Pressured to Please

Dear DW,

I have a two year old child and a six month old baby.  I am pretty picky about who babysits them.  There’s a lady at church who keeps offering to have her daughter come over and watch the children for me.  She says she wants to give me a break and that it will be good “practice” for her daughter.  I don’t want this girl to “practice” babysitting on my kids but this lady keeps insisting.  It’s getting to where I try to avoid her in the hallways so I don’t have to talk to her.  I know that she is trying to be nice and give me a break, but I don’t think that her daughter is old enough or experienced enough to take care of two toddlers.  I feel really bad for being ungrateful for the offer.  I don’t want to hurt her feelings but I’m running out of excuses at this point.  I feel like I’m going to have to let this girl watch the kids so that this will end.

Picky Mommy


Dear Picky Mommy,

You are in no way obligated by mandate of ministry to allow people to practice babysitting on your children.  This does not make you ungrateful, it shows your wisdom.   These children were entrusted to you by God and just because your husband is paid by the church doesn’t mean that the church people get to do, say, or practice whatever they want on your family.  It’s good to draw clear boundaries early on when you have children in ministry.  There is no reason for you to feel bad about letting people know what is acceptable and not acceptable in regards to your household.  Do you think this lady would want you dictating how her daughter should get to school in the mornings or how she should wear her hair?  Do you think for a second that she would hesitate to tell you that you are not welcome to make those decisions for her?  Why would you let this woman decide for you who is going to babysit your kids?  You do not have to feel pressured to please everyone in the church who has some suggestion for your family no matter how noble the offer may be. 

I would encourage you to draw a strong line with this lady.  Stop making excuses; she’s not getting the subtle approach.  Kindly thank her for her offer but let her know that you are picky about who watches your kids.  If you still feel the need to spare her feelings, tell her that you already have a regular babysitter.  What would you rather do, save face or protect your children?  That pit in your stomach is not going to go away as you pull out of the driveway with the children in the care of this woman’s daughter.  Your lack of confrontation will only complicate the matter.  Stand up now.  Good grief, if you are going to have a reputation for being ungrateful or unkind, it might as well be over something that really matters like your children!




Posted on August 16, 2012, in Kids in Ministry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Dear Picky Mommy,
    I have been a nanny for 22 yrs. Don’t feel bad for saying no. Have you asked for the girls qualifications? By the time I was 14 I was CPR certified, I coild help a choking child and knew what to do and not to do, and I knew what to do in an emergency situation. Later in life I even took a EMT cource. Not a lot of teens or parents see the need but it is necessary in todays age. Don’t be afraid to put an age requirement, you are entrusting you children to someone who is there to do a job, when a person does babysit, so it is ok to have rules and boundaries. PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR GUT! God gave you a sixth sense and he wants you to use it when he tells you to be careful with the mostimportant people in your life. Please for your kids sake say NO!

  2. I totally agree as a mom who has been a PW for a long time. Your family comes first. Allowing this girl to babysit one time will not make this go away. Her mother wants her to practice regularly is my guess…not just one time. I have often as a PW said to people in the church “it’s not you, it’s me…I’m one of those over protective parents” and I say it with a laugh. That way it puts it on me as the problem and I openly admit it and laugh it off and then they leave me alone because the boundary has been clearly drawn. That way I’m also not saying that THEY are the reason I’m not willing to do XYZ….. DO NOT sacrifice your parenting style to the people in the church. People in the church will come and go….your children are your responsibility and family for life….. Be faithful to the calling God has given you as a mother….do not let people walk all over you. Communicating in love is the right and Godly thing to do….avoiding people is wrong. Be brave and do the right thing by speaking up for yourself as lovingly as possible. Feel free to use my line. 🙂

  3. Dear picky Mommy,
    Does this young lady have any education in CPR/FIRST AID? If not she isn’t ready to care for your kids. I tell all people whose kids want to babysit to sign them up and get them certified and keep it up to date. You can also let her help you IF you want to train her as a mother’s helper, so you feel comfortable, that is up to you. Caring for kids is a JOB not a practice session! I even had my 16 daughter go to work with me, with my employers permission and I didn’t feel she was ready to care for 3 kids under 3, two of which were twins. She is now back with biological family helping her sister care for her Nephew, which I know she can handle. Trust yourself and what you know is right for your family.

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