it takes a village

Woman Thinks It’s “Absurd” That Some Relatives Charge For Sporadic Babysitting

She watches her nephew once a week for free.

A woman went viral after saying her friends were stunned to find out that she watches her nephew for...
@kaitlynnnwils / TikTok

Childcare in America comes with a hefty fee. A 2020 report found that the national average annual cost of childcare was $10,174 per child. That’s more than 10% of the median dual income for a married couple and more than 35% percent of the median income for a single parent. With childcare costs so astronomically high, some families opt for one parent to stay home while others link in the help of extended family members to pitch in such as grandparents.

One woman posted a TikTok explaining that her friends were stunned to find out that she watches her nephew once a week and does not charge her sister for the time. She wondered if she was in the minority.

“I told somebody the other day that I watched my nephew for my sister once a week, and they were so shocked that I did it for free,” Kaitlyn explained. “Like, are other people's families out here charging them to watch their kids for a few hours? That's absolutely absurd if they are.”

She goes on to explain her philosophy when it comes to family and spending time with her nephew. She doesn’t see that time as work. She sees it as a privilege.

“I get the opportunity to create a relationship with my nephew by babysitting him and being around him, and the fact that other people feel like they would need to be paid to hang out with their nieces, nephews, grandkids, whatever is so messed up,” she said.

Kaitlyn goes on to say that the types of family members who charge for babysitting are the same ones who wonder why their younger relatives want nothing to do with them.

“And I swear it'll be those same adults at family parties being like, ‘My God, like, why doesn't so-in-so wanna hug me or talk to me?’ They don't fucking know you, dude. I feel like it's not that hard to show up for and support people in your family, especially if you live near them,” she said.

Points were made! Something is grating about those in-laws or relatives who cannot fathom why a small child cowers behind their parents when they come near asking for hugs and kisses and yet do little to nothing to build any sort of bond with them. The entitlement is real!

Kaitlyn admits to Scary Mommy that her family dynamic has never been to expect payment for helping one another. “I am also the older sister and in a much better financial position than my little sister so I would have refused even if she had offered,” she says.

As for what she and her five-month-old nephew do when they’re hanging out, she says most time spent is just trying to make him giggle.

“It is the cutest thing ever. We also like watching anything on Disney+ together,” she says.

Several TikTok users commented on Kaitlyn’s video, voicing their own opinions on this subject.

“Is it really babysitting? Or is it just spending time with family? It’s just spending time for me,” one user wrote.

“For real. Time with my niece is my favorite like I’d be willing to pay my sister to leave the house so I can get some auntie & niece time 😂,” a TikTok user said.

The OP replied, “I also feel this like because if my sisters around my nephew of course only wants her like sis please leave so I can have my time.”

Another wrote, “Babysitting is an ✨investment✨ because when you’re a lonely old person your nephew will actually want to see you.”

“My mom, sisters, and MIL would throw themselves into oncoming traffic before accepting payment for watching my son 😂,” another joked.

Others noted that there are some exceptions to this rule, including age and time spent.

“I feel if ur an adult do it for free, but if it’s a teen relative, give them some money. My uncle used to pay me now I do it for free cuz it have a job now,” one user said.

Another wrote, “Yep. If it’s consistent, I’m not doing a full-time job without pay. If it’s a date night, free. But Monday through Friday? That’s a job.”

One user echoed, “I could see paying if it was a set schedule ing like m-f all day but otherwise it should be an ‘I help with this you help with something I need.’”

Other TikTok users agreed with this quid pro quo type deal with one user writing, “We pay each other in treats and random errands.”

“I charge in dr peppers lol jk I do it for free but they always bring me a Dr Pepper 😂,” a user joked.

Kaitlyn couldn’t believe the response on her video, noting that she was saddened to hear so many people didn’t have the kind of support she lends to her sister.

“I was shocked to see how many people said that they had little to no support with their children from family members,” she says. “That was so strange to me as I had grown up with great grandparents and grandparents always wanting to see and babysit me and my sisters!”

I’m not sure what I would do without the free help of my parents. They watch my daughter a couple of times a week plus date nights. Anytime I even try to say thank you for their help, my mom always insists that watching their granddaughter is their privilege and pleasure. She ends up thanking me for giving her the opportunity.

I know this is rare. I have friends who pay their parents to watch their kids regularly. I have friends who have to beg their parents to pitch in to help with child care for one single date night. The situations run the gamut — and it’s about finding something that all parties are comfortable with.