October 14, 2010

Hopefully a partial solution

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:32 pm by Erin

After I posted, I asked J if we could talk about this whole situation.  I said I really wasn’t comfortable with his parents coming out early and just being “on hand”, because when Grandma and Grandpa are here, things are in chaos with the kids.  Happy chaos, as they love their grandparents and vice versa, but chaos nonetheless.  The idea of several weeks of that chaos before the baby is born does NOT wash with me.  His suggestion was to tell them to come out on March 7 (I’m officially due March 5) and if the baby is early, then we’ll get some time before they show up.  I pointed out that if the baby is late, the last few days before he/she comes will be filled with that chaos—and we hardly need additional stress when expecting a new baby.  I really want the kids to stay in their normal routines until the baby comes, and then return to them as soon afterwards as possible.  That means school at normal times, Mama and Daddy picking them up, dinner and family time each night.  Not craziness because grandparents are around frequently and throwing everything off.

I said that my best offer was to tell them that we’d love to have them come after the baby comes, and stay for 7-10 days.  It really doesn’t feel right to treat the grandparents differently and to say “My parents can come but yours can’t,” even though I know that there will be issues with having both families here.  I don’t want my parents to get shafted in this deal, though.  I don’t want them to end up hosting my ILs, since I’m not about to do it, and never getting to hold the baby because my MIL won’t let her go unless she needs to nurse.  And I think we’ll set strict times we would like private family time guidelines.  When the older kids go to bed (at 7:30/8 p.m.), everyone else leaves also. 

I’m hoping that seeing my parents doing things will rub off on my ILs and perhaps they’ll take the initiative to do some things to help us out.  Either way, I’m no longer afraid to ask if I don’t see things happening.  I think I was too shy/inexperienced as a mom when P was a baby—this time, I’ve got 7 years experience with a child and 3 years with two kids—I somehow sense that having a third will make it even more important for me to speak up for what I need.  And quite frankly, that’s going to be spelled out before we get here.

No one is staying with us, though.  We have a 3-bedroom house: one is J’s and mine, one is P and K’s (they’ve shared a room since K came home, so this is not new), and one has been our playroom/guestroom—that one’s getting converted back into the nursery.  J said something about setting it up while we were having this conversation and I pointed out that it would have to wait* because his parents are coming at Christmas and we’d already said they could stay with us.  And then, foolish me, said “But really, do we need to do it anytime soon?  The baby will be in with us for the first couple of months anyway.”  Thankfully, my husband is a smart man and said “Yes, the bed needs to be out of there before the baby comes so no one can stay with us.”  That J is a smart, smart guy—I knew there was a reason I married him 😉 

J thinks his parents will be upset if we ask them to leave after a week or so.  I said that’s my best offer—I’m giving nothing else.  The first few weeks after P was born were so tough, both emotionally and physically, and I was hardly at my best.  My ILs and I get along reasonably well…when I’m at my best.  I already don’t know how this is going to work but without them at our house constantly and with my parents around to help even things out, I’m hoping I can make it.

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October 11, 2010

Something of a dilemma

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:46 pm by Erin

Not about the baby, thankfully, but related to the baby’s arrival (which I am starting to get comfortable in assuming its going to happen as it should).  Quick update about that is that I’m 19w2d today, baby moves frequently and I can usually get it to move if I’m getting concerned (ha, she’s kicking my lapdesk as I type).  J and the kids have all felt her move, which is awesome.  P told me this morning “Wow Mama, your tummy’s out so much!”  I told him it had a lot farther to go and he looked so impressed 🙂  I’m officially more than halfway as long as I made it with him and the contractions aren’t any worse than normal.  I’m seeing a chiropractor and that’s helping somewhat with the sciatica and migraines.

I was talking to my ILs tonight and said something about how we didn’t know if J would have time off when the baby comes because they’re required to use up their vacation time by the end of the calendar year or lose it.  That means he’ll have earned at most 3 days vacation time when the baby comes.  My MIL said “We’re thinking about driving out in the motorhome and just staying out there, if you’ll give us an idea of when to be there.”  I tried to play off my panic by saying “Well, I know my due date but P was 2 1/2 weeks early so we just don’t know.”  She said they’d just come early and stay in a campground, and take short trips so that they could be back quickly if we needed them.

It kills me.  I truly believe her heart’s in the right place but how do I tell her that what I most remember about their visit 3 weeks after P was born was crying because they wouldn’t let me hold my newborn baby?  How do I explain that I remember having to cook for them and my BIL when I was 3 weeks postpartum because she walked in and said “Oh, I don’t cook.”  How do I explain that it was incredibly intrusive when my son was crying in the middle of the night, wanting nothing more than to nurse, and she opened our bedroom door without knocking (where I was opening my nightgown to feed him) and asked if I wanted her to take him?  And how do I tell her that those same behaviors were repeated when they came down 2 weeks after K came home?  J’s parents see their role as guests who’ve come to visit, and we’re expected to host them.

J and I are going to have to sit down and talk this one through.  My gut reaction is hell no, come down in a month.  I want my mom and dad to come down when the baby is born.  When they came down after P’s birth, my dad walked in and started doing laundry.  My mom cooked enough for an army and froze many meals for us.  They did all the prep work for P’s bris other than calling the mohel.  They grocery shopped and made my favorite foods.  My mom nursed all three of us kids, so she helped me figure out what I was doing (whereas J’s mom didn’t nurse her children and not only doesn’t know how to help but doesn’t see the point in trying when there is formula available).  My parents see their role as helping us get back on our feet and figure out our new routine, and would probably yell at me if I expended effort trying to host them while they were here.

But unfortunately, I can’t just go with my gut reaction.  Family matters are so complicated and I have a feeling that while they accepted it when P was born, they’d be far more insulted that I want my family and not them this time around.  I’m not about to have both families here at the same time time—talk about your cases of insanity!  And honestly, I’d rather have no family here even when J has to go right back to work than to have them here immediately after I’ve given birth.  I was just barely physically recovered when they were here 3 weeks after P was born.  There’s no way I can or even want to attempt to host them immediately after giving birth, when the new baby and I are trying to figure each other out and nursing and all of that.  And that’s assuming that I have a birth that’s no more complicated than last time!  The idea of them being so close while I’m trying to give birth is wretched, because they’d show up as soon as we called them after the baby is born.

I hadn’t considered this.  I’d accepted that they’d want to be here soon after the baby came, and I was thinking that what we’d done last time would be OK.  After all, this time I know what to expect with their behavior.  I’m not about to cook for them if they’re here less than a month after the baby comes, but I’m also no longer afraid to send them out to pick up dinner for everyone.  I figured that if they were so insistent upon holding the baby continuously, it would suck but I’d take that opportunity to get some special time with my older kids.  And I figured that they might be more willing to spend some time doting on the older kids, who are excited about the baby but sure to need some special attention.  Last time, I was spoiled by my parents’ visit (and my sister, who stayed for several days after my parents left and took equally good care of us when she was here)—and my ILs visit was such a stark contrast that I was shocked.  This time, I would expect it and it wouldn’t be so hard.

The idea that they’d like to come and stay close by for a month even before my due date (and who knows how long after the baby comes) is…I don’t have words.  Thoughts?  Compromises?  Has anyone dealt with this before?