My Mother-in-Law Expects to Be Paid for Spending Time With Her Grandchild

Psychology
2 years ago

20% of daughters-in-law found that their relationship with their mothers-in-law changed for the worse after giving birth. Becoming parents is a challenge in and of itself and some of us have no choice but to return to work as soon as possible. One Bright Side reader experienced some tension in her life after her MIL asked for payment in exchange for babysitting her grandchild.

Bright Side received this letter and we wanted to help Amy with some advice, we hope this will ease her situation and we’re curious to see how you would approach it.

Hey Amy! Thank you for your letter! The Bright Side team got together and debated this situation and here’s the best advice we could find:

  • Try to understand why your MIL might be asking for payment in exchange for caring for her grandchild. You said your MIL retired recently — according to experts, retirees worry about outliving their savings. This might be a reason for your mother-in-law’s suggestion. The only way to find out is to have an open discussion, which brings us to the next point.
  • Talk to your mother-in-law. Schedule an open, honest meeting and, in a calm, grown-up way, tell her how you feel. The talk might derail and get off the right track, so we prepared a 3-step guide on how to avoid turning your discussion into a fight/argument.
  • Step 1: Don’t presume your mother-in-law will react negatively.
  • Step 2: Say how you feel without the need to justify anything. For example, “I feel misunderstood,” instead of, “I feel misunderstood because you have asked for Y.” — by using the former, you invite your mother-in-law to a discussion without forcing her to become defensive.
  • Step 3: Emphasize what you do, not what you don’t.
  • Qualified stranger or loving relatives — Which one would you choose? Remember, hiring a qualified babysitter is probably more expensive than what your MIL would ask for. At the end of the day, think about how you and your husband would feel more comfortable. Moreover, keep in mind that your MIL raised the person you’re spending the rest of your life with, so she must’ve done a lot of things right in terms of parenting.
  • Try to find other solutions. Daycare comes with its own ups and downs — higher costs and stress, plus, it might involve more input from both of you (like bringing your baby to and from daycare). Moreover, there will be days when your child has to stay at home, and then, you’ll need to find someone you can count on to babysit at the last minute anyway.
  • Most grandparents don’t expect to be paid for babysitting, however, it’s totally reasonable for them to get paid. Caring for a child can be a full-time job. Feeding them, changing them, and keeping an eye on the kid at all times are not easy tasks, especially in old age.

We hope this advice will ease your situation and that, no matter what happens, your relationship with your mother-in-law only changes for the better.

Do your parents ever take care of your baby? Have you ever thought about paying or compensating them for their time? How would you respond if a family member asked you for payment in exchange for babysitting? Let us know in the comments.

Preview photo credit shutterstock.com

Comments

Get notifications

My Grandma watches my children for me and she gets paid. If she didn't I wouldn't be able to work because she needs an income to be able to survive. She's retired but she still works by watching my kids while I work. I don't see a problem with your MIL wanting to be paid

-
-
Reply

Wow, what an ungrateful selfish child. Most of us would leap for joy, and be more than willing to have loving competent care for our children, related or not. Your husband is correct, YOU ARE WRONG, pay the woman and say no more about it. If you resent paying her, then hire some one else. You decided to have a baby, she offered you her help, your assumption that it would be, should be free makes you the A*****e. To be honest, I would have paid her from the start an have avoided this messy hurtful situation. You are an adult with children, start acting like one.
.

-
-
Reply

You’re very ungrateful to your mother in law (MIL). She didn’t get paid for 6 months and showed you she’s very dependable . It’s your responsibility to take care of your child not hers. Raising her own children is her responsibility but not her grandchildren. Most of the time, grandparents are being taken advantage because they offer free babysitting. I myself witness it with my own 2 eyes how my MIL was taken advantage by his own son and daughter in law. They paid here below minimum wage then dump their kids to her Mon - Fri and even on weekends because they want to go grocery shopping or whatever. If I were you, take time to think hard and long. Put yourself in here position. She’s old and babysitting is hard and the money she will be charging you will be put in her savings so in case anything happens to her , she will never be a burden to you and rest of the family. Or better yet , if you don’t want to pay her or anyone else ..why don’t you quit your job to take care of your son. Passing your responsibilities to your MIL and not get paid is still considered abuse. BTW, where is your own mother, ask her is willing to babysit your son for free.

-
-
Reply

I am a grandmother to two lovely grandkids who are 5 and 2 years old. I have never been the primary babysitter for my grandkids but there have been times when I watched them for several days not at the same time, while my daughter and my son in law worked, and there were times when I watched one of them for a whole week or longer when both parents were away for a job trip. I have never asked them to pay me as these are my grandchildren I am taking care of, and I am blessed with a good retirement and i don’t need to earn extra money.

However, the grandmother in this discussion is taking care of baby full time, cooking, and other chores, deserves to get paid if she wants to get paid. And this daughter in law needs to show some gratitude and appreciation. Her mother in law may be retired and she may need the money, or she may be tired of taking care of a baby full time and doing all those other chores. She is retired and she should be enjoying life, and not be saddled with full time child care responsibility and household chores!

-
-
Reply

Related Reads