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SAHM Babysitting during Visit

Stepmama2321's picture

This is so far ahead....but I am already dreading having to watch my SD (8) during Christmas time!! 

I am a SAHM and my bf works. Last year I had a 3mo while SD came for her visit that lasted when she got out from school all the way until drop off on Christmas morning. I had to "babysit" her for a couple days while my bf worked.

This year the schedule is to have her come Christmas morning and stay about a week. My bf works throughout the week, which means I'd be left with my 15mo, 4 week old, AND SD! I don't want to babysit her while he works. Is this okay for me to refuse because I already have 2 young babies to watch, even though I am a SAHM?! Is it my job to also watch her because he's the one who works?! 

She's not a difficult child but she also will require more effort and energy on my part to babysit her. Another person to feed and clean up after. Can't be comfy lounging around my house, watching my shows, on my own and my kids schedule. Kind of just an annoyance. You'd think she'd help with my toddler by kind of playing with her but no she really isn't helpful (no I don't expect her to babysit, but maybe a "hey keep on eye on her while I go pee real quick" but she can't even be trusted to do that). Ugh already frustrated and feeling guilty I just DONT WANT TO. 

Am I in the wrong?!???



ndc's picture

I guess it depends what your "deal" is with your boyfriend.  Have you discussed this before?

For instance, DH and I have a baby and DH has two daughters, 5 and 7, of whom he has 50/50 custody.  Financially, in order for me to be a SAHM, I have to watch the SDs while DH is at work because we could not afford for me to stay home AND for him to pay for daycare for the SDs.  I'm OK with that.  I'd rather take care of all 3 kids than not be able to stay home with my baby.  We discussed this and I understood that caring for the SDs during DH's parenting times was part of the deal before I chose to be a SAHM.  

Is the BM close by?  Since your boyfriend is non-custodial, would it be possible for him to leave SD with BM during his work hours and pick her up when he's available to spend time with her?  Does your boyfriend have relatives close by who'd be willing to watch SD while he's at work?  Does he make enough that your household can afford babysitting for SD?  Alternatively, is your boyfriend able to take off during the time that SD will be with him?  Since he has so little time with her (I think he's EOWE, right?), it seems like it would be best for him to be home to spend time with her.  But not everyone can get, or afford, vacation around the holidays.

All of this factors into whether it's reasonable for you to be expected to babysit your boyfriend's child.  Of course, if you really don't want to you can tell him no, but your boyfriend may not be real happy about your unwillingness to help him out while he is (I assume) supporting you as a SAHM.  Ultimately, though, it's HIS kid and HIS responsibility.

IamBackUW's picture

I'm a housewife. I still will not have stepdemon when H is working or away. Stepdemon is not my responsibility.

If H isn't available for his parenting time then stepdemon stays with biohag. 

Stepmama2321's picture

We've never really discussed it or have a ready made deal at hand. There was times that I would pick up from school so he could spend more time with her. There have been a few occasions I've watched her when he would randomly have to work on the weekend. But those were prior to me having a child of my own. And there was last Christmas when I watched her while he worked but I only had my 1 child then. It was a bit of a burden back then but it was okay. But this time around, I will have 2 under 2 so the thought of her coming is already stressing me out. It's more than a burden this time around. It's, I already will have my hands full now let's throw another kid into the situation. I just plain don't want to but I don't know if im being fair or rational or if this is pregnancy hormones lol. Her BM works at a school and will be on vacation as well and he does have his mom who could watch her but I feel guilty to suggest those options. 

Picardy III's picture

Does he ever expect you to watch your SD for his convenience while he's out doing fun or unnecessary things (boys' night out, or he just doesn't feel like taking her with him to the grocery store, etc.)? If so, I would feel taken advantage of. 
If it's just during his work hours, it seems reasonable to watch her. But not if BM is willing and available. And not if you're recovering from childbirth (heck, moms even send their own older BKs to a relative sometimes, to recover and have time alone with the new baby).

Stepmama2321's picture

We only have her EOWe, so no he never has me watch her for him to do fun things and he also takes her with him to do a quick errend. So yes, it'd only be during work hours, which can sometimes be 12 hour days. 

JRI's picture

So often on Steptalk, we say, "hell no" to watching the SO's kids.  But it's more nuanced than that.  Like ndc, our unspoken agreement was that I would be a SAHM with the understanding that I would watch his 3 when they came over.  As exasperating as it sometimes was, it was worth it so that I coukd be home with BS and BD in their elementary years.

You have young kids so I realize that's different.  They take a lot of energy.  Talk it through with your SO.  

Stepmama2321's picture

I know he'll be upset because more than likely it means cut the visitation and send her back with BM once he goes to work. I guess I just wanted opinions on if I'm being fair. I did last year and didn't complain about the situation because him working pays for me to stay at home with our child but this time around I'll have 2 under 2 and I feel like it's just too much to expect me to care for another child on top of that. I'd be willing to next year when my babies are easier to manage but I just feel like this year I have a lot on my plate as it is.

Stepmama2321's picture

Lol do you mean because he's my bf and my H? I do care for my SD but I just don't find it necessary for her to stay when he's not here. 

Stepmama2321's picture

My question is, with having 2 little ones myself, am I justified to not want to watch her while he's at work? If I didn't have my own to care for I'd be fine with it. But just feel like not this year!!!

JRI's picture

I'd talk to him and say you are concerned.  You love seeing her and look forward to it but you are feeling kind of overwhelmed this year with the babies being so young.  "How do you think we should handle it this year?"  I think putting it that way, as an exceptional year, might open the way to alternatives.

ndc's picture

You need to have the discussion with him.  You probably want to focus not on anything about SD but on the fact that you expect to be overwhelmed, exhausted, barely getting used to handling two babies, and worried about your newborn's health in the midst of a pandemic.  If your baby is only going to be 4 weeks old at that time, you have no idea now what kind of birth you'll have, whether you'll need a c-section, how your recovery will be going, etc.  Let him know that at a minimum he needs to be flexible and to have a backup plan, whether that is leaving SD with her mom, having his mom watch her, him staying home, etc.  If he is not understanding of all that, you have bigger problems than having to watch SD for a week.

Stepmama2321's picture

That's the perfect way to go about the discussion, thank you! I do think he'll be understanding, I just feel guilty that I am taking away time from him if, and most likely, we'll be sending her back to BM. But you're right, I don't know how Ill be feeling 1 mo pp. I'm already worried about just figuring life out with 2!

Indigo's picture

If you're overwhelmed just THINKING about adding SD for a fairly short time --- why not look into getting some help?  Maybe not a "sitter" for SD, but someone to help YOU ? (& DH)

There are frequently ads for "nannies" & "Mother's helpers" over the holidays. College kids, retirees or even high schoolers who can give you a hand while DH is at work.  Help with laundry, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, odd errands --- even 4 hours/day could be a sanity-saver for you & help DH enjoy his time with SD.

ETA:  you could free yourself from some boring, mundane, necessary chores & actually enjoy your holiday more freely.

ETA 2:  Companies like "Visiting Angel's" work with many families who have short-term needs for additional support.

advice.only2's picture

I was a SAHM when DH and I married and he would have to work on occasions on his visitation weekends. While it wasn't ideal I did it because my DH would watch BS for me sometimes when I would go out with friends.
When we got custody of Spawn and I was still a SAHM there was no question I would have to be watching her with BS and now BD while DH was at work. It wasn't great, but at the same time it wasn't realistic to hire a babysitter to watch one child while I was there taking care of my other two.
Look at it this way, it's one week and maybe your DH can work half days or something so you only have to watch her in the mornings.

Stepmama2321's picture

Hiring someone isn't realistic for us and even having my MIL watch her just makes me feel guilty. That would mean waking her up early to drop her off and stay all day. It makes me feel bad all around. If she was helpful, I'd be more than happy to have an 8 year old come help out with my toddler. However, she's not helpful, it just adds more of a workload for me. Honestly, I'm considering having my 9 year old niece (who gets along great with SD) come help "entertain" SD. She also is helpful with my BD. Not sure how 1 year makes someone that much more mature when it comes to helping out 

ESMOD's picture

"Can't be comfy lounging around my house, watching my shows, on my own and my kids schedule. Kind of just an annoyance."

I hope you can see it from your BF's perspective as well.  I mean, he might think that the fact that he has to go work a long day is kind of an annoyance... even though it allows his GF to stay home, watch his kids and be comfy and watch her shows.

I am not downing SAHM.. but the fact is that he is carrying all the financial obligation.  You provide other value to the family... but he may feel that in the mix that you watching his daughter a few times a year is very reasonable in the mix of contributions.

NDC does have a good point though.  4 weeks after giving birth may not be the best time to have her there as an extra responsibility.  You might have recovery issues that make it difficult.. so approach it from the recovery side of things.. and ensure he has a backup.

In the end, I do feel that watching his child a few days a year is not too much for him to ask unless she is an extreme issue.  Sure, it's a little more work, but it's not all that often. You are talking about a week?    Maybe you could ask him to at least try to take a few days off that week so that you have some respite?  or.. hire a bit of help for the week.  or in the end, if you are concerned about the 4 week old post pregnancy.. focus on THAT. 



Stepmama2321's picture

Whoops, I guess that did sound selfish of me. I just meant it as, when SD is here, she hasn't integrated into our family well. She requires entertainment (energy on my part that I just won't have to give) she can't even pour herself a bowl of cereal and take it to the sink. My point was, I plan to lounge around all day with my newborn and toddler and the thought of an extra burden is ugh draining. My bf does work hard to support us, though I am working on my education and will soon our earn him... as well as the fact I use my student loans for "my" bills like cell, insurance, etc. so I'm not some "freeloader". In fact, if I went back to work, it'd actually cost him more due to daycare, even with me contributing. 

but anyway, thank you for the advice. I agree that focusing on my presentation of the issue will help me achieve what I am intending to get across to him. It's not about me wanting to be lazy but more about me wanting to be lazy and sleep to help with my recovery

Picardy III's picture

I did a fair amount of care and driving for my SKs while on extended maternity leave. Not out of a sense of obligation to DH as the breadwinner - I was getting my full salary - but he was working long hours with a commute; it just seemed unsupportive not to help out when I was there and available. My DD was in the NICU for several weeks anyhow, so I didn't really have a newborn to care for round the clock. Also, I recovered quickly and preferred to be active and about.

But - I wasnt doing favors for BM on her time, just DH. And once DH started to take advantage a bit, by hanging out with friends or running fun errands after work instead of coming home for the evening activity chauffeuring - I suddenly just was...out doing my own thing.

tog redux's picture

Sounds like you have to talk to him about it - he  may be assuming you will care for her because he is the only one working, and you've never said no before.  I don't personally think it's your job to care for her ever, regardless - you'd be staying home anyway for your own two kids, and childcare for SD isn't an ongoing issue (ie, you don't have 50/50), so it shouldn't be assumed that you will be just fine doing it.  Can your BF take time off? 

Stepmama2321's picture

Exactly, I've done it many times in the past to help out my bf. Even did it last year with a small baby as well. But this year just seems like it should be the exception! Just wanted to see how others would do it in a similar situation. I would hate for him to miss time with SD but it's also not my responsibility as I have a lot going on dealing with my own children. It may be selfish sounding but I don't want to risk spreading myself any more than I will be.