Dear Neighbour: A letter
I don’t mind having your child over to play with my children. It bothers me a bit that she often chooses to show up at our door right at mealtimes, but, other than that, she’s welcome to come and play.
I don’t mind when she’s already here and you call or walk up and ask if I mind keeping her while you run to the shops or whatever for half an hour, either. Especially if the children are happily playing and I don’t have to be anywhere myself.
I even don’t mind if you call me up and ask if I will babysit her for an hour or two. If I’m able to for that time, I will. Not a problem.
I do mind, however, when your husband throws her out of the house in the pouring rain and tells her to go find another house to play at for awhile.
I do mind when said husband *assumes* I will watch your child when you aren’t home and while he goes out to run errands, and doesn’t even have the courtesy to tell me he’s gone.
I do mind when your child fronts up at my doorstep at lunchtime and announces her father told her to go to our house until 5pm because he has other things to do or places to go. Twice she has done this when I was on my way out of the door with my children – and I don’t have enough seats in my car to safely accomodate your child, too.
Neighbour, this behaviour is not okay. And it makes me feel very cross. In future, if your husband wants me to take care of your child while either of you are away, he can ask me first.
Disclaimer: If this child was neglected or otherwise in need, that would be a completely different story. But no. This child is well looked after and loved. Her father is just looking for free babysitting. Not okay. I have tried bringing this up with both neighbour and husband and they listen to me, agree with me, and then nothing happens. And I end up turning this little girl away from my door more often than not, because I don’t want to be taken advantage of. Grrr.