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Mother asking for money she spent on grandkids back

217 replies

Timeforachange2018 · 19/04/2018 06:27

My mother came down at half term for 3 days to look after my 2 kids. I am grateful she did as it saved me 3 days in school club fees.
I bought lots of food and made sure there was enough of everything in the house.
My mother decided on a couple of occasions to take the kids out for lunch & to go out & about.
Spoke to her yesterday & she asked me for all the money back that she had spent on the kids including the train fair. I was a bit shocked but now I am wondering if aibu.
We are quite skint at the moment and this is why I asked her to come down- we took her out for a meal when she was here to say thankyou aswell.
Her & her husband have just renovated a new house & spent 50k doing it up, as she told me. We rent and are just about getting by and she knew that was the reason I asked her to come down.
She said to me last night that they are pensioners so don’t have much money despite just moving house. She only sees my kids twice a year anyway.
I just don’t know what to think- I feel really upset - apart from anything I don’t have the money to give back to her anyway.

OP posts:
TodayImThisName · 19/04/2018 10:04

Ohh, that’s awkward. Did you discuss anything beforehand? Has she watched them before?

Timeforachange2018 · 19/04/2018 10:07

Thanks for all your comments.

We paid for the meal out of vouchers that I was given fo Xmas by my dad (but obvs i didn’t tell my mother that)

I honestly wish I had now put the kids in school club. My mother complains that we don’t see her enough - we live 250 miles away and both work full time so it is tricky. At Xmas I asked to go up for a few days & see her with the kids and she said no as it wasn’t convenient. I genuinely don’t just ask for free childcare - I want my kids to have a relationship with her but it’s very tricky!

OP posts:
Wdigin2this · 19/04/2018 10:07

What kind of grandparent takes their grandkids out, and then asks for repayment of expenses???
She must have realised that the whole point of her being there, was to save you money on childminding costs, so if she couldn't afford to take the kids out, why did she do it? I'd be quite frank with her, tell her that you never intended her to incur costs, and that there was plenty of food in the house anyway. Explain that you thought she'd enjoy just spending time with the grandkids, and that it would also help you out financially, and in any case you don't have the money to reimburse her....end of!

Wheresthebeach · 19/04/2018 10:16

She should have raised it at the time, before the money was spent, rather than after. Then you could have explained what you could, and couldn't afford with the kids.

There's nothing wrong with packed lunches on days out so eating out is a luxury, not a necessity.

Sounds like your step father is stirring. Just say no and don't invite her again. Wait for her to ask to come, and then be very clear about who is paying for what.

Wheresthebeach · 19/04/2018 10:17

Oh...and I'd let her worry about her relationship with her grand children. They'll be fine without her.

Nanny0gg · 19/04/2018 10:18

Oh...and I'd let her worry about her relationship with her grand children. They'll be fine without her.


Mightymucks · 19/04/2018 10:21

I’m not saying she didn’t know she was looking after the grandchildren, she clearly did. But the OP says:

We rent and are just about getting by and she knew that was the reason I asked her to come down.

The OP hasn’t said ‘Mum, we’d really love to see you, do you fancy popping down’. She’s said ‘Mum I can’t afford holiday care so I want you to come down here at your own expense to save me money’. Which she has done.

And then at the end of the week the daughter you have gone to quite a bit of expense to help out because she’s pleaded poverty suddenly decides actually she can afford to pay for the entire family to eat out and also expects you to think that is an appropriate way of showing gratitude? Nope. You’d be thinking ‘I’ve spent all this money coming here looking after your children because you’ve pleaded poverty and it turns out you’re flush enough to be eating out’.

And as I said. Trains run in two directions. If she only sees her grandchildren twice a year the Gran is not the only person responsible for that. And given that at least one of these occasions is when she’s wanted for childcare and the OP has been quite open about that I think she would be quite entitled to feel a bit used.

Americantan · 19/04/2018 10:23

My experience has taught me that often when people do you a favour financially, it’s always done in the expectation of payback in some way. I was badgered into letting my sister pay for a mini break for both of us. Everyone including her said “give her the gift of treating you” (I couldn’t have afforded the trip and repeatedly refused for weeks). Trip was great but then in the following months I realised I was expected to splash out on her family as payback. It could even have been subconscious on my sister’s part. If I could have afforded to splash out, I’d have paid for the mini break myself in the first place! I will never again give someone the gift of treating me! Despicable from OP’s mother.

Janel85 · 19/04/2018 10:23

Wow, sorry your mother has behaved like this, it sounds like spending time with her grandkids was an inconvenience to her. I would explain to her that you asked her because you needed help, you didn’t expect her to take them out and spend money on them, which is why you provided lots of food indoors, and if she was intending to take them out and would be wanting the money back then she should have told you in advance that you couldn’t afford to pay her back, I’d also tell her you find her attitude towards her own grandchildren is not good enough and it really hurts your feelings that she doesn’t give hem as much of her time as the grandchildren she isn’t even related to, that may sound harsh but that’s how I’d feel.

supercalifragilisticexpiali · 19/04/2018 10:25

The OP doesn’t “need” to do anything. Her mother needs to apologise for being a grabby granny. No one knows whether it’s the stepfather pulling strings or whether the mother is just s greedy cow. Regardless, she asked for money for looking after her grandchildren and didn’t say she expected payment beforehand.

GeminiWarrior · 19/04/2018 10:26

I’d be gutted if my mum did that. She should have explained beforehand that she’s not got money at the moment to pay for the activities and not expect a refund after.
Don’t ask her to help again.

gunnergirl · 19/04/2018 10:28

i have my dgd all the time every Thursday to help with childcare I would never dream of asking for money aaand neither did my mum when she helped out I find this a bit weird how grandparents are like this

FriendlyOcelot · 19/04/2018 10:30

God this is awful! My DM has a bit of a crappy attitude in terms of begrudgingly doing anything with no strings but even she wouldn’t behave like this! I really hope you use this opportunity to raise what sounds like a pre-existing grievance with her and her husband. How bloody dare they treat you like shit just because you can’t treat them like his precious son does? Shock
Fuck keeping the peace op, I’d be having words and nipping this behaviour in the bud.

sockunicorn · 19/04/2018 10:35

@timeforachange2018 I wouldn't give her the ammunition of just saying you couldn't afford it. I would personally reply to her saying you had not expected these costs or would have said so when the days out were happening. Would she mind if you paid her back monthly/weekly. Then I wouldnt have her watch them again. Shes showing you no respect and is, quite frankly, just mean, so I wouldn't want her near my children

Tinkobell · 19/04/2018 10:36

I’d tackle it by asking her if she enjoyed her stay? Enjoyed spending time with the kids? Did she find the food that you’d left ok? Then I’d act a bit hurt and pay up. I think the biggest weapon that you can wield on this is guilt. Because the behaviour is despicable given your individual circumstances but they’ll be no winners from an outright warfare. You can pick friends, sadly not family! Learn from it moving forward.

Fruitcorner123 · 19/04/2018 10:40

I think what akkakk said is perfect.

I didn't have much money in the holidays so we did some arts and crafts, some baking, watched films and played computer games and we nipped out to the park or library when it was dry for half an hour. If money was tight for your DM she could have done the same.

StillMe1 · 19/04/2018 10:41

Why do people think they are entitled to expect Grandparents to provide free childcare?
I am happy to take children on trips out and pay for all expenses but I am not so happy that this Grandparent seems only to be wanted to provide free child care. This Grandmother is only considered twice a year as being a person to visit but she is expected to travel 250 miles when the daughter OP wants free child care.
Very little being said about the daughter OP being cheeky enough to expect to save money by having mum round rather than pay to have her own children taken care of.
The grandmother will be fine without a demanding daughter

whatwouldkeithRichardsdo2 · 19/04/2018 10:41

I'd give the train fare and say she made the choice to eat out. Thats on her. I'd also not ask again.

Juells · 19/04/2018 10:41

Oh come on, Mightymucks

My daughter quite often asks me to go and stay to look after her dogs. She leaves food for them, and food for me. I wouldn't ask for petrol money for getting to her house, or petrol money for taking the dogs for walks, because I love her and want to help.

This is just spiteful shit. I'd definitely go NC after this. Plus which, I'd never allow my children to be viewed as the poor relations who aren't as important as the children from a wealthier family. Fuck that. How to give your kids an inferiority complex. Stop contact, so that it's your choice rather than hers.

OliviaStabler · 19/04/2018 10:41

Dear Mother,

While it was lovely for the kids and myself to see you on your recent stay, and as I said at the time we were grateful that you came to help us, I must confess I was rather taken aback to hear that you wanted money from us. I simply do not have any money to give you.

I ensured that there was enough food and anything else that you required for that week at home. If you wanted reimbursement for activities that you decided of you own free will to take the children to, then you should have discussed this with me before taking them out.

If you insist, I will pay for your train fare but I will have to do this at a nominal amount per week. However I hope on reflection that you will reconsider your request.


Wheresthebeach · 19/04/2018 10:51

Olivia's response is good.

Oh...and if, by some crazy chance, the meal out was the trigger I'd make it clear that you used gift vouchers to pay for her. If you give her a penny, ask for a reimbursement for the meal out, and the food she ate at the house.

balsamicbarbara · 19/04/2018 10:52

I feel a bit upset on your behalf really, that is so mean for her to do. Personally I would tell her that and if she reacts badly avoid her in future as that is not motherly at all.

The only time I'd consider her approach reasonable is if you were literally using her as a childminder while you worked or during holidays for a long period of time but definitely not a once off like this.

ForkIt · 19/04/2018 10:53

My Mum had these tendencies, partly due to some really skewed lack of awareness of social norms I reckon. It focused a lot on very sporadic ‘help’ a lot, but was anything but. A big drama telling people but then stuff that wasn’t helpful, eg taking one of three out from 1-3 which meant it was nearly impossible to do anything with the other two before she got back, or babysitting offers only when the kids had paid for activities. Or tagging along for days out, dictating times and being fussy etc. An then hearing constantly from everyone how lucky I was to have her helping so much.

She has got way better since I made a short and clear stand and REALLY spelt it out. Something like:

Hi Mum, thank you but I do not need ‘help’ with the kids at all, I am happy taking them all out anytime and I’m lucky I have great friends for childcare swaps. However if you just want to see us you are always welcome, I don’t mind picking you up or you can come to ours- just ask and I’ll tell you when.
I know I don’t treat the kids to cafes etc, it’s too much to sustain regularly and they don’t miss it as they’re not used to it. You are however welcome to take them, though they’re just as happy here or in the park and I can’t generally afford to pay l it.
(Then extra waffle about inc SEN child too)

It worked really well surprisingly

LeighaJ · 19/04/2018 10:56

Your Mother is being unreasonable, you made sure there was enough food for her to not need to go out with the kids, she made a choice on her own to take them out anyway so that was a choice to spend her own money. Her asking for the money back is extremely rude and petty.

Giovanna75 · 19/04/2018 10:56

I would feel sad/ mad if this happened to me. I would pay her back & not ask her again. Just not worth the angst. Feel for you OP Flowers

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