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Looking after grandchildren while DD/DS works - would you charge?

(105 Posts)
cox Wed 04-Apr-12 22:31:23

Message deleted by Gransnet.

wotsamashedupjingl Wed 04-Apr-12 22:38:02

Wouldn't they be better off going to an after-school club?

I think it is very strange to charge for looking after your own grandchildren.

I would try to make other arrangements.

Anagram Wed 04-Apr-12 23:03:31

£600 a month?! £7,200 a year?!

I'm sorry, but I think that is exorbitant, especially as you're a single parent. I wouldn't dream of charging my DD for looking after my GC, which I used to do regularly, but now only during school holidays as they're at school full time. They go to after school club during term time as I work part time anyway.

I would certainly make enquiries about after school clubs, as my two love it, and I'm pretty sure it would be cheaper than what you're paying now.

No need to fall out with your Mum, just say it's more convenient. She can still have them in the holidays, but you'd then have a cost comparison so you could negotiate a proper amount, if she still insists on being paid!

nightowl Wed 04-Apr-12 23:05:39

This is a tricky one cox as everyone's situation is different, as are relationships between mothers and daughters (or sons). I can only speak about my personal circumstances and I am not sure how helpful this is. I care for my DGS almost every day and also work full time (shifts). I wouldn't dream of asking for payment. I feel privileged to be able to have such a close relationship with my DGS and honoured that DD trusts me with his care.

However, I do not feel that grandparents should be expected to do this; some feel they have brought up their own children and should now be free to enjoy their own lives. It doesn't sound from what you say as though this is the case with your parents. Are you able to discuss this openly with your mother? Does she realise how strongly you resent having to pay her? And where does your father fit into this? It would be a shame if the resentment that you are feeling spoils what is otherwise a positive relationship for you and your children. I guess it also depends on how much you are earning, although I would still be reluctant to take money from my children unless I really needed it.

yogagran Wed 04-Apr-12 23:38:37

I wouldn't have the heart to charge my DD for childcare. She struggles enough to make ends meet and I would feel it a privilege to care for my GC but as others have pointed out - everyone's circumstances are different. Just needed to say that I couldn't charge but then, on the other hand, perhaps I wouldn't want to be tied to daily regular childcare as my life is busy enough anyway. More than happy to do it on the occasional basis

granbunny Thu 05-Apr-12 05:55:17

that seems like an awful lot of money. i suppose its relative to what you earn. if its more than a third of your income, or just more than you can afford, go elsewhere.

what is the quality of care, from your mother? are the children given stimulating things to do, or taken to clubs in the evenings? or just left to entertain themselves?

what happens if you DC are ill? does your mother take care of them? if so, would you lose that if you placed them elsewhere?

bagitha Thu 05-Apr-12 06:53:47

Three and a half hours after school is right through tea/dinner time. Is she feeding them? If so, a chunk of that money will go on their food.

Notsogrand Thu 05-Apr-12 07:18:06

I was thinking of the food costs, plus any petrol costs collecting them from school? Probably entertainment/activity costs too. The usual things that grandparents have at home for when gc are visiting, wouldn't be enough for 3.5 hours every day.

PoppaRob Thu 05-Apr-12 07:18:33

I look after my 3 year old grand-daughter from 8am to 6pm three days a week, and on the other 2 days I pick her up from daycare at midday and she's with me until 6pm. My daughter pays me AUD$1000 a month which almost covers my mortgage and is about half what professional childcare would cost her.

cox Thu 05-Apr-12 08:36:10

Message deleted by Gransnet.

Greatnan Thu 05-Apr-12 08:49:11

Tell her you have heard about this marvellous forum called Gransnet and suggest she logs in.
I would never have wanted to look after my GC on a regular basis, but I was only in my early 40's when they were born and still working full time. If I had been able to look after them I would not have dreamed of charging my daughters. In fact, when they both went through a period of being single mothers I paid their mortgages and other bills so they could stay at home and look after their children themselves. (I had a very good job).
I wonder what your mother's thinking is? Could she possibly be banking the money with a view to giving it to you at some time? Have you given them any reason to think you are not good with managing your own finances? What do your parents spend their money on - do they have expensive hobbies?

bagitha Thu 05-Apr-12 09:03:38

Your mother is, according to you, providing a service that you wouldn't find anywhere else. She is helping you a great deal and providing security for your children. I feel there must be a reason (or several) why she wants to charge you for this help/service other than just money-grabbing. I realise I may be wrong, but the information you have given doesn't feel like the full picture to me.

This hesitancy to condemn your mother may seem strange but I am trying to put myself in her shoes. In her position, I would find the job she is doing for you very hard on the energy/time/responsibility front. I think I would want to be paid for my loss of freedom and for demands on my time and energy that 'cost' me in other ways.

I think I'm saying I don't really understand the problem. Would it cost you more in money and time and stress to arrange childcare any other way? If so, then it seems you have a good deal.

bagitha Thu 05-Apr-12 09:04:53

And maybe she just doesn't want to be taken for granted.

bagitha Thu 05-Apr-12 09:11:32

She collects them from you in the mornings too? So both ends of her day are limited. She has to get up earlier than she might otherwise, for a start. I think you might appreciate this. i don't know any childminders who would do that. You 'leave early' for work. How early? How long does your mother have the kids before school? Even if it isn't very long, it's still a responsibility that she is taking on for your sake and theirs.

bagitha Thu 05-Apr-12 09:13:04

Women will never achieve equality while ever "being there for other people's convenience" is not regarded as worth paying for.

granbunny Thu 05-Apr-12 09:22:37

just leave it. a quarter of your income is reasonable for childcare for two children.

wotsamashedupjingl Thu 05-Apr-12 09:37:47

It seems to me you have two alternatives - and only you can decide which one to take.

Either you discuss childcare arrangements with the children's father and decide on a course of action involving finding alternative care, or you stay with the present arrangements and say nothing to your mum. Definitely don't make a family breach out of it, unless you have to for the children's sake.

The former would probably be more expensive for both of you, and definitely wouldn't be so convenient for you. (a childminder wouldn't collect in the mornings).

Which alternative would be best for the children?

Is the 'cottage industry' your mother runs, child minding (other children available for company, but less attention for your children)? Or a playgroup?

There are no miracles to be had. You have to sort your lives out, putting the children first.

nightowl Thu 05-Apr-12 09:40:18

I think this is an awful lot of money for a service that your mother offered to provide, even suggesting that you move to facilitate this. I wonder where your father fits into all of this, as you say they are both retired, yet it seems to be a cause of friction only between your mother and yourself. I also wonder whether Greatnan is on to something when she suggests that your mother may be putting at least some of the money aside for you and the children to have at a later date.

I think you need to speak to her in order to avoid allowing this to fester and cause difficulties in your relationship. Could you just be honest with her and say that as a single parent you are struggling to manage and to set aside money for a pension. You could say that you do not want to take her for granted but would she mind negotiating a lower figure. Could you involve your father in these discussions as it appears he may be getting off lightly!

Good luck flowers

wotsamashedupjingl Thu 05-Apr-12 09:41:21

Now here is my reply with my naughty hat on.

'Accidentally' let it slip that you are looking into alternative arrangements.

She might bring the price down.

But still remember the most important adage - children's welfare first.

Greatnan Thu 05-Apr-12 09:43:23

You have to be registered with your Local Authority to be a childminder and the number of children per adult is strictly limited, so I doubt if that is what the grandmother is doing.

wotsamashedupjingl Thu 05-Apr-12 09:45:55

She could be registered.

How's your eye?

Greatnan Thu 05-Apr-12 09:53:43

A bit better, thank you, but I am going to the doctor tomorrow.
If she is looking after two grandchildren for part of the day she won't have much room for any others.

wotsamashedupjingl Thu 05-Apr-12 10:01:20

Glad it's getting better. smile

Well no. You'd think she would have her hands full. If that is the case. hmm

I wonder what the cottage industry could be though. OP says it involves other kids. [wonder wonder emoticon]

gracesmum Thu 05-Apr-12 10:29:39

This is tricky isn't it? Could you get the equivalent for less ? Will it be for much longer (kids' at school) etc?and bottom line, can you afford it? She might be more sympathetic and less likely to be offended if you appeal to that side of her. When I looked after littlest fella when DD first went back to work, she gave me money to cover my fuel and the incidental expenses like having to put the dog in kennels sometimes, and while I said I didn't need "paying" to look after my grandson, I appreciated the diesel as it was a round trip of 150+ miles every week. They are high earners and DH and I on a not very big pension. But if they had lived close by there is noway I would have expected anything. Putting this sort of arrangement on a "professional" basis is tricky.
What exactly is your motivation?(Please don't take this amiss, it is NOT meant unsympathetically) Is it the fact of paying, is it the amount, is it that your brother is living rent-free? I think you need to be upfront and not let it eat away at your relationship with your parents. Good luck.

dorsetpennt Thu 05-Apr-12 10:37:21

The majority of us Gransnetters seem to agree on a few things here. Firstly, grandparents should obviously help, I wish mine were nearer to do that, but not on a full time basis. Unless your mother is out of pocket why would she want you to pay such a large amount. I have been up to help my GC several times in the past 3 years and haven't even asked for the fare to be paid. This is because I love to help out. I am going up next month as my son is going away for a stag weekend - my DIL wants to pay my train fare and that is fine I accept. Do your children see other children for play dates when she is baby sitting - as you would - I feel they would be better in an afternoon club - or is that too expensive. You say they have good pensions and shouldn't expect money from you - bit cheeky about that cox she earned that pension . I think, as others have said, that you both need to sit and discuss this properly with perhaps a neutral party to stop any to and froing type of arguments ruining the 'meeting' Maybe she could have them some of the time and at other times the afternoon club. Cheaper for you, better for the children and for her. She may have made the offer to help originally without realising how much work was involved - and might be pleased to relinguish her duties afterall. Don't let this fester and you both ending up not speaking etc.