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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:
Mummyoflittledragon · 19/04/2018 13:41

I would not pay, this is paying twice to stay under her control. Firstly financially and secondly and more importantly emotionally.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles · 19/04/2018 13:49

I suppose now you know where you stand with her.
Fancy dropping into conversation costs of their building work then later chasing up payment for looking after her DGCs.

Explain in case she missed it that you are struggling financially. You got food in and she chose not to take it when she chose to take the DCs out.

LanaorAna2 · 19/04/2018 13:50

£1 a month DD. Tell everyone IRL. No Xmas, no contact except the very basics (to avoid a scene) until you've paid it off.

Tell family etc you can't risk getting another bill by seeing DM.

skulduggeryintheshrubbery · 19/04/2018 14:07

Hi op, opinion seems to be split on this one. Several posters further up-thread made a good suggestion that you phone your dm (better than texting/e-mailing, perhaps).

There were some fair, non-confrontational suggestions (also up-thread) of how you might word an e-mail/text message, but you could print these out and use them as a prompt when you speak to her.

Only you know the exact details of what was agreed with your dm. On the face of it, based on your posts, you were not expecting your dm to ask to be reimbursed, so this could be the starting point of a frank conversation about money/expectations (which would then set the tone going forward). Depending on the outcome of the conversation, you could offer to pay for her train fair, which may have been expensive (in instalments, given your financial situation). It seems to have been your dm's choice to take the children out, even when there was food provided at home, so perhaps she should not be reimbursed for that. Should your dm mention the 'thank you' dinner, you could then mention that it was paid for in vouchers.

If this is a one-off it's possible to salvage the situation (even though it's clear to see why you are upset). If this is an example of a pattern of behaviour you may like to post on the Stately Homes thread, where you will find other posters who have had similar experiences.

boobsradley · 19/04/2018 14:09

How much is she asking for, and how much was the holiday club?

supercalifragilisticexpiali · 19/04/2018 14:23

skilduggery Do you mean opinion split on how to handle it or opinion split of who was in the right? I think the former because opinion is about 80% in favour of the grandmother is completely out of order for asking for payment!

supercalifragilisticexpiali · 19/04/2018 14:25

Oops, “skulduggery”, sorry.

Tinkobell · 19/04/2018 14:33

Is her new DH mischievous I wonder. I'm not making excuses for her behaviour as clearly her DM ought to be able to think for herself.....but I just wonder if there's some pathetic envy going on here and the DH knows perfectly well that this will sew the seeds of a rift?

skulduggeryintheshrubbery · 19/04/2018 14:37

boobs I'll take 'skils'...

I meant opinion split on how to handle the situation and whether the op should pay a) nothing b) something c) the lot. I was suggesting 'something' as a compromise, but only the op knows all the facts of the situation. The op is not being unreasonable to feel hurt and upset to be billed if there was no expectation that this would happen before her dm agreed to look after the children.

skulduggeryintheshrubbery · 19/04/2018 14:38

Now I'm doing it... the message was in reply to super. Not sure why I was thinking of boobs...

supercalifragilisticexpiali · 19/04/2018 14:48

😂 *skulduggery”

I’ll take “boobs”!

(When I wrote the post first time I put “poops” instead of “ooops”!)

Weezol · 19/04/2018 15:00

Today 13:41 Mummyoflittledragon

I would not pay, this is paying twice to stay under her control. Firstly financially and secondly and more importantly emotionally.

This ^

The game can only continue if you keep participating. Stop playing the game - it's being played with rules you will never understand because they are fluid in order to ensure you will always, always be in the wrong. Especially when you're in the right, for which you will be punished.

LightTripper · 19/04/2018 15:19

It's a hard one - it depends so much on the relationships. Do you think your Stepdad could be pushing her into asking for the money to drive a wedge between you? It just seems weird to not mention it before and then ask for the money after.

If it was significantly less than the after school club I'd probably pay it (or some of it) but then not ask her again (and check if she offers again whether she is charging!) - and if necessary ask to pay in installments. Even if you do pay it I'd definitely make clear that you weren't expecting to and thought that she would enjoy it as a chance to see her Grandkids and have a nice meal with you all. If it she is charging more than the kids club I'd say you're really sorry but if you'd known she was charging you would have used the kids club and you just can't afford it.

What a shame it makes it less likely she'll see them in future. YANBU at all to be upset. I would be too.

blueskypink · 19/04/2018 15:58

People keep saying that maybe the stepfather started complaining about the expense when she got home. If that was the case you would expect the mum to be a bit apologetic and preface her request by saying she's really sorry to have to ask but money's a bit tight for them at the moment too.

Also, if it is the stepfather, then his behaviour is unlikely to have come out of the blue so the mum might reasonably have anticipated that he might complain and reined in her expenditure.

And if you think you might want some sort of reimbursement, surely you flag this up in advance and say something like, "I thought I'd take dcs to xyz tomorrow, it'll be £x each - is that ok?"

ADarkandStormyKnight · 19/04/2018 16:13

Well this was possibly the first time the mother has helped out like this so while she didn't initially expect reimbursement he might have made a different assumption and they might have had a row when she got back.

Whatever the scenario there is something very odd about complaining after the fact - most people would suck it up for the sake a family harmony and make themselves clearer next time.

rainbowstardrops · 19/04/2018 16:14

ackack up thread had the response spot on.
You need to actually talk to her and say it how it is. You have no spare money and you thought she came to sit with the children because she wanted to and there was no reason to spend extra money on them if they didn't have it because you had already provided food etc.
I'd be questioning the relationship personally.

Motoko · 20/04/2018 01:09

What are you going to do OP?

ohfortuna · 20/04/2018 01:14

in years to come when she is old and infirm and looking for your help, will she pay for your train fare to visit her?

does she not realise that these chickens will come home to roost?

Pengggwn · 20/04/2018 06:23

I'd give her the money and say no next time she wants to take the kids out.

TheFreshPrincess0fBelair · 20/04/2018 06:39

So did she want more money than the holiday childcare would have been? Adding in the cost of what you spend on the food, meal out etc?

perroy · 20/04/2018 06:44

The game can only continue if you keep participating. Stop playing the game - it's being played with rules you will never understand because they are fluid in order to ensure you will always, always be in the wrong. Especially when you're in the right, for which you will be punished.

I so agree with this poster. Weezol you have summed up the whole situation.

maddening · 20/04/2018 07:32

Yay to how much money is she asking , plus additional cost of hosting her vs the cost of holiday club.

As it is I still think it is awful to ask you to pay. My mum helps out on school hols, she wants to spend time with ds, wants to help out but not to commit to regular so this suits all of us, I am not skint yet she would never ask for recompense, nor would I when I do my parents a favour!

AngelsOnHigh · 20/04/2018 07:33

Can't believe she was only there for 3 days and actually asked for money. How much could she spend in three days.?

I work full time and don't get to see my 5 DGC very often. They live 2.5 hours away. God, whenever I see something in the shop that I think one of them would like I phone DD and ask her to have a look at it in her local shop, see if it's suitable and if the DC are allowed to have it. I then transfer money to her account .

I'm comfortably off but not wealthy as such but set aside a set sum every week just for this purpose.

On the other hand, my DSis remarried about 10 years ago and she virtually has to sneak money to her DGC. So I think it's mum's husband who is pulling the strings here.

I also randomly buy cinema gift cards and post them.

Pinkprincess1978 · 20/04/2018 08:03

Like boobs I want to know how much she is asking in relation to how much you saved?

The holiday club my kids go to cost between £10 and £15 per day plus they give sibling discount and they charge 4 days for the price of 5. I think last year a week cost me £108 for two kids.

If you Mum is coming from 250 miles away chances are the train tickets cost half of that at least. You probably would find paying holiday club would have been cheaper so point this out to your Mum.

I wouldn't pay for anything she spent on kids while here and unless she stipulated or you even indicated you would pay for train tickets not that either.

We are lucky that my in laws are very generous with their time looking after our kids for us and have never ever charged us. In the summer they will usually have them 3/4 days a week for 3/4 of the weeks at most (I try and make it less than this by sending them to holiday club 1 week). We always take them out for a meal to say thanks at the end of summer or if money is tight will have them round for an all out Sunday roast maybe.

SnorkFavour · 20/04/2018 12:53

I would explain that you hadn't realised that she would want the money back, but of course she can have it. And that you are very grateful for her help.

Sadly you can't afford to pay it all at once but you're happy to set up a S/O for £X a month.

And ask her , when she looks after the kids again, NOT to take them out for meals etc without asking you first, if she's going to claim it back afterwards - as you are struggling atm.

A little p/a never hurts 😂

This is brilliant. It covers every single angle.

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