Dear Barb—Thinking about the Costs

Dear Barb:

My wife is driving me crazy! She wants to get a cat and we already have two dogs.  Our dogs are both getting older and I was looking forward to being able to travel without having to find someone to take care of our animals.  We have a camper so we can take the dogs with us, but it won’t be so easy with a cat, because of the litter.  Our animals suffer from separation anxiety, so we can’t leave them anywhere and most of our family and friends are busy with their own lives, so I hate to ask them.  It’s not that I don’t like cats, but another animal is a big commitment of at least 15 years.  Two years ago we had to put our cat down and I know my wife is really missing having a cat, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.  I want my wife to be happy, but I just don’t think this is the best thing for us right now.  Hopefully you agree with me and then I can show her this column.  Thanks, Len. 

Hi Len:

This is something you and your wife have to discuss.  I really can’t weigh in on this, other than saying, if you have had a cat already, you wife obviously knows all that is entailed and still wants to undertake the commitment.  Perhaps you and your wife can write down the pros and cons of having a cat and this will help you both come to a resolution.  Thanks for writing Len.

Dear Barb:

I am a single mother of a three-year-old son.  My oldest sister has a thirteen-year-old daughter who babysits my son occasionally.  I pay her for babysitting, but I will admit I don’t pay her what I would pay someone who wasn’t a relative.  My sister does not think this is right.  She says I should pay her daughter the same as anyone else.  What do you think?” Thanks, Barb.

Hey Barb:

Thanks for writing.  Have you talked to your niece about what she expects to be paid for babysitting your son? This would be a good place to start.  Babysitters usually have expectations for what they want to be paid.  Does she babysit for others and how much do they pay her.  She may be perfectly happy with what you are paying her.  Many people say a job is a job whether family or not, but I believe we do tend to give our families a break when possible.  So, I would say, how much you pay your niece is between you and your niece.  Hope this helps.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.