Dear Annie: A few years ago, my daughter was newly married and pregnant. Neither she nor her husband had a job, so both sets of parents took them in at various times and helped when the baby was born.
My son-in-law went back to school and got a job, and they finally moved into a small house of their own. When my daughter decided to go to nursing school, we were delighted. Again, both sets of parents pitched in and took care of the baby. I also fed her family every day so they wouldn’t have to spend money they didn’t have. When she became pregnant again, we stepped back up to the plate and took care of their little newborn girl.
My daughter now is an RN and makes great money. Her husband does decently, and they have a lot to be thankful for. When my daughter asked me to continue baby-sitting, I agreed, but only if I was paid.
This really upset her, and she now won’t let me see the kids. Her sister-in-law looks after them for free, but only for a few hours a day. My daughter works nights and doesn’t get enough sleep in the daytime because she must attend to her children.
Am I being selfish for wanting to be paid $400 a month for child care along with breakfast, lunch and dinner? – Sad Grandma in Missouri
Dear Grandma: This isn’t about fairness, because you are certainly entitled to be paid for your services. But you have changed the dynamic between you and your daughter. You’ve turned baby-sitting the grandchildren into a business transaction. Not only was your daughter caught off-guard, but she obviously resents it. If you need the money, talk to your daughter about what she thinks would be appropriate, and see if you can work this out. If you don’t need the money, we suggest you baby-sit when you are willing, without charge.