Knows the Drill

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My daughter (20) moved home after breaking up with her boyfriend of

three years. After four months together we’ve both agreed our

relationship will improve if she moves when school begins again in

January. She’s friends with a couple about ten years older than she is,

who have a girl and boy 2 and 4. Prior to connecting with this family

Rochelle has not exhibited any interest in children though she seems

to have bonded with these two. The deal is that the parents, whose

remodeled-garage- renting tenant just gave notice, will give her the

studio to live in, utilities, use of bathroom and kitchen, and feed her

dinner every night, in exchange for $300 and “regular” help with

childcare. I’m most concerned about her academics, and unsure about

how much time she’s going to spend getting involved with this

situation. I was a solo mom myself, and I know how often I would

have liked to call out for a second pair of hands. How can I advise and

protect her?

Knows the Drill


Dear Knows:

Whether you’re selling a house, buying a car, or renting a room, it’s

always important to know what you’re saying yes to, and to feel like

you’re part of a fair exchange, one you’d be willing to be on either side

  1. Rochelle should ascertain how much she’d be willing to pay for a

room with kitchen/bath privileges in a shared household. Then deduct

$300 from it, and establish a fair hourly rate for her child-caring. Do

the division and she can easily calculate the number of hours per

month it would be worth it to her to help out with childcare. She

should tell the couple that number and see how they respond, which

might be Sure, or Eeek we were hoping for double that, with some

form of negotiation to ensue.


Once they’ve agreed on terms (which might be an offer for lower rent

and more hours (though that gets closer to your worries about school),

they should write it all down. All should include not just number of

hours but also some acknowledgement of her school schedule, with

allowances for exam weeks, and that impromptu help also counts.

Remind her, If the price gets too high she should look for another

setting and strive to keep the friendship intact. School first.