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Man refuses to pay MIL to babysit during wife's birthday vacation. AITA?

Man refuses to pay MIL to babysit during wife's birthday vacation. AITA?


Relationships with in-laws can be hilariously tense, but what happens when you mother-in-law is trying to leverage her role as 'grandma' into a paying gig?

So, when a conflicted dad decided to consult the moral compass of the internet about his mother-in-law's $500 request, people everywhere were ready to weigh in.

"AITA for refusing to pay my MIL for babysitting our toddler...?"

My wife (39F) is turning 40 in 10 days. To celebrate, we are taking a 5 day vacation, just the 2 of us. It's the first time that she and I (38M) have been away like this as a couple since the birth of our son almost 4 years ago.

We planned this trip months ago and my wife asked her mom if she would be willing to come to our house and watch our son while we are away. MIL agreed right away.

MIL is in her early 60s but doesn't have a 'real' job. She will do cleaning for her brother who owns a bunch of rental properties and he pays her in cash. So, it's not like she has a schedule she has to clear to stay with our son for a few days.

Last weekend, my wife called MIL to talk to her about our trip and to ask if there's anything MIL will need/want us to stock in the house as far as food or necessities. During the conversation, MIL said that she will need $100 per day from us.

This is the first time she ever brought up wanting to get paid to watch our son. My wife was caught off guard and just kind of agreed to it.

But when she got off the phone and told me about it, I got upset. I told her that MIL is taking advantage of the situation because she thinks we have no other options.

I told her that is BS that she sprung this on us so close to our trip and I don't think we should pay her anything. I said that I would call my parents and see if they can watch our son instead.

My wife told me that MIL wouldn't ask that sort of thing unless she needs the money and that adding $500 to our vacation trip isn't that much of a big deal. I told her that it's not about the money to me, it's about MIL being sneaky and manipulative.

I called my mom and asked her if they would be able to watch our son instead and she jumped at the idea. Both my parents are recently retired, so they have plenty of free time and would love an extended grandson visit. I didn't explain the reason for the change, I just told them that things didn't work out with MIL.

I told my wife that my parents can watch our son instead and that she should call her mom and tell her that we no longer need her to babysit. She said that she didn't want to do that because MIL was really looking forward to seeing our son, it has been over 6-months.

I told her that if she was looking forward to it that much, she wouldn't be trying to swindle us out of $500. I told her if she didn't want to make the call, I would gladly do it.

She reluctantly made the call herself, but it didn't go well. MIL got upset because we are now 'depriving her of seeing her grandson.'

My wife got emotional and ended up backtracking and said she would talk to me and see if we could work something out. After the call, she asked me if there was some way we could figure this out and I told her we aren't changing anything again this close to our trip.

She said maybe we could offer MIL a lesser amount but I reiterated that it isn't about the money, it's about MIL being sneaky and trying to take advantage of us.

Here's what the jury of internet strangers had to say...

Lindseyh911 said:

NTA. If she needed/wanted to be paid, it should have been discussed up front. It's not something you bring up last minute.

Chance-Lavishness947 said:

NTA. This is not about the money, this is about her being manipulative in her approach. The way she's handling the refusal is indicative of that.

OP your wife is not permitted to have reasonable boundaries with your MIL. You need to open a real discussion about the dynamic of their relationship. It's very unhealthy and will continue to impact you and your child for years to come.

You need to agree on some boundaries and it might be helpful for your wife if you are the enforcer for a period of time.

This is her issue and she should be managing it, but when you grow up with highly manipulative parents like this it can be incredibly difficult to set and enforce boundaries and a supportive spouse willing to take the brunt of the conflicts can be incredibly helpful in breaking free. Your wife needs therapy.

Pianoplayerpiano said:

NTA. Your parents have made a much more attractive offer. You have other options, so no. You are NOT in a position to have to give in. She wants to be paid to see her grandkid. No deal.

No-Carry4971 said:

YTA for the way you dictate to your wife. You clearly expect veto power over money and over big decisions. That kind of sucks. I’m a guy, but if my wife wanted to give her mom $500 for doing absolutely nothing, I wouldn’t dream of saying no.

And she would say they same about me and my parents. In this case it was actually compensation for her time providing care for your kids. Is the MIL being a little manipulative with the late request? Maybe or maybe not. Maybe she just needs the money and rather than ask for a handout, she asked for compensation.

Should you stomp all over your wife because her mom made a minor request you disagreed with? Absolutely not.

Sadkittysad said:

YTA. So basically, your wife asked if she wanted anything that would make the stay nice and instead of giving a shopping list, she asked for what is basically gas money, zoo and museum admission and gift shop money, pizza and grocery and ice cream money, and maybe a like extra for a treat for herself.

And now your wife, who the trip is supposed to be for, will be sad and not enjoy it because you’re saying nasty stuff about her mom. Bravo, husband of the year right there. I wouldn’t even want to go on the trip anymore if I were your wife.

Emotional_Bonus_934 said:

NTA. If she wanted to be paid she should've said so up front.

dexdaflex said:

YTA because instead of talking like adults and figuring why she spring this on you, you've declared she is the devil for wanting money. I'd totally be on your side if you'd called and asked 'whats going in MIL?', but you had your wife call and cancel? Weak.

You even comment that moneys not the issue but it's the respect, to you...then show respect and call. Ask. And if she's still full of sh#t YOU cancel her service if YOU feel disrespected. Don't task your wife.

ProfessionSea7908 said:

YTA. She’s an older woman with unstable employment. You know she’ll take good care of your kids and $500 is chump change for a week of 24/7 childcare. Taking care of a 4yo is exhausting. Literally no one except the parents should be expected to do that for free.

Note to any dads out there planning on bulldozing the opinions of their wives and 'firing' their in-laws...perhaps reconsider? Good luck to this couple on their vacation...there might be some awkward poolside moments.

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