Should You Pay for a Sibling’s Help?

Perdita Masters
6 min readAug 16, 2022

And other questions about sibling relationships…

really though? (Canva)

Today I double booked the diary.

It’s the summer holidays so the littlest children are at home, and the bigger children are out with friends having adventures.

During the holidays I assume primary responsibility for the childcare and my husband carries on working as normal.

I’m lucky that I work for myself so I can schedule online work during holidays, and in-person work during term time. This means that I can spend time with my children, and I don’t need to worry about holiday camps — but it’s still a juggle trying to keep those plates spinning.

My husband is completely accommodating and with a little advance notice he can arrange to look after the children if I want to do anything without them (work or pleasure). But his job is less flexible than mine. And anyway, I do like things the way they are.

My dream has always been to be able to work as well as being the primary carer for the children. So far, so good. Except today I double booked.

I had agreed to deliver an online training day from 10am — 3pm but my husband was also away at a conference. Urgh.

I really didn’t want to cancel the training day. I tried to reschedule it but I couldn’t offer them an alternative date next month (their preference) and it didn’t seem fair to keep them waiting for 6–8 weeks.

Reluctantly, I asked my oldest sister, Laura, to come and look after my youngest kids. Without hesitation she agreed.

I try really hard not to ask people to babysit my kids. We don’t have family nearby and I don’t have a network of local support in the form of friends or actual babysitters.

Partly I don’t ask because my boys have been very hard work. They are intense. Extremely energetic. They’re just turning that corner now at 5 and 6 years and becoming more manageable but it’s been a long slog with them.

Partly I don’t ask because it’s rare that I need a sitter. My husband and I don’t go out much without the children and we’re usually pretty slick on organising our work diaries to coordinate with each other.