*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Becoming parents together marks a different step in a relationship, and the challenges you will face together can either make you get closer or drift apart.
But what do you do when the issues you're having are not related to anything your partner does but to the way your babysitter behaves?
Should you keep changing them to avoid having arguments, or is it better to deal with inconvenience if you know they're responsible while watching over your baby? And is it fine to keep worrying about costs while your partner doesn't think much of it?
My friend, Nina, who lives in Los Angeles, California, has been married to her husband, Liam, for three years. They have one son together, and they both kept their jobs to be able to afford family trips and get a new home.
"I wouldn't want to be a stay-at-home mom, not because I don't love my baby, but because we couldn't afford anything with just one salary. It would be stressful, and I'm sure our relationship would get worse in time. I want to make happy memories but keep my career because that's what makes sense for me," Nina said.
Her in-laws and her parents were all willing to support them, but the couple also hired a babysitter because they didn't want to rely completely on them.
"They were so nice, and they love being grandparents. But I don't want them to get tired, so a babysitter should be around all the time to handle what's needed. They can visit and stay for a few hours anytime they want. That's fine with me, and I do want them to have a close relationship with my son," Nina said.
Even though she's pleased with the way the babysitter takes care of her son, Nina is getting worried about costs. And it's not just about the salary she and her husband need to pay her. The food in their fridge gets eaten very fast, and they need to refill it at least five times a week.
"I am thankful she's careful, and my son is getting the best attention, but sometimes I just think about food costs, and I get worried. Getting groceries in Los Angeles and a full cart has become a daily thing for me. And I realized it was very expensive. And on top of that, there's her salary too. I know it's all for my son, but it's even starting to affect my relationship with my husband," Nina said.
She's told Liam about her concerns several times, but he doesn't seem bothered in the least. According to him, they should let their babysitter eat whatever she likes since they're not treating her to a restaurant meal as a way to thank her.
"He says that because he's not the one filling the cart every day at the store in Los Angeles. He does overtime and lets me do it all. If he saw how much groceries cost, he wouldn't be so relaxed, I'm sure. It just gets to me that he doesn't care. This is our money, and not wasting it is a part of our relationship, too. It's almost like paying our babysitter a double salary," Nina said.
She's tried talking to her babysitter about it, but they only argued, and she felt offended. Nina also asked her parents for advice, and they felt she should keep the babysitter because she's great at caring for her son. Her mom offered to cook more and bring the meals to her house in Los Angeles so she didn't have to get groceries as often.
"My babysitter eats everything in the fridge, and I have to pay her. It feels so strange not being able to keep up with the babysitter's meals, but that's how things are for now. I will try and handle it until my son can go to school, but I'm sure it's going to cost us more and more as time goes by," Nina said.
What do you think about this situation? Is Nina right to get upset about how much groceries cost, and should she ask the babysitter not to eat all they have in the fridge? Would it be better if she focused on having a happy relationship and let her mom help with home-cooked meals for a while?