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To expect payment for childcare of DGCs

(65 Posts)
granbo Wed 04-Jul-12 22:38:53

Bit of background:

DD is a single mum and the DGCs live with her (near us)in the week but see their father most weekends.

Before the divorce, DD had been a stay at home mum. Once the DGCs were both in school full time, she went back to work full time as her ex-husband wasn't prepared to support her and her divorce lawyer had advised her that she would be expected to get a job to maintain herself.

The divorce was very hard on DD, and while her ex found someone new very quickly, DD has found it hard with juggling full time work and wanting to be with the DGCs as much as possible to find a new partner.

I was happy to help her get back on her feet with a job by offering to take care of dropping off/collecting the DGCs from school and lookihg after them till DD got home, as we are both retired anyway and have good pensions, no mortgage, etc. To be honest I love the DGCs and their dad never liked me being around them too much so having the chance to see them day to day has been brilliant. But now my DD has moved on to a job with better pay, I think she should pay me more to look after them. She'd have to pay a childminder at least £400 a month for wraparound care and as she can afford this, I think she should pay me.

I raised this recently and DD felt it was unfair as she says she is still re-establishing her life and "expected" help from us as we had offered it. TBH we don't need extra money and it's not as though I'd prefer to be doing anything else as the DGCs are my life but I wonder if I'm being taken for a ride? What do fellow grans think?

glammanana Wed 04-Jul-12 23:07:22

granbo I don't think you are being taken for a ride as such but I do think you should set down some very firm ground rules now the new job has arisen,you should be paid for the extras that you buy for your DGCs and for the costs of outings during the holidays as I am sure like me you take them out when they are off school and a day out can be expensive depending on where you are going.I think maybe if your DD banked a certain amount for you and your DH to treat yourself to a break away would not go amiss and be a nice and considerate thing for her to do,she should also have backup care just in case you are ever poorly (I was ill for two weeks last yr)Best of don't fall out with her over this you know how tempremental our DDs can get grin

tanith Wed 04-Jul-12 23:11:40

I can't see what the problem is really , you don't need the money you say , you prefer to be looking after your grandchildren anyway so why are you upsetting the apple cart? Its almost like you want to punish your daughter for going to work.. I really don't understand exactly what you are complaining about. Forgive me if I've misunderstood your post entirely.

Faye Wed 04-Jul-12 23:20:44

I don"t think you are being taken for a ride at all granbo they are your grandchildren and you say you can afford it. Why would you want your own daughter to have to pay you if you don"t need the money. I would much rather see my child get ahead in life.

I have just spent eight days looking after my granddaughters who are seven and four while their parents have been away. I consider myself fortunate to be the person who gets to spend so much time with them.

Annobel Wed 04-Jul-12 23:21:12

I get a little tired of hearing about adult children who take advantage of their parents just by virtue of living geographically close. We lived quite a long way from both sets of parents as do my sons and their partners. We have all had to manage. If I'd been able to foist my children onto my parents I'd have been able to work full time much sooner than I did and would now have a much better pension. My DiLs have taken another course and, to a greater or lesser extent, used nursery facilities. As I say, if the grandparents aren't available, one manages. You could casually drop into conversation with your DD that she's so lucky to have you within reach. Which she is. Conversely, I would also say that you are lucky to be able to see your GC frequently which I can't! Some you win... hmm

merlotgran Wed 04-Jul-12 23:30:20

I agree with tanith. If you don't need the money and you want to spend time with your GCs (you say they are your life). Why are you risking falling out with your DD by suggesting she pay you? You should be happy your DD is getting her life back on track. She will need a good job to provide for them in the future because they will become more expensive. You are fortunate to have good pensions and no mortgage. Many grandparents are selflessly helping with GCs without being so well off.

crimson Thu 05-Jul-12 00:21:09

I wonder if granbo is feeling how I was before I had the arguement with my daughter; loving being with the grandchildren and feeling lucky to be able to do so but also feeling tired and subconsciously wishing she could be doing something else, occasionally. And possibly feeling the responsibility for them seems endless at a time when there are other things she would like to be doing? Perhaps the money isn't the real issue? More a case of being taken for granted?

kittylester Thu 05-Jul-12 05:30:04

I was wondering exactly the same thing crimson Maybe you could suggest that the children go to an after school club on one or two evenings a week granbo? Don't, though, fall out about it!

granbo Thu 05-Jul-12 05:40:29

Thanks for your responses. I think you are right, Crimson, in that I do feel taken for granted. DD God bless her works hard and doesn't have a lot of time and I try to make life easier for her by giving the DGCs a loving environment but she does expect it. Having said that, I did offer as when she decided to go back to work I didn't like the idea of the DGCs going to a childminder or shoved in after school clubs. I know some grandmothers want to enjoy their retirement doing all the things they couldn't before, but really my family is my life and I'm not the type to be off golfing/playing bridge. I'm happy to be at home with my DGCs and it's a joy to see them growing up. DD does give me little presents from time to time and she does cover the cost of anything I spend on the kids, as well as she pays for their food and gives me petrol money if we go anywhere. I suppose I am just thinking that now she earns more, she should pay more, as of I wasnt around she would have to pay for childcare so what's the difference?

Greatnan Thu 05-Jul-12 07:00:29

The difference is that you are her mother!

granbo Thu 05-Jul-12 07:19:39

Do you think there are many grandmothers out there who provide full wraparound care for their DGCs for no compensation for their time then?

Notsogrand Thu 05-Jul-12 07:43:07

I'm sure there are lots granbo.

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 07:45:24

I'm not sure where you're coming from granbo. You dont really need more money, your daughter has no other means of support, you are in a position to help her and now she has had a salary increase you think she should pay because if she didn't have your support she would have to pay the exhorbitant childcare costs that we are all protesting about?

If it was me, i would be celebratng the fact that she is getting her act together by working hard so that her children (your grandchildren) can benefit from her efforts. If you need a break, she will be in a better position to pay for after school care once or twice a week. She does pay your expenses, so she's aware how much you incur whilst she's at work.

If you think you are not appreciated bcause she doesn't thank you, or you feel taken for granted, perhaps a gentle word is needed. If you want the children to be looked after by someone else, you should say so, and it would be a good idea if she treated you and your OH to the occasional meal out or mini-break, but saying you want more because she has had a rise in salary is not a basis for negotiations between you and your DD. Would you offset it against your own income rises?

I hope you can move on from this. Your grandchildren are benefiting from you caring for them, and so are you. They aren't being foisted on to you, but if it has bcome an imposition, then change the arrangement. smile

Notsogrand Thu 05-Jul-12 07:49:55

Well put when.

kittylester Thu 05-Jul-12 08:11:16

Quite when!

glassortwo Thu 05-Jul-12 08:18:33

Yes granbo I provide wrap around care for two of my DGC and expect nor receive any recompense. At times I would love to be off and doing my own thing but there is an understanding that when DD is not here I am and I would much rather that than see them go off to childminders at the crack of dawn and then after school clubs not getting home until it was bedtime. I think we as Grandmothers just need our DD to be a little more considerate at times, but I suppose that's life and we all get complacent with those close to us. flowers

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 08:37:15

I was thinking what i would do in this situation, as i have twin daughters and would want to be fair to both. One who has baby twins lives nearer, and will be getting cheap childcare as her MIL is going to reduce her working hours to mind the babies for an equivalent amount, so i would find a way to help the other daughter, as she has heavy childminding costs for her twins. I wouldn't want one to have to pay out so much because she doesn't live as near me as her sister, but i don't have the resources to subsidise her, eiher. It's the free childcare that helps most and i can mind my grandsons on certain days so she can get more work done. If any money was to change hands (it won't) it would go on the grandchildren, anyway smile

Butternut Thu 05-Jul-12 08:45:40

granbo - Underlying the practical issues of caring for your grandchildren - being tied to a routine, financial compensation for expenses etc. I feel you are allowing a resentment to build up, and frankly I don't think a 'pay-rise' would address this.
A little time spent with your daughter just gently chatting through how things are going for you both might be a good idea, and may nip in the bud further feelings of being taken for granted.
From a personal perspective, I think you're enormously lucky to have daily contact with your grandchildren.

Karla Thu 05-Jul-12 09:05:53

I care for my DGCs while DD works and have done for the past 3 years. I do before school and then after school till 7pm every day. In school holidays their parents use their holiday allowance from work to cover most of the time but I probably have the DGCs all day for about 4 weeks in total during school holidays.

For us this works because I hated to see the DGCs at a child minder's where they were just 2 more children, when I was able to look after them myself at my house, where they are the centre of attention and just feel that they're at Nana's house rather than palmed off on a childminder. We're not rich by any stretch of the imagination (haven't had a holiday in years!) but are fortunate to have a very small mortgage left to pay off and reasonable pensions.

DD and her husband have good jobs but I remember what it's like when one or both of you is still building a career, you have young children, and are trying to put some money away for a rainy day or save into a pension, etc, and I want to help DD by lifting the burden of what would otherwise be very expensive childcare. It was harder when the DGCs were still smaller and I had to do more with them (endless trips to the swings and to feed the ducks!) but now they are in school it's not as though I have to "do" much with them, just feed them and keep an eye on them until their parents get home. They are hardly ever ill but when they are of course they stay at home with me and I wouldn't have it any other way. Otherwise DD or her husband would end up being looked down on at work for having to take unscheduled time off for childcare.

I don't really understand what your problem is Granbo. Yes, we all feel a bit taken for granted at times, but it sounds as though your DD has worked hard to get herself back on her feet in work, and in your shoes I would be grateful for the opportunity to spend precious time with my DGCs while providing support to my DD which I can easily do and she really needs. As tanith said, it almost sounds as if you are punishing your daughter for working, but what else is she supposed to do? Claim benefits?

There are plenty of threads on here from grans who have no contact with their DGCs and whose lives are blighted by that loss. Perhaps you might give some thought to how much you have to give thanks for: daily contact with DGCs who are growing up with a strong bond with you, and a daughter who works hard to provide for her family.

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 09:15:12

In the words of that Tammy Wynette song - for all that love given by mothers to their children - no charge!

granbo Thu 05-Jul-12 12:27:36

I am quite surprised at some of the responses! I don't have any friends who do what I do, but I do see some other grans at the school gates and I had just assumed that they would be being paid by their DD/DS for providing this care. I've been feeling a bit hard done by but clearly I am not alone!

Greatnan Thu 05-Jul-12 13:41:52

When both my daughters were single mums following the breakdown of their marriage/relationship, I supported them completely (mortgage,all bills, etc) so that they could be at home with their babies. I was divorced, but had a very good salary and I was happy that my gc did not have to go to any kind of day care.
Many grandparents have to become full time carers for their gc if the parents are dead or unable to cope. At least one member is looking after her gd full time.

whenim64 Thu 05-Jul-12 14:13:18

granbo looking after your grandchildren is assumed to be a goodwill arrangement - they are your flesh and blood, and we would lay down our lives for our grandchildren. I think it is a different matter if you have to give up work and would suffer financially if you looked after your grandchild, but that would be something that would need to be clarified at the outset. My daughter's MIL has two jobs - school dinners and after school club several times a week. She is a widow and would suffer financially by reducing her hours, so my daughter and SIL wll pay her the same wage to take care of our little grandaughters. They all get the best deal, and my grandaughters will be in good hands. I'll do my bit with weekends, babysitting in the evening, or helping the MIL out when she needs an extra pair of hands. Happy babies and happy parents. smile

ninathenana Thu 05-Jul-12 16:20:05

I only worked 4 hrs a day when my two were pre-school age. My mum looked after them. I didn't pay her a wage as such, but we always took her on holiday with us (no not to babysit grin) bought lunch whenever we went out together, spent more on her at Christmas/birthdays etc.
Payment was never discussed, and I think if it had been, she would have refused.

DD is in the process of moving 5mins away from me (rather than North as I mentioned in previous post) the main reason being Nana's free child care service grin Whilst I can't wait in one way for them to be so close, at the moment they are 90min drive away. I do have reservations about being tied. Especially as the youngest is only 14wks. But hey, I can't have my cake an eat it !

merlotgran Thu 05-Jul-12 17:30:47

It doesn't last for ever, granbo I used to find the days long and tiring when I was looking after small GCs but they soon grow up. My DD used to surprise me with flowers or a bottle of wine to show how much she appreciated my help. My GSs are both at secondary school now so I only need to help out if there is an emergency with after school transport/activities. The time has flown by.