Would you pay the babysitter's $75 parking ticket?

A few months ago we decided to hire a nanny two days a week while I work. Yes, I know, I'm aware of the ongoing theme in my comments section that I'm an entitled princess and now you know I'm a housewife with a nanny. Let the caterwauling begin! I may as well throw in the fact that sometimes I don't even work for money during this nanny nirvana. GASP! Once I took advantage of the time by getting a massage and yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen, so really, the judging can go either way. I'll pause here and let the haterz shake it out of their system for a minute.

On to the parking ticket. When the relationship with this nanny first began, she was an occasional babysitter and we were giving her (expensive, scarce) parking passes for our zoned neighborhood. As we did the dance of getting to know each other and she started working more frequently, her politeness kicked in about the passes. One day, I think in an effort to be frugal on our behalf, she declined our offer for a parking pass and said, "oh, I'll just reuse the old one. I wrote the date in pencil". All of Chicago, say it with me: NOooooOOooo!

Well, okay, maybe I should have screamed "no" at her, but it's her car and her decision and I did offer the pass, so whatever. Guess what happened? She got a ticket. But wait! It gets more complicated! She waited several weeks to tell me, so I assumed it was too late to contest it. I thought the ticket was $50, so I offered to pay for it because I felt bad that she is newish to Chicago and she shouldn't have to incur parking violations to work for me. (By the way, now she parks on the adjacent street that isn't zoned. Problem solved.)

She then reveals that:

1. The ticket is $75, not $50.
2. There is still time to contest it.

I then leap at the opportunity to contest it for her. Literally, I think I jumped into her lap to grab the ticket. The hubs and I are wiz kids at getting out of tickets. We have a standard letter all ready to fire off when we get them and it has an 80% success rate. I should sell this letter on Craig's List Chicago and make millions, it's that good. Seriously, contesting Chicago parking tickets is one of areas in which we really excel in this family. (The other areas are "holding our liquor" and "singing duets in the car".)

She declines. What? Why? That answer is unclear. In retrospect, I think this was another effort of politeness on her part. Maybe she was trying to save me the hassle of letter-writing? Or maybe she thought she'd be better at ticket-contesting than us? I should challenge her to a drinking/duet-singing contest and see how she fares.

It is at this point I believe she is taking responsibility for the ticket. Her car. Her decision. Her ticket. She's contesting it. Politeness is prevailing. I've offered several solutions, I'm out. Right?


Yesterday she brought the now months-old, unsuccessfully disputed ticket to me and asks me to reimburse her the $75 she had to pay The City Of Chicago. GONG. [Piano drops from sky]

I paid it. But I'm salty about it.

After conferring with some friends, what it boils down to is even though we are paying someone to do a job for us, when it comes to childcare, parents still feel like the nanny is doing a favor. We inflate the value of the work based on the value we place on our children, but really, a nanny is an employee. Does she deserve better treatment than a housekeeper or plumber? If the plumber had come to me and said, "I got a $75 parking ticket while I fixed your sink, you mind helping me with that?" I'd laugh and the answer would be no. I wouldn't be jumping in his lap to help contest it and I probably would have asked him to park in the non-zoned area half a block away from day one. I can't think of any employer I've ever had who would solve my transportation concerns.

What would you have done? Did I do the right thing? Do you challenge us to a duet?

Filed under: Momenomics, You fancy



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  • What do you care? Your husband ultimately pays for everything anyway.

  • In reply to ArthurC:

    Because more money for parking tickets means less money for me to tear up into tiny bits and gleefully sprinkle into messes for the housekeeper to clean.

  • In reply to ArthurC:

    What kind of a comment is that? Are you still living in the 1950's? How old are you? Jenna is lucky enough to have a PARTNER that can support their family! She is an intricale part of that team. Their income is shared and they BOTH work hard for their money! Seriously what is your problem? Why in the world would you such a thing? That is offensive! You CLEARLY don't know Jenna! She is frugal and very conscientious about their money! You are making yourself sound ignorant.

  • HAHAHA! ArthurC could you be more predictable or unoriginal?

  • In reply to AbbysMom813:

    Hee hee! He forgot the "c" word. He must be having an off day.

  • Damn. I just about finished writing out a niiiice long comment for you, but deleted it accidentally. And I'm too lazy to try to recreate it.

    Bottom line, if reimbursing her for commute costs isn't in the contract, you're not obliged to pay for parking. It was very kind of you to pay it this time and help her out with her first parking violation, but next time, you can just say, "We'd be delighted to help you contest your ticket." Or you can say, "Let's look up CTA transit..."

  • In reply to Holly:

    I don't think it'll happen again. If it does, I'll be prepared with my form letter!

  • You are WAY nicer than me. I probably would have never offered in the first place. If I got a ticket speeding to get to work on time, my boss would not pay it. It's on me to leave earlier, just like it's on her to park legally. At the very least she should have let you contest it if she was going to have to pay it anyway. In my mind, when she declined to let you contest it, she accepted responsibility to pay it.

    But, I get where you're coming from. It's hard to get into a dispute, no matter how polite, with your nanny, sitter or anyone who works in your house. It's your house. It's personal and you don't want to risk pissing this person off or losing their services over something silly.

  • In reply to Bugsy1211:

    Exactly. I essentially paid $75 to avoid tension in my home. I really, really don't want to give up this situation and have to have my kids get used to a new person all over something stupid, so I'll pretty much put up with anything as long as it isn't dangerous. She even whips out the iPad and turns on the TV which irks me, considering it's only three hours.

    But hey, I have feather boas to dance around in and those bon bons aren't going to eat themselves!

  • If Arthur C wasn't (obviously) married to a fat ugly girl, he'd understand that Mr Jenna has no problem with a measly $75- it's just part of the price you pay to have a incredibly hot wife...

  • In reply to Don Ellis:


  • Jenna,
    Once you offered to contest the ticket and she declined, it was her responsibility. She is taking advantage of you. Actually, I would not have offered to pay the ticket if I offered her a pass. Tell her to put away the ipad and turn off the TV, unless the kids are sleeping.

  • In reply to Tracy A. Stanciel:

    I need you in here to whip us into shape! I have been subtle about the no-TV message and I think it sunk in. Now I might start hiding the iPad.

    Parenthood has turned me passive aggressive.

  • fb_avatar

    You offered to help twice. She declined. The parking ticket is now her responsibility. I think you paid to not rock the boat or have to search for a new nanny. What you did was nice but not necessary - polite.

  • In reply to Scott Troy:

    Thanks for contributing, Scott!

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