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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:
Hairyfairy01 · 19/04/2018 11:02

Could it be that her new husband has made her request this in any way? Could he be resentful that she spent ‘his / their’ money on your kids and now she needs to pay him back? Was he annoyed that she ‘left’ him to look after your kids?

Not that it makes it ok in anyway, just thinking of the possibilities.

How have you left it with your mum?

Aeroflotgirl · 19/04/2018 11:06

What a nasty cow, tell her you wouldn't have asked, if she expected money. She did not talk about charging before she came. I would tell her to do one, and go NC with her.

Mightymucks · 19/04/2018 11:08

OP, you’re getting some awful advice on here. Your mother is obviously pissed off anyway and if you go in like a bull at a gate insisting you are the injured party you risk your relationship ending entirely.

Your mother is clearly trying to make a point. I doubt she even expects you to pay her any of this money and has just done this to make a point about the money she spent.

By your own admission you don’t take your children to visit her often or have much to do with her. And you only saw her on this occasion because it was convenient for you and saved you money.

You told your Mum you needed her to come because of your financial difficulties and that you are ‘only just getting by’ in your words. Then at the end of the week you suddenly have enough money for the whole family to be eating out. Even if someone is better off than you it’s not nice to feel you’ve been taken for a ride and fibbed to.

I think she is sending you a message that she thinks your relationship is all take and no give and she’s had enough of it. If you calmly try and get to the bottom of it and that’s not the case then you can decide to feel injured.

But if it’s not and I’m right I suspect that your DM will break with you entirely including writing you out of any will and declining to help if you feel financially pushed in the future. It sounds like any break in your relationship would hurt you much more than it hurts her.

Viviennemary · 19/04/2018 11:12

I don't think many grandparents would do this. And especially not without telling you in advance that they would come but would expect you to pay the train fare. If she was hard up then I'd pay the money. if she's not hard up then I wouldn't.

IamXXHearMeRoar · 19/04/2018 11:12

Agreed this is crap op but why get into it? Are you able to pay it over the next couple of months or will it really cause problems for you?

Would the club have cost more?

I would take it on the chin this time and in future be very specific by giving the dc their spending money, telling gp where it is and that is all you can afford.

You can feed into the drama here or just be very strict in future and explain in advance about what you can and cannot contribute to.

Incaseofemergencybreakglass · 19/04/2018 11:15

Dear Mother,

Thank you for looking after (names of grandchildren) the other week. They enjoyed their time with you and I hope you enjoyed it too.

If you need me to reimburse you for any expenses associated with such visits, you must make this clear in advance, particularly where these costs are optional, for example going out for meals when there is already food in the house.

As you know, our finances are tight. In fact, the meal out (which was to thank you for what you had done) was paid for out of vouchers I received from another relative at Xmas time.

I had not expected you to bill me for any travel or optional costs any more than I would charge you for our travel or optional costs when we visit you. Nor would I charge you for board and lodging when staying with us.

On this occasion, I will pay for your train fare. This will have to be in installments. In future, I would expect you to tell me in advance if there any costs that you plan to bill to me later.

Your loving daughter

Chelseajunior · 19/04/2018 11:16

Ask her for receipts first! X

Aeroflotgirl · 19/04/2018 11:20

Op offered to come over to see her mum, but was refused as it was was not convenient. Does not sound like her mum makes much effort. I don't think op can afford to pay the money back, as she has stated that she is skint.

Aeroflotgirl · 19/04/2018 11:21

Very good incase, send her that.

SugarMiceInTheRain · 19/04/2018 11:25

I think your response is perfect - clear and calm, without being rude. Sorry you're going through this, I find it mind boggling that a grandparent would do this!

Mummyoflittledragon · 19/04/2018 11:29

She’s a narcissist. Do you want to keep her on side? Much as I would want to send the messages like the one Akkak ha me written, I think I’d go more conciliatory but still keep the NO boundary of refusing to pay. Also send it from the two of you. If your mother is anything like mine, she’s a misogynist so what men say is worth more than women. It also gives you a united front. Perhaps something more along these lines.

Dear mum

We are so grateful for everything that you did looking after the children. They had a wonderful time and haven’t stopped talking about grandmas visit.

Perhaps we didn’t make it clear how grateful we are for everything you have done. For we really are truly grateful.

As you know we are experiencing real financial difficulty and have no spare money to pay for extras. We were only able to take you out because we used a gift voucher to pay. We really wish you had told us you wanted reimbursing for your train fare and trips out as we would have explained that wouldn’t be possible thus preventing you from being out of pocket.

We are really sorry but we do not have the funds to reimburse your stay.

We do love you and hope that we are able to see you soon.

2018 & dh

Mummyoflittledragon · 19/04/2018 11:30

Oops I didn’t see your response doing it on iPhone I missed some pages.

Motoko · 19/04/2018 11:30

mighty you're ignoring that OP used vouchers for the meal. You've also ignored that OP suggested going up to visit her around Christmas, and the mother said no.

You're gaslighting OP, because you're adamant that OP is a user, who only asked her mum down for free childcare, and therefore her mum is being totally reasonable to expect to be paid.

I think OP knows her mum better than you do.

ThumbWitchesAbroad · 19/04/2018 11:36

In all honesty I would tell her you don't have the money, and if she'd checked with you beforehand about you paying for it, then you would have told her not to do it since she's so hard up.

Then don't pay her, and go LC.

Mightymucks · 19/04/2018 11:37

aeroflot, where does she say that? I’ve been through the thread twice and can only see two posts from the OP and she doesn’t mention that in either. In fact she says twice in the OP that she asked her mother to come down.

And I don’t understand the logic on this thread anyway. OPs mother has just moved house and had renovation work done, both expensive events. OP seems convinced this proves that they’re really rich, but just logically wouldn’t you assume someone who had just had some large bills might also be a bit short at the moment?

I just don’t really understand the thinking on this thread that it’s absolutely fine despite that for the OP to assume her Mum is made of money and plead poverty for assistance. But her Mum’s wrong to be pissed off she was told she needed to help via her own time and cash because the OP claimed poverty then be surprised they suddenly seem to have spare cash after all?

supercalifragilisticexpiali · 19/04/2018 11:39

So, when asked, the grandmother should have said no she couldn’t afford it or how much are you going to pay me.

Not wait until she was back home and then charge a fee.

Juells · 19/04/2018 11:45

That's a great letter, it's affectionate and non-confrontational, but makes the salient points.

But if it’s not and I’m right I suspect that your DM will break with you entirely including writing you out of any will 🤣

Dream on. There was never going to be anything coming to OP.
"For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."

MacaroniPenguin · 19/04/2018 11:46

I know it's a cliche but this does need a phone conversation, not an email, however carefully crafted.

Find out if/why your mum is annoyed with you. Put right any misconceptions, eg that you only asked her down because you were broke (which is how your OP reads!) and that you could suddenly afford to treat everyone to a meal out. Say that you were hurt that you couldn't visit at christmas etc. All much better said once than committed to writing to be overanalysed by both parties.

MegMez · 19/04/2018 11:50

You've got some good advice so far. You're not being unreasonable. It would be different if your mum was also struggling financially. If I have my nephew I just pay for him to do what my kids are doing. Even if I take my kids mates with us to a show or something, I pay because it's my decision to take them - their mums offer but I say it's my treat.

My mum and mother in law would never do this. When they take my kids they do stuff that they can afford. We pay them back with meals at our house or taking them out with us other times.

fia101 · 19/04/2018 11:54

Ask whether you can pay in instalments (and add that you'll pay any interest due of course) - is also milk it and ask her to email you her account details (in separate emails and call for security reasons) to make it a big hassle - hopefully she'd realise how tight she has come across

Mummyoflittledragon · 19/04/2018 11:55

Thanks. Daughter of a narcissist here. Had lots and lots of therapy. Getting better at telling mother to eff off in a nice way. Wink

Aeroflotgirl · 19/04/2018 11:59

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

Mightly, if op mother wanted money, the decent thing would have been to tell her beforehand and be upfront about it, not sneaky blindsiding op like she has done here. Especially knowing that op is skint, and cannot pay that money back easily, what an awful thing for a parent to do.

neveradullmoment99 · 19/04/2018 12:05

As others have said, that really is so shit of your mum. If she couldn't have afforded to take them out, she shouldn't have. What a rubbish thing to do. I would explain that you are shocked that she wanted the money back as you thought she had been kind to treat the kids and had paid for the meal as a way of thanking you. Also explain your situation - that you cant afford to pay it back and leave it at that.

DevilsAttic · 19/04/2018 12:09

I take my DC's friends out and about I would never ask for money for them! I was asked once to pay for my DC to go somewhere with their friend and it was fine because it was before the trip!

I would be upset too. My Dmum bought a swing for her garden in the winter for the DC I told her last week I would put it up after work but because I didn't do it straight away she got rid of it Sad

HazelBite · 19/04/2018 12:09

She is being really tight.
DH and I were asked to look after the gc's during half term as DIL has some health issues. DH is self employed and has not had much work recently and I am a pensioner.
We went to soft play, the cinema, out to eat, fed watered and treated them (even though funds are tight at the moment)
It is a real privilege to have GC, and I love the time I spend with them. You can't resent what you spend on them, if you truly can't afford it you just don't do it.

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