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Spending Time With Grand Children Equals Money To This Mother-In-Law

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One of the most challenging relationships to deal with is the dreaded “Mother-In-Law”. You may be the one to choose the love of your life, but the family that comes with it isn’t. Some families are amazing to blend with and others are not. And, when kids are brought into the picture, that can cause more issues. The way each person wants them raised is what they should be eating and what their achievements should look like.

Although, some daughters-in-law look forward to the help of another caring mother to look after their child. But, let this be known, there is quite the difference between the child being brought over to see grandma here and there to expect the grandparents to watch them every day while they work. This Mother-In-Law is in the latter situation and is now known as the mother-in-law that expects money in return for watching the kids.

Mother in Law holding Baby
image via Bricolage/Shutterstock

Amy’s Story

Amy writes a letter to Brightside to share her story. She has been married for 10 happy years and brought a beautiful now 6-month-old baby into the world. She says that she and her husband both work full-time jobs. Her working at an office and her husband is at home. She goes on to explain that her mother-in-law who is retired, offered to look after the baby while they worked. Of course, Amy and her husband were happy to get the help and knew they could trust his mom. Amy Says “she has a way with kids.” “I truly appreciate her time and devotion, and everything she does.” Along with the help she received from her watching the baby, cooking and cleaning.

“How dare my Mother-In-Law asks for money for quality time?”

It must have come to shock Amy when her mother-in-law “dared” to ask for money for watching the baby. She requested them to pay her a payment per hour wage for the time she looked after the baby. Amy’s husband on the other hand agreed that his mom should be paid. Just think about how much it would cost to pay for professional help, it would be way more expensive. Amy was completely torn on the idea of how to handle the situation.

MCC: Mother-In-Law Child Care

Grandparents are normally the ones to have perks when it comes to caring for their grandbabies. The mom and dad can finally kick back and relax while the kiddos get the attention and care that they need. I for example am not so keen on the idea of a stranger looking after my kids. I would like for you to understand that I mean a child who is cared for on the regular or full-time. So is the case with Amy and her mother-in-law. Normally an occasional visit wouldn’t require a payment, but in this situation, I can see why Amy is confused.

Awkward Conversation

Money is a very tough subject to talk about whether you are the one asking or someone is asking you. Some grandparents would like the pay for the amount of time but refuse to ask because it is a touchy subject. So, this is why it is very important to have open discussions about it. Even though they are family, babysitting is a full-time job that requires one to cook, clean, entertain, and even involve buying food, toys, etc. Some may find it insane to charge for watching a family member, but some may have a change of mind when their time gets taken up a little too much.

Expressing Gratitude

Be sure to express to family members and grandparents who look after your kiddos. They are sparing their time and devotion for you and their grandchildren. You can show appreciation by making cards, bringing flowers, baking food, helping with chores or bills, etc. This also includes the grandparent’s need for a vacation or breaks from watching the kids. When you being to expect things out of others, it will start to make them feel like their being taken advantage of. This will slowly cause an individual to become upset and build resentment. Expressing your gratitude for their time, and offering gifts or payment in return will surely avoid any harsh encounters and negative outcomes.

Mother-In-Law Payment For Babysitting

If a family member or grandparent decides they want compensation for watching your kids, then make sure to be very clear with any guidelines. Make sure to come to an agreement on an amount. You can choose to base this on daycare employees, or babysitters in the area where you live. Make sure to take into account the number of kids, their ages, specialty care that they may need (such as health conditions needing extra attention), and if extra chores such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, driving, etc are involved. Decide if the pay will be given at the end of each day, week, month, etc. You can offer breaks or time off for vacation too. Also, make sure you are reimbursing grandparents for any food, toys, gas, and activities they buy for your kids.

As a parent myself, I can understand how incredibly exhausting child care can be. Because the grandparents are the ones looking after your kids, make sure you can do things to make it easier on them. Plan activities that require them to watch or don’t put too much strain on them. You can set up a day at the Zoo or Movies by buying tickets, etc. Bring any toys, or supplies they may need so they don’t have to dip into their own money.

Communication Is Key!

It is so important to make sure that your kids know who is in charge no matter who is watching them. Some kids may feel more spoiled when in the presence of certain adults. Grandparents tend to spoil their grandkids, so make sure that they know who makes the rules when you are away. If you have specific rules, make sure it goes the same at grandma and grandpa’s house. For example, doing homework before activities, no desserts before dinner, and a scheduled bedtime.

Always remember that sometimes grandparents and others can’t babysit, so don’t make them feel bad for not being able to. Each person has their own life, schedule, hobbies, etc. The pleasure of watching over grandkids should not feel like a burden to them. So, be sure to check-in and make sure they are still feeling up for babysitting every now and then. If something important comes up, make sure to rearrange your schedule so the grandparent can do what they need to do. In the end, it is a must to have open and ongoing conversations about certain topics to avoid any misunderstandings. You want to make sure that everyone agrees and everyone is happy.

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I am a mom of 3 awesome boys that love to get crafty with me in the kitchen. Our blog is full of all sorts creative food ideas for the Holidays, Party Ideas, Free Printables, Featured DIY Ideas, Recipes, & Kids Craft Ideas! Read more...

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I can’t believe she said “dared” to ask for payment.  I can’t believe she expected her mil to babysit an infant and “help she received from her watching the baby, cooking and cleaning.”  She would have had to pay a large amount for anyone else to watch her child!  I had 6 children and my mom babysat for me many times and she was paid!


My first born I took with me to work I had a separate office managing wanting twopharmacies. But when she turned 14 months old she was distracting at work.
My in laws said they would take care of her , I had my qualms but thought maybe she would learn Spanish as her dad and his family were from Puerto Rico. Things went smoothly for a few months when the baby turned 2 she stopped wanting momma or to come home with us without a battle. My MIL also gave her café de Leche and she loved it. So finally at 18 months I quit my job and stayed home to raise my daughter. When the other 2 grandkids came a long the inlaws moved back to Puerto Rico. Then groaned they never got to see us this was 45 years ago but even I was smart enough to know not to travel with 3 kids under 7 to a place I had never been .
So now I have my own grandkids ages 3 1/2, 11 months and 7 weeks. They have their care managed the first 2 are my youngest daughter and her husband he works days she works nights no outside care from day one.

Of course she should be paid.  It would be paid work for anyone else.   I can understand occasionally it might be done out of love only (and free) but otherwise it us taking advantage of the person.   How would these parents feel if anyone asked them to babysit all the while they worked — for free???

Pay the grand parent!  Stop whining about it.  If you don’t, your gonna pay someone else.  This is only fair.  Grand parents are NOT free babysitters so that you can go out and make money.  Pay just as you would if you had to go to a daycare.

I agree with paying the Mother-in-Law some kind of compensation, especially if she is watching them M-F, as a normal daycare facility would.  Doesn’t matter if she’s retired and has “free time” to do it.  It’s presumptuous to assume that she doesn’t have anything else to do!  Granted, she might be cheaper than daycare; but if you trust her services over a daycare, then having that peace of mind about your child’s welfare is PRICELESS!

I get the “she doesn’t have anything better to do” vibe when they ask. Grandparents have already raised their children, and I can’t blame this MIL for requesting payment, as she’s offering time that she could be accomplishing something else that she wanted to do when she was tied down with kids. It angers me so when ‘they assume’ you will do it, this is so not fair. My youngest has a 2 month old and she asked me months before her arrival to sit for her. I politely declined, as I know that the toddler stage will come, and I feel I just can’t handle that this time around. I do help probably more than I should with my oldest daughter but they are 5, 8, and 10–easy to entertain and it’s not all week. No payment, she is trying to get out from under a nasty separation/divorce. Again, PLEASE do not assume they are going to do it for you and for free.!!! I wonder if ‘they’ will do it for free when they are Grandparents???

If you pay the MIL then give her a 1099  at the end of the year.  Then deduct the care on your taxes . She will have to declare on her taxes the amount on the 1099.

They would have to pay someone else and even if it is your grandchild it ties you down and keeps you from doing something else you might want to do. Also she loves  him/her so you know they are well taken care of.

My mother babysat my kids when they were younger while i worked.  I pad her a daily amount. No way did i expect her to do it for free –   she is not obligated and was giving up other activities to watch them – my younger brother also paid her when she watched his kids – nno one should expect them to do it free of charge if you are working – its usually less money than a normal sitter and you get better care.  

My son and his wife paid me for watching my grandson. I put the money into a savings account for my grandson.


If your mother in law could use the money you should offer it to her. If she s already doing well financially that is another subject but Atleast do something it’s not an easy job and cooking and cleaning too   A nanny costs a fortune. So I wouldn’t take advantage

It should not matter how much money the MIL has she should be paid.  And what an awful DIL to think she owes her anything.  The teenager down the street would charge you and would you feel as safe as when they are with your MIL  Husband is right stop being selfish.

I enjoy looking after my grandchildren & think of it as a privilege. I have told my children that my babysitting is their birthday, Christmas & Easter presents so I don’t give anything on these special days. Win win situation for everyone, I believe.

Another good way to do it!

Take care of those who take care of you! Why should she even have to ask for goodness sake! Peace and blessings.

I totally understand how the grand parent feels. I love my grandchildren so, so much. I’ve always looked after them no matter what. I don’t expect anything in return and i’ve always been on the bones of my bum with money and have struggled after loosing my job by being angered in the Christchurch Earth Quake for over 11 years now. I don’t expect anything for looking after them. Something every now and then would be nice. Two of my per-school aged grand children stayed for 4 days while their parents went out of town for their friends wedding. The girls were very sick while their parents were away. Through the night several times violently through all their bedding on two nights they were away. I got very tired and had to do tuns of washing and get it dry for their next night as they were still sick and I ran out of the bedding for them. I would have been fine had I had enough bedding. The parents were traveling there and back home by road, before they left there to come home they messaged me and said they were on there way home which should take around 4 hours. 3 hours later I got another message saying they were stopping for a rest, all good I thought at the time. another 3 hours later they were not home. I was starting to worry so I messaged them again as I was tired and falling asleep also not feeling well I told them in a message. There reply was they would be home in about 2 hours. I was then annoyed. to be told they stopped off at some hot pools and spent hours relaxing.
This was not the first time they did stuff and were gone for ages and doing things for them selves. I never received anything in apparition for looking after the girls or even the other older children. I stood up to them in the last year.
Now they will not let me see either of now 3 younger children I have and they will not even reply when I message them.

I bet she was fine with babysitting and helping out until she felt like she was being used and not appreciated

I absolutely agree….pay her!!
My MIL watched my 3 kids when I went to work when my youngest started kindergarten. I was very fortunate to be able to stay at home with them, but as my youngest would now be in school, it was time for me to go back to work. I didn’t trust many, including my own mother, to watch my girls. I also was primary care giver to my husband’s Grandmother. So, my MIL would be at my house from about 8am-330pm. My girls were at school when she got there and I would get home within a half hour of them coming home, but she was there to watch her mother and Incase one of the kids couldn’t go to school or in times of days off, breaks and summertime. She charged me a very modest fee, but I gladly paid her as I had piece of mind while I was at work, that the kids would be safe and taken care of, and also that my husband’s Grandmother was not alone(she was in her mid80’s at the time.
Yes, I basically paid my MIL to stay with her own mother……and occasionally have my kids. It was worth it and I’d do it again and again. She did get to a time when she was no longer able to do this, and she told me as soon as it was becoming an issue, and I had no hard feelings or problems with my MIL, I put in my 2 weeks notice that day. She did me a great favor for almost 2 yrs and her pay was always the first “bill” that came out of my check. If it wasn’t for her, I probably would not have worked those 2 yrs at all. It was more that her mother was now requiring more care than she could handle alone, so it was time for me to be back home to take care of my household.
If a grandparent can and wants to watch their grandkids for free, then great for you, but I absolutely feel they deserve compensation for all they do, especially since your kids are with someone you and trust children trust!!

I am a “babysitting MomMom.” Thankfully I do not need any payment for it. I do it because I do not want strangers with my grandchildren when I am available. I am also very happy to help my children all I can. When I raised my children I often wished my mother or mother-in-law would help me, and they very rarely did. I know how hard it is to find someone you trust with your children. Do I sacrifice my own life? It is well worth it though to spend the time with my grandchildren. Knowing it will only last for a few years, makes it all worthwhile. All to soon, our grandchildren are grown.

If I had an opportunity like that, coming home to a cooked meal and clean house as well, I would give her whatever she wants!!

I did in-home childcare for almost 25 years and when I retired we moved to a lake to relax and enjoy ourselves.  A few months later, son and daughter-in-law show up middle of week and present us with a pregnancy test and said “Well, now you retired and moved and we are pregnant!”.  So I said I would watch the baby.   They lived 50 miles away so I went down Tuesday, spent night, went home Wednesday evening, and went back down for Friday.  I did this for two years and then they used a daycare.  Then the second child was born and I did the same for her until she was almost two and had to stop because of my husband’s health issues (he came first!).  I asked for $50 a week to help pay for the gas and wear and tear on my car.  I also helped with cleaning, laundry, sometimes meals and errands, and pets.  We went on trips to library, parks, and other activities.  I did educational activities and outside games, music and lots of art projects like I did with my in-home childcare.  I love my grandkids (also watched a third one who is now an adult)  and love spending time and doing activities with them but I feel asking for some help with transportation is ok and if other grandmothers ask for a little money, I feel that is ok as well.  Yes, we love spending time with our grandchildren, having fun and watching them grow, but it is also a lot of “enjoyable” work that we are taking time from our retirement lives.  I wouldn’t trade that time with them and I think they appreciate me and the fun times we had a little bit more!!  Lots of good memories that we remember all the time.

Being a MIL myself, I’ve learned a few things about my DIL and my son after the baby was born. When it comes to the baby no matter what I do it is not right or good enough.

My role as MIL was great until my DIL had the baby. Something changed. I didn’t want to be a bother but I visited often. I didn’t push but wanted to have time to bond with the baby. Every time I asked my son to “babysit” he would say he would ask her and then tell me other arrangements had already been made. Maybe if I offered to pay them, maybe I would have been able to watch the baby.

I don’t know why this is made into a big deal. Pay her for her time and work. Otherwise you are exploiting her position as Grandma.


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