Yep, it’s 2017 and people are still treating stay-at-home mums like glorified, free babysitters.
One stay-at-home mum recently shared her own frustrating, mind-boggling story on the parenting forum, Mumsnet.
Clueless1315 lives in an apartment block and has one daughter and one son. Recently a woman with a daughter and son the same age as Clueless1315’s kids moved into the apartment above her. They arranged a playdate and before she knew it, Clueless1315 was dropping off and picking up the other woman’s kids from school several times a week and looking after them for hours at a time for free.
“She has never offered me a penny or given me any food. I don’t enjoy having my house constantly filled with kids, but she views it as I’m home and she’s at work, therefore I can help out. But it’s tiring and stressful,” she writes.
To make things worse, when Clueless1315 confided in a friend about the neighbour’s actions, the friend said she should have been paying her at least £30 (around $50 AUD) a day for the childcare services she was providing.
Then that same friend asked the stay-at-home mum to look after her three kids for a whole week and only paid her £20 ($33 AUD) for the week of free childcare, food and activities.
“I feel like such a mug. I’m on benefits and watching every penny, but these cheeky f**kers have taken the piss.”
This kind of situation and Clueless1315’s understandable frustration over it is not new or unusual.
As Shauna Anderson wrote for Mamamia in 2014, stay-at-home mums should not be treated like babysitters, but they often are.
“Ask a stay-at-home mum if this has happened to her and – after first mentally checking you aren’t one of the perpetrators – I don’t doubt they will nod and tell you horror stories. And it is not just the one-off favour, not the you-look-after-mine-this-week-then-I’ll-look-after-yours,” she wrote.
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“It’s the constant repeated thoughtlessness that some parents show you when they really think you have nothing better to do.”
Anderson said the assumption that she should look after someone else’s child just because she worked from home was “simply rude”.
“Not a thought is given as to whether my time might be valuable doing something else other than cleaning up your child’s mess. Not a thought given to the fact that perhaps I was hoping to have some time alone with my own kid. Or even – gosh – imagine that I could have something else to do.”
It’s a sentiment the other mums on Mumsnet definitely agreed with.
“You need to take some action here,” one person commented. “Start by saying no to the neighbour. Say it’s not convenient and stop having her children in your flat.”
“You really have been taken advantage of hugely. Your friend needs to sort out her own childcare for when she goes on holiday, and if she can’t she should either take her kid with her or not go!” another commented.
“It’s weird you think of yourself as their childcare yet they don’t pay you. It’s like modern day slavery! Text them saying you can’t look after their children any more,” added another.
Do you think stay-at-home mums should be expected to look after other people’s kids for free? Tell us your opinion in the comments below.