My Mother-in-Law Thinks She Should Get Money for Babysitting Her Grandchild
About 20% of new moms noticed things got trickier with their mother-in-law after having a baby. Balancing parenthood is tough, and some must return to work quickly. A Bright Side reader was stressed when her mother-in-law asked for money to babysit her grandchild.
Hello Amy! We received your letter, and the Bright Side team discussed this situation. Here’s the best advice we came up with:
- Consider why your mother-in-law is requesting payment for looking after your child. You mentioned she’s recently retired, and experts say retirees often worry about their savings lasting. This concern could be behind her suggestion. To get to the bottom of it, having an honest conversation is essential, which leads us to the next point.
- Have a chat with your mother-in-law. Set up a time for a candid, mature conversation to express your feelings calmly. Conversations like these can sometimes go sideways, so we’ve put together a 3-step guide to help you keep the discussion on the right path and prevent it from becoming a heated argument.
- Step 1: Don’t assume your mother-in-law will react badly.
- Step 2: Express your feelings without over-explaining. For instance, say, “I feel misunderstood,” instead of, “I feel misunderstood because you asked for Y.” This way, you encourage a discussion without making her defensive.
- Step 3: Emphasize what you do, not what you don’t.
- Would you prefer a skilled stranger or a caring family member? Keep in mind that hiring a professional babysitter might cost more than what your mother-in-law is requesting. Ultimately, consider what makes you and your husband feel more at ease. Also, remember that your mother-in-law raised the person you’re building a life with, so she likely did many things right as a parent.
- Explore alternative options. Daycare has pros and cons, such as higher expenses and added stress. It could also require more involvement from both of you, like dropping off and picking up your child. Additionally, there may be times when your child can’t go to daycare, and you’ll need a reliable last-minute babysitter.
- Many grandparents don’t anticipate payment for babysitting, but it’s entirely fair to compensate them. Taking care of a child can be a full-time job. Feeding, changing, and constantly watching over a child are not simple tasks, especially as people get older.
We hope this advice will help smooth things out, and we’re crossing our fingers that whatever goes down, your relationship with your mother-in-law only gets better. As you wrap up, be sure to read this article, addressing a similar situation where a mother discusses her experience with a mother-in-law trying to take over her role with the baby and exert control over her.