Ask Micah 3/22


The Backup Babysitter

Dear Micah,

ONCE months ago I volunteered to watch my neighbors kids while they were dealing with a family emergency.  Since then I have become their go-to babysitter whenever they are in a bind.  I usually wouldn’t kick up a fuss but they are always in a bind.  Their sitter may get sick, or both of the parents have to work late, or some after school program gets cancelled and I have to watch the kids.  I feel like I’ve become their new and only back up plan.  I like this family but I didn’t know it was going to come to this.  How can I nicely get them to stop depending on me to come to their rescue?

Janet

Dear Janet,

The easiest way is to just tell them that they have gone too far and are taking advantage of you.  You are well within your rights to decline babysitting when put on the spot.  Of course I know that you won’t because you either have too big a heart or too little a backbone; Otherwise you’d have stopped this before now on your own.  Knowing that your heart or your back-bone is the wrong size, it’s unlikely that you could ever bring yourself to hurt their feelings or embarrass them with the truth.  So let’s move immediately to my Plan B.  Obviously you are too good of a babysitter and too trustworthy a neighbor.  Its time you tarnished your image a bit in front of them.  I don’t know the ages of these kids, but it wouldn’t hurt if you were to drop a few “F”-bombs in front of them.  Maybe they’ll repeat it and their mom might second guess whether or not she wants her kids under your influence.  Take it a step further and allow the kids to watch some inappropriate television at your house.  I’m not talking about porn, but the least harsh R-rated film might be just enough to jolt the parents but not expose the kids to too much.  If none of that garners any reactions, you could always raise the bar to include a faux argument with your husband or even a friend over the phone.  As long as the kids report back that you were screaming at the top of your lungs, using highly colorful language,  and basically behaving like a crazy person, then it might be enough to cause the parents to start making other–healthier–arrangements for their kids.  And don’t worry about what they will think of you or may say about you to others.  If they had any other friends then they wouldn’t be burdening you all of the time.

Lusting after Mr. Wrong

Dear Micah,

I am drawn to a guy that I know is not Mr. Right.  He’s arrogant, promiscuous, and can’t be trusted further than I could throw him.  Still I can’t stop thinking about him.  He’s left a stream of girls in his wake and I don’t really think I’d be any different.  He says that I’m different and he really wants to date me and see if there’s a chance for a future here.  I don’t know what to do.  I think I’d like to take the chance but I don’t want to look stupid.  Am I…

Just Another Conquest?

Dear Conquest,

Yes, that’s exactly what you’ll be if you go out with him.  He’s a dog and he can’t help himself.  Think of him like a kid at an ice cream parlor.  He’s sticking that little stick into every flavor trying to decide which one he wants.  You’re just another tub of Rocky Road.  I seriously doubt that he really thinks he has a future with you, or perhaps he always thinks that until he has a taste–then he wants to see what other flavors are out there.  He’s always sampling the ice cream in the parlor but never buys a cone.  So that’s my simple answer–you are just another conquest.  Here’s my more complicated answer…it sounds like you really want conquering.    You said explicitly that you are drawn to him and can’t get him out of your thoughts.  So let me make this perfectly clear:  There is nothing wrong with a woman pursuing a solely physical relationship for a little while.  If you are strongly attracted to him and are able to go into it knowing that he’s a dog and this is not going to go anywhere meaningful, then do it.  It’s okay to say to yourself, “Self, I give myself permission to just go have sex for sex’s sake this one time.”  It’s all right, we won’t judge you.  Even good girls go bad every now and then.  You are obviously drawn to the bad boy image he projects and you need to get this out of your system.  My only warnings are that you take all of the necessary protective precautions, and you NEVER fool yourself into believing its anything more than physical attraction.

The Birthday Present

Dear Micah,

My mother and my stepmother do not get along.  Honestly its mostly my mom’s fault.  My stepmother is a very nice person and we have always gotten along very well.  I think that makes my mother jealous.  I grew up spending equal time in both homes and I love them both.  Anyway, my stepmother wants to go on a cruise with all of her children for her birthday and she considers me one of her kids.  My mother doesn’t want me to go and is being very vocal about it.  She says that my stepmom is being selfish expecting us to all pay for a cruise.  I make good money and can afford this trip, plus I want to go.  How do I get Mom to back off and stop fussing about this?  This really has nothing to do with her anyway but she actually called my stepmother and told her off about it.

Split between two mothers.

Dear Split,

Your mom is a character.  Sounds like she’s quite a shrew as well.  Three guesses as to why Dad left–But seriously, you nailed it when you said your mom is jealous.  That’s all that it is…jealousy.   Of course almost anyone would be, so let’s not automatically make your mom out to be a villain.  She’s probably a very good mom.  She’s just clearly wrong in this situation, but it’s understandable.  She has spent all these years watching another woman play mother to her child.  That has to be difficult to see.  However, the truth of the matter is that whenever a couple gets divorced, they have opened the door for another person to enter the picture as a step-parent.  Most divorced people, especially men, remarry.  So if a parent simply cannot face the idea of a step-parent sharing their child, then they should work harder to salvage the marriage and avoid divorce in the first place.  In my opinion your mother got very lucky in that your stepmom was a good person and loved you like her own.  Not every child of divorce gets that.  It’s time that your mom let go of her jealousies and hostilities and started appreciating this special woman that loves her child too.   As for the cruise, my understanding of what you described is that your stepmother asked that in lieu of a present from her kids, she’d rather take a family vacation all together.  I think that’s a sweet idea and kind of generous.  All she wants for her birthday is your company and the opportunity to make some memories with her kids.  In fact you children are the ones getting something out of this.  You are giving yourselves a cruise and letting it get the credit as her birthday gift!  Whether you mother likes it or not, you ARE one of your stepmother’s children.  She helped raise you and she really loves you and you seem to really love her.  Your mom is just going to have to accept that fact and shut up already.  She helped to set this relationship in motion years ago when she got divorced.  It’s too late to put that genie back in the bottle now.  She just needs to accept that her child had three parents.

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