ANONYMUM: I asked my friend to babysit my kids, and now we’re not talking anymore.

All I wanted was a night out with my husband.

It’s tough when you live in a city where you have no family support. My husband and I have two young boys, and we hardly ever get to go out together – usually only when one of our mums flies over to stay.

We moved to our current home a few years ago and haven’t really made a lot of friends, but recently, we’ve become close to the woman who lives next door. We drop around, she drops around – she’s started to feel a bit like family. Our kids love her, and she likes our kids. Or so we thought.

Watch: These are the things people always say before having kids. Post continues below…

Anyway, it was my birthday a week ago, and I really, really just wanted to go out for a few drinks with my husband, like we used to before we became parents. I thought our friend next door would be happy to come over and look after the boys for a few hours on the night of my birthday. She doesn’t have any kids of her own, but she’s really great with our two – and, like I said, I thought she liked them. She always acted like she did.

So I asked her if she would do it, as a birthday present to me. I offered her a bottle of nice red wine as well. I told her it would be really simple. She could let the kids play on their iPads the whole time. They’re not difficult – just your average fun-loving boys – and they’re past the nappy and bottle stage.

Anyway, she went a bit quiet, then said that she had plans for that evening, and couldn’t do it. Then she disappeared. I haven’t heard from her since.

Her car was gone on the evening of my birthday, so she really was away from home, but I have a strong suspicion she went out just to have an excuse not to look after my two boys. I actually feel a bit offended. Maybe my kids are actually obnoxious and I never realised it?


Side note – if you have a nanny, is it appropriate to ask them to deal with nits, or is that job solely a parent’s? We discuss, on our podcast for imperfect parents.

I guess I could have hired a babysitter. But I don’t feel really comfortable about a complete stranger coming into my house and looking after my kids. My kids aren’t great with strangers, anyway. I wanted to leave them with someone they knew. Like this friend.

Isn’t that what people do? Don’t they ask friends and neighbours to look after their kids? Or doesn’t that happen anymore? Does it have to be paid, formal babysitting arrangements? Have we lost our sense of community?

My friend hasn’t contacted me since I asked her the favour. I feel like she’s avoiding me, and I’m worried I’ve ruined the friendship. All I wanted was a couple of drinks with my husband without our boys around.

Was I way out of line in asking my friend to look after my kids?

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