Here is one of those unusual and discussion-worthy letters at Berkeley Parents Network:
I’m wondering what other people’s opinion is on paying grandparents for childcare. My mother-in-law will be watching my two boys for about 10 hours a week while I am at work. She has asked to be reimbursed (she’s not charging as much as a nanny would, but still…). I could see if she were struggling financially, but the fact is, her husband makes a good salary, they live in a large house in a nice neighborhood and if anything, WE are the ones living a frugal life. Does anybody else pay their parents for childcare? If so, how much, and what are the extenuating circumstances? I have to admit my feelings are hurt by this. It also creates awkwardness–if the boys invite themselves over to visit her, which they often do, do I say, ”Nope, sorry, we can’t afford a visit today?”
Dismayed at ”Grandma-for-hire”
If my mom or mother-in-law were to watch the children regularly while I worked, I would offer to pay, especially since they are both working-age and not financially stable.
I had a similar experience with my sister and I am still unsure how to navigate this unfamiliar territory. She is a broke college student who lived with us for 3.5 years rent-free. We bought her a laptop and when she first moved in with us paid her to watch Ari and do household chores. She now lives in an apartment with a roommate and visits us when she can, which is not often.
But she is most likely to come if she knows it is for a babysitting job. Because my kids love her so much, I have put aside my resentment and paid her $20 an hour to watch the kids. Also, she really needs the money.
I admit, I have not done this in weeks because my husband and I rarely go out, she is never willing to watch the kids on a Friday or Saturday night and we don’t like feeling like visits from auntie are expensive. So we rarely see her, and when we do, I pay her only if she stays the day and entertains the kids for every minute of it. Otherwise, I send her home with leftovers.
Do you pay family members to watch your kids? What dictates the terms?