take care of child-care arrangements on. And this particular situation makes me twitch.

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Dh asked me to get clarification from the mom hiring the 15 year old. So I wrote:

 

M and D originally came to us asking if DD13 and their DD11 could babysit all of the kids at your house. We were hesitant because that seemed like it would be a bit too much for them alone. D said you had a 16 year old who might be able to come in and help them. With you hiring her, does that mean DD13 is no longer needed to babysit?

 

Her reply was:

 

She will be aiding T along with their DD11. That is why you will only need to pay $20 for your younger two kids.

 

 

Yeah, that isn't working for me. DH is busy and wants to talk about it later. I'm hoping to convince him to back out. We like the hosts. We like the other families with kids. We like spending time with everyone who will be there. It would be a really fun night for DH. But this isn't making me happy, and is (admittedly) part of a bigger problem.

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No, that's not right.

 

They wanted my 13 year old and the host family's 11 year old to babysit all of the kids from four families, which include their own siblings. Then this 15 year old was brought in and is the one getting paid.

 

don;t know what I was thinking. That is perfectly clear from your original post. DUH!

 

Still wouldn't do it.

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I think she made a rather big mistake in "hoping" rather than confirming before setting a date and sending out invitations, and it's now up to her to solve her own problem. You can't go. Not your problem that your family cannot bail her out of this mess. I would decline and wish her well.

 

 

This. It's all Presumptuous with a capital P.

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Can you leave your children home with your daughter? It sounds like they don't need her to babysit. I certainly wouldn't be paying for my child to babysit. It's also unclear of the exact expectations of the 15 year old, especially if you don't know her. I would find another plan for my kids (since you have a sitter...) and send dh. :grouphug: I hate these kind of things. And who is the person giving up their house to all the kids? Snacks? ??? Or tell them you won't be paying since your dd is going to be watching your kids. The babysitter can focus on the others.

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I wasn't clear. DH was going without me, and agreed to DD being one of three babysitters. The new information is that the 16 year old is actually 15 years old and we have to pay her $20, while no mention of the original two girls getting paid was made.

 

you rsvp'd you're not going. just tell them your dd can't make it, she has obligations of which your dh was not aware. If she's not babysitting your kids, you don't have to pay the babysitter squat.

 

though, if you want to have some fun . . . you can pretend you didn't understand that all of the money is supposedly going to this girl and ask what the breakdown for payment to all three babysitters is - after all, everyone is now supposed to pay, and I would expect all three of them will be being paid (with a firm voice and hard stare.)

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Dh asked me to get clarification from the mom hiring the 15 year old. So I wrote:

 

M and D originally came to us asking if DD13 and their DD11 could babysit all of the kids at your house. We were hesitant because that seemed like it would be a bit too much for them alone. D said you had a 16 year old who might be able to come in and help them. With you hiring her, does that mean DD13 is no longer needed to babysit?

 

Her reply was:

 

She will be aiding T along with their DD11. That is why you will only need to pay $20 for your younger two kids.

 

 

Yeah, that isn't working for me. DH is busy and wants to talk about it later. I'm hoping to convince him to back out. We like the hosts. We like the other families with kids. We like spending time with everyone who will be there. It would be a really fun night for DH. But this isn't making me happy, and is (admittedly) part of a bigger problem.

 

 

Yeah, no. I wouldn't do it. That sounds ridiculous to me, really. YOUR DD is part of the babysitter crew AND you're paying for babysitting AND your DD is not getting any of that money? No way. Why would you pay for babysitting when your own DD is doing the babysitting? And why would your DD babysit, especially in that situation, for free? And why should the one older kid get all that money AND have two other girls helping? It really seems very unfair all the way around, and it seems like a big complicated mess of something that used to be quite simple and fun for everybody. I wouldn't go, and I'd ask your DH not to go either out of respect for you and DD.

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I find the separate invitation to you and your DH strange. plus the fact that the wife rang you and the husband rang your Dh to ask about the babysitting separately. What are they trying to do, start family fights? try to catch people out with inconsistent replies?

 

Sounds to me like they wanted to bypass the wife because I bet they figured the hubbie would agree to the babysitting. I've had people try that.

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1. How does your 13 yo. feel about babysitting? If she wants to do it, I would say let her, but only if she gets paid.

2. If you keep your younger children home, there's no reason for your DH to have to pay in to the babysitting pool. If the only child going is one of the babysitters, logic is that he doesn't pay.

 

So, I would say if your 13yo. WANTS to do it and is CONFIDENT that she can do it, she should offer to do it for close to the same pay as the older girl--maybe $15 per family. Since you're already not going, keep your younger kids with you while you ferry DS to his activity, and let your DH go play bunco while 13yo. babysits.

 

If 13yo. has no interest in taking the job, she shouldn't be expected to, nor should she be expected to do it without compensation (if it was for a study group or other church thing, maybe, as a service to the church, but not just for a bunco party).

 

The one thing I hadn't seen anyone else factor in was whether the girl wants to babysit or not. Unless a very big red flag was waving around saying Don't Let Her Do It No Way, I'd let it be up to her--again while advocating that she get paid.

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DH is busy and wants to talk about it later. I'm hoping to convince him to back out. We like the hosts. We like the other families with kids. We like spending time with everyone who will be there. It would be a really fun night for DH. But this isn't making me happy, and is (admittedly) part of a bigger problem.

 

Here's the thing -- I think your dh should stay home if you're not going, because it seems like a couples' event. And if it's part of a bigger problem, he should definitely stay home.

 

BUT... if he really wants to go and you're OK with it, he has no obligation to chip in toward a babysitter if your kids aren't going to be there.

 

Personally, I think the entire situation is completely messed up, and in all honesty, I would be more than a little suspicious of a woman who invited my dh to an event that she knew I wouldn't be attending. I don't want to start trouble where none exists, but are you absolutely sure this woman isn't interested in your dh as more than a friend? There seems to be a certain "divide and conquer" strategy at play here, and it's raising some red flags for me.

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Can you leave your children home with your daughter? It sounds like they don't need her to babysit. I certainly wouldn't be paying for my child to babysit. It's also unclear of the exact expectations of the 15 year old, especially if you don't know her. I would find another plan for my kids (since you have a sitter...) and send dh. :grouphug: I hate these kind of things. And who is the person giving up their house to all the kids? Snacks? ??? Or tell them you won't be paying since your dd is going to be watching your kids. The babysitter can focus on the others.

 

This seems like the obvious solution. Your dh goes and does not owe any money for babysitting. The 16 yo watches the rest of the kids with the other family's 11 yo? That leaves the two of them with five kids? That's do-able. And, it gets you out of the awkward situation.

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If your 13yr old is responsible enough, I'd let her stay home and babysit her own siblings for free or maybe pay her myself. I don't think it is weird for the hosts to contact DH or invite him on his own, but the whole babysitting thing wouldn't sit well for me. IMO, 11yrs old is too young to be responsible for that many kids for that long and especially that many kids when you mix siblings and older children who are friends into the mix. I agree that 13 was too young for that big of a job too. There are too many other relationships and dynamics among friends here for the older children to respect the babysitter/child power difference.

 

Since I'm not counting the 11yr old as a babysitter in my opinion, I think that is way too many kids for a 15yr old to handle on her own for that many hours. Your child at 13 should be offered equal pay but even then, I'd be a little nervous. That's 9 kids, 10 if I count the 11yr old for 4.5hrs! With your kids out of the group, it is a little more reasonable for a 15yr old to handle on her own. But also, in what world does a 15yr old earn that much money for one night's babysitting- especially with the parents downstairs.

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Yeah, no. I wouldn't do it. That sounds ridiculous to me, really. YOUR DD is part of the babysitter crew AND you're paying for babysitting AND your DD is not getting any of that money? No way. Why would you pay for babysitting when your own DD is doing the babysitting? And why would your DD babysit, especially in that situation, for free? And why should the one older kid get all that money AND have two other girls helping? It really seems very unfair all the way around, and it seems like a big complicated mess of something that used to be quite simple and fun for everybody. I wouldn't go, and I'd ask your DH not to go either out of respect for you and DD.

 

Yes, this. Joannqn, the info in your last post has me reduced to thinking a few choice words in my head and my family isn't even the one in this situation. Sounds like a whole lot of manipulation taking place. No way would I stand for it. At this point, I'd make the decision for the family and have it done with since dh is too tired/busy/distracted/whatever to think about it. But that's me.

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Sounds to me like they wanted to bypass the wife because I bet they figured the hubbie would agree to the babysitting. I've had people try that.

 

Oh yes, Dh and I just recently had a serious heart to heart about this. My brother and his wife have QUITE the social life that does not include their 11 year old daughter whom they do not allow to stay home alone. They very rarely actually spend an evening at home with her and most certainly not a Saturday. They also want free babysitting.all.the.time. But, my brother learned early on that I say no more often than I say yes (though I do say yes some, just not regularly) because while I love my niece, she is lonely and expects to be the center of attention all.the.time which means being very dramatic about everything which means I can't get anything done around here. They "homeschool" her - think of that term in a very loose manner such as, if there is nothing else I can think of to do today, I guess maybe we'll do some school work - and think of nothing of wanting their free babysitting during my school day or wanting one of my teens to go sit with her when we are right in the middle of algebra 2 or something. GRRRRR.... DH is a sucker because he feels sorry for niece and will agree to let her come over or whatever all.the.time without asking me. It makes mincemeat of my days and evenings. I love niece, but my primary responsibility is to the boys homeschooling and to this family.

 

Of course, they figured out that they needed to bypass me. So, they would call and if I answered suddenly not remember what they called for. Then they would try dh on his cell phone so they could go around me. Uhm....I recently got fed up with it and dh got an earful. Rare for us...we get along most of the time like two peas in a pod, but my limit had been reached especially since he told them she come over on Saturday when I was farmsitting with two of the three boys and HE WAS GOING INTO WORK!!!! Nope, you don't agree to have ME babysit! He has now gotten the picture.

 

One time, they announced at a family Christmas Party that my eldest was going to tutor his cousin in math. They'd never asked. It was just an attempt to manipulate us into doing what they wanted. I did not relent. They still complain about having to pay a tutor.

 

Some people will try anything in order to get their way. OP, you need to just put your foot down. This.just.should.not.happen. Your dd's can stay home with their sibs if dh wants to go. This is such a strange, contrived situation the hostess has tried to come up with and it shouldn't come to fruition.

 

Faith

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Dh asked me to get clarification from the mom hiring the 15 year old. So I wrote:

 

M and D originally came to us asking if DD13 and their DD11 could babysit all of the kids at your house. We were hesitant because that seemed like it would be a bit too much for them alone. D said you had a 16 year old who might be able to come in and help them. With you hiring her, does that mean DD13 is no longer needed to babysit?

 

Her reply was:

 

She will be aiding T along with their DD11. That is why you will only need to pay $20 for your younger two kids.

 

 

Yeah, that isn't working for me. DH is busy and wants to talk about it later. I'm hoping to convince him to back out. We like the hosts. We like the other families with kids. We like spending time with everyone who will be there. It would be a really fun night for DH. But this isn't making me happy, and is (admittedly) part of a bigger problem.

 

So the $20 is a discounted rate since your dd will be there to help? Um, no. This whole thing seems really presumptuous and bossy to me. So far these people have assumed your dd would help for free, chosen a babysitter for your children, and assigned you an amount to pay the babysitter all without consulting you. This would seriously rub me the wrong way. Frankly, I wouldn't put my dd in this position. I've been the younger helper to a teenage babysitter before. Not only did I not get paid, I did most of the work. I am afraid your dd will be taken advantage of. Can she watch your littles at home if your dh is set on going?

 

I would also be wary that agreeing to the babysitting arrangement will be setting a dangerous precedent. I think it's best to establish that you will be the one to arrange care for your children.

 

 

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My opinions:

 

1. I don't think it's a big deal that there were separate event invitations sent to each adult. I do that when I'm inviting a couple. Send it to both.

 

2. I don't think it's a big deal if your DH wants to go separately.

 

3. I don't think it's a big deal that the other DH called your DH and then you and the wife got on the phone together to talk about babysitting.

 

4. I do think it's a shame that it's an adults only party. At the New Year's Eve event, were the kids constantly interrupting?

 

5. I do think it's a big deal that they are expecting your kids to babysit without asking if they'll babysit. Or were you somewhat hemming and hawing and they interpreted that as a yes.

 

For example, if it went like this:

 

Her: We were hoping your dd13 could help with the babysitting.

You: Um...13 and 11 are pretty young to babysit all those kids.

Her: We're seeing if a 16 yo can help out, too.

You, Well, maybe if there was a 16 year old, but I dunno about that.

 

You said "maybe" and they heard "yes." I can see that sort of misunderstanding happening.

 

BUT...

 

Once they decided to pay one babysitter and not the others, that's a problem.

 

What I would do:

 

Leave my 13 yo at home with the siblings. Take ds to his committment. DH goes to the party.

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I have no concerns at all that anyone is hitting on my husband. It is hard to explain every little detail.

 

Here's what I think actually happened.

 

They planned on doing a bunco night, decided on a date, and decided to make it adults only. They either assumed the two girls would be able to babysit, or someone had a fit with the adults only part, and they decided to fix it with the two girls babysitting. When I rsvp'd no (with an explanation that I needed to take DS to his prior obligation), it through a wrench into their plans. The host couple have obvious problems with communication between the two of them. It isn't unusual for them to both contact someone about an issue and then not communicate with each other about it. Things get confused a lot. We've teased them about their lack of communication on several occasions. To add in them trying to communicate between four families, and it is a recipe for disaster.

 

Plus, it is their MO to volunteer their daughter for things. They see it as a Christian service opportunity for her.

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JoAnn, after reading your most recent post, the couple sounds incredibly flaky. And the whole "not paying your dd while paying another kid" is a real weasel deal.

 

I really think the best possible solution is that neither you nor your dh attend. That way, there's no chance of things ending badly or angrily over the babysitting issue.

 

It's not an issue if neither of you attends.

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