Should I feel bad?


Hi all–not a huge issue here, but just wanted some of your opinions. My neighbor asks me to watch her kids, quite a bit actually…and when I’m available on a Friday or Saturday night/afternoon, I’m there. But, she called me today and asked my son, actually, who is 13 yrs old, to do it at 6am tomorrow morning, because she has a job to do (she cleans houses and wants to accept this job I guess and the people needed her there at 6am, why I have no idea but that’s the scenario) She said she’d pay him. Here’s the thing…my son has had a tough schedule between hockey, football, homework, etc…and really needs some rest. Football ended this week, and he was looking forward to just sleeping in tomorrow…and he’s been experiencing some migraines lately. So, I called her back, and told her the situation, and she understood…she realizes it is very early, etc…

But, I did not offer. My husband said we could call her later and see if she found anyone else to do it. Well, in the interim, I called her back and said that if she’s really in a jam, she could give us a call. Her family usually watches her kids in a jam, so not sure if they refused, etc? Anyways…should I feel badly about this? My husband said that typically, I say yes if I’m available. It’s He said, “you don’t have to watch her kids every time she asks, and that’s the only time she ever calls you, is when she needs you to watch her kids.” In a way, I think it’s kinda rude to think that on a Sunday, a family day–that your neighbor is gonna not spend time with their family to watch your kids? If it was more of an emergency (her husband had a lot of health problems, and I watched her kids for her a lot when she had to go to the hospital, etc…) So, if it was that kind of situation, I might think differently, but getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday when I am tired myself, is a bit much to ask, I think, if it’s not an emergency.

Anywho…sorry to ramble, but I don’t think I should feel badly, considering that 99% of the time, I am there for her, when she asks. So–is it wrong to say no once in a while to a neighbor’s requests?:o


What would Jesus do?


No, I don’t think it’s wrong. Setting boundaries is necessary even if she offered to pay. One can burn out on helping others if there isn’t some down time especially if one already has a full plate.


Oh, how I’ve struggled with this one. Recently, I’ve decided that I’m not going to do any babysitting this year. I’m all ready strung out with my family’s needs and if I babysit, there is less of me to go around.

In the summer when there is no school, I make an effort to call moms I think need a break and offer to babysit.

I’ve had a lot of guilt on this one because I have a friend who is pregnant, has five young children and has been going to physical therapy once a week. And, very soon, she’ll have to go for weekly Non stress tests. If anyone is worthy of babysitting service, it is she. But, I have to consider the needs of my family. And, my needs too. So, lately, I’ve been saying no. I haven’t even been making excuses. I just say, “no, we’ve got too much to do. I don’t want to disrupt our routine.”

When my kids are older, I plan to minister to moms by helping with babysitting or housework or laundry or meals. But, for now, I have to give my energy to my family.

BTW, I’ve also decided not to take meals to families in need for now. Same resolution.

Long story short. I agree that you can say no without guilt.


To the one poster who asked…what would Jesus do? I think that Jesus couldn’t be everywhere at all times, and I’m sure there were priorities He set as well. I prayed about this just now, and although there is a tinge of guilt, I also agree with you leonie–I just need a rest. I am truly tired from stretching myself thin this week with other neighbors, coworkers, my own family…and I honestly do say yes quite a bit when she needs me, but to get up before 6 tomorrow to be over there? If it were maybe 9am, I could at least get a bit more rest, but I just need a rest. I don’t think it’s wrong to say no once in a while, and I agree…I think as a neighbor, there are some things you can’t ‘expect,’ and asking someone to leave their family on a Sunday morning, because you overcommitted yourself, is one of those things, I’m afraid. Like I said…emergency, I’d think differently, but it’s not…so…thanks for the advice…I appreciate it from all!:slight_smile:


What would Jesus do? Remember that there were lots of people in the villages who were sick, possessed by demons, and in need of emotional comfort. Even so, Our Lord was careful to take time to go into the wilderness and pray. He needed that time to recover and recuperate, even though he knew the great needs of the people.

My suggestion: don’t feel guilty about setting some limits. You need your time in the wilderness, too. It sounds like you’re doing a lot already.

God bless… - Rob in Oregon


You know…I just thought of this…God rested on the seventh day! If God takes a break so should we. Especially since Sunday is set aside for that.



What if she was offered a job at 4 am? 2 am? Where does it stop?

If you think she needs the money so much that she’s willing to hand over both her own Sunday and yours, that might be another thing. If you feel inclined, talk to her about that. The Lord’s Day is a good day to “give alms”, that is, when you do work that helps the poor, but it isn’t something you should hand over lightly, otherwise.

Also, with regards to the title of the thread…“feeling bad” doesn’t do anyone any good. Either change what you’re doing or don’t change it, or tell her you’re willing to do differently next time.

If you do it differently next time, hand over your time, not your son’s. You were right to protect him.


I don’t think you should feel guilty. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel bad for her or sad that you can’t be of service.

As for, “What would Jesus do?”… Well, Jesus was single with no children so his time was his own. (And as others have mentioned he still took time to rest and pray.) But people with spouses and dependent children do not truly “own” their time and availability. They do not have as much freedom as Jesus did about whom they can serve.

I’d say that normal Sunday mornings do not belong to you. They are for the Lord and your family. You ought not to be spending someone else’s time too frivolously. :smiley:


The other day my daughter asked me “how was your week Mom?” I knew EXACTLY where she was going with this, and I told her just how my week was. And it gave me great pleasure to turn down her asking me to babysit my GD. Sometimes we have to put the “caretaker” in first place! Normally, I don’t say no, but this time I was very proud that I stood up for myself.


Thank you everyone…I’m feeling better about my ‘decision.’ Thing is…let’s not forget she was asking my son to do this…and offered to pay him. He’s the one who should feel guilty…meanwhile, he simply said…it’s Sunday, I’m tired, and I need to sleep in. Now, would I have pushed him if it were around 9am…absolutely. We should be of service to our neighbors, but if I always said no, or maliciously said no, then I might feel badly. I discussed with my MIL, and she said…‘that’s the work of the Devil. You should not feel guilty if you want to get much needed rest, and spend your Sunday morning with your family. You’ve been there for her before, so…don’t feel bad.’ Ok–think I’ll let it rest, now. Thanks again everyone–you’re the best! (and so wise…how did you guys get to be so wise???):stuck_out_tongue: :wink:


yes…so true! I think my MIL was right when she said guilt of this nature is Satan trying to make us always feel that we are out of the Lord’s loving way. That is just not so. I am typically there to help my neighbor…not 100%, I mean I have kids and a husband…a job…my kids’ sports…CCD…bla bla…I can’t keep putting another’s needs over my own, sometimes. I try to do the best I can, but 6am on a Sunday? To be frank, I wouldn’t think to ask someone to watch my kids (unless it was family and then I’d do an overnight to not interrupt anyone’s sleep) at the crack of dawn. But, oh well…not going to judge. Thank you for your advise, Rob!


:thumbsup: You sound like you do so much for your daughter…I wondered about that, actually…like what will my ‘rights’ be to say no someday, should this be my son or daughter asking me? I mean…I won’t worry about it now…got some years to go…but still. You have me thinking. LOL


If that woman is cleaning toilets and scrubbing scum, she must need the money. How much is left of what she gets after she pays you?

Not much I’ll bet. Maybe she fears loosing the few bucks she will get all day working a job that no one wants to do at their own home let alone someone else’s germs and filth.

I’ll pray for this woman. She most likely is in a state of desperation and in financial need. No way she is doing this for fun and a few extra bucks to blow at starbucks.

You dont have to feel bad if you cant help her, but her story is one that makes me want to cry. Dont you think she does not want to get up at 6:00?

Poor, poor thing.


Well…she owns her own business, actually (but she also cleans the houses)…so, not quite the sorrowful pic that you’re painting of her. Always ask, before you assume.:wink:


And…like another poster said…where does it end? I am willing to watch her kids, within reasonable timeframes and boundaries…not all hours of the day and night. Frankly, the more I think of this thread…I’m feeling she takes advantage of me sometimes:o , and this is a time where I just think her request is excessive. And, I did call her back and told her if she couldn’t find anyone else, we would help her out. But, she is not a single mother living on welfare…yes, she needs the money, thus she started her own home cleaning business…but my husband and I work also to support our family.


well if she is not a single mom then cant her dh help her out or other family members?


For some reason, he is going to this one house with her:confused: …but, she has a very loving and helpful family. I’m wondering if they were like…6am ??? :eek: LOLI try to help her as much as I can…but, I just think there are some boundaries that people need to respect when asking others to watch their kids…who are not related.


totally agree…there is being a good neighbor and then there is being taken advantage of!


Or always tell the WHOLE story before you ask questions since I can only go on YOUR words …:confused:

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