10 May
Take Your Souvenir and Pay Me!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I was recently a guest housewife for my aunt and uncle’s 5 children and 6 pets while they went away for 10 days. I was dumb enough not to discuss payment with them beforehand, and when they came home they brought me a souvenir instead of a check. How do I tactfully broach the subject of money?


Poor and Peeved


Dear P&P,

5 children, 6 pets, 10 days, oh MY!  I certainly hope that the souvenir that they brought you was a block of gold or at the very least the deed to the Eiffel Tower.  Because anything less than that is just mathematically incorrect.

You’re right, of course, you and your aunt and uncle should have agreed on payment before hand.  If you have access to a time travel machine, I definitely recommend revving it up and going back to that time before you were sentenced to 10 days with your cousins of various species.  But if you’re stuck in the present like the rest of us poor sots, bite the bullet and ask them.  Let them know that you were happy to help them out, but that you assumed that you’d be paid for your work.   You should have an idea of what rate is acceptable to you, discounted by a bit for not having negotiated it beforehand and inflated just a tad for them being so boneheaded about it.

Hopefully they’ll realize their mistake and laugh it off, all the while writing a check and contacting Federal Express for an emergency delivery.  But be warned that they may be taken aback, because like most parents they probably think that a relative should be happy to spend time with Other People’s Children. They may refuse to pay you,  leaving you with no recourse except an appearance on Judge Judy.  And they may talk to other relatives about your being unfair.  Don’t let that deter you.  It’ll spare other relatives asking you for free help.  Which in itself is worth its weight in gold bricks.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

7 Responses to “Take Your Souvenir and Pay Me!”


Comment by dusty earth mother.

Do the American thing: sue.


Comment by Ashlie - Mommycosm.

Um, you definitely should have tactfully approached the subject of money BEFORE. Seriously. It’s not like you agreed to watch a neighbor’s family…it’s your family. If you didn’t mention money up front, they might assume you did it out of the kindness of your heart.

Although, in your defense…I don’t have any family members THAT brave and THAT kind…5 kids, 6 pets?!? Yikes.


Comment by Cheryl.

Marinka, you absolutely nailed it with your response. Let them all talk, get the word out, no pay-no work. Drive ’em all away.


Comment by Becky.

I think they never were going to pay because if they were, they would have left you with money for expenses BEFORE they left on their vacation. That is what I do when my parents take care of my children. I would never assume all the care and feeding of my children should come out of their pocket. If nothing else, demand the cost of food and water for those little darlings.


Comment by Michelle.

You need to get pregnant, pop out 6 or 7 kids of your own, acquire a pet or 20 and ask them to come house sit for you! Unfortunately at this point in time that is probably the only pay back your going to get.


Comment by seekingelevation.

You’re never getting that money. The only benefit to bringing it up now is that you’ll never have to see them again–unless of course you can get on Judge Judy.


Comment by Karen at French Skinny.

I enjoy the passive aggressive approach.

You: “Thank you so much for the hula girl bobble head! I’m going to put it in my safety deposit box along with the 300.00$ cash you give me for taking care of all your creatures.”

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