Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

My husband's sister has a babysitting business in her house. She is licensed to watch five kids and offers to watch our two kids every other week while we go to job interviews. We both have part-time jobs and are looking for full time work, so money is a little tight. Should we pay her what she charges her regular customers or what we can afford at this time?

If your children are taking up space and a time slot that could be replaced with a regularly paying customer, I think she would appreciate the same amount of money. I also take care of children in my home. It is my income and I depend on it. In the beginning, I was constantly having to turn down relatives who wanted to drop their kids off for whatever reason, and it caused some hard feelings. But, after a year or so, they finally understood that this was my business and how I made my money. Find out the details and move forward. - A. C. in Nashville, TN

I am assuming that since you are asking this question, that things have gotten a little sticky and perhaps awkward. To answer you, I guess it depends on how this situation got started and whether or not if she approached the two of you with the offer or if one of you asked if she would do it. I'm guessing that she already knows the specific concerns that the two of you have about your income at this time. However, if she actually made the offer, maybe she is just trying to help, especially since you and your husband are using the time to go to job interviews. However, if your needs have changed and you are using the time to do anything else, like grocery shopping, running errands, etc., where your kids could actually be tagging along with you, then that may not align with what she originally had in mind in the first place. The amount that you pay her for watching the kids, if any, should have been discussed upfront. If she has recently raised the question of payment, then it's most likely safe to say that you and your husband need to readdress the topic with her. Without making her upset or feel that she is being taken advantage of, discuss the conditions again so that she would feel comfortable keeping the kids. Who knows, maybe her own situation has changed and she needs money too. If that's the case, and you and your husband feel like you cannot pay, then you will have to work out a plan where you take turns interviewing while the other one stays at home with the kids. Either way, don't let your experience with your sister-in-law cloud your relationship with her. After all, she is your children's aunt and you want them to have a good relationship with her for many years to come.

I have been a helicopter parent for so long that my children, ages seven and nine, are extremely apprehensive of taking any risks in various activities, sports, etc., or doing anything where they may get even slightly hurt or disappointed. What have I done and how do I correct it?

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