35 Comments

We’re all for mums helping each other out, but what happens when it goes too far?

The start of a new school year means a return to the dreaded school run – traffic, tired kids, no parking…you know the drill. Helping each other out with drop off and pick up can make the whole process a lot more bearable, but a concerned mum has taken to popular forum Mumsnet after occasional pickups for her friend turned into a daily occurrence.

Pushing The Friendship

The mum says that despite their friendship being relatively new, she was more than happy to help when first asked. “I have a friend (I’ve known her since our kids started school a year ago) who is asking me ‘casually’ almost every day to drop her four year old son off at home after school,” she wrote. “She started off occasionally asking if I could pick him up due to a ‘meeting she couldn’t move’…and it was only once, maybe twice a week. But lately she is asking me pretty much every day and for reasons like ‘can you pick him up so I can finish early?’ or just asking me to pick him up without giving a reason.” Despite her generosity in continuing to do the after school pick up, the mum says it has never been reciprocated. “It also annoys me because on the days when she does pick up her own son from school, she NEVER offers to drop my son home – not even once.” This arrangement doesn’t sound very fair to us!

Totally Oblivious

The mum asked forum users whether she was being unreasonable by making up excuses to get out of helping her friend with the school run. “Aside from this issue we get along quite well and it’s really irritating me that she is totally oblivious that she is asking too much,” she said. “I really really hate confrontation. Do I just keep making up excuses and hope she gets it?”

We totally get where this mum is coming from. Offering to do the occasional school pick up is one thing, but being asked almost daily is completely unfair. Sounds like a difficult conversation is in order…

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Have you ever had another mum ask you for one too many favours? Let us know in the comments!

  • This is a tricky one. Don’t know what I would do.

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  • It really depends on whether or not the child lives on the way home or if you need to take a detour. A friend has dropped my girl home (car battery died, or a few other reasons) a few more times than I have returned the favour. I feel bad because I live 10 mins away from the school and she is only around the corner from the school. She has 3 children to my two and I always need to use both my car seats. But having said that, when two of her children were unwell, she asked me if I could drop her eldest home (doesn’t need a seat anymore, which is how she can drop mine home as she’s got a spare) and I didn’t hesitate. I even offered to pick her up in the mornings as it was a few days. And in return, on one day when my friend was caught without a car due to an accident I drove her to get a hire car at least 30 mins away. What this mum is doing is unfair, in that she doesn’t ever reciprocate, but I do wonder if she feels that it’s not a bother if her house is on the way? Not justifying it, but that could be her mindset? Whereas if she was able to drop the helpful mums kid home it may be well out of her way? I dunno. It’d definitely be nice if she offered to return the favour, but I guess at this age they do need to have appropriate car seats and she may just not have a spare?

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  • This can be a catch 22, What this mum is doing is not right. IF you are there picking up your child the courteous thing would be to offer to take the other kid home too especially if the mum always helps you… You should never take advantage!!

    However there are other situations that sometimes you just need a helping hand especially when you work full-time and other mum’s don’t. Sometimes you do need to rely on them and ask for help. If the person is helping you then you do need to repay it back, I think that’s only fair.

    But I’ll give an example of a situation I’ve recently encountered but you still should repay the favour wherever else possible!

    See I personally work full time half an hour away from home and leave home at 6.30am, my mum brings my 2 kids to school and she doesn’t drive…

    Sometimes if 1 of them is sick or having issues in the morning and running late I may need to ask someone else to pick up one of mine so they are not late..

    I HATE having to ask other mum’s for help I feel very uncomfortable but sometimes I really have no choice and depending on what happens this could be a few times a week or once here and there.

    It all depends on what happens each morning especially lately with my pre-teen sometimes the hormones have been causing massive tantrums and creating issues in the morning actually getting out the door on time so my other child suffers by going late too because you can’t leave one at home and bring the other… To the point I have had to leave work or hubby on several occasions to bring them in (late obviously)

    Situations like these sometimes I need to call one of the stay at home mums who drop their kids off to come & pick up my other one so she arrives on time as I have no family to help and I can’t keep leaving work cos I won’t get home in time anyway.

    Unfortunately this is NOT a favour I can repay because I never do drop off’s due to my work start time. This is why it can get hard because everyone’s situations are different and sometimes you do need help and understanding from others and don’t feel comfortable telling people the in’s and outs of what is happening because fear of judgement too and if you haven’t personally experienced something such as this you can’t pass judgement because it is very hard to juggle without going into too much details.

    IN saying that I always do pick up’s so would gladly help if needed or any other way that I can to help them back because they’ve helped me, I just can’t offer the SAME favour because I don’t do drop off’s in the morning I only pick up.

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  • a little word to learn…NO… if you don’t want to do it say no! If you can’t say it to her then stop complaining and get on with it

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  • Yep I would be annoyed by now . Not fair!

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  • unfortunately some people are favour askers and some are favour givers. Sometimes those that are asking all the time are caught up in their own world and don’t think to reciprocate. Maybe the one always doing the favours could causally and nicely ask for a favour or organise turn taking.

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  • Unfortunately some people love to use others, and take advantage. Not much of a ‘friend’. Time to speak up and say no, this cannot continue.

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  • I believe it’s acceptable to help someone if they cannot possibly collect their child from school for a legitimate reason, but not because the mum couldn’t be bothered doing it herself. I also think it works too ways, so the other mother should be returning the favour.

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  • Maybe ask her whether she would like it to be an everyday thing so you know where you stand then you can say no. I’d tell her you are free 2 days per week (if you want to still help her) but other days she needs to sort it herself.

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  • Confrontation isn’t fun, but it has to be done sometimes. I had a friend (before I had kids) that was forever getting me to baby sit, I had to put a stop to it in the end when he started calling me mum (the child was incredibly young)

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  • It is hard to be confrontational and honest but is important that you address it and you can do it in a way that does not feel confrontational. I always think that as parents what are we teaching our children. We set the examples for them and have clear communication and setting clear boundaries with friends is one of them

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  • When my eldest two kids were little our neighbours frequently dropped their kids at ours because they played so nice together. I agreed and asked when they would be picked up, however they would always be picked up hours later ! they would just go out for lunch with the 2 of them because they didn’t date in ages and I was stuck with the kids. On moments like these we have to learn to become clear. You can either be open and share what is bothering you or when you struggle to be fully open you can use an excuse and say that you can’t do it without explaining in detail.

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  • Okay that’s beyond a favour if it’s everyday with no reason

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  • You will have to speak up or risk ending the friendship without the other realising why

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  • Having an honest and open talk to know how she feels

    Reply

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