Is It Wrong That I Expect My Mother-in-Law to Clean While Babysitting for Free?


Should my mother-in-law clean while she babysits?

We don’t pay her to babysit because my hubby believes she’s making up for what she missed out on. She missed out on their births, birthdays, and holidays cause she was on drugs and chose her abusive boyfriend and lived 6 hours away.

At one point, she did live down three houses from us but still didn’t make it to her granddaughter’s birth and rarely seen her as a baby. Now when we come home, I’m talking about bowls of cereal left on the table since the morning, crumbs all over the floor and all over the table, spilled milk everywhere, cups everywhere, trash thrown on the floor because she’s not telling the kids to throw it in the trash. Dishes in the sink are piled up, something sticky on our floor, and the kids’ toys are everywhere or crayons and markers everywhere.

My kids are old enough to know how to pick up after themselves; they just have to be told. She just lets my kids do whatever, and I don’t want to come home after a 12-hour shift to deep clean my home. I talked to my hubby, and he just rolls his eyes."

RELATED QUESTION: Should Family Be Paid to Babysit?


“I think it’s fair that everyone cleans up after themselves and not leave trash all around the house. So I understand why you’d want to say something about it. However, the attitude around making her babysit for free because of what she’s missed out on is actually really mean. Seems that she is getting punished for having a serious problem. You’re kinda taking advantage of her guilt and that’s not healthy.”

“I know for one thing, if I ain’t getting paid, I’m not cleaning. If your kids know how to do it, you need to get on their butts and tell them to pick up after they’re done. She doesn’t owe anybody anything. She’s human; she makes mistakes just like I’m pretty sure you did in life.”

“First of all, why would you think she’d be good to watch your kids if she wasn’t in her own kids’ lives? Second, why would you think it’s ok to guilt-trip anyone into watching your kids for free?? And third, you sound ungrateful as hell.”

“Wow. She may have made bad choices and missed out, but that doesn’t mean you get to decide that she should work for you for free. I don’t think there is much you can say to her. Address it with your children if they are old enough.”

“First of all why doesn’t she deserve to be paid because she made the decision to stay away from your children while she was using? I’m guessing she is in recovery trying to change her life correct And probably feels bad enough about missing what she missed out on You should at least offer her some money and ask her if she would kindly mind picking up after the kids or having them help her pick up or making them pick up that for themselves depending on their age. But I just don’t think it’s right that her past drug use should have anything to do with the situation right now because you obviously forgive her if you’re allowing her around your kids if you don’t forgive her then you shouldn’t be using her as a babysitter.”

“Gosh, I feel like there is so much wrong with this situation. First, you can’t make someone repay you in any way, shape, or form for mistakes they made in their past. I’d imagine she probably feels bad enough without someone feeling they are owed for it. If you want her to take care of the kids and clean the house and any other jobs that may go along with it you should pay her something or find an actual nanny and pay them. If your kids are old enough to do it then they should be cleaning up after themselves. You could maybe ask her to try to have the kids clean up after themselves so you’re not really asking her to do it but I wouldn’t expect much if you’re not paying her.”

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You had the child so look after your own child or pay for proper child care


Rude much she takes time out her day to watch um and you can’t even pay her I wouldn’t clean either why bother going the extra mile if they aren’t paid want help pay for it there your kids not hers hers are raised n gone she’s not obligated to do anything for yours just cuz she’s grandma


As a mother in love and a Nana that loves her grands …I have to say that I would feel used…


I mean, if she’s watching them she should at least tell them to clean up after themselves. That’s part of babysitting.


For fucks sake it’s the kids grandmother. My mom always watched my kids when I worked when they were young and never let them trash the house. Its a matter of respect and id say she has none for you. If your husband doesn’t want to do anything about it then tell him he can clean up after the mess she has allowed and go soak in a hot bath.

Certainly if you say that your kids are old enough to pick up after themselves then you need to set those rules in place but no you cannot expect to have your mother-in-law clean your house while you’re at work.

Pay her. Daycare is expensive.


Clean your own house. Watching kids ain’t easy.


Get a sitter and let her be the grandma. It sounds like you are punishing her


If she is watching them she should make them mind and pick up after themselves…Doesnt matter if getting paid or not that is normal…Idc what anyone says…


I feel like she should help the kids clean up the messes that happen on her watch but that’s about it. She is saving you money on childcare and obviously she has straightened up a bit or you probably wouldn’t let her watch your kids. Just because she did drugs and made mistakes in the past doesn’t mean she should be at your beck and call. How many more ways do you plan to punish her for her past? If you want her to clean, pay her!

Having them clean up after themselves is one thing. But if you want her to watch them and clean then pay the women.


Shes watching your kids for free, doesn’t matter about her past or if your husband thinks she needs to make up for something, shes doing yall a favor by watching them for free. If your kids are old enough to clean up after themselves maybe tell them to do it instead of your child care slave :woman_facepalming:

Here we have an other adult seeming to think they are entitled to free maid and daycare because its a grandparent. I worked full time and raised 6 kids and still busted my ass when i got home because kids are 24/7… grow up and pay a professional to watch your kids and clean your house.

This is wrong!!! Pay her!


I think it would be wrong to ask her to clean. She isn’t a nanny. She’s watching them for free. Maybe talk about paying her and add in tasks you’d need her to complete

Teach her with love.She may not know how.


You lost me at drugs. Why leave your kids with someone who did all that and expect them to provide GOOD childcare. Hire a real sitter.


Here’s my opinion.
She’s giving up having a real job to watch the children. She is a person with feelings and emotions and bills. I’m not saying you should pay her $500 a week but I do think anyone who takes time out of their own day to care for my kids deserves some cash and appreciation. Just my opinion

Offer her a some money she might say no I am glad to keep the children free. Talk to her and let her know what you need done daily. But you and your husband needs to have the children eating at a table and limit the amount of toys they play with.

You seem ungrateful to me. You feel a lot of animosity toward her & seem to want to punish her. YOU are the problem. She has struggled & you want to stomp on her. Be kind.


I would tell my kids to pick up after themselves even if grandma is watching them, if they dont, they will be in trouble when I get home. Grandma is not their maid. I would also tell my MIL to remind them to clean up after themselves.

If your kid’s know to clean. You an your husband should have a talk with them, Also telling grandma to tell them to put thing’s away as well…
Addicts can have alot of guilt an lack of being. They aren’t known for living in the cleanest conditions either.
She probably doesn’t want to correct them b.c she honestly doesn’t know how or maybe, feel it’s her place?
It’s a sticky situation. I don’t think you should expect a spotless house or all the dishes to be done, But atleast put them in the sink, trash goes in the garbage can, ect… You and your husband need to be on the same page, talking with the kid’s about cleaning up an what will happen if they don’t ( grounded) or take toys away, ect…Try an talk w. Grandma about how u feel.

Tell her “yourself”!(wow) got a headache, just reading that!


I’m sorry, but this comes across like you’re using her and making her pay for past mistakes. Not a healthy relationship and totally wrong.


So the vibe is she owes you free babysitting and house cleaning because of her poor parenting of your husband. You want your kids lined up and fresh and your house deep cleaned hire a professional and let grandma be grandma.

Her focus should be staying sober and than being a grandma not being your free babysitter and housekeeper.
Hire someone

I’d roll my eyes at you too!

Hire a sitter & housekeeper. You’re trying to get free help.

So bc she had an addiction she should have to watch your kids for free? Even if she missed their births and holidays you think that adds up to basically parenting your kids more then you do daily? Your rude and ungrateful and your husband should be ashamed of himself

Give her a chore list for the kids. Like put bowls in tbe sink help gma with loading dish washer. Play tve pick up game with the toys. Keep on mind she hasnt ever had to use her parenting skills and they maybe pretty minimal and she maybe fighting to do what she can. See if you cna get her to grow with tie kids


Not if u dont pay her. Put yourself in her shoes. Kids should clean up after themselves if its age appropriate but your also getting free babysitting.

Why don’t you enforce good habits with the kids …if they are a bit older …put your dishes in the sink or dishwasher…pick up your clothes put them in the hamper…throw the garbage where it belongs…you really are ready to this at any age just enforce it…and reward it…
If someone stays in a messy house all day your Son-in-law has no interventions os straighten things up for you…if she takes care of the kids properly you should be happy…it’s your responsibility to
Show respect for their home and help out…

Who are you people??? Any and all messes made through out the day should be cleaned up by the ADULT allowing the messes to be made! I dont care who it is! Anything less is pathetic and lazy. And your husband should be the one cleaning it if HIS MOTHER cant be bothered for the whole day! Picking up after kids and teaching them to pick up after themselves is part of watching them! Good grief!


No one owes you anything!


It’s not unreasonable to expect that the spilled milk be cleaned up whether you’re paying someone or not. My parents would never expect or accept payment for watching their grandchild for any length of time. She shouldn’t be expected to deep clean the bathroom, but have the kids put away their toys and throw the dishes in the dishwasher is completely reasonable.

It sounds like you’re taking advantage if this woman she’s a grandma who’s watching your kids 12 hours a day with no pay!! How about you hire someone. To clean and let her be a grandma!! You should be paying her and teaching your kids how to clean that’s your job not hers


Why are you letting her watch the kids? That’s the first mistake. What else is she potentially doing that is causing her to not want to clean up the messes? Even just part of it. Is she REALLY watching them? Sounds to me like she isn’t. Hire a real sitter. :woman_shrugging:t2:


Your lucky to have a free sitter. I don’t think it’s her job to clean your house.

If she makes a mess sure she should clean it up. But to ask to clean the house while at work I would say no

Sounds like she’s not the type to babysit period. Sounds like most likely "watching " them is best she’ll be able to ever do. Id consider it a risk letting her babysit. I wouldn’t expect someone like that to be able to clean. Be lucky your kids are still ok with her.


Does your mom clean after them when she babysit?? Do you pay her to do it? There îs your answer
Trying not to judge enyone desevers a second change but îf my mom or their nan on their dads side hâd a drug problem i wouldn’t Leave her alone with my kids

Be grateful she’s willing to watch your kids for free. Stop using guilt as an excuse to try and use this woman for free child care and maid services. Ungrateful smh. I wouldn’t be surprised if your husband went off on you about it… that’s his mom, tf. Not your slave. Also try talking to your kids and letting them know just because Grandma is watching them, does NOT mean they get to trash out the house. Sounds like they’re old enough to understand that.

Are you punishing her? She had a disease. She couldn’t be there for you. Those are your kids and your house and you should clean it up.


I wouldn’t let her watch the kids at all. Horrible habits to be teaching your kids.


You have free child care and your complaining about a little sweeping

I love these questions and answers people are so judgmental! The husband chooses not to pay grandma not the mother. Maybe there’s an ulterior motive because no payment also means no money for her drug of choice. I guess I’m a pessimist (too much family court) but I would be more worried about relapse and that affecting the babysitting. If she is watching the children they all should be ensuring it’s not a mess for you to clean up after work. I don’t see where you’re punishing her, if that were true you would not be allowing her to babysit them in the first place. It is totally reasonable to feel how you feel. Watching children normally includes the cleanup whether she does it or has the kids do it. Maybe she is leaving the house messy so you start paying her. But, you cannot keep using her not being there during the addiction against her. It is one thing to keep in mind but not to use against her.

Y’all are disrespectful as fuck she’s not obligated to do shit for y’alls kids and you need to teach they lil asses to pick up they own mess smh


So… you are punishing her for the past? And expect her to help you out free? I don’t think that is how life works.

Wow how entitled are you! None of that shit you brought up from the past is relevant what so ever. You’re the one who raised your kids to be that way. Since YOU DONT PAY HER to watch your children for 12 hours a day the least you could do is hire a maid. Sounds like you have a personal issue with her because of her PAST personal life and you’re being vengeful and ungrateful as fuck. No wonder your husband doesn’t want to hear your bullshit.


I agree and disagree… my kids know what I expect them to do in my house… such as where their bowls go and trash goes in there trash can. Sounds like you might need to enforce chores with your kids (age appropriate ofc) and I would make sure grandma made sure that list was done. Now so much as making her clean because she “wasn’t there” she had an addiction… and she overcame it let her be grandma without strings attached

i dont agree you are punishing her or expecting too much. whether you pay her or not is irrelevant when it comes to common sense of wiping up spilt milk or having the child do it. i watch my grandchildren and homeschool them but they are still expected to act according to age and clean up even if i have to remind them all day long. i think people got too hung up on “clean”. you didnt say you expected hwr to scrub toilets. simply that common sense stuff is done. my daughter has certain pet peeves ( i
e. crap on the stairs and kitchen table). if manage to get anything extra done its to be certain those are clean before she comes home. actually disappointed in the responses here. no where in your post did you expect EXTRA, just common respect/courtesy/sense which is so very much lacking in this world

I think its says alot that she got clean and realizes her mistakes and is willing to be there now for the kids. Being here now for you to help out so you dont have to pay for child care. With that being said she probably struggling trying to be grandma coming back in the picture feeling alot of guilt. Trying to make up and doesnt know how to approach the boundaries of discipline the grandchildren by telling them to pick up after themselves. Theres arealdy missed placed feelings because of past. I like the idea of leaving a list to go by. So she can say mommy wants us to do this maybe she can make it in to a game or lets do this for mommy to help her out. Remember she is grandma let her be one even tho she is there helping you out. At the same point kids need constant discipline and grandma and you should sit down and have a heart to heart about the proper way to handle this.


Sounds like you need to take care of your children and home yourself and not depend on family . Being ungrateful is not becoming of anyone . JS


You are a moron! That mother in law owes y’all nothing! So take care of your house ok! Filthy much!

Don’t lisen to nasty coments
There îs gonna be a Time when she îs going to be fragile old. Not as good on her feet and you and your husband Will have to look after her… I wouldn’t charge my Kids for baby-sitting ever. But every opinion îs differnt i suppose. Make your husband clean of he can roll eyes he can clean… When your mom does The same you clean

Wow, you all sound a lil messed up. Work together it’s the only way shits gonna get done.

She’s your mother in law not your maid. She babysits for free I assume. She owes you nothing

It takes a village to raise children. Cleaning your house no. Helping to teach the children responsibility yes

If you trust her recovery is far enough along that you trust her to watch your children STOP throwing her past up when she’s clearly trying to make amends… If you have the audacity to bring it up to complete strangers. It’s not her responsibility to even watch your kids while you work, you should be appreciative instead of being so negative.


I think it is reasonable to ask her to clean up any and all
Messes while in her care but not to clean your whole house. This was a rule I had for my sitters. Only clean what was dirtied on your care. If there’s other things I haven’t gotten to just leave it because that’s my mess not yours. I didn’t hire them to be my maids but just clean what got dirty on your watch. I fired one because she would leave spilled food on my floor tables fridge she cleaned nothing so I would get home late at night after work and have to scrub dried food off everything or spilled drinks she was bad. A total pig sty when I left it clean.

Sounds like her not being around has turned her son into a selfish person. If you want her to clean pay her. If she has cleaned up enough to baby sit you should pay her to baby sit as well. It just blows my mind the selfishness in this post.

Really! She’s not your personal cleaner and babysitter. Wow…so ungrateful


WHAT? what planet in the next Galaxy are y’all from? Not paying for childcare is a blessing IF the caregiver was someone trustworthy and nurturing to your kids. I wouldn’t be comfortable allowing anyone with that kind of history and background alone with my kids regardless of relationship. And that being said it’s so abusive and self entitled to expect grandma to be the nanny and housekeeper for free! I don’t care what she missed out on THAT sounds like emotional blackmail

If she’s watching your kids for free, I would not expect her to clean. Even Nannies charge a lot extra for cleaning. Try making a chore list for the kids and a set time for them to do them. If you come home and they’re not done properly, have your kids clean up their messes while you stand over them and supervise despite what time it is. She may be struggling to keep up w the kids and cleaning would limit her ability to supervise. Everyone has different capabilities.

I have a nanny. She gets paid. But I expect her to watch my children. Not clean my house. I work in healthcare and come home and still clean up if I have too.

I do think its common sense to clean up… maybe not corner clean and spit shine for you… but…

Nobody owes you anything… They are YOUR kids and YOUR house so therefore YOUR mess… Oh and pay that lady you ungrateful jerks…


You need to get your ass on the good foot and train your kids better. Since you’re soo ungrateful put their bad asses in child care. This woman has been through hell. Above all she don’t OWE YOU OR YOUR KIDS FREE SITTING SERVICES!!! I SAID WHAT I SAID, STRAIGHT LIKE THAT.

YOUR kids know better and shouldn’t have to be told, and she’s not free babysitter just cuz she fucked up in the past.

If you want a nanny, pay for one. She’s watching your kids for free. Her past does not excuse your treatment and expectations of her.

WOW!!! The comments here are unbelievable!!! I was 10 when we starting babysitting. It was a requirement ( by my parents mind you) don’t make a mess. If you do, clean it up. The house should be cleaner when you leave than it was when you got there. I don’t give 2 shits about her past. She agreed to watch her grandkids for free, not as a free loader. She ( your mother in law) is the entitled one, thinking since she’s doing you a favor, then she has the right to be disrespectful of your home. Typical addict behavior. Someone who is truly working their program would never leave your home like that. It’s called making amends for past behavior. Do yourself a favor and hire someone else. You’ll be happier and at more peace. PS… paying a grandma to spend time helping with her grandkids is the same as a parent calling it babysitting when they are alone taking care of their children.

Her son is an adult, she doesn’t have to do fuck all, not trying to be an ass but, those are your kids! Teach them how to clean up after themselves, and yes, at an early age. Your mother in law doesn’t owe you and her son shit.

You say your kids know better? And can pick up after themselves? Get in their butts for doing that to your home! You should be telling them, not her. And if she’s there now and clean/sober and contributing and in their lives you need to quit treating her as if she owes you something. Because she don’t.


You want her to watch your kids? & clean? While not getting paid? Because of her past mistakes? You’re on a whole other level.


Wow you got some nerve…be thankful she helps you at all. No one is obligated to do anything. It was your choice to have children,and anything anyone does to help you is a blessing not an obligation. You can clean your house like the rest of us smh.


When i babysit my grandchildren i always make sure the dishes are done and make sure the children pick and complete their chores. I don’t feel taken advantage of or abused. I don’t get paid. Being with my grandchildren is pay enough. I feel that if i was the parent i would appreciate coming home to a tidy home after working all day.

No apologies here because if they mess up and she allowed it then everyone is cleaning that was involved. No ifs or ands about it. Seems to me she has gotten accustomed to living in a mess. Ijs! She has to be told also in the most harsh way if she don’t understand the nice way. As for her husband he can roll his eyes right on the couch or in a nice Hotel room and let that marinate a bit.

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I always clean up after grandkids when i watch them. Asking the normal cleaning up dishes and messes isnt that big of a deal. If u r talking the major housecleaning like a maid then thats too much to ask. Dont confront her and b mean about it. But it wouldnt b a bad thing to just politely ask for the dishes not to b left out and toys cleaned up


Wow !!!that’s why your man rolls his eyes because your so ungrateful as a grandmother I feel we dont owe our children nothing we help out cuz we want to not to amend our past mistakes and especially when they are putting our past mistakes on blast if you where my DLaw not only would my sons eyes roll yours would too your a really bad person to feel entitled

If anything I would mention making the kids pick up after themselves…but no she should not be expected to clean


Be grateful that she’s babysitting your kids for free!! She’s the grand parent not parent and she’s not obligated to do shit but live her life!!

Speaking from personal experience as a grandmother who watches her grandchildren every day I will say that yes she should want to teach your children to do what you as parents expect of them and hopefully if you taught them well enough they will follow the rules that you as parents have expected from them…BUT children know how to play the system and walk all over people when the parents are not available. It is your duty to teach them that they are expected to do the same things while grandma is caring for them as they would if you were at home. For you to automatically assume it is the grandparents fault if these rules are not followed through is a lack in your ability to teach your children right from wrong. It is not grandmas job to be your maid. Now on the other hand grandma should be willing to want them to continue their normal routine by instilling it into them as well and if she is not encouraging that then yes she is in the wrong but if she makes a full effort to try to encourage them to do what is normally expected of them but they refuse just cause well hey its grandma and shes an easy pushover then no it is definitely not her fault and should not be expected of her. To bring up her past feels as though there is some animosity and no matter how much she tried to make it right it would never be enough. Do not be angry but have more understanding. The job of a grandmother is not the same as a parent no matter what she feels she owes for lost time. Shes doing it for free and always remember in life that you get what ya pay for. Be thankful you can work and have someone to watch your kids cause best believe in this day and age very few have that privilege and those that do are paying a fortune

Wow! Nobody owes you anything. Get off your pedestal, stop being disrespectful.


First of all her past is her past, she missed out period. It ain’t nobody’s business. Second if your kid’s are old enough and need reminders, maybe she does too. Maybe leave notes around to help them to remember to clean up after themselves. Talk to them all. Don’t be nasty about it, just a friendly reminder. I’ve worked 12 hours a day before and came home to cook and clean. You do what you got to do. It wouldn’t hurt to throw her a little something every week too.


Remind your kids to clean after them selves after all grandma is making memories with the children. Let it go.


Pay someone to clean

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Look at her previous lifestyle and you expect different?
Get someone with a real clue, I wouldn’t be leaving her with the kids at all haha
She requires nothing of them, teaches them nothing and probably be useless in an emergency
Get rid of her


Make a chore chart for your kids so they know what needs to be done by the time you are home. Ask her to enforce it. And give the lady a break! You’re lucky to have her!


No matter what kind of past she has, she owes you nothing. Be glad you’re not paying for childcare. Family or not she isn’t repsonsible to clean OR watch your kids, so consider that a blessing. Your kids, your mess to clean. I know its infuriating to come home to a mess after work, but it’s your responsibility, not hers. And if your kids are old enough to know better then it sounds like you need to be having a talk with them. Maybe implement consequences or rewards, make chore charts? Whatever you need to do to make them accountable and clean up after themselves.


She’s watching them for at least 12 hours for FREE. :woman_facepalming:t2::woman_shrugging:t2: :expressionless: BE QUIET!

  1. Don’t your kids have consequences for bad behavior when you’re not around? Like making a mess?
  2. She missed a lot of stuff because she lived 6 HOURS away. Did you jump in your car and drive 6 hours to + 6 back for all her birthdays?
  3. If she’s irresponsible and a former drug addict, why is she watching your kids for 12+ hours? :woman_facepalming:t2:

So you have a free babysitter and want her to be a free maid too ??? If your kids are old enough to clean up after themselves, may be they should do that instead of expecting grandma to do it for them.

Bitch give you mother in law some money.

U r not paying this lady for her serves do u have anymore what it costs for someone to come to your home to babysit?? Or daycare count your blessings if your children r old enough to pick up after themselves then u talk to them help grandma out. Cut some slack u dont have to pay for her services cause if u push the issue she will walk out the your screwed.remember that good luck

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You actually sound like a person that has to complain & find excuses about everything. You’re getting FREE childcare, maybe you put the money you would be paying a daycare into a cleaning service. You should be grateful she watches them for you for FREE. If you can’t handle coming home to a messy house cuz of your own children, make them clean it or find someone else to watch them in a different location other than your home.

If your kids are old enough to clean after themselves then tell them to do it routinely, if they don’t listen and follow rules and you find their trash all over the place punish them… consequences… then talk to your mother in law and ask her if she wouldn’t mind and has a chance to help wash dishes… all could be asked in a polite manner… what’s the worst that could happen besides a no… start with talking to the kids since they can make it less clean up for the in law…

First off your not paying her so be grateful shes watching them regardless of her past. 2nd if your children are old enough to know better then I’d be on thier as$ when I got home and they would be picking up thier stuff. Also wash your own damn dishes, and always remember daycares arent cheap so you could be paying outta your as$ for child care but aren’t so clean your sh!t yourself :woman_facepalming:


Shes not a fucking nanny despite her past mistakes


Pay a damn babysitter
Get off your high horse !