Mum irate with 'moody' friend who won't stop 'using her for free childcare'

A mum has been left frustrated with her friend as she keeps asking her to look after her three children to give her a break – even though she never returns the favour

A mum playing in a living room with two young children. There are toys all over the floor and the kids are sat with their mum on the floor next to the sofa.
The mum-of-two says her friend never offers to help her with childcare

As a parent, having help with childcare can be invaluable – especially if you have friends or family members who are willing to look after your kids without expecting the fees of a babysitter.

But one mum has been left fuming at her friend’s cheek when it comes to childcare, as she has been frequently requesting she look after her three kids in addition to her own two children.

Posting on Mumsnet, the mum-of-two explained she has her hands full with her own family, but has been tasked with looking after her friend’s kids on multiple occasions – even though the friend never returns the favour.

She’s worried she’ll ruin their friendship if she sets boundaries


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She wrote: “My friend keeps asking me to look after her kids. I know she doesn’t have an abundance of help around her – although she does have a husband who mostly works from home, a brother and best friend up the road.

“I’ve had her middle child for the day so she could go somewhere, her son over at mine twice after school, and now she keeps asking me to pick him up and take him to swimming (he has swim lessons same time as my child) that starts around 5pm – but says I may as well take him to mine after school too!

“This is becoming a regular thing. My problem is, she never has asked to have my child for a play or offered to help. I just don’t think it’s reasonable to keep asking someone when you aren’t ever returning the favour.”

The mum has now tried setting boundaries in place, but it has made her friend “moody” – and she’s now worried it’s ruining their friendship.

She added: “I feel it’s ruining our friendship as I am trying to put in some boundaries by mostly making excuses, but she’s starting to get moody with me about it.

“I’ve a voluntary job as a support worker and a young dog who is quite demanding and needs good walks every day.

“My friend doesn’t work but can’t seem to manage her three kids, so two of her kids have clubs at the same time every week which means I am asked to do one club when her husband can’t.”

And what’s more, the mum’s job could get even harder – as her friend also wants her to look after her new baby so that she can get some sleep during the day.

She explained: “She also has a baby and she was dropping massive hints about being tired and me looking after her baby while she could sleep.

“I don’t have help either, I think as mums we have to try and manage … or at least if you are asking for help, offer to help too.”

Commenters on Mumsnet were quick to encourage the mum to “say no” to her friend, with some pointing out that she is being used as “free childcare”.

One person said: “You’ll need to be quite blunt with her and tell her that no, you can’t help. Making excuses won’t work as these types of people have a brass neck and will just find a way around any excuse.”

While another added: “Your friend is using you. She sees you as free childcare.”

And a third wrote: “Start asking her to mind your kids when you need to. If she keeps saying no, then you’ll know she’s just using you and you can bin her off.

“If she says yes and helps you out then maybe you have a nice, mutually beneficial arrangement.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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