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Woman tells neighbor that she won't provide 'free childcare' over the summer, 'she blew up.' AITA?

Woman tells neighbor that she won't provide 'free childcare' over the summer, 'she blew up.' AITA?

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"AITA for telling my neighbor I’m not her babysitter over the summer?"

I (38F) have a neighbor, we’ll call her Sara (38F). I’m married with 2 girls (8&11), she has 2 boys (8&12). Sara is married but her husband travels a lot for work and she works from home. I am a teacher so I have school breaks and summers “off." Over winter break Sara’s kids kept coming over to see if my kids could play. (Play means they have been sent over because they’re annoying mom and she’s trying to work).

Backstory, the kids were friends when they were younger, but as they got older they don’t really have much in common and they’ve drifted apart. Her kids go to a parochial school and my kids go to public school so they don’t even have teachers or classmates in common. They don’t have a ton in common anymore and when they do play Sara’s kids fight, A LOT! (With each other & with my kids).

One day over winter break the younger one came to the door to see if my kids could play and I told him they didn’t want to play right now. Sara sent me a text saying that she was on a work call and she could really use some time with the boys out of the house. I caved and told my girls to just try and find something they could do together.

10 minutes later my oldest came upstairs crying saying that one of the boys made a nasty comment about how boring our house was and it was dumb that I wouldn’t let him play Xbox. (The Xbox is my husband’s) and it’s in our family room where I was doing laundry and watching a show). I told the boys if they were bored they were more than welcome to leave.

Now it’s almost spring break and Sara just asked if I could watch the boys two days because she has 2 busy work days and I’m “off work." I told her no because we would be on vacation in Florida visiting family. She said ok and “jokingly” said, “I guess I’ll just hit you up in the summer”. I replied and said that I will NOT be baby sitting her kids over the summer.

(True emergencies sure) I said, “I’m sorry, but just because I’m not AT school during the summer does not mean that I am your free childcare” yes, I don’t physically go to work over the summer, but I take online classes for my Masters and I teach online summer school. Meaning, I am also working from home.

She blew up and me and told me I should help her because she’s alone a lot and now that the kids are older it’s harder to keep them entertained all day. I told her that I didn’t care if the kids played together outside during the summer, but I was not going to be a caretaker or responsible for her kids unless she was going to compensate me.

I tried explaining to her that the kids do not get along the way that they used to, my kids don’t fight with each other the way her kids fight with each other, and my kids don’t really want them to be at our house all the time. Now she’s pissed and not speaking and her oldest told my oldest that I’m not a good person because I won’t help my neighbor. Am I really the AH because I won’t watch her kids over the summer?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Antique-Sherbet-7733 said:

NTA!!! Nah. Just tell your daughter to tell him he has a bad mom who can’t even watch them when she’s home. See how she likes that. Or that he’s such a bad kid that good neighbors won’t watch them for free in the summer. Also what does her opinion mean for you. It should mean nothing. This is a one way relationship where she takes and takes. What do you get in return. The good neighbor award?

Apart-Ad-6518 said:

NTA. "(True emergencies sure) I said, “I’m sorry, but just because I’m not AT school during the summer does not mean that I am your free childcare." Fair enough. Plus her kids don't really get along with yours anymore. You're studying & working over summer break.

You didn't owe any explanation but you gave her a reasonable one anyway. "Now she’s pissed and not speaking and her oldest told my oldest that I’m not a good person because I won’t help my neighbor." Badmouthing you to her kids. Not cool. She can pay a sitter & go kick rocks.

Mrs_Gracie2001 said:

NTA Find a list of local summer camps and give it to her.

Reasonable-Sale8611 said:

How many of these people have I met, who think that any woman they pick based on [reasons] is automatic free childcare for their children? Just because she thinks you're "not a good person" because you won't babysit her kids for free, does not make her right. Notice how you said you wouldn't do it without compensation? Does this not imply that you'll do it as long as you're fairly compensated?

And she didn't like that. Because she should get compensated for her work but you should not. Why is that? Because she's entitled. Or maybe because she doesn't respect you. Neither of those is a reason you should do her childcare for free. Now she's defaming you to her kids? Even less reason to babysit for her. You are NTA.

yrnkween said:

NTA. She wants a free babysitter for her undisciplined kids. A 12 year old should be able to keep the 8 year old out of trouble, but it sounds like no one has taught these boys basic manners or how to behave. Just because you live next to her doesn’t mean she gets to take advantage of you.

RevRos said:

NTA. Suppose you didn't have kids yourself (who also need to looked after and entertained over the summer)? Would she still be asking for free childcare? Would she ask anyone else? Probably not. You are convenient. Stop being convenient.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for these neighbors?

Sources: Reddit
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