DEAR AMY: My mother raised 12 children — eight girls and four boys. None of us asked her to baby-sit our children, as we felt her work was done. We would visit weekly and watch her enjoy interactions with our children.
I have four children. My daughter asked me to care for her 1-year-old two short days a week.
I said I would charge her $20 a day with a promise from the parents to deposit my “fee” directly into their child’s college fund bank account — from Gramma. My daughter was happy to agree to this.
My daughter-in-law has now asked me to watch her 2-month-old son on a specific day because she has to work. I told her, “Yes, but when you’re making money, it isn’t on my time, so I will charge you.”
Before I could tell her my plans (same as my daughter’s) she sent me an email expressing her disbelief that a Gramma would charge to watch her grandson.
She made a point of letting me know that her mom would never charge her to baby-sit.
I don’t feel I’m out of line, as I think it’s a good lesson in life: Don’t expect people to take on your responsibility. It is different if there is an emergency or if you want to go out with your spouse or if I asked to take the child for the day (I would never dream of charging a fee for that). But I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to baby-sit your children while you are out making a living. Am I wrong? — Gramma
DEAR GRAMMA: Some parents cannot put food on the table without free child care provided by family members. I assume that your family members are not in this category.
Unfortunately, your daughter-in-law was too rude to hear out your scheme — which I think is thoughtful and creative.
I suggest you respond to her very calmly: “I charge my own daughter for regular baby-sitting duties when she works on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The fee is $20 per day, which the parents deposit directly into the baby’s bank account as a way to save for the future. This arrangement has worked well for us, and I would be very happy to do the same for you.
Of course I would never charge you to sit for the baby if you wanted to go out one night or if there were an emergency. This is only for when you’re working.
I’m very happy your mother will provide free baby-sitting, and I can understand why you would rather have her do it than me. Let me know what you decide. I love little ‘Benji’ and look forward to spending time together.”
DEAR AMY: I am a 50-something devout Catholic who has been divorced for more than 20 years.
Since my petition for annulment through the church was rejected, I am not in the position to remarry. Accordingly, I fully accept the church’s teaching that permits sexual intimacy only within the marital bond.
Given these facts, I can only offer women platonic friendship, which I disclose early on whenever there is a mutual attraction.
Without fail, women become disinterested — although they remain very friendly in future encounters.
Is there a reason why a woman would not be interested in having a healthy, nonsexual friendship with a man? — Devout
DEAR DEVOUT: Speculating here, but a woman might not be interested in a relationship with you because she wants one or both things you must deny: sex and/or marriage.
Your best bet might be to connect on a Catholic matching site, such as Catholicmatch.com.
Other devout single women who remain “married” but without partners because of the church’s rules might be interested in a longer-term, chaste, platonic relationship.
Otherwise, do your best to develop all kinds of friendships with all kinds of people.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from “Grossed Out,” whose boyfriend’s hands and nails were filthy from farming — I think she should take a positive approach to this and offer him a sensual hand washing, massage and nail grooming.
This makes her part of the solution. —Faithful Reader
DEAR FAITHFUL: I love this idea. Thank you.