Just Say No (Politely, Of Course!)

In the recent article, “Yes, I’m Home. No, I Can’t Pick up your Child” the Wall Street Journal reported a growing number of stay-at-home mothers feeling put out by too many requests from other parents to help out with childcare, rides, errands and favors. Feeling like doormats, or easy targets because they are at home, these mothers have taken to internet chat rooms to complain and start a “doormat rebellion.”

Of course, our well mannered readers already know how to stem such rebellion. Reciprocity can make play dates, carpools, errands, and favors more appealing for all involved. Not a tit-for-tat, strict exchange, but a few simple gestures: picking up a needed grocery item, an occasional weekend playdate, or offer of a ride to a birthday party can help. As can a recognition of the complicated lives of all families, regardless of the parents' work situations. A mother who "doesn't even have a job" has commitments and obligations too. Whatever her opinions of these commitments (you can't, because of a cookie swap??), a wise mother will accept them and not expect her friend to change her plans, except in the case of a true emergency.

More importantly, we would add that an overloaded mother can say no, and politely.  Or, as Tucker, author of the first related comment on the WSJ Juggle blog said:

“I’m terribly sorry but I won’t be able to.”
Seems much easier than starting a website campaign.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are too polite to open the working mom vs. stay at home can of worms....

Elizabeth Hammond Pyle said...

I know, I know! I was a little reluctant, but turned out I was just a little too interested in the WSJ story. Plus, having worked the first 9 years of motherhood, I have been on both sides of this. Its not only working mothers asking favors of at home ones!

capabilitymom.com said...

Reciprocity is the key. As a SAHM for 14 years (and now an emerging WAHM), I do get a fair share of requests but I feel that my friends and I share the role of the "go-to".

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