They say it takes a village to raise a child. But ‘they’ never specified the level of costs involved in permanently hiring said village, and just how much reliance on that village is too much.
A mum has taken to parenting forum, Mumsnet, asking how to navigate the tricky terrain of helping out a family member and being financially compensated for her time.
“Seven hours, five days for five years”
The woman, clearly unsure about how to broach the topic with her sister, asked the internet for advice.
“Really after some advice and different points of view on this.
My sister has told me she is pregnant. I currently work from home part time in a job that is very flexible and fits around looking after mown children.
My sister would want to go back to work full time after the maternity leave. We previously discussed me possibly looking after any potential future children due to my work flexibility, but no actual in depth details were ever really discussed.
I would feel so awkward taking money from my sister for childcare, to look after my niece or nephew. She is an amazing sister and is so supportive and wonderful to me, and I love her very much.
I would be looking after the baby 7 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for the next 5 years.
Is this madness?”
Here are some of the responses so far.
“Are you mad?”
While it may feel a little awkward at first, broaching the topic of money with a close family member, the general consensus was that this is definitely a commitment which requires more thought.
“What happens when she has the next one?” asked one person. “When she gives you a list of rules that you can’t stick to? When child is interrupting your work?”
The same commenter asked the woman if she would be able to separate her business relationship from her personal one.
Another asked: “What if you are sick? Your children are sick? You want a holiday?”
A few others pointed out resentment would begin to creep in at some point.
“I’m fairly certain you would quickly become resentful while you look after her baby, then children, five days a week, seven plus hours a day,” added another, “while she goes to work to continue her career, brings in a nice income, then has nice holidays and ‘extras’ while in return you still have a very limited income from your salary, and your children have given up a lot of their time with you to share with them.”
Others suggested the sister is a little cheeky for expecting such a commitment:
“Is she actually expecting you to look after the child full time? If so then YANBU (you are not being unreasonable) to expect payment,” commented one person, adding that the sister is being cheeky to think anyone, even her sister, would care for a young child FULL TIME for free. She did add that she wouldn’t charge the sort of prices she would be expecting to pay a stranger.
Another wrote: “Your sister will benefit financially from you allowing her to go back to work with no childcare costs. Why on earth would you think it fair that she benefits 100 percent and you benefit 0 percent. That’s madness.”
Do you have any advice for this mum?