Is It Wrong to Expect to Be Paid When I Babysit My Grandaughter?

Updated on June 30, 2016
E.V. asks from Bedminster, NJ
40 answers

I have been babysitting my grandaughter full time since she was two months old. I go to my daughters home, and babysit a minimum of 48 hours a week. I go an hour before she leaves so she can get ready for work at 6:30 am. Her husband comes home at 4:00 pm but goes to work out and comes back and works around the house, takes an hour shower, etc which means that I'm still babysitting until my daughter gets home at 7:00 pm. I babysit 4 days a week, 12 1/2 hours a day plus every other Sat for 6 hours because for some reason my son in law can't watch her on those Saturdays as he always has plans. I also clean my daughters home everyday. When I started babysitting nothing was discussed about me being paid and my daughter never offered anything. After 6 months I finally broke down and asked her if I could at least be paid a small amount each week so I could have a little something for my effort. She was so embarrased and said she felt so bad for taking advantage of me and they would pay me 100.00 a week because daycare would be extremely expensive for them and she knows I take excellent care of my grandaughter. I also watch my grandaughter when she's sick, so they've never had to miss work. I felt really awkward asking her but I help her so much and thought that they would have considered paying me something for everything that I do. Well, they paid me for the first two weeks and now it stretches out to a month or more without being paid, and then it's just for a week. I'm upset that they obviously think that I really shouldn't be getting paid and then I feel guilty for even expecting it, so it's been difficult for me. I even spent the night on numerous ocassions to help her when my grandaughter was getting up constantly through the night so she could be rested for work, but I was exhausted! On my day off she calls me to watch her. I go to her home everyday so I sacrifice being in my own home and getting my housework done. I feel that I really have gone out of my way, they never have to take their child out, I come to their home, they never have to miss work when she's sick, my daughter never has to clean, my son in law works out every night and never has to worry about getting to daycare by closing time. I'm very upset that they don't feel any obligation to pay me. If they were hurting financially I wouldn't ask for anything but they are constantly shopping, buying things for themselves. Meanwhile, I could be working at an actual 9-5 job but am babysitting instead, so I go without. Am I wrong to expect to be paid? I really don't know what to do and would appreciate some help. I do love my grandaughter so much, I adore her and want to continue watching her but I would also like to earn a little money as well. I'm also starting to feel a bit resentful, I refuse to ask my daughter again to be paid, it's demeaning for me. Any helpful answers would be so greatly appreciated, I'm really at a loss and don't know if I'm the one out of line. Thank you to all of you who respond and offer advice!

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answers from Chicago on

FWIW, I paid someone $650/week to do exactly everything you've described.
Just because you're a relative doesn't mean you're free.
Ask for compensation, and if they can't/don't give it to you...they can find someone else. That they'll have to pay for anyway.

Welcome to life with kids.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I just can't believe this is real. I can't believe anyone would allow themselves to be used like this, and by her own daughter.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You definitely need to be paid and you need to start saying no. Stop giving so much. I'm sorry they are treating you like this!

8 moms found this helpful

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answers from Minneapolis on

I think you just need to tell them that while you've enjoyed caring for your grandchild full time, it's now time for you now to make a transition to your own pursuits (outside job, volunteer work, etc) and you would be happy to provide babysitting for a weekly evening "date night" of the two of them. Give them a generous notice including a "last day" you will care for your grandchild so they can find a suitable daycare provider.

You don't have to even get into their lack of following through on payment, long hours, cleaning, etc. Just don't even go there. Make it about the other things you DO want to be doing, not what was unfair about what you ARE doing for them. If they start to bring up the missed payments and offer you money, just politely decline to reconsider your decision. Just simply say you've enjoyed it, but you're wanting a change for yourself to pursue other things full time, and then you can just enjoy being "grandma" for visits and occasional babysitting. You would like your time to be more that special fun time that isn't the same when you are responsible for the day-to-day.

They will probably try to to work out a deal, probably several deals for you to change your mind. Just politely hold firm. Do not let them guilt you. They can and will rise to the occasion if you stop enabling them. .

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!! Now go to your daughter and tell her you are done. Give her one week to find care for her daughter. Too bad, so sad.

You should have NEVER allowed them to take advantage of you like this. You're at fault in this too. HOWEVER, you need to stop apologizing. They are guilting you and it's obvious to everyone but you. The ONLY thing you have to apologize for is allowing them to take advantage of you. You MUST stand up for yourself. You MUST demand pay. Do not be embarrassed by it. That allows them to continue to take advantage of you. STOP!!! This REALLY is NOT about your granddaughter. It's about you and your daughter. Your daughter is taking advantage of you. You are allowing it. BOTH have to stop.

Payment? You are their nanny. Nanny's are NOT free. If you are cooking, cleaning and caring for their daughter? $500 a week. Yep. $500. Why? Because you have EARNED it. You are going above and beyond. Set your hours. Set your routine. Set up a contract. This is business. You will have to claim the income on taxes as well, so set up a second account to put about 15% or more of your income in that to pay taxes. Yep. It's a pain in the butt. Sorry. They will want to use the amount paid for a tax write off as well.

Go to a place like KinderCare or other day care setting and ask them how much it is for daycare for 5 days a week for the age your granddaughter is. Then ask to see the contract they have you sign. Make one up for your daughter and son-in-law. They can pay you directly on Monday's. Just like a day care facility would demand. No pay? No care.

ooohhhh I bet they will throw a hissy fit to rival hissy fits! Do NOT allow them to cry and whine and say " but she's your granddaughter" or "I'm your flesh and blood" - you are doing a JOB for them. Something they apparently refuse to do. They have two choices, well, three really.
1. pay you and know that their child is being cared for by someone who truly loves her and will take care of her.
2. pay a day care to take care of their child.
3. One of them quits their job and stays home with their child (what a novel concept).

Stop allowing them to take advantage of you. This will be a VERY rocky road. Your daughter is going to say some nasty things I would guess! And her husband will be upset that he has to actually have some sort of responsibility for a child he willingly brought into this world. And your daughter as well.

Do you want to be their doormat? I don't think so. So YOU need to stop this. It will be a rocky road. Are you ready for that? Are you ready to stand your ground and not be taken advantage of anymore?

I wish you luck. You're gonna need it! Be strong! Be firm! Don't back down.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Wow, you are being treated horribly and yet you are the one apologizing. Why are you allowing yourself to be treated this way?

In any event, you need to give them 2 weeks notice. You can tell them you would be glad to babysit on an occasional Saturday night though.

It sounds like they have absoultely no clue how good they had it but they will surely miss you shortly.

Best of luck!

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I never lived by family when our kids were little. I lost a job because my son was so sick (before FMLA) when he was an infant. I would have KILLED to have any help but my mother lived 1000 miles away and my MIL was 850 miles away. My husband traveled all the time and went out of town for three weeks the day I went back to work after maternity leave. I had a 4 year old and a newborn. I had to go back to work after 6 weeks not 8 after my C-section. I worked for attorneys and they can be very demanding. The baby would eat at midnight and then again at 4. So I was up at 4 getting ready so when our daughter woke up I was ready for work and then the boy would wake up for breakfast. I had to be at work before 8. That included dropping them off at day care. I was NEVER late to work.

First, you allowed this to happen. No boundaries were set. You show up early so your daughter doesn't have to participate in parenting her child in the morning. You stay late so your SIL doesn't have to participate in parenting his child in the afternoon/evening. You stayed over at night so they could sleep? Are you kidding me????!!!! STOP THE MADNESS!!!

You are not responsible for raising your grandchild. Her parents are. I really don't think this is about money. I think this is about your time and not being appreciated. Of course they won't appreciate your time and effort, they feel ENTITLED to it. This is a situation you help create. Time to cut the apron string and be done with this little drama.

Introduce your daughter to motherhood. First, find a job or part time job for you. Do something you love to do. Second, tell your daughter that as of (whatever date you decide) you will no longer be available to babysit. If you want to babysit one night a week or every other week, tell her but the everyday is done. Believe me, she will have a cow and so will SIL. YOU are disrupting their wonderful life by requiring them to engage in life with their daughter. Parenthood is messy, tiresome and hard. It really is time for them to grow up and be introduced to it.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It seems to me that the bigger issue is not the lack of payment for everything you do. It's the lack of appreciation and respect. You clean their house. You show up early so your daughter can get dressed for work without having to deal with her own child. You stay late so your son-in-law can go to the gym, and go on weekends so your son-in-law doesn't have to do anything with his family. You are nurse, housekeeper, babysitter, day care provider and most of all, enabler.

You speak of obligation to pay you, but the bigger issue is: they are not fulfilling their obligation to their own child. It doesn't seem as though they provide any care for their own child! You're basically raising this child.

I don't think that just paying you will solve the real problem. They need to learn to be parents. They need to know that it's difficult to get ready for anywhere (work, or even going to the grocery store) with a baby! They need to know that raising a child is exhausting! They need to take care of their own home and family, instead of working such long hours and going to the gym and spending weekends enjoying free time. Parenting is tough, as you know! But they don't know. Their job is super easy! Their housework is done, their child is cared for, they have free unscheduled time, they get dressed in luxurious peace and in a mess-free, stress-free environment. On what planet is that realistic? Parenthood is sloppy, tiring, challenging, wonderful, loving, and amazing like nothing else. Your daughter and son-in-law are like actors in a play with a prop baby in a prop house.

I encourage you to establish some boundaries. Tell them you'll care for the baby if you wish, but show up as your daughter is leaving the house in the morning. Leave the second your son-in-law comes home. Don't clean, except for what's reasonable (like cleaning the baby's high chair or rinsing the dishes or whatever). Demand payment and provide a bill to them. Do what they're "paying" you for, and don't enable them to be pretend parents. If they want you to resume the duties you described that you currently do, demand a salary that includes housekeeping, showing up early and staying late, and day care charges. And if they don't pay, you don't show up.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Parenting hasn't changed their lives at all. It should be them that are exhausted but you don't let them, you have removed all of the struggles for them. They don't even know how to be parents. They must know how much infant care costs, not to mention overnights so they are not tired in the morning. They are completely taking advantage of you but you have let them.

I adopted my ten day old niece without any notice. I hired my dad's second wife to care for my daughter for about 35 hours per week. I paid her $8/hour (22 years ago!!), purchased their membership to the gym so they could go there, paid for the water park membership and the zoo membership. If anything else came up, I paid for that too.

She did a great job! I took my daughter to her house but could always come to mine if she preferred.

Things need to change for you. I would suggest giving them notice and be grandma on certain date nights.

ETA: Gamma, I knew you were going to suggest sub-par state provided child care for $2.50/hour. The parents of the baby have money, that's not the case. They are not parenting their own child and grandma is a nanny and house keeper at a minimum. She is not in a mass child care center. Nannies, babysitters and housekeepers need to be paid what they are worth...they are taking care of human children.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm sorry that you are in this spot but your daughter and her husband are taking ridiculous advantage of you and should be ashamed of themselves. When my oldest was born I was a single mom and my parents very generously offered to give me a place to live and to help out with childcare while I got on my feet. My mom was still working part-time as a nurse so I changed my schedule to four 10-hour days so that she could continue to work one day a week and as soon as I could, I put my son in daycare a few days a week so that she was only watching him a couple of days. I offered to pay her as well but she and my dad preferred that I continue to save up so that we could move out on our own, which took 3 years. After we moved my mom continued to watch my son a few days a week and I always brought him to their house and picked him up and tried to keep the day as short as possible. Later when I was married and had two more kids, my mom again offered to help out with childcare a few days a week and wouldn't accept pay but again, it wasn't full time, we brought the kids to them, we staggered our shifts to keep the day short and she didn't need the money and was still working one or two nursing shifts a week so this arrangement didn't prevent her from working.

You need to sit down with your daughter (and her husband) and just have this uncomfortable conversation. If it makes you feel better, you can start with apologizing for not making your intentions and commitment clear in the beginning (although you really didn't do anything wrong, they just steamrolled over you), but it's time to set some ground rules. You show up when your daughter leaves for work and not an hour before so that she can get ready. She can get ready and care for her child like every other working parent does. Then, you go home when hubby gets home from work. He can join a gym that has childcare and bring his daughter with him if it's that important to him, and he can bring her on errands. The Saturday is complete BS and stops now - he is capable of caring for his child if your daughter isn't around. And you stop cleaning the house. You are providing are not also the unpaid maid. If your daughter and her husband can't clean their own house, they can hire a cleaning lady for $75 a week (which is for ONE cleaning session!) or pay that to you on top of paying you for childcare. $100 is a pittance for childcare (seriously - I pay my sitter that much for 8 hours of care and then pay her time and a half for every hour past 8 hours on a given day) but where it's your grandchild, I can see accepting a token amount, but they need to pay you every week. I think you need to get this all out on the table and emphasize that you love helping out, you love spending time with your grandchild, but you are not retired, you could be earning an income that you need, and even if you were in a position to retire, it wouldn't be to spend 12.5 hours a day plus Saturdays baby-sitting and cleaning. You have earned the right to your leisure time and you did your job of parenting. It's time for these two to learn how to stand on their own two feet, parent their child, pay for childcare, and thank their lucky starts that you are willing and able to help out for a reasonable rate that is way less than what they would pay for daycare.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

"I refuse to ask my daughter again to be paid, it's demeaning for me." If you 'refuse' then don't expect anything to change. She is taking advantage of you, plain and simple. And she *knows* you won't ask her again so that's why she is getting away with it.

Stop being a baby sitter and start being the grandma. IF you watch them for that long then you for sure need to be paid! Just speak up. Resentment is something you do NOT want between the 2 of you. Good luck.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Stop being so accommodating to these 2 freeloaders. Tell your daughter that you are going to be changing your hours and will be arriving 10 minutes before she leaves the house for the day. And you will be leaving when her husband arrives home at 4 pm. Don't baby sit on the weekend since your son in law's plans should include family time with his child.

The problem here is that you are a giver and they are takers. The more you give the more they take. It won't change until you change it.Call around to daycare centers in your area and get prices for what it would cost them if they put their daughter in daycare. Then let your daughter know that she can pay you $150 on Monday morning or $$$$ at daycare. If she doesn't have the money on Monday let her know that you can't watch your granddaughter for the rest of the week unless your sil pays you at 4. If the money isn't there are 4 then tell them you will see them next week and leave. The on Tuesday DON'T GO OVER TO BABYSIT.

They are taking advantage of you. They will not stop until you make it stop. You shouldn't feel bad about asking for payment since it would cost them much more and your granddaughter would be one of many and be getting sick all the time.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

you are being taken advantage of. When I read the title? I was going with "no, you should not expect to be paid" then I read the story.

You need to get a contract in place with your daughter and son-in-law.

What would I do? I would NOT show up. When they call and say "where are you?" you say, I'm taking a break. This is a job now and not for fun. I'm being taken advantage of."

She and her husband will be pissed. Most likely LIVID. They will tell you how mean you are and most likely a bunch of other things. Don't let them bully you.

Go get a job. Take care of YOU.

It's great that you have been able to take care of your granddaughter. I hope you've built a relationship with her. You don't say how long you've done this for. It really doesn't matter. You are being taken advantage of. She needs to pay you. For that many hours? I would say $300 a week if not $400 a week.

Your daughter and her husband are going to have a wake-up call. You will need to stand your ground. Set hours. Set pay. This is a job and not a "grandmother" thing. This is full time. Enough already.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Time to let your daughter and her husband grow up and be adults.
Your taking such extreme care of them isn't helping them, nor is it helping you.

Most child care providers I know charge at least $10 for private care. If you are doing 48 hours, then you can do the math: that's 40 hours at $10 rate+ $400, plus 8 hours at time and a half = $120. So, $520 x 4.3 (average weeks in a month)= $2,236. I'm sure day care would be less expensive for them. The fact of the matter is that they have to VALUE the care to make it a priority, or if they can't afford it, they need to look at downsizing or cutting back on expenditures. You should not be a 'free' factor in how they get their child care needs met.

One woman I know does do it 'for free'-- her daughter and the husband live with her; grandma is a retired preschool teacher and her daughter and son in law have taken over the bills for the house/food, etc. They are all living together as a cooperative family unit. This takes the financial burden off my friend (the grandmother); mom is a professional and between she and her husband, they are all living frugally but comfortably. So, it can be done but it takes awareness on everyone's part.

If you want to improve your relationship with your daughter, I think you need to come to her with a firm proposal of payment/dates of payment and make those boundaries, or tell her that if they can't do it, after X date, they will need to make other arrangements for child care. You are supposed to get to be grandma; child care for that many hours a week is also a drain, physically exhausting. Advocate for yourself sooner than later, before more resentment builds. It's not a question of pride in asking for payment from a person-- they owe it, they should pay it-- but if you don't ask, they give themselves permission not to pay.

(PS: I was a nanny for a number of years. A contract/written agreement is your friend. It is work! ***But I wouldn't have done it if it didn't pay enough for me to pay my bills.*** At the end of doing this work I was making at least $400+ a week, working a total of 5 days a week.)

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

No one can take advantage of you without your permission. Their behavior is their problem. Your problem is that you don't value yourself enough to avoid feeling guilty.

You weren't up front about your needs in the beginning, but perhaps you didn't realize how much time they would expect from you. But even after they made a commitment to pay you, they didn't honor it.

The fact that your son-in-law gets home at 4 PM and then only does his own thing, and then he can't be her father on every other Saturday either. Not sure where her mother is on those days. That's ridiculous.

When people have kids, they have to arrange for day care. $25 a day for 4 days a week is a bargain - let them find something else. And you are filling in and staying overnight so they don't have to be bothered with a sick child? That's part of parenting!! How awful for this little child that her parents aren't interested in her, particularly when she is feeling poorly.

Look, you raised your daughter, and your job is done. If she is on the selfish side or perhaps on the clueless side, your job is still done. Perhaps she should not have had a child, especially with a man who is just as uninterested as she is in doing the job. Parenting is not posing for the Christmas card picture or going to the spring recital or tournament. It's all the stuff you are doing: making lunch, disciplining, playing, giving the Tylenol when there's a fever, comforting the kid with the sore throat or the belly flu, telling stories, holding hands when in traffic, and figuring out how to keep the crayons off the living room couch.

I suggest that you say you are too old or too tired to work 48 hour weeks (and by my count, it's more than that - 4 x 12.5 hours = 50, plus an average of 3 hours on Saturday at 6 hours every other week so that's 53 hours a week for NOTHING). In a regular job, you'd have regular pay for 8 hours, overtime for the 4.5 extra hours on weekdays, and 6 hours of overtime on weekend. Tell them you are looking for a real job with regular hours (32-40) with benefits and no overtime, and you need your days free to interview and network.

Then say you are stopping the Saturdays effective immediately, and then you are leaving at 4 PM on the 4 days a week when Daddy gets home. You are then stopping the daily day care in 30 days. That will give them plenty of time to find a day care center, a family day care program, or maybe a teacher or college student who is off for the summer and wants to be a nanny. That will give them time to find something more permanent for September. They can also find a cleaning service to replace you.

You can still go visit on alternate Sundays and take your grandchild for ice cream or play time in the park. You can buy a children's museum membership if there's one near you, and make that your special time with her.

It is said that "the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing while expecting a different result." So the only way this will change is if you have resolve and don't cave in if they beg and say you're the only one they trust with the child. Which is total manipulation.

If you don't want to do this, they will continue to take advantage. But it will be - sorry to say - your doing at that point.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Only you can allow yourself to be taken advantage of. No doubt you've likely run into this before and will again. It's called being a doormat. Doormats become resentful over time and it ruins close relationships. To me, that's the bigger issue here. That's why this all feels so awkward and unpleasant. You don't have personal boundaries or limits.

You should have discussed this all upfront. If you said you didn't expect payment, then that's the agreement they went into with you. So let that resentment go. That was on you.

However, you've since communicated your position and asked for payment which they agreed to. They aren't paying you.

My question to you is - were you wishy washy? What have you said? Were you clear? Did you put your foot down?

By asking "Am I wrong to expect to be paid?" my guess is you weren't very direct and didn't set up a schedule for payment.

So go back to your daughter - say we need to talk, tell her what you get paid, when and set your hours. If you can't do that - then I think this won't work out for you.

ETA: I just wanted to add, helping out your daughter is very kind of you. And often we do kind things without wanting/needing to be compensated. Maybe that's how this started out. But now you feel stressed and upset, so it went from kindness to more of a full time job. You could approach it like that with your daughter.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

All of you went into this without declaring this as a "business arrangement" which is what it should be. Start over and set boundaries. Be honest; tell your daughter that you are sacrificing your own needs, household, etc. in an effort to help her but it's time to take a step back and do more for yourself. She should understand. She and hubby have had their hands held long enough. I'm not sure they even understand what it means to be FT parents. They are BEYOND lucky to have had you raising their kid (which is what you are doing) and cleaning their house. Going forward, stop cleaning their house, do not arrive early or stay late. Set firm hours. It's up to them to figure out coverage for mornings, workouts, etc. and they can hire a housekeeper if they can't clean their own house. Their problems, not yours. If they call on weekends, it should be an invitation for you to spend time with their family, not to work (unless it's a TRUE emergency). Explain that you need to get paid or you will need to seek employment elsewhere. Figure out a fair wage - less than daycare would be but enough that you feel properly compensated. Insist they set up an automatic draft from their account into yours whenever they get paid. If they can't abide by the new rules, give notice just like any other job. I'd be generous with the notice (a couple of months) but would stick to it if they don't come around. Like you said, you can get a 9-5 job elsewhere and not be taken advantage of like you are now. They need to get real; billions of other people have figured out how to work and take care of their kids with 0 help from family!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Well, this is all your fault. You were "embarrassed" to ask to be paid and she pretended to be embarrassed to be asked to be paid. You allowed yourself to be used and used and used. You have become their free maid and their servant. WHY?

You are going to have to tell them to make other arrangements for the baby. Tell them you feel very used and taken advantage of and you are emotionally hurt and tired of it.

You need to grow a backbone. You need to wise up and stop feeling like it's demeaning to tell someone to pay you. It really shows just how under their thumb you really are when you say here that you don't know if you are the one out of line. For heavens sake. You work 48 hours + a week and want to be paid a LITTLE? Find out how much others are paid. For crying out loud, you should be paid the same. These people need to have to pay someone else to watch their child and find out what it's like to have to actually spend time with their baby instead of going out all the time, your daughter needs to learn to get dressed and watch her baby at the same time LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE DO, and they need to learn to stop buying stuff because they have to pay daycare.

Honestly, you are enabling these grownups to treat you like this. WHY are you allowing it? Stop!!!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When you entered in to this arrangement how did you think this was going to work and for how long?
What do you do for money, living expenses and retirement?
Get a job.
Give them 2 weeks notice.
Live your life and let the parents DEAL with being parents, using their sick leave, being tired for work (what parent HASN'T been tired at work at some time or another?) and paying for day care and taking care of their kid(s).
It's what every other parent on the planet does - and they need to step up.
You're making it way too easy for them to live their lives as if they weren't parents at all.
Stop that.
IF you ever baby sit for them again, make sure you have a contract in place right from the start - to be renewed every 6 months.
You WILL be paid in advance for services otherwise they can deal with a drop in day care and the rates they charge for that.

Honey they are USING you, walking all over you, and you are letting them.
THAT'S what's demeaning.
And it's not going to get any better until you make a stand.
The risk is that they will just put her in daycare and not use you again (emphasis on the USE part).
The child will go to school eventually.
You are the grandparent - not the live in nanny, cook, housekeeper, bottle washer.
Grow a backbone and get a life of your own.
You did not get these people pregnant.
They need to be responsible for their family.
Let them.
It seems they still have some growing up to do.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please re-read the answer from Annette, below. Her response is perfect and will let you move on to lead your own life -- which you are not doing now -- while avoiding any pointless blow-up over pay. As Annette says: Don't even bring up pay. But also don't go on providing what is far, far beyond what even some professional nannies would do. This needs to end and you need to go back to being the grandmother and not the help.

I'm sure your daughter likely will cry and be upset and say she's so sorry and she'll do better and pay you and give you more time off etc. Smile sweetly at her and say you're sure she didn't mean for this arrangement to grow into so many hours every day and week, but even if they pay or pay more or do more themselves, you need to attend to your own home and also need to start some activities that matter to you (your energy and time would be greatly appreciated by some volunteer organizations, believe me). You need to be an adult WITH adults and they need to be parents who experience the inconveniences of parenting a young child. I would not necessarily say that to them in so many words, though; I'd just stick to "I love Grandchild and look forward to babysitting her as her grandma plenty, and I'll still be part of her life, but I need to take care of some things for myself as I get older."

Be prepared -- expect that they might put guilt on you, or get teary, or worse, get angry and say you're letting them down, or they might even pull the "You must not love Grandchild much if you can do this to our family." That would be an extremely low blow and I hope they don't go there. But if they do, be ready for it so you don't get emotional and cave in to them. "I'm so sorry you see it that way. I love Grandchild and I love you, and have been glad to know that I was helping out, but I need to get my own house in order and be grandmother, not caregiver."

Do give them notice -- a date when you will stop the sitting -- so they can find other care. But stick to it. They might try to put off finding help and keep asking you to stay one more week, then yet another week, etc. Have some specific plans of your OWN so you can honestly say, "On July 30 I have to stop because starting in August I'm working part-time at X" or "In August I start volunteering at Y and I'm also taking a trip with friend Z." Or whatever.

When you tell them this, be sure that you also set up the next date when you will babysit --truly babysit, as in, "Why don't we plan now that you and husband have a date night on Aug. X, and I will come that night to babysit Child." That kind of specific planning tells them that yes, you do want to babysit at times, but it's not an open-ended, everyday thing.

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answers from New York on

I would set up a time to talk and then just let them know that in 3 months (or whatever - give them some time) you will need to go back to work or begin being paid by them. They can either choose to pay you a fair wage or find another sitter. Let them know what a fair wage would mean to them and make a plan. Don't be angry or drudge up all of the hours that you have worked for free for them. Just state your case plain and simple and let them make their own plan.

And stop cleaning their house. I work FT and don't expect my mother to come over and clean my house.

And let them know that they need to pay you on Fridays in cash. No cash on Friday, no showing up on Monday. Just like a sitter who is not their mother would do.

Good luck!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would setup a meeting with both of them. You are being taken advantage of. They are getting great care for their child, not worrying about missing work because of an illness, able to do whatever they want. And you are paying for it. This may or may not be intentional. So, say something. Don't feel bad about it. You are putting your own life on hold to let them have their own. I would tell them you want to be paid, plain and simple. And $100 a week is less than chicken feed for the work you do. Get to their house half hour before she needs to go to work, leave when daddy gets home.
Having kids means taking the lumps with the rewards; being tired at work because you were up the night before with a sick child; figuring out a plan for workouts and balancing it with taking care of your family and home. It does not mean having grandma do everything so you can do what ever you want.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My mom always said she won't be a daycare, but would lovet babysit or help out when she wanted or could. That way, not one was upset nor expected anything other than a fun day between grandchild and grandparents. Of course, they would help out if Ineeeded on the special occasion or she wouldn't mind if we asked if she wanted to watch the kids during a dr. appointment or errands, but it was never expected and certainly not for set hours every week. Maybe it's time to cut back to something you WANT to do and let them be gracious for it and also have them find other care so that they don't take advantage of.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Time to reboot your whole approach as a grandmother. Decide for yourself what feels reasonable to you in terms of "helping" and then communicate those terms to your daughter. I am not sure what the larger dynamics are in your relationship with her. Something got off track in a significant way. She seems to be acting spoiled/entitled and you seem to be catering to her self-centeredness. Break that pattern for her sake and yours! The first step in breaking this pattern is to communicate directly about what you expect in this whole childcare deal. The next step is to ask yourself some tough questions like: what makes it hard to set limits with her. I wish you the best! You seem like a loving mom who goes way overboard at the expense of herself. Do something for you like join a club, volunteer, get a part time job somewhere. Don't be the martyr. It is a lonely road that only leads to resentment and bitterness.

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answers from San Francisco on

Please call a few child care companies, get weekly/monthly quotes for the age of the child. Don't forget the weekend hours, is that even available where you live?

Get house cleaning quotes and find a service that offers overnight babysitting. Figure out what you are worth....Then sit your daughter and son-in-law down together with a firm explanation of what they WOULD be paying without you to help out. Give them a week to with find childcare or start paying you with set pay for the length of days or an occasional overnight. I would ask for your pay on Mondays for the week. (this way you know you are compensated)

I never had family help. My career has suffered but my kids are well adjusted and know that they matter to me and their father.

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answers from Chicago on

You need to find a new job and give her two weeks notice.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Wow! Time to get a backbone...they are really taking advantage of you! I would be feeling hugely resentful if it were me. It is ok to say no. It is ok to say what will and will not work for you. They have been saving so much money and their own time by using you....for how many years? I think you should really think about what it is you WANT to do. How many hours a day would you like to take care of your granddaughter and still have time for yourself.? What do you think is a reasonable pay? Full time day care for 12 hours a day and weekends would cost over $2000 a month in the three states I have lived. If it were me, I would tell them you need to go back to work but you are willing to babysit on occasion...perhaps one Saturday a month, every other Friday night to give them a date night, and to help sometimes when their daughter is sick and cannot go to her daycare. OR if you want to watch her full time then charge them $600 a month (or what you think is fair)...and say you are unavailable Saturdays except for occasionally. OR offer to watch her two days a week or part time (half days). If you want to continue watching your granddaughter set time limits...such as 8am to 5:30pm each day. You can stand up for yourself yet still be kind and say it in a loving way. Personally I think they would continue to shortchange you and "forget" to pay I would do something more like option number one. Good luck with whatever you have been very kind!

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answers from Sarasota on

E.- first of all you are a wonderful mom and grandma! Kudos to you!
I understand how you are feeling-- here is my opinion.
I am 33wks pregnant with my third (and last child) - she was a surprise baby and my youngest child is 11 years old! I was shocked when I saw how much the daycares have gone up. With my two oldest kids I was fortunate because my ex husband and I worked different hours so we didn't need a sitter until at least a year after and there was a lady who would watch kids at home (four tops) and charged for both my kids what I am going to be paying for my baby who is en route. I have an aunt that is relocating to Florida and she should be here while I am on maternity leave and she offered to watch Gia for us.
She didn't have to ask to be paid- I will be paying her. Now, not as much as the daycare-- it is for her to help me and for me to help her- but its 75% of what I would be paying the daycare. Your daughter didn't need for you to ask her to pay you, if she couldn't afford the entire daycare price (which is understandable)- she should have made you an offer that she can commit to either weekly or bi-weekly. You did enable her a bit by working extra hours and cleaning her house. Now, if you did help her clean her house for a few weeks in the beginning and here and there, I don't see anything wrong with that. My mom did help me clean when I had the kids as newborns because you are just exhausted at that point - and my mom would prepare some meals but not every day. I do agree with some of the other posts here that your daughter and her husband are definitely taking advantage of you and if you are making it this easy for them to have a child, they may continue to have children and have you raise them and clean their home. I don't think you should go and look for another job and give your notice etc... It is YOUR daughter and you need to sit her down and talk to her. Don't be embarrassed, what you are feeling is absolutely justified!! She can then go and talk to her husband. You tell her the frequency of the payments and that you wont be cleaning her house anymore and that you are cutting your hours.
Are you married? it doesn't seem like you have much time for yourself, which is unfair to you. Set boundaries, set a payment schedule and a work schedule. Stop caring for your granddaughter when your son-in-law and daughter are off. If you don't do it now, they will never stop using you.

PS: I lost my mom to Brain cancer almost 7 years ago and what wouldn't I give to have her over for even a day. Your daughter is so very lucky to have a wonderful mother like you!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

This is a shame and it's time for you to go. I do not believe that your daughter or her husband will change. They're spoiled, unappreciative and immature. They need to learn what it feels like to be actively involved parents. Help them do that.

You most likely have a great resume based on all your child care skills. If I were you, I'd give them two weeks notice but immediately begin registering for the online childcare sites. You can also put in for daycare jobs as well. Or how about starting your own childcare business at home.

Stop apologizing and throw your guilt out with the trash. The only 2 who should be feeling guilty, don't. They're not sensitive to your feelings, well-being or happiness. They're not even helping you to put food on your table. That's really terrible. Why have "employers" like that and not be paid too???

Value yourself. Value your skills. Value your time. Value your personal life. Move on and move forward. No guilt. No apologies.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I babysit my granddaughter. I go to their house in the morning but then after they are up and dressed off we go to my house. I incorporated then I to my life. I do the girls laundry but that's my choice. I do nothing else. I have my own house. I don't get paid money but I do get paid In Hugs and kisses and I love you YiaYia. We do so much with them. I am lucky that the Moms from nursery school include us. Sometimes I think, I can't keep up but we do. We have a great group. My husband also loves having them. They get picked up at 5pm.

Seems to me your are enabling your daughter and son in law. Get there at 7:30 and leave at 4. I think your daughter needs to learn how to function without you there. SIL can work out when daughter comes home. Seems to me no one is interested uncaring for baby except you and now you are getting burned out. Fix it now or your relationship will go down the tubes. Now they just expect you to do it all. STOP DOING ALL THE EXTRAS.

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answers from St. Louis on

I don't think you have a right to be expected to be paid because you offered to watch your grandchild.

What you do have a right to do is say hey, have some skin in this game. You have to leave for work at 7:30, I will be there at 7:30. Your daughter can get up as early as she needs to to take care of her child and get herself ready. It isn't that hard, some of us do this every morning. Whoever gets home first, sounds like your son in law, can take the child to the child care that every workout place seems to have these day, or he can wait till your daughter is home.

It isn't that they aren't paying you that is the problem in my eyes, it is they are acting like they are paying you huge amounts of money that is the problem.

And stop going over there on the weekends unless they are asking you and you are saying yes, then it is your choice.

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answers from Springfield on

stop cleaning, stop watching the child when the parents are there, watch the child only when the parents are at work. make them step up to parenting. if the child has a bad night of sleep they need to feel the sleeplessness of that, if shes sick they should stay home with her, if dad is done with work he needs to come straight home and be with his child. and you need to tell them that you are not going to let them act like teenagesr while you are stuck at their house raising their child.

my mom will watch my kids whenever i need it, she will assist when i need help cleaning but she will also refuse and tell me to get my act together and do it myself. so now you need to be a strict mom and tell your child that you are not a free service. and they need to step up tp the responsibility of cleaning their own house and raising their child.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If she offered to pay you and hasn't, then tell her that you want the pay you agreed on or you can no longer babysit.
To be honest, you aren't babysitting, you are, fo all intents and purposes, raising their kid for them.

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answers from Portland on

I added more thoughts the next day after writing this. Your plight hits me in a sensitive spot. I know you can change it!

Have you reminded her, each wèek, to pay you? It should not be demeaning to ask for what she already agreed to pay you. She should be embarrassed for making you ask. Frankly, your post sounds like you're in victim mode. Sounds like you don't feel appreciated. How is your relationship with your daughter? Perhaps, along with asking for pay, you praise her and her husband. I'm guessing they're reacting to your attitude. Now you and your daughter are stuck in this not helpful way of relating.

I suggest that improving your relationship with your daughter will improve the way you feel. First ask yourself, do you really want to be this involved for this many hours or are you doing it because you feel obligated? The way you feel about watching your grandchild greatly affects the way you feel about the situation.

I also suggest that your son-in-law has responsibilty to make this work for you. He needs to stay home so you can go home earlier. It's reasonable for you to expect that.

I know this from experience. I was the full time caretaker for my first and second grandchildren. My daughter really couldn't afford to pay me. I enjoyed watching the babies and felt unappreciated by my daughter. We also had difficulty talking with each other. Both of us felt judged by the other. We worked first on our relationship. Once we felt better about our relationship, we began to be able to talk about what each of us needed.

So, remind her each week in a friendly way. Do you know for sure they can afford to pay you? What is there income and expenses. Do not ask them. Observe and intellectually figure it out. Consider that they may not be able.

If you don't want to give them this much time, tell your daughter in a diplomatic way. You do not have to help them with childcare! They chose to have this baby. They, not you, are responsible for her care. If you don't want to reduce hours or if you want to care for baby and they can't afford to pay you, consider other ways that will make this better for you. I liked babysitting better when she brought baby to me. I had duplicate equipment at my house. I also liked it better when I was able to take my granddaughter with me to run errands, do things for myself. Consider changing conditions for your care.

I urge you to consider and make better boundaries for yourself. You cannot change your daughter but you can tell her what works for you. You do have the right to get paid. If they don't pay you, you also have the right to say you can't do this full time or not at all. Or, as I do now, help out and/or spend time just as Grandma. When you talk with your daughter be confident in those rights. No blaming. Just, 'I can't do this anymore. How they respond and how they get childcare is up to them. You do not have to feel guilty. You do not have to be the only caretaker. You are doing them a favor. They need to recognize that and treat you accordingly. At the same time, it's your responsibility to respect them and their decisions for their baby. No judging. "I'm able to do this for you and to do this, I need this from you. "Good fences do make good neighbors." Fences are boundaries."

Both my daughter and I had difficulty separating my roles as caretaker and as Grandma. Once I became only Grandma, I could enjoy the time I spent with them. I became a babysitter but only when I wanted to be.

My daughter and I needed a couple of years to work this out. First, we had to respect each other. I had to stop giving advice. She had to accept my doing some things my way. We had to become equals in decision making. Most importantly, we had to stop judging each other.

You decide what you need and accept her needs. Then spend time talking with each other over a period of time.

BTW: for a year or more the state paid me to be care taker. My daughter was single and going to school. That may be a possibility for you, tho it sounds like they wouldn't be eligble.

Why do you think asking or reminding them to pay you is demeaning? If you were working for anyone else would you feel asking would be demeaning. Your daughter said they'd pay you. You're just reminding her of her agreement. You do deserve to be paid.

I believe they are taking advantage of your willingness to go over anytime for any length of time. They take advantage because you let them. Tell them you'll babysit only while they're working or for a certain amount of hours. That is fair!!! Actually, more than fair! They are so fortunate you're able and willing to help them. deserve a life of your own. Perhaps you wouldn't question your right to be paid, your right to be rested and have your own life, if you respected yourself. You have to take care of yourself first before helping anyone else. You'll be a better grandma to your grandchild when you work less hours and have 2 days off like everyone in the work world. You need that time off.

Business has learned that their employees are more productive when they work 40 hours with 2 days off. Your daughter and her husband have 2 days off. They do not need you those two days. They need to spend that time with their child. Sounds like you are the mom. They spend very little time eith her.

They want you so they can do and buy things for themselves. Children, even adult children, need limits and be allowed to take on their responsibilities. They chose to have this baby. You are a grandma; not a servant! Most young families do not expect Grandma to do full time child care. Very few Grandma's help much and even fewer help as much as you do. I'm angry for you! Please step back and take care of yourself. You earned time for adult activities, to be child free. Did you have someone devoting full time to care for your child/children? Perhaps you didn't have to hold a job. Today is different. Most mom's have to work. They still have full responsibilty to provide care for their children. When you do everything for them they don't have to be responsible parents. They are acting as the young adults they were before they became parents.

You're not responsible for anything, except to be a grandma. You have become a door mat. I understand why you feel a victim. However, people become victims because they allow themselves to be victimized. Take control of your life so that you're not victimized.

My daughter resented me and felt I'd taken over her life. With professional counseling she learned that she has control of how much I'm in her life. When she found ways to make things happen, herself, our relationship improved.

Another thought. My daughter doesn't need help in the morning even of it would be helpful. She has 3 children under 5. The youngest is 6 wks. She is on maternity leave. She had a 2 yo and 4 yo and was able to get ready for work with only the help her husband gave her. It did take time for her to get a routine and be able to do it in less time. She is proud of herself. I'm proud of her too. I suggest you're preventing your daughter becoming a responsible adult.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It is not wrong for you to expect to be paid to babysit your granddaughter under these circumstances. I is wrong for your daughter and her husband to take advantage of your kindness. They need to start behaving like adults and parents to their own child. Give them notice that you will no longer be the full time child care and maybe even offer to help them arrange day care. The you can stop being daycare and start being grandma. You can have your granddaughter over to your house for visits at your convenience.

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answers from Raleigh on

You have every right to expect payment because you are doing the job of a nanny! Your daughter is not being very considerate of your time and the commitment that you are making to her family so that they can continue to live a child free life. I had the privilege of avoiding the high cost of daycare. I repaid them by paying their cable bill. It was not much but it was the least that I could do to show my appreciation of them! If you really want to give them a wake up call then you should let them know that you are looking for a part time job and they will need to find someone else who will meet their high demands with no pay. You have done more than the normal work of a grandmother and yes they are taking advantage of you and you kindness. Do not feel bad for asking for money because even with a daycare there is a cut off time and overnight stays are not included!

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answers from Boston on

Not every grandmother's financial situation is the same. Yes, if you asked she should pay.

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answers from Anchorage on

They are taking advantage of you, even at $100 a week they are taking advantage of you. You did not create this child, they did, and you have every right to expect reasonable compensation if you are spending what should be your retirement years raising their child. If I was you I would honestly let them know that you would love to continue helping but you either need to be paid a reasonable amount or you will need to cut back so you can enjoy your retirement years with less stress. No-one should ever expect child care for free, the fact they even think you should do that much babysitting for free is incredible. I think it is about time to tell them that, while you would love to continue babysitting on a more occasional basis, you just can not continue to provide free full-time day care.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Here's the truth.

IF your daughter truly can't afford to pay full cost for babysitting then they could qualify for child care assistance. She's about 9 months old? Still an infant.

IF they can pay for child care then perhaps you need to find adequate child care for them. Go to your state page and go through the find child care links so you can find a provider that has infant care. Find out what it costs per week, and she does have to pay by the week. Child care is a weekly cost. That facility still has to pay the teacher her wages, pay the utilities, etc...even if a child is absent that day.

A normal day in child care is about what you're working except you would be off work by 6pm. A child is usually dropped off by 7:15/7:30am and then not picked up until 5:30/6pm. So every bit of 10.5-11 hours per day. They wouldn't cater to her schedule though. They'd open in time for her to get to work and hubby would have to pick up kiddo when he got through working out. Plus he'd have to learn to take care of kiddo too.

So yes, you do have a right to be paid. But go into the meeting with ammunition. Let them know you've called around and that infant child care is about $35-$45 per DAY and that you are coming to their home and not even getting paid where you are building up social security or anything. No vacation pay, no insurance, nothing.

I truly think if you just found a job and let them know you're leaving in a couple of weeks they'll scramble and find child care they can afford. If you want to continue watching little one then you need to accept they are not going to pay you a penny to do it.

So either watch kiddo for free or find a job and quit.

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answers from Kansas City on

you are being taken advantage of. first to not discuss payment, that is one thing. but once it was discussed and they still have flaked on paying you, that's a whole other enchilada. I say, you've discussed it with them, it hasn't made a difference - time to move on, unfortunately. unless you are okay with watching her for free. that's the bottom line. Good luck. you will need to put your foot down I think. Tough love mama.

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