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Money Moral Dilemma: Should our son pay us for the fuel we use babysitting our grandchildren?

edited 8 November 2022 at 3:47PM in Marriage, relationships & families
51 replies 41.2K views


  • JodyoJodyo Forumite
    1 Post
    Third Anniversary First Post
    I believe as a family you should be able to let them know you are feeling the pinch of the rising fuel costs making this journey and see where the conversation goes. 
    If they are also struggling, perhaps the outings may be reduced, or they cut back on other spending to help you with fuel. Really depends on reasons for your help being needed and some negotiation as to what happens next. But I think it is best to be open with then otherwise they won’t understand your difficulties too 
  • k_k_k_katyk_k_k_katy Forumite
    25 Posts
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts
    If you would like them to pay petrol costs then you should tell them, explain that you are finding it difficult to meet the cost of the £15 to £20 each time.  Point out that you are happy to freely give several hours to drive and babysit when needed (and keep to yourself that, if it's for their social life, they are probably settling cosily into bed whilst you still have a one hour drive to face before you can do the same!).  (and perhaps anyone else reading these comments who similarly benefit from mum and dad's, or anyone else's goodness of heart, may consider how fortunate they too are, and behave accordingly) :smile: 
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    Your son and his partner could actually cut down the number of outings they have if they are also feeling the pinch?

    You and your spouse are doing them a big favour and saving them money by travelling over to babysit. My parents used to babysit for me (although I was a single parent) when I went out to work sometimes in the school holidays and occasionally if I went out at night but I'd take my child to their house and collect her next day, or sometimes after a weekend as she loved spending time with them. I offered to pay them but they would never accept - they weren't out of pocket.

    It's different in your case, you are out of pocket and you're being asked to travel for two hours altogether - I don't think it would be at all unreasonable to mention the cost of fuel and how you're struggling to them. 

    They probably just don't realise but I honestly don't think that they are feeling the pinch half as much as you are. You're being taken a bit for granted and if you don't mention it, you could grow to be resentful - which would be a shame as you may miss out on seeing the grandchildren in the future. Best to mention now, I think. In a nice way, obviously. 
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • neilmorganneilmorgan Forumite
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    You could suggest sharing the cost saying because you are feeling the pinch.
    Maybe they could drop the children off with you sometimes.

  • Flipflop13Flipflop13 Forumite
    26 Posts
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    When they next ask I wouldn’t ask for payment or contribution, I’d say well we aren’t sure we’re going to have enough petrol to last us for our own trips we need to do what with all the increases and let them take the lead after that. Either they’ll offer to contribute or they won’t ask again.
    My Mum travelled an hour each way to look after our daughter 2 or 3 days a month for about a year (pre petrol rises), she would never ask or accept payment however we always tried to show our gratitude come special occasions. 
    However we were fully aware it’s hard work with a toddler all day and travelling either side and we needed to consider our future plans for more children and how this would impact on our parents therefore we made the decision to ‘move home’ and alleviate any travel issues. This might not be possible for your son but what I’m saying is, if they don’t have any intention of easing the childcare pressures on you and you’re  feeling the pinch, in the long term they should look for alternative arrangements 
  • primrose_penguinprimrose_penguin Forumite
    84 Posts
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    I think you should explain that although you love seeing your grandchildren you are finding it difficult to afford the petrol, and suggest they bring the children to you, they will soon find out the cost once they have done it themselves and will hopefully understand your worries and give you some money towards the petrol costs if they want you to go to them.
  • JennyC89JennyC89 Forumite
    5 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    There’s no “should” or “shouldn’t” here, it depends on you’re circumstances and relationship. If you are struggling then they absolutely should cover the cost! Even if you weren’t struggling but still asked, they should pay for your fuel. The fact that they haven’t already offered, to me, seems like maybe they aren’t struggling financially if they haven’t even considered the cost for you. They clearly aren’t thinking about money very much. 

    I think you should bring it up with them, I would be mortified if my mum helping me was causing financial hardship for her. She does help me a lot (due to my disability and being a single parent) and I have offered to pay for things in the past and she has always said no, so unless it’s more significant expenses I don’t really offer anymore. But she isn’t struggling financially (and doesn’t live far from me). 

    You don’t have to ask them outright to pay for the fuel, start by mentioning that it’s getting expensive and although you absolutely love helping and spending that time with your grandchildren, it’s starting to get too expensive for you to easily afford. If that doesn’t prompt an “omg!” moment where they apologise that it never crossed their mind and insist on paying for the fuel, then I’d be concerned about the type of people they are and whether they’re just taking advantage of you! 

    If they really can’t afford it, they should atleast offer to pay half or something. Free childcare from family is great but should not cost, the person helping, money that they cannot afford!
  • AfourteenAfourteen Forumite
    85 Posts
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Posts
    No - There will come a time when you will need your children to support yourself - be 'Parent Minders' if you like. Will you be happy if they only come to support you if you pay their travel costs?

    When my parents where alive I lived 2 hours from them. When they needed my help it wasn't a question of are they paying to travel to them to get my support - I just went. Likewise when we first moved that distance away my parents and inlays came and helped with doing up our house without us paying there travel costs. 
  • vekmavekma Forumite
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    no he never asked to be born
  • CapeTownCapeTown Forumite
    69 Posts
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    You should not even have to ask. Of course they should give you petrol money. There is also the wear and tear on the car, insurance etc. 
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