Babysitting for family. WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE?

Carrie - posted on 12/11/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )




My sister has 5 kids ages 14, 8, 7 and almost 1 yr old twins. I have been the only sitter for the twins for the past year. My sister did not work until 3 months ago. Since the twins came, I have watched them every Monday for free just to give my sister a tiny break. I would sometimes also have the other kids especially in the summer. I worked a full-time job then.

However, since June, I have been unemployed. Since I had the time, I began to help her more and more for the summer. Her husband asked me to come more and said he would pay me gas money. But, I had a little savings and money was tight for them, so I didn't expect much. I believe I got $5 a few times and $20 once.

They needed more space and moved in July to a much larger home. I, of course, helped with the move also.

She and BIL immediately began asking me to move into a large extra room. My 18 yr old was still living with me so I declined. But, I still came or she brought babies to me many more days a week so she could look for work.

My sister became employed as a nurse at 3 prn jobs in August.She & I had agreed for me to commit to babysitting the twins 40 hrs/wk for $150, but I explained I had to be able to count on that as a minimum to get by. I was struggling with gas driving to her home everyday and then she needed someone for her other kids after school, so, I took them up on the offer to move in since I was running out of money fast and I was at their home more than my own.

This big house was scarcely furnished, so I agreed to use my things for the whole house. They were thrilled because I had lots of things we tend to accumulate over the years like towels, cookware, dishes, and I had a lot of nice furniture. Everyone was happy because it completed the house and made it very comfortable for all of us. I moved into a small study rather than take over the large room the kids had been using as a tv room.

Our agreement at this point was $150 each week for watching the twins 40 hours. I paid no rent or utilities and contribute with household goods to a reasonable degree. She had a friend she met at one of the schools driving kids home from school. But, that didn't last long and wasn't regular. I must add my sister and her husband own 1 mini van and share it to commute for work. My vehicle will not hold all the kids, either. Therefore, either she got them rides, she or her husband took breaks to get the kids from their schools or on occassion, she'd have me take the twins in her van to get the 7 & 8 yr olds where a friend would walk them to the van, and then we got the 14 yr old from another school. Very hectic! She also had all the kids in activities constantly.

Slowly the problems started. At first, it was me not getting paid on time because she was juggling the new, different jobs and waiting on paychecks. Then, our hours differed on how many hours I had the kids. She was usually at work and her husband was the one to relieve me most days. Many times, I had all 5 kids, especially over holiday break. Sometimes even others who stayed overnight. I never dreamed of asking for any extra money. I love these kids and enjoy them thoroughly. The kids love me living here.

Well, once she got settled a bit more in her work and the kids with school, I began to slow down on the extras. Like the times I keep the kids just to make something easier on them, to commute, shop, they got to go to dinner w/o kids, etc. The twins are turning 1 this week, so it's getting easier for them to take out. I've also not cooked and cleaned as much. I clean up after myself always and kids when I am watching them. I'm tired and most weeks I have to ask to be paid...I have bought $100 in groceries, $50 in household supplies like laundry & tp. You use A LOT for a family of now 8!

My BIL is a contractor and the weather began to turn so he was home more and more. I don't get paid for when he is not working, of course. So, i took a job 1 day a week. They didn't like this complaining that if he did work that day, they needed another babysitter and it would complicate things.(the lady from school had offered to babysit anytime) Well, more and more he would not work. I was running very low on money and needed more work, but they would want me to commit to babysitting and then want me to simply understand when it rained and he ended up off for the day. I never complained and never argued about anything.

I've noticed weird things more and more. Like the fact that although she cranks the heat and lets her kids leave lights on for days, she has been shutting off my bedroom light when I go shower. I use the curly efficient bulbs and brought about 15 to use here. She comes into my room while I'm gone and "borrows" my things. Her kids have too. My laptop has been damaged, her husband broke my air compressor and just put it back and said nothing. I still never said a word. I hate arguing and she had been stressed with going back to work.

I found myself needing more ME time and thought maybe it was stressful me being here, on their family, too. So, I began to hang out in my room more, on the net or watching tv. I was sick for 2 weeks as well and maybe a little depressed with it getting dark by 5.

With the holidays coming, I also needed money for gifts, so I took on more days at my job. These things apparently made her mad and yesterday she started being rude when I questioned her about the amount she gave me for babysitting. Mind you, I had to ask like always but this went on till today, 12 days late.

Her husband gave me $65. I had kept the kids 39 hours. They had asked me to keep all the kids the previous weekend both days while they went Christmas shopping.

Now, she says they didn't know I was "charging" them for the weekend and says my hours are wrong. I asked her if she had ASKED me to watch the kids over the weekend or if I had OFFERED. That was a clear indicator that I had been ASKED. She complained that she worries about her kids with me (I had always been told she couldn't trust anyone else) that I was to be getting her kids from school but rarely had and she says she never complained. She screamed at me and said some very horrible things but her main complaint was that I watch the kids and when they come home, I often go to my room. She says I agreed to help raise her kids and be a part of her family. She now tells me she wants me out. She says I don't pay my way, don't contribute and don't help clean. I asked her to stop screaming. She would not.

Since I moved in, I have not gotten $150 any week.

I have not even had a key to the house much of this time. I feel completely uprooted and taken advantage of. I had turned down other work Friday and Monday then he didn't work. After being upset quietly in my room all night, she comes to my room this morning as if I knew he was indeed working today. It rained until late last night and no one had asked me to be available.

They put the kids in the car and left. In 30 mins she returns with the twins and the lady from school the lady's husband and sends the twins with them. Before they left, she comes in my room and throws down the remaining babysitting money she had argued about (not for the weekend hours though) and says "services paid services rendered" yes, that was the way she said it....


It is a day until the twins' birthday and here comes Christmas!!!!


Tracie - posted on 12/13/2012




It's time to get your own life back. You are being taken advantage of - big time. Take YOUR furniture, cookware, all your belongings and move out. Just because you don't live with them doesn't mean you still can't be a part of the kids' lives. You can still have them over to your place for a visit (no charge!) whenever you want, but then you can also have your grown up alone time, too. You can still see them at holidays, birthdays, etc. Your sister needs a wake up call about how good she's had it. This is HER family, HER responsibility, not yours.

Just to try and keep the peace, don't leave in anger. Just sweetly, calmly tell your sister that it's not working out for you and you need your own space. You love her and the kids and still want to be a part of their lives. Hopefully she will not be vindictive about it.

Best of luck to you!!

Teressa - posted on 12/12/2012




I have been through this with friends and family and sometimes they are the first ones to screw you. You were being nice because it was family, but you had an agreement. The first time they did not follow through with it, you should have spoken up. by letting things go and slowly letting them add things to your plate without discussing a plan or a payment was to see how far they could take things with you and you not saying anything only showed them that you were ok with it. Now if she wants you out so bad, please remember that she is the one asking you to leave. You can still love and care for the kids but do not feel guilty because you need money to survive yourself. The next time you agree to watch anyone's children, put it in writing what all the terms are. and anything extra you must be compensated for unless you say don't worry about it or you don't have to pay me. Whatever you decide make sure that the children understand that it has nothing to do with them and you love them no matter what. I hope this helps you.


View replies by

Katee - posted on 12/14/2012




I would 1st, talk to her & say you need to pick up more hours at work. save alil bit of money & get out of there. Maybe your brother & kids can help. They must need to see & feel the cost of paying their own way, with daycare, furniture & everything else you have contributed. There is no excuse for her or her husband's behavior. Start your exit strategy, keep in mind she may tyr to keep kids from you. Bottom line, her life is her responsibility not yours.

Carrie - posted on 12/14/2012




I mean, I have more furniture and things here than they do...It will be a HUGE job just to move. And, I would be leaving their home very empty...

Carrie - posted on 12/14/2012




Thank you all so much for taking the time to help me! I am just in such a bad position. I gave up a wonderful place that was the most affordable in our area and now, it's winter time. I know if I move, I will be doing by myself. And, I don't know where I'll go. The past couple days, I have went about my business as usual. I cooking up a beef stew for everyone two nights ago and never even heard a think you.The babies' birthdays are today and yesterday and so there will be a party over the weekend which adds to everything. I am sure she has more than likely made me out to be a horrible person to our friends and family. Our brother, who dislikes her ways, works with BIL daily and has had his share of their ways. He has good advice, but doesn't live here. At one point, before the move, they had asked what if I moved in to an apartment that shares their driveway(they kept trying to get me to move here period). I know they needed help but I saw no point in me doing that and it costing me more(this area is much higher in utilities) This house is 4000sq ft so there is plenty of room. I just don't see how she can believe she is justified in treating me this way. I have no choice but to force a sit down conversation pronto, but I dread it. She will not be quiet and let anyone talk and he is like her pet and will never speak up even when she is being horrible.

Any advice on how to approach the talk??? She seems to forget I bought $400 groceries for their home in August and just things like that. Things that I could care less about until I am under attack. My points are, I am a grown woman. After I babysit, it is entirely up to me what I do with my free time. I should not be cleaning this house after her family of 7. I clean up after myself promptly. (her husband has complained that I should be mopping, sweeping, etc. because he is the only one who does this 80% of the time) I cook the family at least one meal a week, I often clean up the kitchen, finish their laundry, watch extra kids, help with homework, etc.

Holly - posted on 12/14/2012




I agree get your own life back.

I was in a similar situation but I was the reverse. There was no agreement with this person it just started out little. She was living with us because she was a friend and she'd left her SO... so we let her move in for a bit. She wasn't paying rent. She was suppose to get out on her own asap and really no agreement to pay or do anything. Well she offered to watch our children for a date. Then she did it a few more times. Before I knew it well we kinda just assumed she'd watch our children even if she didn't offer. I mean she was living here for free I guess I thought and she always stated how much she loved being around them. She didn't complain and we were happy.

Well until I mentioned she had been here too long and this wasn't a permanent fix after she annoyed me one night with I don't even know what. It was something valid and even though I liked the perk of her living here and watching my kids once or twice a week for an hour or two really when it came down to it I wanted her out anymore. So we got into a bickering match. She of course, rightly so, pointed out that she didn't do nothing she did afford us to go on dates again by watching the kids. Well regardless we were fighting and I told her I was done and she needed to find a place ASAP.

It wasn't that I was trying to take advantage of her. To be honest had I charged her rent the babysitting would have still been a better deal for her. But I really had grown tired of someone else being in my home even though I liked her and wished her no ill will. I was VERY thankful she watched our kids. . . but I didn't like having a house guest like that. I guess some people do but I didn't. All sorts of little things change that you never count on.

Maybe your sister is like me and isn't a let people live with her and like it kinda person. I would personally get myself out. I wouldn't be mean about it or anything I'd just say this isn't working out and for the sake of our relationship it's best if I do leave . . . gather my things and get out on my own. Biggest hugs in the world. This has to be even harder dealing with a sister and not just a friend.

Carrie - posted on 12/11/2012




I apologize this is so incredibly long. I am so upset and just need some advice but needed the entire situation to be understood. I am beside myself . I love these kids so much and they will be so upset if I leave them. I know my sister is very stressed but I have made is as easy of a transition as I can for her. I am in my 40s and have already raised my own family and enjoy my breaks and alone time. I spend a lot of time with the family. I just feel very hurt and unappreciated. I know I have done too much and she's gotten used to it. Regardless, she is an intelligent person and I cannot see how she doesn't see how she is treating me isn't right. Daycare for just the twins would be $400/week and she would be dragging them out everyday in the cold. I just hate this all happening!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms