“Entitled” to babysitting?

I ran across this post, and I was really taken aback by all the snark.  Why was I surprised?  It is the internet after all.  I guess I just expect more of people.  It’s a character flaw.

Here’s my response:

To me, the mission-critical elements are –

“[Mark] and his wife, “Sue”, are always offering to watch our children so we can go on a date because we never get the chance. Then when we actually need help, they never follow through.”

And –

“Mark & Sue have also implied they would want us to babysit when their children are born …”

This. Right here.

Yes, yes, no one is entitled to have anyone else babysit for them, but “good friends” don’t make idle offers. If they do, they’re not good friends. You and your fiance are perfectly justified in being frustrated with them.

That said, I’m going to assume that Mark and Sue, since they don’t have children yet, don’t really appreciate how helpful it is to be able to get out of the house once in a while. So I would table this discussion until their own child is born and then THEY want to get out for an evening. I see a couple possible outcomes –

1) You all develop a rhythm where you fairly and equitably trade babysitting services; or
2) You babysit for them (once, maybe twice) without reciprocation. After that, I would be “busy” anytime they ask until they reciprocate.

As far as the bachelor party specifically …. as long as not too much planning has been done, I’m actually on your fiance’s side here. If I’m reading your submission correctly, and your fiance says he would rather have a night out with you than a bachelor party, he should stick to his guns. There’s no law that says he HAS to have a bachelor party, and if Mark is willing to go to the effort to do something for your fiance like plan a bachelor party, he should be willing to go to the effort to babysit, especially since he had offered to babysit, multiple times, LONG before he even thought about planning the bachelor party.

Also, regarding the weirdness about guys babysitting … that just seems a little over-the-top.  But then again, maybe I’m biased because my husband is a stay-at-home dad, so he’s alone with the kids every day.  Plus, plenty of women are lethally abusive to children, so it would seem to me that having gender-specific hangups about who watches your children is a little old-fashioned.

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4 comments

  1. Since I personally know more than one person of either gender who was molested by a male babysitter, I have hard and fast rule about no male babysitters. Not old-fashioned, just realistic.

    1. I’m very sorry that this happened to people you know. Are you saying, though, that you’ve never encountered abusive women?

      I really do think it is more of a generational thing, though, because almost everyone I know (including me) has at least one male relative they trust to babysit. Also, my husband is a stay-at-home dad with two school-age girls and a baby boy, so he’s obviously alone with the kids every day. I just think it makes more sense and it’s more fair to everyone to treat people as individuals rather than profiling by gender.

  2. came across this from reading through your blog archives…

    I use to have a lot of Mark & Sues in my life. It’s really hard to identify ‘Conversational device’ and ‘Genuine offer’ until you’ve been around the block a few times because “Conversational Device” is presented and wrapped as “Genuine Offer”. You want to believe the best in people and it takes a few burns until the naive goes away.

    I agree that the comments were filled with snark. Mostly Troll #4 ( http://www.chicagonow.com/adventures-house-hunting/2014/06/5-things-that-might-make-you-a-troll/ ) I took it at face value: the OP was making the case that Mark & Sue offer but don’t deliver on their promises and this was just one example to support that case.

    Reading between the lines a bit I suspect they have asked well in advance and even had dates penciled in only to be canceled 11th hour by Sue and Mark.

    Icarus
    http://www.mysteries-of-life.com/

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