Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The WOHM Next Door

So get this. After we came back home last weekend, I immediately got to work trying to locate a babysitter to start helping me out during the day. But so far, instead of landing a babysitter, I got mistaken for being a babysitter, and got taken advantage of by the WOHM (Work Out of Home Mom) next door.

The WOHM is a doctor, and her husband is a doctor too. She's got two kids, ages 6 and 1, and a live-in nanny who takes care of them while the parents are at work. The nanny not only takes care of her kids, she also cooks and cleans the house, so when the WOHM comes home from work, there's a home cooked meal waiting for her in a tidy house. The nanny is an old, unattractive woman (like Nanny Mcphee), which is why I think the WOHM hired her. Had the nanny been young and hot, the husband probably would have made a play for her.

Anyway, so far it sounds like this WOHM's got a pretty good deal when it comes to balancing work and childcare, right? Nope. The WOHM wants more. She wants a little friend her son's age to play with him a few times a week so he won't have to sit at home all day playing video games by himself. Her son, who I'm gonna call Ross Gellar, because that's exactly who this child looks like right down to the haircut, is two years older than my son. The WOHM has rarely ever spoken to me for more than two minutes, mainly because she's never home, but last week I made the mistake of playing outside with the children and she spotted me as she was driving home.

Here's the beginning of how I got screwed.

WOHM: "Hiiiii! How old is your son?"

Me: "Four."

WOHM: "Wow, Ross is six. He's been aching for a friend to play with, do you mind if I call him outside and he can play with your son?"

I didn't have a problem with this and said, "Sure." My son's been a little tired of playing with his sisters too and wanted some male company so I felt it would be a win-win situation. But I realized, that inadvertently, I got put in charge of not only watching my kids, but also Ross. The WOHM scurried inside saying she needed to take care of her 1 year old, but I think more likely, she probably went in for a nap.

The kids and I spent about half an hour outside before it started getting really cold and I wanted to go inside. My son, who was ecstatic and completely lost his mind after realizing there was finally a boy around to play ninja turtles with him, asked Ross, "Hey, wanna come inside with us? My mom is going to bake brownies!"

Umm, I was? I guess I was now. The kids ran into the house before I did, and I thought I'd quickly run over next door to let the WOHM know that her son was going to be staying with us longer. The babysitter came to the door and said it would be fine, so I figured, okay, for my son's sake I could do this, even thought I was dead tired.

After three hours, a tray of brownies, and four bowls of ice cream, it was almost time for the husband to come home and for me to start dinner. There was no sign of the WOHM or the babysitter. No one even called to check up on him. I was really surprised. I mean, they hardly know me, what if I was a psycho?

Finally, I told my son Ross had to go home, his mommy is missing him (not!) and got Ross's coat to walk him home. At this point his mother comes to our door and says, "Hey, I was wondering if Ross wanted to come home now?"

"Yes, he does," I say, but clearly from Ross's actions, he was not ready to leave and his mother picks up this.

"Aww look he's having so much fun. He really needs to play with boys his own age. Hey, my husband and I have to go out somewhere right now, can you just walk him home later when he's ready to go home?"

What? The kid had already been here for four hours, I kindly said, "Um, I don't think so, I have to put the kids down for bed soon."

So she said, with a rather disappointed look, "Oh, okay. Come on Ross, time to go home, you can play again tomorrow!"

The next day, my son ran over to Ross's house after breakfast and brought him over to our house. Again. The babysitter was probably loving the fact that she only had one baby to take care of now that the dumb girl next door (read: me) was willing to take a load off her. Forget searching for a babysitter for me, I was now worried how I would get rid of the free babysitting job I suddenly got myself into.

This happened for a few more days, Ross coming over, eating lunch with us, playing in the house, bragging about how much bigger the plasma screen TV was in his house and how he has all these super games and toys in his house. Finally, after Ross left one night, I told my son,
"You can play with Ross outside all you want, but I'm sorry he can't come over until he starts inviting you to his place as well. It's not fair that he gets to see your house and you don't get to see his." My son understood this and has now limited his playtime with Ross to riding his scooter outside, but no more indoor playdates. I mean, you could say, "What's one more kid when you've already got three?" but it really does start to add up to more work, responsibility, and stress, especially if that additional child is not your own, and you can't yell at him to stop misbehaving like you do your own kids.

So I've been Ross-free now for about two days now. I hope it doesn't get jinxed. Meanwhile, the WOHM next door hasn't even once called to thank me for watching her son and providing him with meals and playdates. I wouldn't have minded the arrangement if it hadn't been so one-sided. I mean, the first night she even wanted to leave him with me while she went out to dinner with her husband! Some people have such nerve. Do they think just because I decided to pop out three kids, and become a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) I wouldn't like some kid-free time too? The irony of it all, is that my main focus that week was to find a babysitter so I could have more free time, and I ended up becoming an unpaid, under-appreciated babysitter instead.


Bengali Chick said...

WOHM seriously pissed me off. I hate her. Who the hell does sh*t like that? ugh, the nerve.

Bee Amma said...

Dude that is sick! I can't believe the lady just dumped her kid on you like that....and the nerve to just go out with her husband too!
Career women like that piss me off, they want their cake, someone to do the icing, and someone to feed it to them too. It's cool if it is a two sided thing, because that affords you some free time as well, but to not even call and thank is ridiculous. Too many times my brother had friends like that when we were younger, and my mum used to just cook and cater to our every want, whilst some neighbours kid totally free-rided out whilst his mum went to work or some crap. Again with no thanks.
Its madness!

Recovering D said...

I'd babysit for you chic! I really would! I have experience with kids, love them in small doses and I'd even talk to them in urdu(don't you just wish we lived closer :)

About that lady wow that's unbelievable, some people just have no manners. But honestly, i'm not surprised. I think there are certain people out there so involved in themselves that their children are secondary. This seems to be the case with WOHM. I mean if I just got home from work, the first thing (i hope) i'd want to do is spend time with my kids.

VRK said...

Wow! You got nailed! It sucks to be out playing with your own only to have others dump their kids on you. I have an Indian neighbor, SAHM, who used to watch my house to see when I'd be out with the kids when they were younger. She would come outside for 2 minutes with her son and then say she had to go in to put the "daal" on the stove. I used to think "If I can get the cooking done during their naps, why can't you? Found out later that she slept with the little runt.

Watch out that this mom doesn't try to figure out your schedule! Isn't this kid in school or something? He's 6, right?

My Place said...

I have a neighbor exactly like yours only with she has a daughter that's 6 and my son is 7. We finally put a stop to "indoor" play dates by telling my son that Katie can only come over if they are going to play in the backyard.

For about 3 months though, I was telling him no you can't play and the parents figured out that my husband is a softy and never says no so they would wait until they saw his car pull in from work and not 30 seconds after he walked in the front door, there was Katie wanting to play. Which led to this girl eating dinner with us every single night of the week for 3 months. On top of that my husband would invite her to go with us on family outings to the park and the ice cream store but it was never once reciprocated.

Oh and one time the dad came over on a Saturday saying that he had to go to work and the mom wanted to go out to see a movie with a girlfriend but would only be gone for 'about 3 hours'. Hubby agreed to watch Katie and we ended up with her for 8 hours.

After that day when she'd come to the door 30 seconds after he came from work he'd look at me and say "OMG she's here AGAIN?" and I'd say 'yes and she will be until you learn to say NO HE CAN'T PLAY'.

And did I mention that I know nothing more about these people than their FIRST names? Not even a phone number or anything and they know the same amount of info about us. I'll never understand it.

Anyway I hope you're able to put a stop to the free drop off babysitting service faster than we did.

cheesoo said...

sounds like our apartment complex here... south indian grandma ends up babysitting the whole bloody mohalla, poor thing

Chic Mommy said...

whoah, it seems like this "drop your kid and run" thing some parents do is more common that I thought!

my place, you know I just realized that I didn't even know the parents' first names until later that first night when she came by to leave Ross at my house a few more hours, even then, I was the one asking all the questions about who they were. And to give you an idea how ballsy they were, her husband was waiting outside in the car in ignition, only the mom came in, because for some reason she thought I would say "yes" to watching her son for a few more hours. Her husband didn't even bother to come in and say hi to me or my husband. So rude.

But I did know the nanny because she's the one I see most often outside. The nanny is an old woman the WOHM imported from Pakistan, but I'm believing her role in the house is more closer to being a servant than proper nanny. Oh yeah, the WOHM in my case was a Pakistani as well. I don't know why, but I always seemed to get screwed over by one of my own that any other.

But gosh, I can't believe some people are so comfortable dropping off their kids like this! I certainly wouldn't do that. I would have to know everything about someone, their name, their phone number, where they work, etc..before I even left my kids at someone's house. Even then I would make sure to at least return the favor with a meal or pay them.

abcdlaw, I love your offer! If you ever decide to move to Jersey, let me know. I hope my kids don't scare you away and make you regret it!

Unknown said...

Well, WOHM, as you call her sounds like a royal beeyotch. She definitely crossed over into ballsy exploitation of you.

I wouldn't be so quick to turn this into a WOHM vs SAHM mom thing though. Sounds to me like it's just a case of a selfish, user of a person taking advantage of your generosity. But seriously, you have to speak up already to nip it in the bud.

I guess the drop off playdate thing is more for the older kiddies. I don't know of any moms with kids J's age that do it yet. But those with older kids do, on occasion. It's reciprocal though.

But, the thing is, if your son likes playing with Ross, maybe there's a way to set some limits on appropriate playdates - and an even exchange of babysitting time so you could have a break too, and your little guy could have a neighborhood buddy. It seems a shame to deprive him of a friend just becaue the mom is a self centered twit.

BTW, re: babysitters, I had some luck with sittercity.com before we went the au pair route.

Elyria said...

Now I know what drives so many SAHM to the bottle. If I was a drinker, I'd need a shot or two to get me through situations like the one you posted.

I am dying at what a DESI mini-Ross Gellar would look like. That poor poor child.

My Place said...

In my case, the parents are both white Americans. I am a white American and my husband is Pakistani. And the funny thing is that my husband is the pushover and not me.

Chic Mommy said...

thanks for the link to sittercity Sadaf! But do I have to pay them to find me a sitter? I went to the site and they want me to sign up for an annual membership and give them my credit card info. I don't want to do that right now.

oh and desimom, Ross is in Kindergarten, half-day everyday. He's in and out of school by 12 noon. After that, poor kid either plays video games all day or plays outside by himself. I personally think 6 is a bit young for a child to play alone outside, especially these days when freakos can kidnap 11 year old children riding their bikes, but different families different rules. I do however let my son play with him outside as much he wants while I watch them from my window. Inside no more, there's too much extra responsibility attached to that.

Unknown said...


sorry, I did forget about the fee.

Yes, there's a sign up fee, and a monthly charge. I think the sign up was $40, when I did it, and $5 a month thereafter.

I liked that it contained a big database and such. Not perfect, but worked for me.


Unknown said...

The same thing happened to me with my next door neighbors. They would send over their nanny with their two year old to play with my son. It wasn't as bad because the nanny was there but I have a small house so it just seemed rude to leave the nanny alone with both the kids so I'd be there as well with them. And she came over all the time with no reciprocal invite. So finally after one year of this I called them and said we can only do playdates at their house from now on. Needless to say, no more playdates have been had since then.

Anonymous said...

ha ha..that sooo sounds like something that would happen to me ! ha hahah Except....I'd still be the pissed off babysitter cause I wouldn't have had the nerves to say no ha hahha. Good for you!

Lisa said...

OMG...what a flippin' nightmare. I would be absolutely livid, and kudos to you for nipping it in the bud, pronto. What NERVE to act that way on the first night, and I probably would've been the wuss that night and said, "Ok." It wouldn't have happened again, though.

Like someone else said, my husband is the softie. We have these neighbors - that I didn't know their first OR last names either - who hit him up to let their girl play in our yard. I feel like a horrible person, but after being the Kool-Aid mother of the road for two years, I had enough, and noe when they drive by when I'm outside, I ignore them. You just can't be nice anymore without someone taking advantage of it! I figured if they think I'm a huge beyotch, they won't try to weasle their kid on us again. And it wouldn't be so bad if the little girl was well-behaved...she's totally NOT.

FBT said...

wow, that is really taking the piss. Like they say, strong fences make good neighbours. In your case, almost literally.

Morag said...

Drawing the line on her behavior as a WOHM mom isn't really fair, because I'm a WOHM mom, and I'd NEVER do something like that. Ever. EVER.

Just because she works out of the home doesn't mean she's automatically a thoughtless buttmonkey. She's probably a thoughtless buttmonkey at her office, too, and her coworkers could tell stories about her that would make you nod and say, "OH I KNOW!"

I know there's a lot of division between SAHM and WOHMs who don't understand each other, and I'm going to take the comments here with a grain of salt since I'm sure some are informed by that division, but I have to say: just because someone is a WOHM and a complete slacker who pawns off her kid on you without a thought does NOT mean that the REASON she did so was because she's a WOHM. She did it simply because she's a tool. The two are not necessarily related.

Morag said...

Drawing the line on her behavior as a WOHM mom isn't really fair, because I'm a WOHM mom, and I'd NEVER do something like that. Ever. EVER.

Just because she works out of the home doesn't mean she's automatically a thoughtless buttmonkey. She's probably a thoughtless buttmonkey at her office, too, and her coworkers could tell stories about her that would make you nod and say, "OH I KNOW!"

Just because someone is a WOHM and a complete slacker who pawns off her kid on you without a thought does NOT mean that the REASON she did so was because she's a WOHM. She did it simply because she's a tool. The two are not necessarily related.

Morag said...

Darn. Sorry for the double post. My bad.

Can I blame it on my full-time job? ;)

Chic Mommy said...

morag, I wasn't trying to make a generalization about WOHMs, I just called her a WOHM for the purpose of this post. I'm sorry if it came off that way.

I know she didn't dump her kid on me because she works outside the home, she did it because she's inconsiderate and rude. Clearly, she enjoys more luxury than most WOHMs I know, who actually do their own cooking and take care of their kids themselves once they pick them up from daycare. And as seen by many of the comments, dumping kids without returning the favor is a practice that some SAHMS even do to other SAHMS, so it's not an occupational thing, it's just the nature of some moms to take advantage of other moms. But you've gotta admit, the mom who stays at home is more likely to become the victim of kid dumping than the one who goes to the office. Call it an occupational hazard of being a (gullible) SAHM.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I'm just staggered at the cheek of it.

Brandy Lee said...

Neighbor lady sounds like a self absorbed idiot. I feel bad for her kids. I am a WOHM and had the same thing happen to me, by a SAHM with three kids! My husband and were scraping by, and had to take summers off (alternating our vacations) to play/have fun with the kids - much better for them than 10 hours of day care all summer - the insanity! These kids would come over in the morning and do everything with us, and they started out AWFUL.

After a few weeks (and being completely over having 7 kids in my house all the time) they started to actually grow on me - they would brag about stupid stuff, but I think it was because they didn't get any attention at home. Still, they annoyed me. I finally told the mom one day that if they were to be over all the time, they were to behave or go home (the kids heard me). We actually began to teach them manners. They really were sweet kids.

I wouldn't be so quick to make this SAHM vs. WOHM thing though ... it's selfish people and they come in all shapes, sizes and lifestyle packages. You may very well have been the highlight of that little boys day - and while you don't need to feel guilty for not wanting to spend more time with him, realize that he is not his mother. Set boundaries, rules and go from there. If the kids like each other, it's a blessing. And if that lady tries to take advantage again, you should politely tell her how you feel.

Jenna said...

Unreal! I can't even imagine behavior like that except in a movie scene! Let us know how it goes. I feel so bad for the kiddo.

Jenna said...

Unreal! Poor Ross to have such twits for parents.