"I would be looking after the baby seven hours a day Monday to Friday for the next five years. Is this madness?"
Aussie childcare: How do we stack up against the world?
Aussie childcare: How do we stack up against the world? 00:17:11
They say it takes a village to raise a child. But 'they' never specified the level of costs involved in permanently hiring said village, and just how much reliance on that village is too much.
A mum has taken to parenting forum, Mumsnet , asking how to navigate the tricky terrain of helping out a family member and being financially compensated for her time.
"Seven hours, five days for five years"
The woman, clearly unsure about how to broach the topic with her sister, asked the internet for advice.
"My sister has told me she is pregnant," she wrote.
"I currently work from home part time in a job that is very flexible and fits around looking after my own children."
"My sister would want to go back to work full time after the maternity leave. We previously discussed me possibly looking after any potential future children due to my work flexibility, but no actual in depth details were ever really discussed."
Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives. The Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children. Encourage your child to make the most of it and explore the internet to its full potential.
She said she would feel awkward taking money from her sister to look after her niece or nephew. Her sister is an amazing, supportive and wonderful sister and she loves her very much.
But the bottom line is that she would be caring for the baby seven hours a day, Monday to Friday, for the next five years.
The original post has had over 200 responses. Image: Mumsnet.com.
"Are you mad?"
While it may feel a little awkward at first, broaching the topic of money with a close family member, the general consensus was that this is definitely a commitment which requires more thought.
"What happens when she has the next one?" asked one person. "When she gives you a list of rules that you can’t stick to? When child is interrupting your work?"
The same commenter asked the woman if she would be able to separate her business relationship from her personal one.
Another asked: "What if you are sick? Your children are sick? You want a holiday?"
A few others pointed out resentment would begin to creep in at some point.
"I'm fairly certain you would quickly become resentful while you look after her baby, then children, five days a week, seven plus hours a day," added another, "while she goes to work to continue her career, brings in a nice income, then has nice holidays and 'extras' while in return you still have a very limited income from your salary, and your children have given up a lot of their time with you to share with them."
Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect - a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating habits.
Imagine juggling your own two kids PLUS a baby AND a job?! Image: iStock.
Others suggested the sister is a little cheeky for expecting such a commitment:
"Is she actually expecting you to look after the child full time? If so then YANBU (you are not being unreasonable) to expect payment," commented one person, adding that the sister is being cheeky to think anyone, even her sister, would care for a young child FULL TIME for free. She did add that she wouldn't charge the sort of prices she would be expecting to pay a stranger.
Another wrote: "Your sister will benefit financially from you allowing her to go back to work with no childcare costs. Why on earth would you think it fair that she benefits 100 percent and you benefit 0 percent. That's madness."
The original poster later clarified her sister actually offered her money, but she herself felt uncomfortable taking money off her given she's also done a lot for this woman in return over the years.
She resolved to have a "proper discussion" with her sister and work out a way that she can help her while also maintaining her own work/life balance.
Let your kids fail. To learn self-sufficiency, kids need to occasionally dust themselves off (literally and figuratively) without your help. "Most parents know what their children are capable of but step in to make things easier for them," says Sheri Noga, the author of Have the Guts to Do It Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence. Remember: Long-term benefits—a teenager who knows how to do her own laundry, for example—trump momentary discomfort. Before you rush in to help with any physical task, ask yourself: "Is my child in real danger?" Then—and this applies to other challenges, like the social studies poster due tomorrow—think about whether your child has the necessary skills (dexterity and balance) or simply adequate sleep and a snack. Yes? Time to back off and see what happens.