Boundaries

Babysitter wanted to set boundaries.
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Babysitter Quit Because She Felt Single Dad Wanted Her To Be “Kids’ New Mom”

Her empoloyer was furious, so she asked Reddit if she was wrong.

“Setting a boundary” has become a popular catchphrase for a reason. We all benefit from being clear and precise about our expectations, about what we are willing and unwilling to do in life. But when someone pushes those boundaries, it can be difficult to know exactly how to respond. Which is exactly what happened with a babysitter who rather unceremoniously quit her job after her boss asked her to do more than she was willing to do. Her response brings up an interesting issue for caregivers and their roles in children’s lives.

The 23-year-old babysitter took to the popular “Am I The A**hole” sub-Reddit platform to share a recent issue she had experienced with one of her employers, a single dad of two children aged six and 10 years old. She had been caring for the children on weekdays and weekends to cover for the single dad as he works, but his requests had become too much for her to manage. “Recently he's asked me to do more like take Jason [10] to his soccer games and stick around to cheer him on because he's the only kid who gets picked up and dropped off if Andrew can't take him,” she explained. He made a similar request for other child, a girl, and her dance classes.

The dad seemed to know he was asking for more than she was comfortable with, and offered her to pay her double when she takes on the extra work, but that doesn’t appear to be the issue. She finds it frustrating that he doesn’t check with her before promising his children that she’ll spend more time than originally discussed. “When I don't they get upset,” she said.

The original poster noted that she felt as though the dad in question was trying to make her “the kids’ new mom,” and she was not interested in that role. So she texted him with her immediate notice. “after he promised Amy [6] I'd chaperone her field trip in the spring,” she explained, and apparently laughed it off when she told him to stop “volunteering me for things.” The single dad was furious when she quit, and now she’s wondering who is in the wrong in this situation.

Social media users came down on her side, though they did feel she should have given him time to find a replacement. “You are right he is using you as a surrogate for himself. Quit. He needs to parent his own kids. And he knows it,” wrote one person. “This man took you for granted and made his kids think that you were something that you are not. Since he could not respect your professional boundaries, he is an no longer entitled to your professional services,” another pointed out.

She is certainly not the first babysitter to call out a parent’s unrealistic expectations, of course. Babysitters have taken to Reddit to share that they’ve charged parents hundreds of dollars in fees for missed wages when they canceled on her at the last minute, or even called the police on parents who were consistently hours late coming home.

The moral of the story? Respect your babysitter’s boundaries.