She watched as her mother-in-law leaned back in her seat, a horrifying calmness washing over her face. She spoke in a steady voice as she informed them that she wanted them to start paying her moving forward.
Her blood was boiling as she listened to the remarks. But the more her mother-in-law spoke, the more it began to make sense.
Marion was happy when she agreed to let her mother-in-law stay with her and her husband. She was expecting the family to finally bond on a whole new level, just as she always wanted.
For the most part, the experience was perfect. But as months passed, Marion one day made the realization that something was off. Everything fell apart when her mother-in-law did the unthinkable.
Mario and Troy had been happily married for three years before they had their first child, Ken. The happy couple had met at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They both had a burning passion for fast cars and circuit races.
Their relationship was magical. It wasn’t long before Troy asked Marion if she would accompany him home for Christmas. She had no idea that this trip would change her life.
She was head over heels in love with Troy and she was over the moon when he asked her. She agreed to meet his family over Christmas, her plan was to let him meet her family during Easter. Marion knew that Troy was the one.
But when the day came and Troy walked her up his parents’ driveway, she felt a cold draft blow from Troy’s mother. She smiled at her and hurried to give her a hug, but what she got in return left her speechless.
Meeting His Parents
She didn’t give Marion a hug, instead, she shook her hand with a displeased expression on her face. Although her stay in their house was somewhat pleasant, she knew that Troy’s mother probably didn’t like her.
But as time passed, she slowly warmed up to Mation. She explained why she was so apprehensive at first, saying that she wanted the best for her son. But her relationship with Marion would changed once the happy couple had their first child together.
When Ken was welcomed into the world, the entire family was overjoyed. Troy’s mom was so excited that she moved states to be closer to her grandson. To Marion, this was a godsent gift. She had a pretty tight schedule, and having helping hands close by was exactly what she needed.
But just a few months after her mother-in-law moved into the house, everything began to fall apart.
Building A Bond
When she first moved in, Marion hoped that they would finally be able to bond and get to know each other.
Baby Ken was the perfect base for them to do this, since her mother-in-law had many years of experience as a mother while Marion was still learning. But little did she know that the experience would take th opposite turn of what she was expecting.
Her mother-in-law asked Marion and Troy to start paying her a considerable amount of money for staying home with Ken every single day. For the past three months, she had been taking care of the baby and Marion and Troy were extremely grateful.
But by the fourth month, she sat Marion and Troy down and informed them that she felt like they should be paying her for looking after Ken. In an attempt to continue their extraordinary relationship, Marion asked how much she wanted them to pay her. But she was not ready for the answer.
Sixty Dollars An Hour
With a straight face, she responded, “$475 a day.” She then commented on how both Marion and Troy were leading remarkable lives and making good money, and that they would be able to pay the amount without a challenge.
Marion’s jaw dropped when she stopped talking. She was expecting her to ask for the standard fifteen to twenty dollars an hour, or perhaps thirty, since they were family. But she was asking for sixty dollars and hour!
Marion was about to speak when Troy gestured for her to stay calm. “Why $475?” He asked calmly, mentioning everything that he and Marion were doing for her.
He continued, “You aren’t paying any bills here. No rent, cable, you don’t need to buy food, and we take you on our vacations and family trips. Isn’t that enough?” Marion looked at Troy as he spoke, that was when she realized she’d made a colossal mistake.
I Shouldn’t Have Let Him Speak
As Troy continued talking, Marion stared at him blankly. She realized maybe she should have been the one to speak and not him.
Troy continued detailing everything he and Marion did for their mother. He finished by saying he thought she was here because she loved spending time with them and not because she wanted to make a little cash on the side. Marion knew she had to step in.
Salvaging The Moment
Placing a hand on Troy’s lap, Marion calmly said she understood where her mother-in-law was coming from. She admitted she’d be lost without her constant guidance and thanked her for all she’d been doing.
But before she could agree to such a massive number for taking care of someone she was directly related to, Marion needed to hear tangible reasons that justified her mother-in-law’s decision.
“You two are rarely here anymore,” her mother-in-law began with a smile. “I understand work is hectic, and everything you are doing is necessary for this family. But you have a kid, a human being who needs love, care, and most importantly, your presence.”
She leaned back into her seat, locking eyes with her son before her gaze shifted to Marion. What she would say would leave the couple dumbfounded.
The Reason Why
“$475 is a lot, I know. But, and trust me when I say this, you’ll pay more in the future in bail and rehab fees if you don’t start spending time with Kenny. I don’t want you to give me anything,” she laughed.
“That was to get your attention. You can’t expect a baby to grow up knowing and loving you if you stick him with me, rarely seeing him through the week.” Marion’s brows drew close, a wave of guilt washing through her. Was her mother-in-law right?
A Hard-To-Swallow Pill
Marion and Troy had been spending less time with Ken after Troy’s mom came to help. Marion sat quietly as the truth sunk into her mind. “We’ll do better,” she whispered after her mother-in-law finished talking. She loved her son more than anything and knew she would need to change her lifestyle to spend more time with him.
In Marion and Troy’s case, grandma was probably right and there was a lesson to be had. But this isn’t the only time a parent has been burned by their child’s grandma.
She had been excited to see her daughter, although it had been nice to have the day off so that she could run some errands. But she never expected her own mother to put her in such a rage.
It wasn’t the usual grandma offenses, either. She didn’t load Trish up with sugar or let her stay up past her bedtime. No – what she did was much, much worse.
Trish greeted her mom excitedly, running up for a hug and handing her a manila envelope. Her mom thought nothing of it and expected a doodle or love letter from her daughter.
She opened it up and unfolded the offending piece of paper inside. When she started to read, she couldn’t believe it. And then, she saw red.
The Perfect Sitter
Grandparents play a vital role in families. Everyone can agree that it’s great for them to spend time with their grandchildren and share the knowledge they have accumulated throughout the years.
They always have funny stories and hold a wealth of history — it’s all the fun stuff without the responsibly of parenthood. Your job is done and dusted when your children move out and start their own families. But there’s nobody better suited to babysit than granny… or is there?
Burned By Grandma
Sophie and her mother had never quite seen eye-to-eye. As soon as she finished college, she got as far away from her as possible. Her two siblings followed closely behind, and soon, all the Miller sisters had put an entire state between themselves and their estranged mother.
But Sophie thought that it was important for her daughter, Trish, to see her grandma from time to time. Trish’s visit to granny resulted in a scorned mother and a post to ‘Ask Amy’ named ‘Burned By Grandma.’ You read that right.
Surely Grandma Miller can’t be blamed for making sure that 14-year-old Trish had a good time while she was visiting? She had planned everything down to the last detail.
She’d booked train rides into the city to visit the Field Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute of Chicago, with stops for lunch and dinner in between. But then, she did something outrageous.
Taking The Cake
Mrs. Miller was a retired college professor, but to her daughters, she was well-known for being severe, petty, and emotionally cold. But what she had done on this occasion had taken the cake.
Sophie kept reading the letter that had come home with her daughter, dumbstruck. She felt angry and betrayed. With nobody to turn to, she wrote the letter to an advice column that took the internet by storm.
“Dear Amy,” her letter begins innocently enough. “My mother lives in a beautiful lake house that has been in our family for 50 years, and for the second summer in a row, she had my (now 14-year-old) daughter to stay for three weeks.”
But a granddaughter visiting her grandmother over summer vacation is common enough, right? Then, things took a strange turn.
Grandma took her granddaughter on a trip to the city to see a museum. One of the items on the list were the train tickets, as well as the admission fee to enter the museum. Their day in the city was certainly a fun-filled occasion for the two because this bill wasn’t small.
What exactly did the bill add up to? This grandmother clearly turned this trip into a business transaction without informing her daughter.
It’s an incredibly bizarre story, or this is a weird family. She must have known that this would ruffle feathers. Grandparents are generally eager and excited to get to spend some time with their grandchildren.
Was this grandmother teaching her daughter some kind of lesson? Sophie’s face turned white when she saw the bill.
An Itemized Bill
Inside the envelope was an itemized bill. Every item granny purchased for her granddaughter was charged back to the mother.
“I sent a check for $300 to my mother to cover my daughter’s expenses during her visit. Upon my daughter’s return, my mother sent me an invoice for $475.50 for additional expenses, including the cost of gas to and from the airport to transport her (45 minutes away), train tickets to go to the city to a museum, and the cost of the museum admission. It was an itemized bill.”
“This is hurtful, as this past winter my mother came to live with us for four months and we paid for everything, including a nice vacation to an island over Christmas.”
“…Neither of my siblings has a relationship with my mother because she is petty and doesn’t respect boundaries — like a $300 budget,” Sophie continued in her letter. Maybe Ask Amy could provide some advice.
“How do I address her behavior? I am hurt and angry by her decision to charge me for gas to pick up her granddaughter from the airport, as well as the other expenses,” Sophie explained.
“My mother is a single woman (a retired college professor), and we have never asked her to pay for anything. We even write her a check for groceries when she hosts Thanksgiving dinner,” she continued.
“Now I feel she has taken advantage of my generosity, and I don’t trust her to spend time with my daughter because it is just too costly for me (financially and emotionally),” she concluded.
The controversial letter was signed off anonymously, aptly titled ‘Burned by Grandma.’ But what on Earth could Sophie do about it?
Either way, since the trip the mother really is considering whether grandma will be allowed to babysit again, harsh as it would seem. But this was not exactly a request of some compensation for looking after the little girl, but a rather large itemized bill.
Nobody ever said looking after children isn’t expensive, but this must have been a nightmare for Sophie. This grandma could have easily spent the time with her grandchild at home, not turning the trip into a lavish see-all and do-all trip.
Ask Amy had replied with the following advice: “You are going to have to express your concern directly to your mother,” she replied.
“Your daughter’s trip to see Grammy has cost you (I’m estimating) around $1,000, with plane tickets, plus the invoiced expenses incurred while she was there.” The columnist was clearly trying hard to see both sides of the story…
“Is your mother financially insecure? Is she worried about maintaining her own lifestyle in retirement? These are legitimate concerns,” Ask Amy wrote. Then, she voiced another theory about grandma’s bizarre behavior.
Was granny really trying to prove a point with her itemized bill? Sophie took a deep breath and considered the other reason for her mother’s unexpected babysitting bill.
Sticking to The Budget
“But is there a legitimate reason she couldn’t stay within the reasonable $300 budget, spending over twice that amount? Is this itemized bill her passive-aggressive way of telling you that she doesn’t actually want to host your daughter for such a long visit?” Amy wrote.
“After you communicate your questions and concerns to your mother, you will have to make the tough decision about future visits.”
Will grandma ever be allowed to babysit again? Or is her point that she really doesn’t actually want to? A bit more communication would have prevented all this confusion and disappointment.
What is strange about granny’s behavior is that it’s almost as if she resents that her granddaughter comes to visit. But should Sophie pay for a bill she really wasn’t expecting?
The internet is divided on this one. On one hand, Sophie did send Mrs. Miller $300 to cover Trish’s expenses during her stay, but did granny really need to spend all that extra money on expensive activities?
And is granny justified in sending her daughter the bill? After all, Sophie footed the bill for her mother’s rent-free four-month stay previously. If it’s some sort of tit-for-tat, Sophie’s in the clear. But should grandmas be paid to babysit their grandkids?
A recent survey on HuffPost polarized readers on the issue of whether grandparents should be paid to babysit. “Yes. They deserve something extra for helping out,” wrote Melissa McCloskey. “It doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be something…”
Another reader completely disagreed: “You are going to take money from your kids??” she wrote. “Not unless you really need the help financially, geez…” What do you think? Was Sophie’s mother in the wrong here?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.