There's nothing quite like a favor that's held against you. Having someone martyr themselves to "do something nice" only to throw it back in your face feels way worse than if they'd never pitched in.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for refusing to pay her MIL for cleaning the house. She wrote:
I (F31) gave birth to my beautiful son a week ago. Unfortunately, there were some complications, so I was only released yesterday but I am so grateful to be home with our baby boy. When my waters initially broke, my husband (M33) and I were at home and I happened to be standing on my bedroom carpet. Cleaning was obviously not the priority, so I threw some towels down and we left for the hospital.
During the time we were in hospital, my MIL (F59) kindly offered to feed our dogs for us, and we were very appreciative of her help. It was only once we got home yesterday that I saw my MIL had left a receipt and note stuck to the fridge, saying that she had cleaned my bedroom carpet and wanted to be reimbursed.
She had also taken it upon herself to clean the rest of the house while she was at it, and all in all, would like a day's pay at $25/hour + $200 worth of products. Now, while it was nice of her to clean my carpet and then the rest of my house, neither of us asked her to do this.
My husband wrote her the following text: "Hello mom, we really appreciate your help over the last few days while (my name) was in the hospital. It was great having someone over to look after the dogs."
"We noticed your note and receipt on the fridge, and are a little upset you took it upon yourself to 1. snoop through the house, as neither of us had told you about (my name's) water's breaking in the bedroom, 2. go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning products, and then 3. charging us for your time and the aforementioned products."
"We would also like to ask where these cleaning products are, as if we are paying for them, we would certainly like to get our money's worth. When we entrusted you with the dogs, we really thought you were helping us out of the good of your heart and not giving you an opportunity to make a quick buck. We are family, and are hurt you would do something like this while (my name) was so unwell."
My MIL immediately responded to my husband saying that she did what she did out of the kindness of her heart, and she cannot believe we would be so ungrateful. I have also received some texts from extended family members saying that MIL didn't have to help me, but did do despite "her advanced age" out of love.
I have had to turn off my phone so that I don't have to deal with all the texts, but my husband is still getting a lot of hate from his family because we are "manipulating the situation" and making MIL the bad guy when she was only trying to get the house ready for the baby.
I am quite upset by the whole thing, but my husband is now saying that maybe we should pay to get the extended family off our back and just enjoy this time as new parents rather than dealing with all this.
I am not okay with paying his mom for anything! She sent another text to my husband earlier saying she would be happy to gift us the products (i.e. take it off our bill), but she would still like to be paid for her time given that she dealt with "a biohazard."
NTA. It’s only help if the recipient actually wants it. Otherwise, it’s imposing yourself on them. Charging for it is only doubling down on the problem, because now it’s forcing unwanted commercial services on you.
If she’d done it out of the kindness of her heart, the most she could possibly ask for is the cleaning supplies, because that’s the only thing she is out financially (and I’d be giving even that the side-eye). The kindness of one’s heart doesn’t come with a price tag.
NTA. It was really presumptuous of her to *charge* you for the cleaning! You should not pay her because this will just open the door to other demands by her...paying for babysitting, perhaps. Be sure to give her strict instructions to not take on "extra work" if you have to ask her to do something for you again.
NTA. To the flying monkeys: "This is none of your business. Back off and stop contacting us." Then block them.
To MIL: "If you truly did this out of the kindness of your heart you wouldn't charge us. We will not be paying you one cent and you will never be alone with our child because we can't trust you." Then leave all the unused cleaning products on her doorstep. And block her.
You should go into her house when she is not there and do some random thing unasked and then bill her for it (E.g. mowing the lawn, cleaning etc.). Then when she protests call it even, and let extended family know. Also, I would never let her in my house again or ask her for any help, this is really cheap behaviour. NTA.
NTA! You didn’t ask her to buy products and clean. This is ridiculous. Before you leave her alone with her grandchild, you might want to confirm what babysitting fees she’s going to expect.
OP is NTA here, it's clear her MIL is a bit manipulative.