When someone says they want to help you out of the goodness of their heart, you don’t expect that they’ll want to be paid– especially if you didn’t ask for the help to begin with! One woman and her husband, returned home after the birth of their new baby, to find that his mother, who had agreed to feed the dogs in their absence, had cleaned their house and wanted to be paid for it.
I (F31) gave birth to my beautiful son a week ago. Unfortunately there were some complications, so I was only released yesterday but I am so grateful to be home with our baby boy. When my waters initially broke, my husband (M33) and I were at home and I happened to be standing on my bedroom carpet. Cleaning was obviously not the priority, so I threw some towels down and we left for the hospital.
During the time we were in hospital, my MIL (F59) kindly offered to feed our dogs for us, and we were very appreciative of her help. It was only once we get home yesterday that I saw my MIL had left a receipt and note stuck to the fridge, saying that she had cleaned my bedroom carpet and wanted to be reimbursed. She had also taken it upon herself to clean the rest of the house while she was at it, and all in all, would like a day’s pay at $25/hour + $200 worth of products.
Now, while it was nice of her to clean my carpet and then the rest of my house, neither of us asked her to do this. My husband wrote her the following text:
“Hello mom, we really appreciate your help over the last few days while (my name) was in the hospital. It was great having someone over to look after the dogs.
We noticed your note and receipt on the fridge, and are a little upset you took it upon yourself to 1. snoop through the house, as neither of us had told you about (my name’s) water’s breaking in the bedroom, 2. go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning products, and then 3. charging us for your time and the aforementioned products. We would also like to ask where these cleaning products are, as if we are paying for them, we would certainly like to get our money’s worth
When we entrusted you with the dogs, we really thought you were helping us out of the good of your heart and not giving you an opportunity to make a quick buck. We are family, and are hurt you would do something like this while (my name) was so unwell.”
My MIL immediately responded to my husband saying that she did what she did out of the kindness of her heart, and she cannot believe we would be so ungrateful. I have also recieved some texts from extended family members saying that MIL didn’t have to help me, but did do despite “her advanced age” out of love. I have had to turn off my phone so that I don’t have to deal with all the texts, but my husband is still getting a lot of hate from his family because we are “mainpulating the situation” and making MIL the bad guy when she was only trying to get the house ready for the baby.
I am quite upset by the whole thing, but my husband is now saying that maybe we should pay to get the extended family off our back and just enjoy this time as new parents rather than dealing with all this. I am not okay with paying him mom for anything! She sent another text to my husband earlier saying she would be happy to gift us the products (i.e. take it off our bill), but she would still like to be paid for her time given that she dealt with “a biohazard.”
Of course, nobody was on the Mother-in-laws side on this one.
NTA. It’s only help if the recipient actually wants it. Otherwise, it’s imposing yourself on them. Charging for it is only doubling down on the problem, because now it’s forcing unwanted commercial services on you. If she’d done it out of the kindness of her heart, the most she could possibly ask for is the cleaning supplies, because that’s the only thing she is out financially (and I’d be giving even that the side-eye). The kindness of one’s heart doesn’t come with a price tag. (KaliTheBlaze)
NTA. It was really presumptuous of her to *charge* you for the cleaning!
You should not pay her because this will just open the door to other demands by her…paying for babysitting, perhaps.
Be sure to give her strict instructions to not take on “extra work” if you have to ask her to do something for you again. (stroppo)
You should go into her house when she is not there and do some random thing unasked and then bill her for it (E.g. mowing the lawn, cleaning etc.). Then when she protests call it even, and let extended family know. Also i would never let her in my house again or ask her for any help, this is really cheap behaviour.
NTA – I am completely gobsmacked by the audacity of your MIL. Your husband had the right idea with the text he sent to her, after she left a bill on the fridge. She waaaaay overstepped her bounds by doing what she did. I know reddit has the tendency to go nuclear about things like this, but I’d temporarily block MIL and her flying monkeys until you have the mental and physical capacity to really deal with her.
Congratulations on the beautiful baby boy and enjoy all the little things that come with being a new parent. The time goes by too quickly. (toosheeptheorist)
People also questioned why other family members would be siding with the mother-in-law unless she’d cooked up a cock and bull story to tell them.
What gives her the right to decide how clean your house is , then buy and charge for products you don’t use ? And if shes that old or sick or whatever why bloody do it?.
Tell whoever is annoying you that you will send an unwanted cleaning service to their house and see what they think about the invasion of privacy and rudeness. (PsychologicalBit5422)
Oh, I like this one to shut them up! I also think MIL lied her ass off when she told them about it bc there’s no way normal people would even want to get involved into something that ridiculous. So I’d ask what exactly they think they know and correct the story. NTA (BonAppletitts)
However, some people thought that the couple should just pay her to put an end to the whole thing so it doesn’t overshadow this special time, but then put very strong boundaries in place to ensure it never happens again.
Pay her. It will be worth it to put an end to her shenanigans.
As you count the money into her hand, tell her you will never again ask her for a favor, and that includes babysitting.
Then, ask her for your key back. Given how far she overstepped, she cannot be alone in your house ever again.
Establish relationships with a good dog walker/sitter and a few good babysitters. Your lives will be happier.
There’s definitely an a—h— here, but it isn’t you. NTA (Literally_Taken)
Need to pay her to get her off their backs this is too much of a headache for a newly baby’d couple to deal with. It’s honestly easier to pay and be done, but letting her know it will never happen again and that SHE will be paying for it by lost trust in the long run is THE MOVE (TallyMamma)
What do you think? Should they stand firm, or just pay her to shut her up?