‘I pay my in-laws to babysit but can’t afford it anymore’
For grandparents it can be a pleasure to spend more time with grandchildren, but for some it means missing out on enjoying their hard-earned retirement and making sacrifices on finances and social lives, with many agreeing that caring for a child on a regular basis warrants a pay-check.
While it’s often appropriate to be financially compensated for looking after your grandkids, one mother, who’s expecting baby number two, has found herself in a tricky situation after admitting she can no longer afford to pay her in-laws to look after her kids.
Writing to online forum Gransnet, the daughter-in-law said she pays her mother-in-law €20 (AU$36) to mind her child for two to four hours, and €20-€50 if it’s an overnight sleepover, adding it’s getting a lot more expensive than she first anticipated.
“In the past we used babysitters for the same price but MIL [mother-in-law] and GC [grandchild] adore each… so my DH [darling husband] agreed that we pay MIL instead of a baby sitter,” she explained.
The woman said her in-laws now expect to be paid regularly, adding: “FIL [father-in-law] believes all baby sitting should be paid for.”
However, with baby number two on the way, the woman said finances are tight, adding she won’t be able to afford babysitting anymore. The daughter-in-law said she’s now considering hiring an au pair or childminder as a longer term solution, but she’s worried her in-laws might get offended.
“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… several friends are advising me to… go via alternative childcare.”
Readers were quick to comment, with many grandparents stating they could never accept money from their kids – especially if they knew they were doing it tough financially.
“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,” one commentator wrote.
Another added: “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.”
However, one reader insisted that grandparents should be paid, adding: “It’s a huge responsibility and if done full time it takes over your life. Occasional babysitting is different, but a small payment is still a nice thought, especially if your MIL needs a little extra income.”
Many families are turning to their parents for childcare assistance, in a bid to save much needed time and money. A 2018 study conducted by comparison site Mozo found parents are relying heavily on the help offered by grandparents, saving Australian families $267 a month in childcare fees.
Of the grandparents caring for grandchildren, nearly 30 per cent said they were happy to care for their grandchildren, while 5 per cent felt either obliged or exhausted about the care. However, majority (70 per cent), stated they were happy to care for their grandchildren.