Could use advice on inlaw/childcare situation... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-26-2010, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Could use some advice.  About two months ago, my sister in law (husband's brothers wife) decided last minute to take a job she was offered.  She'd been a SAHP for years and I think saw an opportunity and siezed it.  I admire that...


She asked me, in front of a crowd, at a family function, if I could take her daughter (5) all day one day a week.  I felt very put on the spot, particularly as it was in front of my inlaws (who we live near) and not a very planned conversation.  I agreed to it.  She has never offered to pay, and it is awkward with family to ask.  Her family does not need her work income--and we are lucky we can get by w/o her paying.  The job is more for her to get back to working vs. a financial need.  Though she did inform me at Christmas how nice it was to have a paycheck.


So, I've been watching her child (and my two) for 5 weeks now.  8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  It is fun as one of my daughters is her age--but a really rough day as our tempermental two year old has a horrid time w/ it.  She'll play with her older sister usually, but three becomes a crowd, etc. and I have to constantly intervene.  I find i get much less done in the house, etc.


 I've done all meals and snacks--nothing is ever sent as a favor, aside from one day a bag of pretzels.  I transport, etc. 


I guess I am feeling a bit resentful of the situation--though I didn't expect to be paid, I did think that perhaps my inlaws would contribute in other ways to us...bringing dinner the night I watched her, etc.  And I know it isn't necessarily correct for me to expect this w/o asking--I guess I just think of what I would do if I was recieving that favor.  To be honest, the two times I have ever had my SIL care for my older child, it was for 2.5 hours and I did bring them dinner, pre-made, and a bottle of wine! 


So, I feel sort of selfish--but I also feel to validate my efforts, my day, etc. I need to ask for compensation--I'm thinking of asking for half price of what she is paying another mother on a different day...the half price would be 25$ for the day.  My niece can eat--so I think I am putting almost 5$ worth of food into her some weeks (I try to buy organic fruits/veggies, etc.)...


Am I being selfish?  is it awkward to ask for compensation when I already said I would watch her?  I think part of it is a self-estemm thing--make me feel validated for my efforts.  My niece is Lovely, but quite clingy and gets wiped out by the end of the day, and really clingy. 


Advice would be great.

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#2 of 14 Old 12-26-2010, 08:12 PM
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Wow.  I think your SIL is majorly taking advantage of you.   You have every right in the world to ask her to pay you (more than $25 too!), or to stop the arrangement entirely if you think that would be best for YOUR family.  You have no obligation to take care of her child, even if it is your neice, especially when she isn't relying on the income to make ends meet.  Good luck!

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#3 of 14 Old 12-27-2010, 04:30 AM
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Wow people have some nerve.  I'd just tell her it's not working out.  I wouldn't ask for money, too awkward and frankly I wouldn't watch someone's kid for $25/day.

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#4 of 14 Old 12-27-2010, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I think I am going to ask for 25$.  Half price as it is family, and 5$ for food.  Morning snack, pm snack, lunch, milk, etc. 

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#5 of 14 Old 12-29-2010, 09:18 AM
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I wouldn't feel guilty asking for the isn't cheap, and why should you take money our of your family's budget to feed a child that isn't even yours?? Definitely, ask for the money if you don't mind having the child there.


But, on the other hand, don't feel guilty if you need to terminate care altogether! I'm not sure that I would have the patience to be intervening constantly in those little arguments all day long...

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#6 of 14 Old 12-29-2010, 04:33 PM
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If my SIL was struggling financially, I would totally watch her child for free, but I can't imagine doing it for free just because she wanted to get back into the working world or have some extra cash. I would absolutely ask her for payment (in fact, I'd be asking for what she is paying the other caregiver, especially since you are transporting, providing food, etc. -- $25 wouldn't cut it for me). Family is important and we all need to help each other out but she is totally taking advantage of you (unless there is more to this than what you've written here).


You could just say, "Hey, this is getting to be more work & more costly than I expected, I'm happy to continue watching her for $50/day but if you would rather find someone else to watch her, I'd totally understand."

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#7 of 14 Old 12-29-2010, 04:52 PM
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The arrangement isn't working for your family, right? Too expensive, too stressful, too much. You have no reason to feel guilty for not wanting to be a doormat.

I would just be honest with your SIL. "When you asked me if I could take [niece] for one day a week, I felt put on the spot and agreed to it without thinking. Now that we've been doing this for awhile, it's become apparent that the current arrangement isn't going to work for us anymore." If you want to stop taking your niece entirely--and you have that right!--then end the conversation there and politely bean dip any further attempts to argue. If you want to keep taking her but get paid for your trouble, you could continue with something like, "If I'm going to keep providing childcare for [niece], I need you to chip in financially. Food and gas are expensive, so I need [$$$] per day. If you'd rather find different childcare arrangements, I more than understand!" Then bean dip, bean dip, bean dip any more attempts to argue with you.

Set those boundaries and keep 'em strong, mama. You don't owe your SIL free childcare (Plus food and transport, too? Wow!) and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. hug.gif

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#8 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 09:02 PM
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Obviouslu, based on what information you provided, there is not going to be a clear answwer. 

I don't know your relationship with your SIL, but in my culture we just don't involve family or friends with money; it's a bad combo in my honest opinion.  I don't see how money would make me feel validated if I think somebody is taking advantage of me either.  If your SIL would not do the same for you, then you should simply offer to help her find another option and relieve yourself of being used by her.  Money will only create problems.  If she was manipulative (instead of just mindless) when she asked you right in front of others, then I don't see why you would be seeking validation from her.  It is hard to stand up for oneself, and I think you need to find family members who will support you doing this, if it's really needed.  If you don't have any, why surround yourself with people you don't trust? 


It would take courage for me to ask something like this of an in-law, to care for my child so I could work, and I would really have to trust that person.  Perhaps you underesitmate how validated you really are by them? Especially if your SIL has done things for you in the past.


Only questions you yourself can answer.

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#9 of 14 Old 01-15-2011, 10:16 PM
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MY biggest problem would be that it disrupts your family life. Your 2-year-old feeling marginalized and the peace in your home being disrupted a whole day every week? For someone not in financial need or other dire straits? I'd terminate the situation if I were you. 

"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton

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#10 of 14 Old 01-16-2011, 12:05 AM
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At the VERY least they need to provide food and pay for your gas to transport this child!  On top of that I'd get them to babysit for you whenever you want some time out.

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#11 of 14 Old 01-17-2011, 06:26 PM
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Turn about is fair play.  I'd have her do some major babysitting in return.  

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#12 of 14 Old 01-20-2011, 02:43 PM
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It sounds like your instincts about what to do is right on. I agree with your "family rate". It's so hard to confront stuff like this but the situation is not good for either one of you, you because you are feeling taken advantage of and her because she is getting away with it. If you want to salvage your relationship then you're gonna have to buck up and just be honest with her. I bet in the end she will feel better about the situation as well. Sometimes people just need a little push. smile.gif

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#13 of 14 Old 01-20-2011, 02:49 PM
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Does DH feel like he can talk freely to his brother about $$ or is it up to you to  ask?

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#14 of 14 Old 01-24-2011, 02:29 PM
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I know it's too late now, but it's always best to be vague at first.  I have learned this the hard way myself!  But when put on the spot now, I try and always say nicely that i will need to think about it, or need to talk with DH, and need to 'get back to' the person, etc.


But I think you are totally being taken advantage of!


$25 a day is NOT worth the inconvience to my own little ones, IMHO.


Is $25 ($20 after food, right?) really worth the stress to your two year old alone?

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