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Babysitting - paid or not paid?

(23 Posts)
Feelingmyage55 Thu 23-Nov-17 19:55:06

I have babysat a lot for my DD's friend. DD now lives several hours away. Friend went back to work as children reached school age so babysitting to give her a night with OH has changed to babysitting until she/he come back from work. I was quite happy with this as it coincided with my retirement. I have had to turn down some social outings to do this and didn't give it a thought until my SIL suggested I should be paid as my babysitting has changed to childminding. The parents do shift work, are lovely people, the children are well behaved but I wondered what GNetters thought. I don't want paid/to be employed by them and I think have to register as a childminder and then become very tied down. Friday night babysitting worked fine. Am I being "soft" as my SIL says. I haven't mentioned it to DD. if I withdrew my "free" help, would I be "Punishing" them for working yet babysit to go out to theatre/restaurant. Shift work makes childcare awkward. Wondering????

Grannyben Thu 23-Nov-17 20:39:05

Does your daughter's friend work every day, meaning you are there five days a week? Do you pick them up from school and have responsibility for them till 6ish? Are you still expected to baby sit if they go out for the evening? Do the parents have no relatives or other close friends living nearby?

maryeliza54 Thu 23-Nov-17 21:01:15

Whatever you do or don’t do it should be because you do or don’t want to.

grannyticktock Thu 23-Nov-17 21:03:00

You don't have to register as a childminder unless you look after the children in your own home. What you are is an unpaid nanny. I can't see why you should be doing this for no reward.

Being paid even a modest amount would turn it into a more formal arrangement: you would work for arranged hours at an agree rate. It would stop the family for taking you for granted, and make you feel valued for what you do.

Many schools offer after-school childcare or clubs. Perhaps you could suggest that the family look into this? You are making it too easy for them not to bother. If the couple want to out socialising in the evenings, it's not your responsibility to provide free cover for their parental duties. Plenty of teenagers would babysit and be glad of the money.

You have a right to some respect as an individual, and to give your own social life priority. Please don't let others take advantage of your kind heart.

Feelingmyage55 Thu 23-Nov-17 21:19:29

Grannyben, it can be very varied as they mostly try to cover as much as they can by choosing shifts to minimise need for cover, so it is one, two or three days a week, taking to school and pickups after school. Holiday are mostly covered by grandparents who come to stay. I have always been asked to go to their home, safe garden, toys seems that all couples have to work so hard nowadays I feel I ought to help. but we didn't have as many holidays, cars, spare room. etc. There is so much pressure on young people. Shift work is the issue as after school club means 5 o'clock collection.

Grannyben Thu 23-Nov-17 21:34:59

I'm not actually sure what my response should be now! I personally don't think finances should come into it as you say you were quite happy with the arrangement, before your sil made his comment and, the parents are making every effort to minimise the need for cover, particularly during the holidays when grandparents come to stay.
Also, I wonder if you withdrew your help during the week would the parents think you were being awkward and you may then not have contact with the children at all. How would you feel if that happened?
That said, I do think you are doing an awful lot for people who are no relation to you and, I would have thought they would have made some effort to compensate you for your time and effort. I certainly don't think you should have to turn down social outings.
Could you perhaps cut it down a bit?

Christinefrance Thu 23-Nov-17 22:10:05

I agree with Grannyben its a lot of trouble to go to considering they are not your relatives. However its kind of you to help and I'm sure much appreciated. Perhaps you could reduce the hours you put in, tell them you have other things you want to be doing but give them time to organise other help.

janeainsworth Thu 23-Nov-17 22:11:03

Is your SiL jealous of the help you’re giving to DD’s friend?
It’s really none of his business.
If you enjoy helping this young couple, try to forget this idea SiL has implanted in your head that everything that you do for others should be paid for in monetary terms. What happened to altruism?
Think about how your relationship with the young couple would change, if it became a formal, paid-for arrangement.

janeainsworth Thu 23-Nov-17 22:12:42

Never sure if SiL means son in law or sister in law.
In any case, it’s nothing to do with them.

Bluegal Thu 23-Nov-17 22:13:41

My advice would be to do what you want, when you can and don’t feel guilty for saying no!

Once money comes into it then it does become a type of employment where you are committed. So unless you want this I would avoid discussions about money

Don’t be put on tho. If you have other plans, say so! You are only “helping”. No reason to feel guilty

maryeliza54 Thu 23-Nov-17 22:22:34

do you want to carry on helping them? If it’s no, then stop but give them warning and ‘notice’ . If as might be more likely you want to carry on there are two options -firstly, you’d like to do less so again talk to them. Or secondly you’re actually fine with it all and it’s just SIL that has unsettled you. It doesn’t matter that they’re not ‘family’ whatever that means. It’s about the sort of relationship you all have and if you want it to continue. Being ‘soft’ or rather a lovely caring person?

cornergran Thu 23-Nov-17 22:26:52

As long as you can say ‘no’ to a request without guilt or negativity from the young couple then if you are happy to keep helping then why not? I suspect you are comfortable with it and enjoy your time helping this family but you are questioning because of a comment from your SiL. It’s an unusual situation, I’m not sure there are rights or wrongs. In essence it’s between you and the young family, if you are happy, don’t feel you are being abused, there is a sense of respect for your help then why not continue? If you feel pressurised by your SiL to make changes then maybe the real issue is with his feeling about the situation?

grannyactivist Thu 23-Nov-17 22:33:50

I'm in agreement with the last few comments; if it's not broke, don't fix it. I hope you feel appreciated though. smile

MissAdventure Thu 23-Nov-17 22:35:46

I don't think it would hurt them to treat you, every now and then.

M0nica Thu 23-Nov-17 22:50:38

I have very mixed feelings about this. I feel on principle that anyone providing childcare because the parents are at work, should be paid for so doing as they are enabling someone else to earn money, so that what ever is being earned should be shared. Obviously close family providing childcare is slightly different matter.

Providing occasional baby sitting for anyone, family, friend, neighbour because they want to go out for the evening is something else and doing that for free is up to the baby sitter. But it would have to be occasional, not every week.

From reading GN over the years I do think there are a lot of older people who are imposed on by younger parents without proper appreciation and some who get emotionally blackmailed if they dare to suggest that they are being taken advantage of or are incapable of providing it any longer. This is why I am so cautious. A regular kindness too soon becomes a taken for granted expectation.

maryeliza54 Thu 23-Nov-17 23:43:08

Do you feel appreciated OP or taken for granted? Only you know the true nature of your relationship with them - you say the children are well behaved and the family lovely - it’s your call. How much do you get out of this arrangement? Would you miss them? How old are the children?

Feelingmyage55 Thu 23-Nov-17 23:49:03

It seems nice to help and although not family, great friends of my own family. Everything does not come down to money. It is occasionally difficult to say no though if they say that they can only take the shift if I help out. The youngsters are so funny and keep me on my toes. I used to babysit a lot for my sister in law. She was a bit miffed when I was not free for shopping last week! Saved me money though! I just need to watch the balance. I think helping twice a week is good for me. All the teenagers seem to work in coffee shops and supermarkets even in the evenings. Can't fault people working hard I guess.

FarNorth Fri 24-Nov-17 00:17:20

Maybe you could mention that you think that helping on two days a week is enough for you nowadays, so that they'll know to make other arrangements if they need more than that.

cornergran Fri 24-Nov-17 00:25:42

Sounds a good way forward farnorth, hopefully that would mean they wouldn’t ask too often feelingmyage but you would still have the satisfaction from helping out.

Feelingmyage55 Fri 24-Nov-17 01:02:45

Good advice

Feelingmyage55 Fri 24-Nov-17 01:05:16

Good advice thank you but it has got me thinking about the question of giving my time so that they can earn. Twice a week from now.

BlueBelle Fri 24-Nov-17 06:32:52

Always do as much as I can for children/ grandchildren and of course totally free that goes without saying
Would do one offs for friends or young families struggling.
I would consider it a retirement job if it was regular childcare and expect to have some payment
However as you ve been doing this a long time I don’t see how you can suddenly start charging after doing it for free having said that I don’t think you should be giving up social invites at all ( they must fit in with you as well as you with them)

maryeliza54 Fri 24-Nov-17 07:58:34

Sounds like a plan - twice a week it is 😄