Having good grandparents is a blessing. They'll help us with our kids and never ask anything in return. But there's a Grandma who sent an enormous invoice to her daughter for babysitting her granddaughter.
Many grandparents are eager to meet and spoil their grandchildren. They'll buy them nice stuff, take them to museums and spend quality time with them. This's a typical situation, but some families are complicated.
One mom sought advice on the Ask Amy Column after she received a bill of expenses from her own mother after she sent her daughter to spend time with their grandma.
The woman wrote the letter with a title "Burned by Grandma" saying:
"I sent a cheque for $300 to my mother to cover my daughter's expenses during her visit."
"Upon my daughter's return, my mother sent me an invoice for $475.50 for additional expenses, including the cost of gas to and from the airport to transport her (45 minutes away), train tickets to go to the city to a museum, and the cost of the museum admission."
The letter-writer continues to explain that she's hurt and angry for her mother's doing.
She said that she's even considering never to send her daughter to their grandma ever again. This's because it's costly both "financially and emotionally."
Grandma Comes With A Price
Those excursions were grandma's choices, not hers, and $475.50 is a high expense for "extras."
The daughter had paid what she presumed to be the reasonable expense for visiting grandma's place. It's like the grandma doubled it.
The woman continues to say that when her mom lived with them for four months, they paid for everything for her. The costs included a fancy vacation.
She now feels like she's too generous, and the mother is taking advantage of the situation.
The woman also explains that her mother's single and a retired college professor.
"My mother is a single woman (a retired college professor), and we have never asked her to pay for anything."
"Now I feel she has taken advantage of my generosity, and I don't trust her to spend time with my daughter because it is just too costly for me (financially and emotionally)."
This doesn't add up because she could be living a comfortable life if she's a retired professor. It's unusual for grandmas to ask for payments for grandchildren's visits.
Strange Family Dynamics
Ask Amy responded to the letter saying that it would help if she expressed her concerns with the grandma.
Ask Amy said:
"Is your mother financially insecure? Is she worried about maintaining her own lifestyle in retirement? These are legitimate concerns."
"But is there a legitimate reason she couldn't stay within the reasonable $300 budget, spending over twice that amount?"
Ask Amy also suggested that perhaps there's more to the grandma's meaning of sending such a huge invoice.
"Is this itemized bill her passive-aggressive way of telling you that she doesn't actually want to host your daughter for such a long visit?"
Ask Amy also advised that the letter-writer needs to make a tough decision about the future of the "costly relationship." She needs to determine if maintaining such a grandma-granddaughter relationship is worth it.
Ask Amy wrote:
"Because your mother seems to communicate through monetizing relationships, you'll simply have to decide whether this relationship between grandmother and granddaughter is one you can afford to foster."