I received this question from a reader:
How do you politely tell someone that you don't mind being their friend, but you don't want to babysit for them anymore?
Funny you should bring this up, Anonymous Reader.
I have this friend who volunteered to watch her friend's 3 kids every morning (for free) and then take them to school. She thought it would just be for a few hours a day, but it turned into a huge ordeal. The kids were dropped off at 6 a.m. and she was hauling them around, along with her own very small children, until the last kid went to kindergarten at 11 a.m. When I talked to her about this, you could tell she was irritated and this was a big hardship on her family, but since she couldn't say no, she was continuing to do this day after day. I couldn't believe it. Is it really that hard to just be honest?
Here are my solutions to your problem -
Tell her one of these phrases over the phone -
"I'm sorry, I can't do it anymore. It is too hard on my family."
"I'm not available to babysit your kids."
"I'm not available, but I know someone else you might be able to call."
"I've decided that I just need to take it easy and not watch kids other than my own for awhile."
You get the idea? Honesty. It's amazing.
Start a babysitting co-op with your friend and lots of other women. She can use the other women for babysitting and then you won't feel so bad for abandoning her. I love our babysitting co-op. It is one of the greatest things about living here in this itsy bitsy town. I use it to clean my house, take naps, shop, work on my church calling and occasionally go to the doctor. I don't feel like I am exploiting my friends and vice versa. The kids love playing with each other. I love it.
Move out of town.