Parents often rely on grandparents for childminding – but demanding it for free is “downright demeaning”.
That’s according to Independent columnist Anne Atkins, who insists grandparents have better things to do with their time.
Ms Atkins told Newstalk Breakfast she recently saw a Reddit user ask if she was wrong to refuse her mother $20 (€18.60) per hour for minding her child.
“She wanted her mother to provide a professional service and be there all the time,” she said. “She was then outraged at her mother for asking to be paid.”
Ms Atkins said she is happy to mind her grandchildren for free when her own child is busy – but people should not expect the same of all grandparents.
“If you can do that for your grandchildren, it's a huge privilege, and if you don't need the money, it's fantastic,” she argued. “But if you want to be paid, there's nothing wrong with asking.”
Paying family members
“My mother paid me to clean her house because I didn't have a job and I'm 22 and I was broke, and she needed someone to clean it up," Ms Atkins said.
“If somebody in the family can provide something that you would otherwise pay somebody else to do, there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Ms Atkins “would never dream” of charging her children for childcare - but the issue is not as “black and white” as some people make it out to be.
“Most of us are just so thrilled to have children who love us and we love and we don't need [payment], but some do,” she said.
"My children sucked me dry"
Newstalk Breakfast host Shane Coleman said he has no plans to provide childcare to his grandchildren.
“I want to see them, I want to bring them to matches, I want to do fun stuff,” he explained. “But we did the heavy lifting with our own kids.”
“We have made sacrifices [for our own children] and that's as it should be and that's how we wanted it – well, we’re not doing that again in 20 years' time.”
One listener said they gave enough of their time to their own children and don’t want to repeat that in their older years.
“My children nearly sucked me dry. No way am I minding their potential children,” they said.
Another listener argued it is a privilege to mind their children.
"There is no feeling better than seeing the next generation of your family coming through and helping to make their life as good as possible as they're growing up," they said.
"We are minding our grandchildren over the next three weekends for between one and four nights while they go and enjoy friends birthdays and weddings.
"Definitely no payment for but myself and my wife often find when we dine out the bill is paid already."