How to handle this awkward situation... Mother, DH and house....(65 Posts)
Ok so here is the background DM has helped out with childcare for the past couple of years, 1 day a week in school time. We've been extremely grateful and throughout this time we've always helped out with her and DFs jobs around the house, shopping, looking after house and dog when away etc etc. It's just been a typical family thing!
Now DM and DF have just got a big extension on their house, it needs floors laying, plastering and decorating throughout, as well as a replacement of the kitchen. DH is very capable of all these things - its what he does as a self employed person. DM and DF are now expecting DH to do all this work without any pay as a payback favour for the childcare. I'm a bit taken back by this as 1) I didn't realise they were counting up the hours for repayment - I've never had an issue with helping them out etc but this is something else? 2) It'll take DH about a month of work, on his own - no help, that means a month of him not earning and we can't really afford that and turning down other jobs from regualr customers, 3) I dislike the expectation and pressure on DH when they didn't ever ask just presumed. When I tried to gently raise it they said we owed them and when DH offered to put in time at weekends if they brought in other people to do big jobs they said we were ungrateful.
DM has always been a bit tricky but I feel like this could lead to a family fallout... I know they've been good to us, and I want to return the favour, but genuinely can't afford it at the moment!
Yes! DM and DF are not, nor have they ever been struggling for money. they really don't get 'not affording' things! They know I've a good job and DH does ok, but they seem to forget the mortgage we pay, childcare costs for two children, etc!!!
This is ridiculous. Bloody hell.
When they agreed to help you out one day a week with childcare, was there any conversation about you having to pay them back in any way?
Another example of why it's better just to use nurseries.
I would explain to them that you didn't realised you "owed" them for childcare and that you can't afford to lose your dh's income so that he can complete their home.
And if they get in a strop about that then well, they are very odd people. And I wouldn't ever involve them in favours ever again.
I'd be honest- you didn't expect the childcare to be held over your heads as this wasn't made clear, you thought that this was a 'family helping family' arrangement. Of course you can't afford to do it- do they realise that your DH would be giving up a month's salary?!
... And obviously, source childcare elsewhere immediately.
Horrible conversation to have to have, but I think you should explain that yu didn't realise they would expect repayment. You realise you are indebted to them for childcare, now, but you will need to pay them back with a favour you can actually afford, and this isn't it.
I would agree on a one day a week basis. They do one day a week for you dh can do one day a week for them.
Sharp look elsewhere I'm sure
They don't do childcare anymore and in all honesty it wasn't about us not being able to afford the childcare (but it helped us out for sure) they wanted the time with DS and requested which I'm a bit more annoyed about it. DF I think is more amenable about it but DM is just set on this is what is happening!
You can't afford it so DH can't do it. Simple.
Just keep reiterating that DH is happy to help out at weekends to help get it sorted and leave it at that.
If they get stroppy and argumentative then thats their lookout and you can back the hell away from them.
If you really want to press the point, you can tally up childcare days then tally up what you have done for them and spell it out for them, but I really wouldn't bother.
Draw your line, and stick to it. Keep reiterating your position and if they want to get angry about it let them do it to an empty room!!
Tell them what you can afford and that you hadn't realised it was an exchange of labour rather than a favour from your parents.
And get different childcare.
Like napqueen said, but I would propose 3 hours a week.
That is as much as your dh could reasonably do on top of his usual job, so that is what I would offer. More would either mean cutting down on his work, with the financial consequences for you, or overstraining his body (it's a physical job!)
If they are happy to stay living in a building site for the time it would take to do it on that basis, then fair enough!
Say no , you can't afford to do it
You've helped each other out
Well if they worked for you 1 day a week to make it 'fair' he should work for them 1 day a week. So the job should be done in about 30 weeks! Fair's fair.
How ridiculous! I would be so disappointed in them.
I am ilikepinacoladas I'm really disappointed in them. I love them dearly but this is just ridiculous and I feel now DM has her bit between the teeth on it so to speak she won't let go!
Legally speaking, they cannot claim that you owe them anything unless an agreement was made BEFORE they started providing childcare - eg. "We will look after your child one day a week, in return for which, we would like x,y,z" - and you both agreed to it.
Obviously it's family and I get that you want to keep good relations but this thing of "owing" them is a nonsense. There is no contract and you don't owe them a thing.
If you can't afford it, then you can't afford it and that is that.
Yep, I'd explain that you can't afford to lose his salary and customers for a month, but he can help out at weekends.
Then offer one day a week, since that's what they did for you.
Your poor DH, he must feel like crap!
TBH I think I'd just have the conversation and let the implosion happen.
"You said you wanted to spend time with DS, not that you were doing us a favour that had to be repaid! You saved us £xy per week so I will pay off the debt at £xy per week for the next z weeks"
It clearly hasn't occurred to them that what they have saved you in childcare is far less than your DH loss of earnings!
Just say that you can’t afford it and DH will fit in as much as he can, when he can. If he can’t do it for them in the timescale they want then they’ll get fed up and hire someone.
They ae being massively unreasonable and if they don't get the whole not earning for a month is not on, then bloody well tell them! They ar ridiculous! You don't get payback for wanting to look after your grandchildren.
What a horrible awkward situation. I would feel very let down and saddened by this too. You're going to have to woman up and be the adult you are. Your mum may have the bit in her teeth but she'll have to swallow what you tell her, which is that you can't afford to lose a month's wages. She may not like it, but she can't change it.
Have you told your DM how disappointed you are that she's essentially turned a grandparent/grandchild relationship into a commercial transaction?
I would be very upset if my DM did something so dishonest - your DM and your DF led you to understand that they were happy to do it for no payment while all the time storing up a favour tally inside their heads. Basically they've blatantly lied to you.
I like the idea of doing one day a week or paying them the equivalent cost of child care, one day a week.
I would also say that since you can't afford to pay them back in one go, then you'd best not take the kids to see them as you don't want to get into further debt.
You poor thing, it's pretty shitty to think your mum/parents saw having DS at their request as something you 'owed' them for.
It's going to cause grief no matter what happens, so I'd say 'Really Mum? You asked to have DS, we thought you wanted to spend time with him. I'm sorry that's not the case, I'll remember that in future. We have done lots to help you & Dad out too, as I thought that was what families did for each other. Given that's not hiw you feel, best we all stick to sorting ourselves out'.
Then let her crack on with ranting, shouting, sulking, crying - whatever her protest of choice is.
Do not cave in.
My Aunty & Uncle just had their kitchen fitted by their DS (his trade). They paid him the going rate for his labour & trade price for all the stuff. As they said, he is too busy to do it in his spare time & can't afford to take weeks unpaid doing it!
As others have said. Tell them that he can only afford to do one day a week unpaid and explain that at that rate it will take 6 months? Offer that he could do it quicker with help and that he can afford to give them a 20% discount.
If this is out of character for your parents then they may just not realise how big a job it is and quite how much they are asking. It doesn't sound like you've had a big falling out about this yet so I think you're best trying to get your mum to see the practical ramifications of what she is asking.
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