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Is It Okay to Under-Pay Family?

SpideyVille

Walking out the Desert
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So a few years ago when I was temporarily dropped out of college for a semester, I started to babysit my brother's son because he had just transferred to an elementary school next to my house. My brother lived pretty far away and since I was free, he figured that it would be best for me to pick him up and sometimes even take him to school since my mother was usually at work. He would pay me $100 every two weeks for staying with his kid for a few hours until he got out of work. At the time, that seemed like a lot for me since I didn't really have many expenses to worry about.

But after I started getting more involved with things at school and other things, it became harder for me to do it on my own, so my mom took over. Then, my brother moved closer to the neighborhood because his daughter was now going to be enrolled in the school too. He would pay my mom $200 and me $50 every two weeks, until he realized that I was barely picking them up once or twice a week. But now, ever since he moved closer, it has become my mother's responsibility to take care of them during the summer since she only works at a school during the school year. In the past year, I've also become more available during the summer, so me and my mother alternate, with me taking over either for a few hours or even a whole day whenever she has somewhere else to be.

Lately, however, my mother has been becoming more sick in terms of both physical and in terms of stress, since the income my brother has been giving her goes directly towards paying bills and suing whatever is left over to buy food for the kids since my brother doesn't provide any. Every now and then she pays me $10 or $20 dollars whenever he decides to pay her (which is often days or weeks after he gets paid). But since I've been doing more of the work lately, I've told my mom that it is unfair, especially since he told her he was going to pay me separately for my extra share of the work since I stood with them for a couple of days when they had no school and when my mom had to work.

Now for the summer, his wife wants to enroll the kids in swimming classes that meets three times a week, which I like because it keeps them more active than they are at our house, but it requires me having to take a long walk to a park early in the morning to pick them up, and then take care of them for a few hours before having to take them back to school for a few hours until he gets home. Since my mom is unwilling to make the walk, I told him I would because I know me and my mom could still use the money.

But my question is, am I or my mom supposed to be getting paid more now, or is my brother's excuse that we're "family" and should be doing the favor for free okay? Keep in mind, we have basically been raising his kids while the parents are at work, and have been somewhat tied down by the fact that we have to make ourselves available to take care of his kids. On the other end of the spectrum, my sister, who is raising two kids alone in California has told me that if I go live with her when I finish school at the end of the year, she'd pay me what she pays her babysitter which is about $500 every 2 weeks, so she could go back to college and get her degree.
 
I'd do it for free if it was my family. Maybe a little money for food for the kids, but I'd never actually charge them. Also if you and your mom are hurting for money so bad, why don't you get an actual job.

When it comes to your sister in California, why would you finish school then just move in with her to be a babysitter, you can do that without a degree.
 
I don't know about payment exactly in terms of a job, but you should run through the expenses caring for the children are costing. i.e. cost for food, cost of mileage to pick them up (if applicable) and, if it's a regular/daily thing, how much is it costing you in terms of personal time that's taking away from jobs/potential jobs you would have, homework, school, etc.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about being paid to take care of them, since it is family. But I would expect money to assist in caring for them (food and gas). I'm giving up my time, but I'm not going to be feeding people for free, especially if it's everyday and my budget doesn't account for that.

Him saying he'd pay you and then not paying you is something you'd have to work out between the two of you.

Pertaining to your Mother, I don't know. I know my grandmother practically raised my cousins but that was because my Uncle was barely scraping by and was gone for weeks due to his job. But he did help with food money. Circumstances are always different.

A -large- part of me wonders what would happen if you guys stopped helping out on a regular basis, and said you could only do it sometimes? Would they hire a nanny? And if so for how much?


I'd do it for free if it was my family. Maybe a little money for food for the kids, but I'd never actually charge them. Also if you and your mom are hurting for money so bad, why don't you get an actual job.

When it comes to your sister in California, why would you finish school then just move in with her to be a babysitter, you can do that without a degree.

What he described sounds -exactly- like a nannying job. Not just a 'sometimes I pick up the kids and drive them around to help out' family thing. Doing it regularly (everyday) and providing time and food to them. They should at least be compensated for the food and gas it costs to take care of the kids, if not paid.
 
I'd do it for free if it were family. The only thing i'd require would be for the parent/s to front the costs of gas & food.
 
I'd do it for free if it were family. The only thing i'd require would be for the parent/s to front the costs of gas & food.

This. Granted I've never done it on a regular basis, but I've never asked for payment to watch my nephews, and I never would.
 
I'd do it for free if it was my family. Maybe a little money for food for the kids, but I'd never actually charge them. Also if you and your mom are hurting for money so bad, why don't you get an actual job.

When it comes to your sister in California, why would you finish school then just move in with her to be a babysitter, you can do that without a degree.
Well I'm about to start my last semester of college in September, so I'll be done by the end of the year, even though I won't actually graduate until next May, and my schedule has always been packed since I'm taking Art classes that for some reason are offered for more hours and less credits. And I'm actually in the middle of an internship with my school that they've told me that I'll get paid a stipend for. Not to mention I had spent the past few years doing "volunteer" work at the church that I used to go to, and nearly burned myself out mentally trying to balance all the work and time together. I had decided that I was going to use this summer to relax and just enjoy what will most likely be my last free summer since I know I'm going to have to get a "real" job so I can pay my way through Graduate's school.

As for my mom, she was supposed to be working for the summer, but she never got the call so my brother decided that since she's free, she can take care of the kids all day. She has already cut back on some things to lower her bills, but there are things like cable that she can't really cut back on because the kids always complain when they can't get their fix of iCarly and Spongebob. And what makes things worse is that even though my brother lives in the neighborhood, he doesn't want us in his house because he fears things like his electric bill going up while the kids sit and eat everything there. Most of his bills are low because there's hardly anyone at his house, and he's not exactly scraping for cash. Both he and his wife work and they are very well off.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about being paid to take care of them, since it is family. But I would expect money to assist in caring for them (food and gas). I'm giving up my time, but I'm not going to be feeding people for free, especially if it's everyday and my budget doesn't account for that.
That's one of the things that bothers me the most because not only does my mom feed them, but also my brother when he comes by to pick them up. Its almost like he expects her to have a meal ready for him. Yet for me, since I don't really eat the same kind of food as them, most of the time, I buy my own food and stuff. I often have to hide it because I know that it won't last long once they get their hands on it.

Him saying he'd pay you and then not paying you is something you'd have to work out between the two of you.
The thing about this is that there is never any communication between me and him. I usually hear the good and bad things he says from my mom, but when it comes time for me and him to talk, he usually talks about other things like sports and video games. We don't really have all that great of a relationship. Heck, he said I was going to be the Best Man and at his wedding but then picked some one else without even letting me know.

Pertaining to your Mother, I don't know. I know my grandmother practically raised my cousins but that was because my Uncle was barely scraping by and was gone for weeks due to his job. But he did help with food money. Circumstances are always different.

A -large- part of me wonders what would happen if you guys stopped helping out on a regular basis, and said you could only do it sometimes? Would they hire a nanny? And if so for how much?
One of the things that bothers me the most is that when I started babysitting his son, I was only getting $100, while his daughter was being babysat by one of his wife's aunts who lived closer to them at the time and was being paid $250. I get that she got paid more for staying with the kid all day, but I feel like my mom should've been getting paid at least a little more since now she's taking care of two kids full time during the summer, especially since she's responsible for feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, now that my brother lives so close, he's not spending as much money as he was on gas or utilities, so they both definitely got more money around.

My mom has actually complained to my brother a little about how the kids misbehave and how she really doesn't want to take care of them anymore, but since she needs the money, she still does it, but my brother has used this to threaten her by saying if she doesn't take care of them for the summer, they'll just give them to his wife's parents, even though they work and live even farther away. They used to babysit the kids since my brother lived with them, but they decided to get real jobs as a way of telling my brother to find someone else.

I guess it just angers me a little because I feel like my brother just uses my mother for the kids, because he never comes by to visit without them and doesn't really seem to show any concern for anything that my mother has been going through, yet he whines like a little baby when she doesn't want to do something for him.

This. Granted I've never done it on a regular basis, but I've never asked for payment to watch my nephews, and I never would.
Well that's the thing. I never asked to be paid and neither did my mom. It was just something my brother did because he figured it wouldn't be right to ask me to do it without getting something in return, especially since he was already paying some one else to take care of his daughter. And its become more of the idea that they're more like a burden at this point. Sure we're making things easier for him and his wife, but they're certainly not making things easier for us.

And half the time, decisions are made and we're not told until the very last minute where it feels like we have no choice but to help since there really isn't anyone else nearby to help.
 
Sounds to me like your brother is using you. Most likely not intentional, but using you all the same. If he's expecting you and your mother to go our of your way to look after the kids day in and day out, regardless of health and other obligations, he best pay you like he would a real babysitter.

Occasionally helping out your family to watch the kid(s), or even just for an hour or two after school is one thing, but if he's expecting you guys to bend over backwards day in and day out, then that is an entirely different matter.

And regardless of anything else, he damn well better be supplying his kids with his own food.
 
My sister watches my son 3-4 days a week for 7-8 hours a day. I pay her $125 for her time. It is cheaper, not by much, than daycare. However I get peace of mind having her watch him. She loves him, and she does more than just make sure he doesn't kill himself.

And evenings when my wife and I go out (for dinner and a movie) I pay her a bit extra. Instead of getting a job this summer, she chose to help us out. The least I could do is pay her for the work she is doing. Watching a 16 month old from 7:00AM until sometimes 5:00PM is a fulltime job.

And even if she offered to do it for free, I'd still pay her.
 
I did not read this whole thread thread but in response to the title it shoud be free if it's your sister....
 
I don't think watching the kids should be free if you don't live under the same roof as them. Look at it this way... if you move in with your sister, and she's not charging you rent... and she's gonna pay you to look after her kids? That doesn't sit right with me. You are getting "paid" by her allowing you to live with her. Watching over her kids (at least when you're home anyway) is part of the gig.

In terms of your brother's kids... if he has a job and doesn't live with you and your mom... you could very well say, "I'm not watching your kids anymore." You've got school and other commitments. If your brother was going to pay a sitter, let's say, $100 a week to watch his kids... I think it'd be fair for you to ask for half of that, or a portion of that. Sure, they are your family, but preparing meals for them is also a job in some ways. I dunno. Just what I think about it.
 

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