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.”
“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.