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Paying for occasional baby sitting to grand parents & how a child minder could impact this arrangement?

(115 Posts)
Mammy Sun 04-Nov-18 23:47:28

I would love to hear opinions from grandparents on a dilemma I am facing.

I pay my MIL to mind only GC for a date night , usually between 2-4 hours for €20. An overnight sleepover at our house would be between €20-€50 depending on the scenario.

There is always food for MIl , favorite treats etc and we pay for petrol for the 5 mile commute to our house.

In the past we used babysitters for the same price but MIL and GC adore each other and MIL lives to see her GC so my DH agreed that we pay MIL instead of a baby sitter.

FIL believes all baby sitting should be paid for. Although in the past we have always treated them to nights away, meals out etc as a thank you for any help he wants MIl to go home with X amount for X hours.

Husband and I have had some challenges and have agreed that we need to go on dates more often maybe once a week/ fortnight . We are now expecting baby no2 and we know that we will need support but looking at the cost of full time childcare for first child plus any extra help as “baby sitting hours” from MIL is working out very costly. We are exploring au pairs and childminder as a longer term solution.

I am afraid that if we go ahead with either of these that date night will be covered by this use of childcare (using a combination of Creche and au pair for example) I don’t want to offend MiL but between the cost and being afraid that our children will eventually know that all “grandparent time” was paid for & may damage the longer term relationship between GC and grandparents several friends are advising me to nip this is the bid and go via alternative childcare.

Just to add GC attends Creche full time during the week this costs €850 it’s simply not feasible to add another child into that cost which is why we are looking into alternatives for the full time arrangement.

Grandparents are retired , in good health and young but No social hobbies or commitments .

How do I approach this with MIL without offending her or possibly cutting off the one social event / evening she gets to spend just with her GC? (We also do visit often and the door is always open for her to visit GC whenever she wants to)

Would appreciate any insight from the grandparents perspective my MiL is a lovely person I would hate to hurt her.

SueDonim Mon 05-Nov-18 00:46:20

My first reaction is that your FIL is not the boss of your MIL and telling her what she should/shouldn't do is not on! Surely she can make up her own mind?

Personally, I wouldn't dream of accepting money for babysitting my GC but as you don't mention your IL's financial situation, it may be that they need that extra income, however small, so that's a factor I'd consider.

I think I'd approach it by saying (or your Dh could say it, as they are his parents!) that finances are going to be tight when the new baby arrives and you won't be able to afford to pay for babysitting, or only a reduced amount. I certainly wouldn't argue about it. I can't see that anyone would be a winner if that were to happen.

Then I'd also take a look at the date night aspect anyway. Are there other things you could do instead of going out? Setting aside a regular evening to have a take away meal, sharing some wine and watching a nice film at home could be an alternative arrangement. I know it's not the same as physically going out but it's a compromise and anyway, I don't suppose you'll want to go out that much with a brand new baby - I remember always been exhausted by the evening and ready for bed myself! Babies grow up pretty quickly too, and you'll soon be able to go out again and enjoy yourself.

Another thought is that maybe you could join a baby sitting circle, although I have no idea if they are still a 'thing'. That was my main source of babysitters when my children are small plus it was free.

I do hope other Gransnetters come along with some alternative ideas. Good luck!

stella1949 Mon 05-Nov-18 03:43:14

I spend a lot of time with my grand children - but I wouldn't even use the term "babysitting" since it's my pleasure to spend time with them. I'd never dream of accepting money for doing it.

In your situation it seems that FIL is the one who is insisting on the payment. And you probably aren't going to change that situation.

Since your money situation is getting tighter, I'd be looking at other options such as an au pair. Get your husband to tell his mother honestly, that you can't afford to pay her any more, and that you'll be using another option. Don't let him beat around the bush - he needs to tell her straight and then close down the conversation.

Just a tip - re the date nights. If you are having marital problems, going out and spending even more money on dates isn't going to make it better. Just a thought from my own experience.

Mammy Mon 05-Nov-18 04:18:54

Thank you for the advice.

To be honest the money is now becoming an issue as where do we draw the line?

For example last week husband had a small medical procedure and was sedated. I was working a 14 hour shift and couldn’t leave work. His parents collected him, MIL came to our home at 6pm with him & they collected GC. Both husband and GC went to bed at 8.30 (so 2-3 hours most “baby sitting)

My shift wasn’t over until 1am MIL stayed over as husband had been sedated as a precaution. This will cost me €50 under the current agreement.
But the reality is this is parents minding their son, not actually baby sitting. I work more hours tuergite earn more than husband and pay for all childcare both Creche & PIL.

Re the date night to be honest it’s juat a reason to leave the house not focus on the washing up / chores etc , we don’t have to spend money it’s more about in interrupted time together. Which is working for us this far. But definitely not something I’d even have the energy for when baby arrives!

Thinking an au pair would be able to help cover for us maybe one evening so we can have a take away etc together as suggested.

BlueBelle Mon 05-Nov-18 05:15:02

Never heard of anyone regularly paying their parents to be with their flesh and blood in my life
I ve done baby sitting duties for 21 years to 7 (even sometimes involved going to another country) but never ever expected any money for it it’s my privilege to be with my kids kids
You have actually encouraged this by starting out coughing up these amounts, whatever next, perhaps you ll have to pay them to come to dinner
I don’t know how you stop something once it’s started unless you just say honestly I m afraid we can’t afford it any more What on earth does your husband think about his parents wanting money for being with their grandkids I m so shocked
I don’t have much money now I know why I should have turned my grandkids into a business...disgusting in my eyes

gillybob Mon 05-Nov-18 07:34:49

I too have looked after my 3 grandchildren for many years ( they are 12,10 and 8) I do 1-2 days and nights per week depending on shift patterns and have gone since they were weeks old. I also do full weeks during school holidays and take my own holidays from work to fit in with this. I occasionally do weekends to give DS and DDiL a night off/out. I don’t have much of a social life myself so nothing spoiling . I wouldn’t dream of asking for money to do this . They are MY grandchildren not some strangers . It seems very odd expecting to be paid for the pleasure of spending time with your own grandchildren.

Nannarose Mon 05-Nov-18 07:37:38

I am not sure, from the way you write, whether you are in the UK. Please be very careful of using au pairs for more than a few hours for child care. They are usually not qualified or trained in caring for children and don't have the resources and understanding that a child care professional does (though I am aware that terms for people who care for children can vary).
It also sounds as if you and your husband need to start from scratch in discussing how your children are cared for.

Grannyknot Mon 05-Nov-18 07:39:02

Sorry, I have no advice 're this complicated (and frankly, odd) situation.

Just wanted to say to SueDonim - I was also involved in a 'Babysitting Club' - each family kept wooden beads (mine were strung on an old knitting needle) and we "paid" for babysitting with a bead per hour. If you had no beads, you had to build up your "bank" again by looking after someone else's children. It worked so well. Life was simple in those days.

aggie Mon 05-Nov-18 07:49:08

How would a full time au pair work out if you and OH need time together ? She would be living in your house and getting paid for that , plus loss of privacy ? Mil is getting well over the rate for enjoying your child . I have had to fly over to help out and even paid my own fares .

LullyDully Mon 05-Nov-18 08:01:14

If my calculations are.right we should be owed enough to retire to a very nice villa in a posh part of France . We help out because we love the Gkids.

A no strings arrangement with a third party would feel better. If your inlaws want to see the children they can. A baby sitting group is by Grannyknot.

BlueBelle Mon 05-Nov-18 08:03:16

Aggie I always pay my own fares and pay for the grandkids too when they come to visit me I think it’s my privilege what better way to spend your money on than your darling grandkids
I ve got one flying over end if this week then I will take her back the following week It’s unbelievable to me and the poster must come from a very different background to mine
You ve set a difficult precedence to change Mammy without upsetting the in laws

sodapop Mon 05-Nov-18 08:12:15

I think a frank conversation is needed here. Firstly talk to your husband about the expectation of his father to be paid for time spent helping you and the family. Once you have reached an understanding there you can jointly talk to your parents in law. I do think this is quite greedy to expect these amounts for helping. Paying expenses such as petrol etc is one thing or if one of them had given up a job to provide regular child care then I would be more understanding. I think you have to be up front and say you cannot afford to pay this and you will look for alternatives but they are always welcome to visit.

TwiceAsNice Mon 05-Nov-18 08:18:45

Why would you expect to be paid to spend time with your grandchildren? It's the weirdest thing Ive ever heard a AND the grandfather sounds controlling! If you are saying you are happy for them to drop in whenever anyway they can't say they wouldn't be able to see them if the paying stopped and it sounds as if you genuinely can't afford it so just say that and it's up to the grandparents what they then do.

Iam64 Mon 05-Nov-18 08:50:17

I've been looking after grandchildren for over 20 years now, the older group no longer need 'minding' but we have four tinies who do. Like most of the grandparents we know, we do one full day (7.30 - 6 or later) a week, plus occasional sleep overs here or at the homes of our grandchildren.
I don't know any grandparents who are paid for helping with their grandchildren. The cost of child care is a huge part of the parents wages and any help to reduce that must be helpful.
It seems it's time you had an honest discussion with your parents in law, to help them understand the financial pressures your'e under. Baby sitting circles seem to be a thing of the 70's but they could be brought back even more easily now with mobile text messages, what sap groups etc. In addition to baby sitting circles, I regularly swopped with friends especially during long school holidays. One of us would have 5 or more children each day, so the others could get to work without paying a fortune.
Best of luck with this one

Willow500 Mon 05-Nov-18 09:10:20

It's many years since my eldest GD needed looking after (the other two are on the other side of the world) but we would never have expected to be paid when we did. When my own sons were small my parents looked after them a couple of days while I worked but again didn't pay them - we couldn't have afforded to anyway as we had no money!

In your situation you are in you will soon have another baby to look after - will your MIL then need 'double time' pay for the extra care?! Your FIL sounds very money grasping I'm afraid. I think you both have to bite the bullet and tell them that you can no longer pay for their 'services' although taking on an au-pair will surely cost you even more?

mcem Mon 05-Nov-18 09:16:52

What surprised me is that you've always accepted this system of payment. I wonder how the very first discussion/ decision came about. I'd have thought that GP babysitting would always be free - unless a gran gave up paid work to take on child-minding duties.
Never heard of such a deal - either with my own children or the DGC!
GDad should have no say in arrangements since he clearly is not involved. Do they ever take the child out, pay for entertainment, buy clothes or little gifts, keep him overnight at their home?

genie10 Mon 05-Nov-18 09:21:39

Wow.. I could hardly belief this thread. My daughter is expecting her first child soon and I am delighted that she has asked me to help have him a couple of days a week (and occasionally overnight.) It's a privilege to spend time with your grandchildren and certainly none of my friends with grandchildren get paid for looking after them. An occasional treat for your MIL and a thank you is all she needs. If there is no babysitting circle amongst your friends, try suggesting starting one. They do work well if you have the time to babysit for others yourself.

M0nica Mon 05-Nov-18 09:22:45

My jaw dropped when I read the OP. Grandparents charging for every bit of babysitting they do. I have never heard anything so outrageous.

If they were providing 5 day a week childcare, you might well feel you need to insist on them taking some money from you, but for ordinary occasional babysitting - the mind boggles.

Personally, in your situation, I would stop using them for any babysitting. If you have to pay someone, pay professionals that you can sack if they are inadequate, rather than amateurs that you do not want to annoy, in case they decide not to come.

I think the arrival of the new baby is the appropriate time to sit with your MiL and explain that you can no longer afford creche and paying her, so have made new arrangements, involving an au pair.

It is clear that she and FiL still see DGC a lot and that you are a loving and tolerant S and DiL, so there is no good reason for this to damage your children's relationship with their grandparents - unless they themselves decide to take umbrage and that is their problem not yours.

Have you any idea why FiL thinks they should be paid for occasional babysitting?

GrannyGravy13 Mon 05-Nov-18 09:43:01

I have never and would never accept money for spending time with my beloved GC.

When our C were young my Mother and Step Father lived abroad and my Father and Step Mother lived 2 hours away, with full time jobs and young children. We had an au-pair for 6 months as our "Nanny" was on maternity leave with her 2 child. It was an interesting experience for all concerned, not ideal for full time childcare!!!

glammanana Mon 05-Nov-18 10:42:51

Icould never call looking after my DGCs babysitting I call it a pleasure & joy to have them.
The FIL in this post is certainly out of order demanding payment imo something my husband would never think of,in fact he would be more likely to treat any one of my DCs to a meal out when we had the children on what is commonly now called "date nights",very strange indeed.

Luckygirl Mon 05-Nov-18 10:50:11

Like most on here, I provide care, school pick-ups etc for my GC because they are my family and I love them; not because anyone pays me. I would not dream of asking for money!

As to "date nights" - not a "thing" when I was a young Mum. Dare I say that this sounds a bit self-indulgent (ducks below parapet!).

glammanana Mon 05-Nov-18 11:05:01

luckygirl get up from below the parapet you are spot on,I too find it a self indulgent term whats wrong with a plain old night out with your husband or does that not sound right when in the company of others,think "Cheshire Housewives"hmm
(Replace the parapet with a tin hat)

Mammy Mon 05-Nov-18 11:07:28

Date night is just a term! It’s any reason to leave the house , together go to the bathroom in peace, have an adult conversation that can last for 30 seconds without being interrupted ☺️

felice Mon 05-Nov-18 11:26:06

My Mother always charged for babysitting, when I was on my own with DS1 I got a 6 hours bar job, 1975, I earned 8£ she charged 5£ to babysit.
Later when she visited us if we were going out we still had to get and pay for the normal babysitter.
Luckily they were mostly students, friends children as the first thing she did when we left was switch off the TV and sit and knit, they were well warned and always brought books.

Mammy Mon 05-Nov-18 11:27:04

I posted about how we got here but don’t think it saved so here is a summary.

FIL is stubborn, moody, unsocial, fixated on money, won’t spend a penny on anything and in general takes the good out of most things. He is an external complainers (to hot/ to cold/ to much rain/!to much sun) just a very passive and miserable person who must be very very difficult to love with. I’d he won’t the lottery he would probably complain about how he spends it.

MIL hates conflict, but adores GC, also suffers from depression at times. GC gives a new lease of live and purpose.

When they were young sister babysat and they went out probably 2 nights a week. However granny wa a childminder and they paid for after school pick ups so in his mind they had to pay so why shouldn’t we?

He won’t say this out loud but he would drive the sanest person to the brink with his constant moaning non stop.

Husband and I hav e had a very difficult 2 years , a very serious life threatening Ilness, loss of a job. Loss of a parent all whole adjusting to being a new parent , we had asked for help but it wasn’t really forthcoming , husband couldn’t understand as MIL only talks about love for GC and how she is their world etc etc.

Husband asked outright is there a reason why she didn’t help with occasional sitting? Was told that FIL sees it as a services should be paid. He is the kind of person that If you got a new kettle he would keep check of how much it is and “how well of you are”.

So we decided if he wants the money that bad and it keeps MIL out the Josie every now and again why not pay her instead of a sitter. But the actual fact is it hurts both myself and my husband dearly. We have always been close to them , treated them whenever we could, always helped out with lifts when they’ve needed been very generous on family nights out or taken them away for a few nights etc.

It hurts greatly that FIL can’t see this and treats us as a financial institution equally it hurts that Mil knows this isn’t right but won’t stand up to him and tell him how awful he is making it for everyone.

He is the most passive frustration person I have come across in a long time. Husband is equally sad but knows his father and how he thinks so believes this was the best agreement.

We should never have got involved in this way. For reference Creche cost did 2 full time is €1600 a month! So we are looking at 2 days Creche (which is great for social skills) and 3 days childminder / au pair which would reduce the cost dramatically.

At the same time feel we are punishing MIL but I simply can’t afford this arrangement and it’s starting to make me resentful at FIL greedy and selfish attitude.