No, please, just take the money
December 29, 2012 7:21 PM Subscribe
Help me figure out how to pay a babysitter who doesn't want to be paid.
posted by forza to human relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a 10-week-old son who is totally awesome, except that we still would love to have a bit of time to ourselves every so often. However, we live on a different continent than any family, which makes finding that time somewhat difficult. The saving grace, however, has been our babysitter, who has been taking our son once every two weeks or so for an afternoon. These afternoons have been godsends and I want them to continue.
The problem is that she completely refuses any payment, and I feel really bad about that. She is quite insistent in her refusal and I haven't been able to force her to accept any money. I would like to find some kind of non-monetary recompense that she will accept, but when I ask her, she just says she doesn't want anything. I think if I can make a suggestion myself, or simply do something that we can plausibly pass off as something I would want to do anyway or that is "no big deal" then she will accept it and I will feel a lot better. Problem is, I can't think of anything that I can give as an ongoing sort of thing: I don't bake (and I don't think she likes sweets), I don't have a lot of time (due to the aforementioned baby), etc. I'm hoping some of you will have some ideas.
A few additional details:
- She is a former honours student of mine and currently works about 15 hours a week as my lab manager (I am a professor). This is one of the major reasons I don't want there to be any sense of obligation on her part to do this. She has no intention of continuing on in my field, and is shortly starting a PhD in a quite different topic, so there are no conflicts of interest in that sense.
- She was the one that offered to babysit in the first place. She honestly loves babies and I think misses them a great deal (her children are 10, 13, and 16). After every time she babysits she is the one to ask when she can see my son next. She is also the one who suggested that we make this a regular fortnightly thing.
- She is older than me (early 40s, I am mid-30s) and we get along well. We aren't close friends, partially because of the supervisor/supervisee dynamic, although that dynamic is waning fast now that she is not my student. Plus, with her being an actual mature adult we probably equally often seek each others' advice about things: her asking me about career stuff, me asking her about kid/family stuff.
- I would love it if she stays a part of my son's life. Because we don't have a large extended network here, having another adult who cares about him would be a great thing.
So... thoughts about this? I am mainly looking for suggestions of things I can do for her on an ongoing basis, that she will accept, that will serve as some sort of repayment for the invaluable babysitting she is doing. But if you think I should continue letting her babysit for free (or, conversely, if you think I am taking advantage of her and shouldn't have her babysit at all) then please tell me so. The situation makes me slightly uneasy but we really have nobody else that we trust who so consistently and happily wants to babysit. I'm hoping that if I can come up with some sort of "pay" that she will also accept, then everyone will be happy.