Paying parents to babysit/allowance

posted 9 months ago in Finances
Post # 46
3359 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I would talk to your mom alone without your step-father. Tell her what you told us–you were going to gift her something but you can’t afford to pay her a daily salary. The only way to know what is going on is to talk to her. Your step-father sounds like a real ass.

Post # 49
395 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

OP keep us updated after you figure this out! 

Post # 50
2056 posts
Buzzing bee

Op, I recommend viewing this situation from a perspective that addresses the underlying problem: your mother’s lack of freedom under the thumb of her controlling husband.

So he threw it in your face that he is the “sole provider” for your mother. That’s completely inappropriate but worse, it was disrespectful of your mother. I expect that he throws this in her face too and uses his financial contribution to the marriage as grounds for his controlling and demeaning behavior toward her as well as behind her back. This is the behavior of a self serving person who views his wife as his property, bought and paid for. He doesn’t want your mother to be compensated. He wants compensation for himself. After all, it comes down to his wife taking care of someone else instead of him. This controlling dynamic means that she would not even have freedom to spend the money in a manner of her choosing. From his perspective, he’s owed because he’s been providing for her for years and he would take charge of that money.

Viewing your mother’s visit as a business transaction will spoil the joy of the visit and set a precedent for future issues. I would not speak to him about this any further or include him in any conversations at all. First, he’s not interested in being reasonable or respectful toward anyone. Second, involving him enables the controlling and possessive dynamic he has established in his treatment of your mother. Paying your mother also enables that controlling dynamic and reinforces the premise that she’s an employee that he is hiring out. You are not hiring her and paying her will give the impression that you are and will cause all sorts of trouble forever onward. Absolutely do not consider paying her.

This needs to be restructured as a *visit* for the purpose of her *meeting her grandbabies and visiting her daughter.* Eliminate the “helping out portion.” That has to be removed from the equation here. You’ve managed on your own this long. You don’t need her. You *want* a *visit* with your mother. I would make that crystal clear in words, but also by shortening the visit considerably. I strongly recommend trimming this visit down to a length more befitting of a *social visit.* People don’t typically vacation or visit relatives for two month stretches, so that’s reinforcing that she’s there to work. I would not have her visit for more than a few weeks. It will be worth it in the long run or this jerk she’s married to will be miserable toward you and your husband for years to come. Worse than that, he’ll be miserable toward your mother about it too. It sounds to me like there’s some manipulative behavior in that relationship with sprinkles of emotional and psychological abuse. 

Eliminate the problem entirely by reframing this visit from beginning to end (a much shorter end). Anytime she or anyone brings up your mother helping with the babies, correct them by saying, “Oh, no, that won’t be necessary. I’m taking care of the babies. She’s just going to meet them and enjoy snuggling them. And I’m really looking forward to spending time with my mother. I’m really looking forward to visiting with her.”

Post # 51
554 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
@helpluv11:  you say your siblings also had your mum come watch their kids; I’m curious if you can ask them if stepfather tried pulling the same thing with them (unless you think they’d go blab to your mum).

Post # 52
309 posts
Helper bee

I just want to reinforce that this is not normal. It’s not normal to to volunteer to visit or help someone, and then later ask for a salary. Just like it’s not normal to invite guests for dinner and then ask them to pay for their meal before they start eating. Nothing about this is normal or makes sense. It sounds like you decided to be  SAHM partly so that you don’t need to get childcare, so why would you not work AND pay for childcare? It doesn’t matter how much money you have, you shouldn’t pay for something that you didn’t ask for. Have a conversation with your mom and tell her that you’d love to have her visit, but that you’re not looking for childcare services.

Post # 53
7567 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I haven’t read through every comment, but personally I would tell your stepdad to go pound sand. I can understand taking on twins is daunting (as a singleton mom I can only imagine!!) but also assuming your husband is going to have a week or two off right after the birth do you really need your mom for that long? Why not just have your husband be home with you 1-2 weeks, your mom a week, and at that point transition to doing it on your own.

Furthermore, I’d say to mom :

“We are so appriciative that you’ve offered to come help, however, after talking to stepdad we realize that we can’t afford the $100/day he suggested for that long of a stay. We’d love for you come a week or two after the birth to visit and help out for a few days but just cannot commit to that much money for a 1-2 month stay.”

Put his ass on blast in a total low-key way!! 


Post # 54
2593 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I think someone else hit the nail on the head:  step dad is resentful that she’s going to be gone & not at home cooking and cleaning for him. So he’s punishing her by being an ass to you and embarrassing her.  Bonus for him if he also gets you to “pay up”. I’m sure that she’s well-aware that he’s a controlling dirtbag after 20 years of marriage. There is no good way to handle this as your mom is married to a jerk. Maybe the best thing to do is to keep the visit fairly short & make sure mom has a great time bonding with everyone.  She’ll catch hell, anyway, when she gets home as he’ll undoubtedly pout about being “left behind”.

Post # 55
698 posts
Busy bee

I would definitely talk to your mom about it alone, the step-dad clearly has some weird boundary/control issues. I doubt that she is the one behind this reasong. 

Since a) Your mom volunteered to come help you and b) You are not working so you’ll be contributing at least 50% of the childcare – the expectation of paying $100 a day seems pretty unreasonable. If she were taking over all of the childcare so you could WORK I would understand, but this sounds more like a prolonged visit that your mom wants to do.. (and it sounds like it might be nice for her to get away from the step-dad for a while)

Also, just as an example for comparison – I got laid off during COVID and my sister offered me $100/day to look after her kids while she goes to work. I still felt guilty taking the money in that situation, even though I was looking after them solo for 9hrs a day and she makes a ton of money, because they’re my family and I love them… 


Post # 56
1466 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

As someone who’s Mother-In-Law flew over from across the world to help for 3 weeks in the early post-partum period…we did not pay her childcare. We did cover her travel expenses and obviously covered all expenses while here (including taking her out for dinner, coffees, doing little excursions for sight seeing and paying those costs). But that was more for us to get out of the home rather than because she insisted on doing things! And the cost of travel was because she couldn’t afford it and we could and we knew she WANTED to come. 

Your stepfather getting involved here is so out of line. I hope you follow PP advice and raise this wiht your mom and get expectations out on the table re: payment. 

Now if I was using a parent as full time childcare so that I can work – yes I’m all for paying! But for a temporary visit when you’ll be home so they can support you in a time of major life transition? THat’s family helping family in a time of need…

Post # 57
9633 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

my mom was our full time nanny for the first 2 years of my kids’ lives, then part time for #2 until COVID.  we opted to send them 3 days a week to preschool starting at 2yo, then all 5 days starting at age 3.  so until COVID started, my mom was still watching my daughter 2 days a week.

she didn’t want a salary, although i wasn’t going to pay her much.  but she retired and was on a fixed income, she asked that i pay for certain expenses for her.  which i happily did.

many times i threated to just send my kids to preschool full time bc she wouldn’t follow what i would ask her to do. she and i both knew i wouldn’t do that because it’s expensive and we’d rather spend out money elsewhere while i had the “free” babysitter.   it became a pick your battles.

although she’s given me mom guilt my entire life, she told me i treated her like the nanny and not the grandmother. and when we were together in grandma capacity, she would override things i say. and tell me she’s just so used to being the childcare provider.

my mother is difficult to begin with. so there’s that too.


if your mom is living with you, obviously using your electricity, food, etc.  do you deduct that from her payment or is that a bonus? what about holidays, time off, etc?




Post # 59
128 posts
Blushing bee

View original reply
@helpluv11:  please don’t put him on blast. That will only serve to anger him and humiliate her. You can absolutely resolve this without causing that kind of stress.

Post # 60
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

You absolutely need to tell her! It’s up to her if she brings it up to him or not. It’s not your job to protect her from what he did. “So H had an interesting conversation with Step Dad, he said we should pay you a salary while you are here and suggested $100 a day and if we can’t afford that to send you money monthly.”

Your mom is visiting to spend time with her daughter and grandchildren not accepting a job or childcare position.

The fact that your mom’s husband doesn’t think he should support his wife of 20 years, and that her children should, even though he makes a six-figure salary is absurd. If things get bad at home she can divorce him and take half the house, his retirement ect.. and be very comfortable on her own!

You give her the information and she decides what to do with it. Not knowing is doing her a huge disservice. She may also need someone to talk to about what is going on at home and her options.

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