I do. They're on my front porch. Including my own two, there are eight kids out there right now. The only reason they're not in my house is because I won't let them in. My two are welcome, of course.
I've had this issue for years. It's gotten worse since moving here. My kids are always wanting to have so and so over. Sometimes it isn't a problem; I don't mind a weekend sleepover here and there. The issues arise when I can't find a moment's peace due to the constant ringing of the doorbell, the phone, or the knocking on the door.
My son has a friend whose mother just drops him off at my house without a word, without permission, without a thought that I may not have time for her kid. She leaves him here for hours. Like my son, he's a teenager. They eat like they have a hollow leg. I have had to make some strict rules about food at my house.
Then there's the issue of the next door neighbor's kids…all four of them. The youngest two boys are always at my door or in my yard…or worse, in my house. This is apparently a family with limited means. They have "borrowed" eggs and bread on a few occasions. The two oldest kids are teenage girls; they constantly try to con my daughter into letting them use my computer to "check their myspace…" They don't have the internet at home, they say. Not my problem, I say.
Firstly, this is not the community computer. If you don't have internet access, eggs, or bread, you have bigger problems than myspace.
Secondly, I am kicking my own ass to make a living for the two kids I'm trying to raise — by myself. I can't support the neighborhood or supply unlimited myspace access. And food is expensive, you bottomless pits. The origin of this beast? The parents. It's apparently easier to let someone else entertain, feed, and watch your kids.
As for me, I'm done babysitting. I love kids, I really do. I just don't appreciate being used by other parents who see me and my home as a rest stop, playground, restaurant, or internet cafe. They don't have to go home, but they can't stay here.
Happy New Year, by the way.