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Woman Wants To Know If She Was Wrong To Ask For Money For Babysitting Her Cousin’s Kids

A 24-year-old woman who uses the handle u/HENNYDEFN on Reddit presented quite a quandary to the followers of subreddit r/AmItheA**hole. How you feel about it might depend on whether or not you’re a parent and also on how close you are to your cousins.

She writes that she’s a software engineer who both works full time and does freelance coding. She went home to her parent’s house for the holidays, with plans to do some more coding for extra cash during quieter moments.

Her folks live in a rural area and there isn’t much to do. But her cousins were also staying at the house, and they DID have plans:

Then my cousin and her husband asked if I could babysit all day for three days, so they could visit some friends in the area and hang out with just adults. I said I had planned on doing freelance work at the library, and she offered to pay me to babysit.

She knew she’d have to give up coding to babysit, and told her cousins she couldn’t do it. Her cousin then offered to pay. The OP says that she charges about $60 for freelance coding and makes around $40 hourly for her full-time job, if she were to break down her salary.

I said I could if they got close to my freelance rates. She wanted a number, and although my freelance rates are $60 I didn’t feel like that was right, it was high. But I didn’t want to go too low; honestly babysitting 3 kids would be harder for me than the routine coding work I had for my freelance project. I don’t know a lot about kids and I’ve never babysat for long, and I had a feeling it would be stressful and difficult.

So I said $35, which is below what I make hourly at work, and what is the bare minimum I’d value my time for, if that time is spent doing difficult work.

The OP’s cousin did not take this well, and neither did her cousin’s husband, and neither did her own mother:

And she went crazy at me, saying that’s a ridiculous rate for babysitting, that I was entitled and being selfish, that I’m trying to take advantage of how she didn’t have other options, etc.

I said that’s way below what I’d be making if I had the time to do my own work, and I’d be putting off my own work to babysit.

Her husband then got mad at me saying that I was a 24 year old girl, that I’m damn near a child myself, that my time is not worth that much and it’s childish to say that it was. And that I was a stupid girl for not knowing that babysitting costs like 15 an hour, when I grew up and have kids of my own I will see how stupid I was being.

I was kind of done with being called stupid so I just told them I hoped they could find someone else.

My mom thinks that I asked for something offensive, and my cousin and her husband obviously did too.

Now the OP wants to know if she was a jerk for suggesting such a high number. Most comments have ruled emphatically that the OP is Not the A**hole. Redditor Superbia18 broke down why:

A. If they need a babysitter that badly they should’ve arranged for one in advance.

B. You’re being asked to baby sit three kids. Three kids is a lot of work, $15 sounds kinda absurd to me.

C. You have your own life and an actual job that you would be neglecting (or free lance at least) that is worth almost double that amount.

D. The only offensive ones are your cousin and husband who started calling you names when you didn’t bend to their will.

Lots of other people responded to say that $35 is actually pretty normal for babysitting three children at once in many areas, and few babysitters would accept $15 unless they were literal children. And the OP is not, she’s an adult who makes good money, which some said was probably what was pissing her cousin’s husband off.

Commenter runthereszombies wrote, “The husband saying you’re a 24-year-old girl (btw, you’re a woman at 24…) and your time isn’t worth anything is ridiculous considering you’d get paid $60 an hour if you don’t babysit their kids. The husband sounds like a sexist dick.”

There were a few people in another camp, who suggested that the OP should have just said an absolute NO, and not given the leeway to negotiate.

Personally, reading this story I think she probably still would have gotten a hard time for that, too. And a couple people said she was the A**hole, because you’re supposed to help out family without bringing money into it. There were also Everyone Sucks Here rulings from people like greg_r_, who wrote:

Gonna have to go with ESH here. You should have simply stated that you cannot babysit because you’re working, period. If you agreed to babysit, you would be making a conscious decision to not work (and earn). Charging family members $35 an hour to babysit, however, puts you in a**hole category in the real world (as much as internet bubbles like reddit may disagree). Your family members are a**holes too for the way they reacted, and for not arranging for a babysitter for three days.

A lot of responses to that suggested that in an emergency it is definitely an issue to charge family members for babysitting. We should do favors for people we love and who are a part of our lives. But this was a situation where the parents wanted three days off a no cost or very little cost, and at severe financial cost to the OP. Respect garners respect, and maybe four hours of free babysitting, tops.