Stay-at-Home Moms Aren't Free Daycares

by Ann Douglas

SAHM's taken advantage of by friendsStay-at-home moms face lots of daily challenges. What happens when a good friend starts to take advantage of a mom who chooses to stay home?

We hear stories like Nancy's whose best friend decided that Nancy's house was the perfect daycare for her daughter. Nancy didn't think so and here's why.

Nancy shared, "My best friend has a little girl the same age as my daughter -- both are 5. My friend insists on dropping her child off constantly for free babysitting. I'm a stay-at-home mom; she works. I love my friend, and I really don't mind watching her daughter but the problem is that I find her daughter isn't very well-behaved. If I insist on some time outs, or that she not toss toys at my dog, my friend finds out and says her daughter said I was 'mean.' I am almost ready to explode. Help!"

How would you reply to Nancy?

Here's what I suggested to her. The fact that she's a "stay-at-home mom" doesn't mean that Nancy is obligated to provide free daycare (and drop-in free daycare, at that) to her best friend's daughter.

It sounds like Nancy's friend has been taking advantage of her generosity for a while, and that she's starting to get a bit worn down by the constant childcare demands. Who wouldn't?

Of course, the lack of support from Nancy's friend when a discipline issue involving her daughter arises is only making the situation worse for Nancy.

Clearly, Nancy can't let things keep going the way they are headed. Certainly not when she's feeling "ready to explode!"

Nancy could suggest to her friend that the two of them meet for coffee to discuss the situation. Then it would be wise to think ahead of time to what your ideal outcome would be.

I asked Nancy if she wanted her best friend to make alternate childcare arrangements? Would Nancy be okay caring for her friend's child on a part-time basis -- provided she knew in advance if her friend was going to be dropping her daughter off?

Further, I suggested that if the childcare arrangement is going to continue, what ground rules could Nancy and her friend agree to when it comes to discipline?

I wished her good luck coming up with a solution to this sticky situation.

What would you do in Nancy's shoes?

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site,

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