OK, a little background. Babysitter, we’ll call her Heather. Name changed to protect her.
Heather is a teenager. Heather is not the sharpest crayon in the box, but she’s a good sitter, reliable, responsible, loves my kids, and takes very good care of them. I’m paying her $100 a week to watch my 2 boys. This, I know, is a bargain for me, as daycare would be more than double that. In our very small town, there are NO opportunities for a teenager to get a job. We don’t even have fast food or a coffee shop. So, in any case, the $100 a week is a substantial paycheck for her, considering her lack of options. I was very happy to pay her this amount, because she is the daughter of a single mom, and her dad hasn’t paid support in years. Apparently, mom is not willing to fight for it either. I thought that hiring Heather meant that next year, she’d have nicer school clothes (because mom doesn’t buy her nice stuff at all), and she’d have some cash flow over the summer. I like Heather, and I want her to be happy (apparently, this is more important to me than it is to her mother).
So, anyway, Heather told me recently that she “had to give” her mom the money she made last week, to pay the rent. OK, now, if mom wasn’t working or whatever, I’d have NO problem with this. In fact, if the family were facing serious hard times, I’d anonymously send them giftcards to grocery stores. However, mom paid the rent for the last 10 years on her own. My biggest problem though, is that mom’s boyfriend is living in their house, and he works, so why the fuck does she need ALL of the money Heather earned to pay the rent? Said boyfriend doesn’t contribute to the household at all to my knowledge (and I know this because Heather talks to us). He’s also not very nice to Heather or her brother. I don’t think there is abuse, but he’s unpleasant to them, etc etc. I do get the impression that he is somewhat emotionally abusive to mom, who may lack the self esteem needed to tell him to go pound sand.
Now, I know it’s none of my business what Heather chooses to do with her money. However, it is burning me up that this girl spends 40 hours a week with my kids and hasn’t seen a penny of last week’s pay. My mother pulled this same kind of shit with me and my sisters when we were younger, and it really screwed up our relationships with her. I’ve encouraged Heather to open a bank account with the money, but of course, her mother doesn’t seem to want her to do this. I almost wish I’d offered to pay her considerably less (she probably still would have taken the job). I’m so angry that her mom made her turn over her money, that I’m actually considering hiring someone else so that I’m not paying this woman’s rent. But I don’t want Heather to think she did anything wrong. She’s a really nice kid.
Ugh. Lame rant, thanks for letting me get it out of my system.