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Grandmother Refused To Babysit Her Newborn Grandkid For Free Because She 'Already Raised Her Own Kids'

Photo: Smolina Marianna / Shutterstock
grandmother holding newborn grandkid

According to a 2018 survey, at least 25% of parents utilize their own parents as primary childcare. Of these grandparents, about 80% do so for free — which may be why one mother of a newborn was taken aback when her mother asked to be compensated for babysitting her grandchild.

The grandmother refused to babysit her grandkid unless she was getting paid.

"I asked my mom to help me take care of my newborn so I could go back to work once my leave is up. She refused," a woman started off a confessional posted to Reddit.

In her Reddit post, the woman wrote that her mother, who is in her 60s and has been a stay-at-home mother for some time, refused to watch her grandchild after being asked. She argued that she's "already raised her own kids," telling her daughter that if she was going to have a baby, she should've decided to stay home and raise the child as she did.

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"However, we are just coming out of a pandemic, going into a possible recession, there and there is no way my partner and [I] can make it financially on one income," the woman argued.

She explained that she makes $55,000 a year, but has $39,000 in student loans and $20,000 in other debt, such as credit cards, car loans, and medical bills, while her partner makes $36,000 a year and has $5,000 in debt. With the cost of childcare averaging over $10,000 a year, the mom explained that as the "higher breadwinner," she didn't have the option to be a stay-at-home mom.

When she tried to explain to her mother her financial situation, she told her that if she needed someone to watch her newborn, she would need to be paid $20/hour, with late fees if they didn't pick up the baby on time. They would also need to provide her with a car seat, stroller, bottles, and everything else that the baby would need.

"I want to save money to bring down our debt, and don't want to pay her as much nor invest as much in double of everything as it will spiral into more debt for me and my partner," the mom concluded.

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While most grandparents would agree that they enjoy the opportunity to spend more time with their grandkids, it's unfair to expect that they'll do it for free.

As one person wrote in the Reddit comments, "Childcare is work," work that requires time, financial input and mental and physical effort that grandparents may not be willing to put in after a lifetime of working and caregiving, even if they do nothing "besides watch TV and cook meals," as this woman described her mom.

Ultimately, it's the expectation of free childcare that had people calling this mother "entitled."

"She didn't sign up as free childcare just because she is your mom," one person pointed out.

As with most things, it's crucial to discuss expectations with family members prior to having kids whenever possible, as VeryWell Family has noted that failing to do so can make family members feel taken advantage of and lead to resentment on both ends in the long run. 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.