Should My Mom Babysit for Free?

I Want My Jobless Mom, 64, to Babysit My Kid

A 29-year-old woman named Erika recently turned to Reddit seeking advice on a predicament she was facing with her mother. After giving birth to her child, Erika needed assistance caring for her newborn when she returned to work. However, her 64-year-old mother declined her request, stating that she was too old and had already raised her own children. She suggested that Erika should have considered staying home, like she did, to take care of the baby while her partner provided for the family. Erika, however, explained that their financial situation made it impossible to survive on a single income. She was torn between finding a solution and wondering if she was being unreasonable in wanting her mom to babysit for free.

Erika and her partner were currently facing financial challenges, exacerbated by the aftermath of a pandemic and a potential economic downturn. Erika’s student loans, along with other debts, amounted to $39,000, while her partner had $5,000 in credit card debt. With Erika being the higher earner, making $55,000 per year, it felt necessary for her to return to work to support their family. Their current living situation, a small one-bedroom apartment in a metropolitan area, would soon become impractical as their baby grew older and needed more space. They needed to save money to eventually move into a larger two-bedroom apartment.

When Erika explained the financial realities to her mother, she was met with an unexpected response. Her mom offered to take care of the baby but requested to be compensated for her time, charging $20 per hour and adding late fees for pickup delays. Additionally, Erika would have to provide all the necessary baby equipment and supplies, as her mom refused to enter their home due to personal reasons.

Erika found herself torn between wanting to save money to reduce their debt and not wanting to accumulate more financial obligations. She worried that paying her mother and investing in duplicate baby items would only add to their already mounting debt. She considered enrolling her baby in an infant daycare, which could potentially be a more cost-effective solution and closer to their home. However, due to the nature of their jobs, working from home was not an option, leaving them in urgent need of reliable childcare. Other family members had full-time jobs as well, making it difficult for them to help due to overlapping schedules.

So, the question remains: Is it wrong for Erika to expect her mom to care for her baby for free, considering her mom’s daytime availability and the desperate need for affordable childcare?