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I saw this in The Stir - Do you "mooch"?  Have you ever been "mooched" upon?

Mooching Child Care From Friends Suddenly Not Acceptable

Posted by April Peveteaux on February 19, 2012 

mooching child care

Yet another modern parenting dilemma has reared its irritated head in the NYT's "Motherlode" column: Mooching childcare from friends. In the 1970s, dropping off your kids at your friend's house so you could attend a key party was de rigueur. But today, it's considered bad form. Yes, even the key party.

Using your friends for free child care in a pinch -- or on a regular basis -- has gone out of style for three reasons. 1) It's rare to find another mother that's not just as busy as you are; 2) The rise of the professional babysitter for all classes -- not just the wealthy; and 3) Hyper-aware parenting, and a clashing of philosophies.

I never thought I'd feel longing for the roles of women in the 1970s, but suddenly I do.

Next Sunday I'm going to be mooching child care all day long from two sets of friends. Mostly because paying $18 an hour for twelve hours of care is cost prohibitive, but additionally because hanging out with a babysitter versus friends for twelve hours would be a big grind on my kid. I'm not sure how I go about paying that major favor back in the era of reciprocal play dates. I also can't imagine these families sitting around calculating how they're going to get repaid by my family.

I don't keep score about who had a play date last, and for what duration. But that might make me the moocher. Because judging by comments, you can't expect any any help with your kids when you need it. Otherwise, you're "entitled." Rather than just in need of a favor.

Of course there's a difference between the occasional pick up from school and the constant assumption that you're free and can take care of another person's child on regular basis. But when we go from describing these arrangements as mooching child care, rather than, so-and-so is coming over after school -- something has shifted. The village has been destroyed and we're all on our own and expected to pull our own weight lest we be classified as "moochers."

It's kind of sad. Not as sad as being saddled with extra children when you really just want to hang out online reading blogs, but sad nonetheless.

Do you "mooch" child care?

by on Feb. 19, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Replies (21-29):
by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM

 Nope, my children have never been left with friends or a babysitter, If I need someone to watch my kids I leave them with their father.

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM
No i don't mooch. I take my friends DS to school twice a wk because she watches 2 other kids twice a week and she watches my DS every other sat when I work. Friends help friends out we don't take advantage of eachother. That's what friends are for :)
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by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

my friends don't have kids and only really watch my kids when I am in the house and need to shower or something. lol that's about as far as it goes. And they gladly do it.

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Well I guess according to those "standards" I do but in reality I'm more often on the other end.  For me having my neighbor and former co-worker's kids over is easier on me than entertaining my own kids.  In all honestly, key parties aside, I'd love to go back to that more connnected time of the 70's.

by on Feb. 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM
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by on Feb. 25, 2012 at 4:44 AM

Never.  I never want my child to be a burden on anyone else, therefore, I will take my son almost everywhere I go.  I only ask for help in extreme emergencies and that is maybe twice a year.

by on Feb. 25, 2012 at 8:11 AM

"In the 1970s, dropping off your kids at your friend's house so you could attend a key party was de rigueur."   LOL!

  No, I don't mooch child care.  My MIl will watch them , but with some advance notice and not all the time.  

by on Feb. 25, 2012 at 8:32 AM
No, I don't.
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by Robyn on Feb. 25, 2012 at 8:47 AM

My friends and I swap--but it doesn't happen very often. DH and I never go out. (we've had two dates in the last 3 and a half years--one was grocery shopping! My in-laws watched the kids both times).

Sometimes a friend will watch DD for an hour while I go to school and have lunch with DS. I'll watch her little ones a diff day so she can lunch with her oldest.

I hate that society is seeing this as mooching! It takes a VILLAGE. Be part of the village!!!! (I so wanted to say "Be part of the village, people!" But then everyone would get YMCA stuck in their heads. teehee)

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