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How much should I watch my SD?

bcutie's picture

My SD is a sweet 6 year old and she and I have a very good relationship. My DH and the BM have 50/50 custody. I am a teacher, so during school breaks and summers I watch SD on DH's days.

Now BM wants me to watch SD on her days as well. I am feeling overwhelmed. I would like a break sometimes as I work 55-60 hours during the school year with my teaching job and tutoring in the evenings. So DH told her I am unable to watch SD on BM's days. Now BM is being all passive aggressive about it and me being the person that I am have started to feel guilty.

Is the boundary I set to not watch SD on BM's days reasonable? Or am I shirking my duties as SM?

bcutie's picture

Thanks, guys! (:

Saying "No" is definitely a skill I'm working on building in general, and I'm glad I did it in this situation. Now that the precedent has been set, hopefully the issue wont reocccur again in the future!

Ashleyg1994's picture

This resolution give me hope. My bf’s daughter is 2 and I’m struggling with watching her the amount I do. I am in school to become a teacher and I have said that I wouldn’t mind taking her during school vacations in the future. But right now between school and work, saying no has been difficult. 

Peridwen's picture

BM suggested once that I watch the kids on her weekend & summer days. I told SO (at the time, DH now) my babysitting rate is $50/hour (not including breakfast or lunch) & a monthly 'hazard' fee of $95 (mani/pedi at the local spa) for having to deal with BM in person. Sadly BM chose to find a more affordable option...

sunshinex's picture

My motto in life is if it doesn't make me happy and I'm not hurting anyone by saying no, than I just say no lol. And it doesn't count if it hurts someone because of their lack of planning/their lack of ability to take care of their own responsibilities. Obviously I'll help out once in a while or say yes even if it doesn't make me happy once in a while because that's what relationships are about - compromise. But in general, I wouldn't say yes to do something I don't want to do ALL the time. No way. It seems silly... at that point, I'm not compromising, I'm letting my feelings be disregarded. I hope this makes sense, I'm tired lol

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Don't waste a minute of your precious free time overthinking this - BM tried to take advantage, and you and your DH put her in check. Well done!

Acratopotes's picture

NO... BM's days - BM's problem not yours and keep on saying this....

you are not a free babysitter/nanny....

alternative, tell BM - fine but it's 75.00 per hour... charge her for it and no DH will not pay it, he's "paying" you on his days

Rags's picture

For sure you don't watch SD on BM's time unless that is what YOU want. I for one... wouldn't had we been in a close proximity visitation sitaution. Since we were the CP household and had a long distance visitation schedule if the NCP refused to take the kid as required then it was no big deal for us. However, if we had been either the NCP or CP household in a EOW/EOWE/50:50 situation I would have intended to not be the opposition's beck and call child care/baby sitter.

I have never had an issue watching my Skid but we were the CP household and he was with us all but 7wks per year.

hereiam's picture

Stand your ground. You have nothing to feel guilty about, you owe BM nothing. She is the girl's mother, she can make her own arrangements on her time. Frankly, she has some nerve even asking you.

SM12's picture

I too got sucked into this situation early on in Step Hell. I work from home so DH AND BM thought it was the perfect set up for them. Not for me...but for them. In their world I would be available to watch the SS's whenever they needed because after all "I was going to be at home anyway working".
I can tell you from experience, it will nearly end your marriage if you do it. You will become angry and resentful and it will change you attitude about your DH and your SD.
I told my DH before we even moved in together that I was not to be considered the Nanny. But DH couldn't stand up to BM so I got all the pressure. I was pretty much forced to watch the SS's anytime DH or BM had other things to do. They also had the SS's start riding the bus to our house after school, despite my objections.
I finally snapped and unloaded after BM showed up several hours late to get the SS's without even calling or texting. This, In turn, made me late for things I had to do. I finally put my foot down and refused to do it at all anymore. And BM turned the SS's against me. Told them I hated them and didn't want them around. That was nearly 5 years ago and I still have a strained relationship with the older two. It will probably never be fully repaired.
So no matter what happens, don't start something and expect to be able to stop whenever you want without complications.
Just say NO from the beginning and set the boundaries early.

sunshinex's picture

I second this. It nearly ruined my relationship in the beginning. DH would go to work and leave SD with me because I worked at home. I would fight and cry and scream about how he needed a sitter and he just didn't understand the seriousness of it until one day I finally told him I'm starting to hate your child. When you leave her with me against my will, I can barely stand to look at her. I feed her. I bath her. I put her to bed. None of it is done with love because I'm so extremely resentful. Stop putting your kid in this situation. And he started getting a sitter lol.

I felt awful but oh my the resentment built up SO incredibly fast I absolutely hated being around her. I would put her to bed at like 6:30 just to avoid being near her. It sounds so mean but trust me, when you're watching a child you don't want to watch and missing out on opportunities to do things you'd otherwise be able to do, you start getting resentful SO fast. Don't do it. If you don't want to do it, it's in the child's best interest for someone else to.

bcutie's picture

Feeling resentful is the worst. I can definitely tell my reading your stories hat I have made the right choice by setting this boundary. As much as I love and care for my SD, watching her on BM's days would make it feel like I was the nanny and I would start getting resentful. I just hope BM doesn't spin in like I don't want to watch SD because I don't like her or some other lie!

sunshinex's picture

EVERYONE did that to me. My husbands entire family AND BM/her family started saying "sunshinex is obviously not ready for a relationship with someone with a kid" or "sunshinex clearly doesn't like SD so why continue the relationship?" when meanwhile I had no problem with her, I just don't think anyone should be babysitting for free when they don't want to. It's not a healthy situation.

I think most people can clearly comprehend that but they don't want to when it means they have to step up more. But if you look at my posts from 2+ years ago vs. now, you'll see the HUGE difference in my personal happiness AND the happiness of my relationship. We are all much, much better off now that my husband has backed off and done what's right.

bcutie's picture

SM's have it rough. In this specific situation it's almost a choice between doing it anyway and feeling resentful or having people criticize you and act like you're a b for not doing what they think you should do.

I always want to do the right thing. For DH it seems like it's fine if I do, fine if I don't. After getting the responses on here though, it's been nice because now I feel like I actually am doing the right thing.

ESMOD's picture

I remember seeing another post about a similar type of request.

I think the response was I can't commit to that obligation.

The truth is that when it is your DH's time.. if you have a need/desire to do something different, you can probably work it out with him pretty easily. If you commit to doing this JOB for the BM, you may lose that flexibility.

In the end, the ONLY way I would consider it was to get

sunshinex's picture

That's exactly it... Being someone's childcare option isn't a good feeling. It's really a full-time (or at the very least, part-time) job and it's not up to you to commit to that. I used to tell my DH that if I wanted a part-time job, I would've got one. But I didn't because I wanted my time off work to be mine - time when I could finally see my friends, go to the movies, get drinks with coworkers, whatever.

bcutie's picture

Exactly! And there's nothing wrong with wanting to have time for yourself too! BM certainly does. I tend to feel guilty about taking time for myself sometimes, but I shouldn't. BM just wants what's best for her and I am just a pawn in her game.

CLove's picture

In the beginning of my relationship, I jumped through many hoops. When SO went fishing and it was his day and little one did not want to go with him, I took her to parks, I took her to museums, etc. I started to get resentful when I had to cook, clean, and entertain, when it was SO time. Then, when there was a misunderstanding, the tweedles as I call BM and her BF, got mad at me and made like I was a bad person for dropping munchkin off on what I thought was THEIR kid day. TEExted me "Oh we are ALWAYS HAPPY TO HAVE HER". To make me feel bad.

They were just upset because then they couldn't do their "adult activities".

bcutie's picture

BM uses that a lot. She'll say stuff like "I'll stop bothering you on your "kid free" Saturday night", making it out like we think SD
is a nuisance, which is so far from the truth. I honestly try to stay as far away from BM as I can and see her as little as possible. Almost all communication with her is through DH, which is nice for me (:

hereiam's picture

She'll say stuff like "I'll stop bothering you on your "kid free" Saturday night"

Response to that is, "I appreciate that, thank you."

She's just trying to manipulate with guilt to get her way.

Stepped in what momma's picture

She'll say stuff like "I'll stop bothering you on your "kid free" Saturday night"

My response to this would be "can you just stop bothering me all the time?"

bcutie's picture

She loves to manipulate. DH will ask me, why is she saying stuff like that? He is so clueless sometimes, it's endearing. But she loves to paint herself as the victim.

TwoOfUs's picture

Man. The NERVE of some people.

Would she ever ask any other non-relative to regularly watch her kid for free?!?!?! What makes her think it's OK to expect it of you?

"Shirking your SM duties" -- hahahahaha!

Miss bcutie. You are sweet. There are no "SM duties" other than not damaging or being cruel to the darlings. ANYTHING else that you CHOOSE to do is a GIFT to your DH, pure & simple. It took my DH a while, but now he totally gets that and is sincerely appreciative. Before, he took it for granted and I was resentful and miserable. That's the weird thing about boundaries. When you set them up and hold firm, people actually start to appreciate what you do. When you don't have them...they take everything you've got without even thinking twice about it and then tell you you're not doing enough. It seems unfair (and it is!) but that's the truth. So glad to hear you set this will protect your marriage and teach your DH how to think about you and your time...and that's all that matters.

bcutie's picture

DH has said things in the past like, well it just makes sense that you'd do all these things and help take care of her since you live with us. I guess I believed that for awhile, but I think you're right. The efforts I make should be appreciated and not taken for granted.

ForArtsSake's picture

Oh my gosh, this!
I've got to share this explanation with my SO, because it makes soooooo much sense out of our situation.

Jcksjj's picture

I'm a SAHM and have had BM try to take advantage of that by asking me to pick her up from school for her or watch her a couple times on her days and I'm not going down that road. When I first started dating DH the schedule was changed last minute multiple times a week because if he didnt cater to her whenever she had plans or because she was too irresponsible to stay on top of her work schedule (which was usually the case) shed be screaming at him that he didnt love SD and how he owed her because she was SDs mom and gave him her blah blah. I'm not about to open that can of worms by saying yes even once. Also, I just dont want to. I have an arrangement for watching her with DH because I'm his partner. Why would I provide free babysitting to BM? The amount of entitlement that she would even ask without offering to pay is crazy to me, not to mention she always seems to "forget" that we have 2 other kids here and lives ourselves and cant just drop everything last minute to cater to them. I cant imagine asking someone I barely knew to watch my kids for free and pouting if they didnt, even if it was someone the kids knew well. It's just weird to me.