I have never posted "personal" questions in the forum before but this one really leaves me speechless (which I have to say is hard to do!)
My brother in law and sister in law are expecting their first child any day now (they were due on Feb. 29th). They live in Florida and my in laws live in here in Michigan. My in laws have plane tickets purchased to go and visit them for March 12-21.
This is a quote from an email I just received from her.
'Would it be offensive or hurtful to ask (mother in law) to move back the visit a couple weeks? I'm sure it will be a pain for her to rearrange schedules of physical therapy and other obligations, but I'm most worried about her interpreting it as we don't want her here. (When really, I'm so happy for her to be here, I'm just feeling very protective over having at least a week for (husband/dad), me and the baby to bond, adjust, and recover before guests.)'
Her entire family lives relatively close to her in FL.
My husband's family is a very traditional ethnic family.
Soooo, I'm wondering if you were placed in this situation what would you say????
Hi cardelean: This is a bit of a sticky situation isn't it? While I do understand that the new parents want to bond with the baby, I do not know if they thought about the new grandparents. I mean, they already have their plane tickets, and are all set to come visit the new parents. I wonder if your sister in law realizes that there might be a heavy fee to change/cancel the tickets? I think that they should have thought about that thoroughly through before letting them buy the tickets. That is what I would talk with her about first. Then go from there. Good luck. Hope it all works out smoothly.
There is also the possibility of a little resentment on the part of his parents because her parents are already there and they probably won't be asked to stay away. And because of the inconvienience and possible extra expense, as rlaha brought up, and possible heartache, I would just deal with the plans as they are set. My opinion, Greg
I have to agree with rlaha in that to make travel changes at this point would be costly. Also, making changes in schedule for therapy may cost as well. There may be some resentment on the part of his parents and this is somewhat understandable when a new baby is in the family. I would try to make everyone as welcome as possible and make whatever adjustments I needed to do to make all feel at home.
I don't know what I would do in your situation but I understand your sister in law. Some people like to experience the birth of their baby and learn the parenting ropes without someone supervising them. If this is their first, they are feeling your mom would be trying to teach them a few things perhaps and that may not be what they want. When I had my first baby I felt the same way. I wanted to have time to bond first, learn on my own mistakes before I wanted to meet other people.
I think it would be wise to give them that extra time to get used to a new role of parents and not visit too soon. When they have the second baby they may want the help immediately, having a toddler and a baby is a different cup of tea.
First, I would mention to your sister-in-law that ultimately, it is HER decision about how to handle the visit. If you believe your mother-in-law might be offended or hurt, there would be nothing wrong with truthfully answering your sister-in-law that there's that possibility. In the end, though, the decision (and its consequence) is between them. You may only answer her as truthfully and delicately as possible without suggesting an action.
That's my take, anyway.
Why not remind your sister-in-law that your in-laws will be able to help her around the house while she is bonding with the baby? That's what I did with my first baby. My parents cleaned the basement, my sister organized my closets, my father-in-law built the nursery furniture, and my mother-in-law cooked. I slept, nursed, and cooed at the baby for the whole first week (except when it was time for me to take a shower, and believe me, I was sooo grateful for extra hands then!).
That's a good idea BB, when the family arrive hand them their to-do list. When they complete the list, then they can hold the baby. (I said that in fun.) But I do believe the help would be appreciated. Greg
Great suggestion Brainy Bunny. The extra help is a plus. You would be surprised at how a baby can deter normal household activity and having extra hands around the house will give the new mother and father peace of mind.
Good ideas and insights all around, here.
I remember so well how unprepared I was for how much help I would need - and appreciate! - with my first. And with all my other babies too; but after the first I was more aware of it.
One other thing to remind her about (yes, as tactfully as possible) is that her own family will have more opportunities, lifelong, to get to see and help her and the baby. Since the in-laws' tickets are already purchased, it would be very difficult and expensive (well beyond inconvenient) for them to make a change now.
The best idea, I think, is for her to do some pre-thinking about areas she would prefer to keep to herself. (For me, it was the task of putting things away in the kitchen; I didn't mind others doing it, as long as they asked me where things should go instead of putting them away in the wrong place, thinking that I would eventually find everything and put it where I wanted it. It would have helped my own attitude a lot if I had said early on, "If you're not sure where it goes, please leave the item on the counter while I'm napping; then when I'm awake I can tell you where it belongs.")
Also, if the baby is now about a week past its due date, it could be close to a week old when the in-laws arrive (per their current plan); she'll know by that time how much and what kind of help she will need and appreciate. But even if the baby delays another full week from today, if it is a brand-new neonate when the in-laws arrive, the mom will probably be much more exhausted than she realizes now - and will appreciate their help.
Encourage her to start now to make her Brainy Bunny list of things the in-laws can do to help.
There are all kinds of mothers-in-law. I have seen and been jealous of the mother-in-law who comes in and starts cooking dinners, vacuuming, mopping, doing laundry, freezing casseroles and running out to the store for nursing pads, diapers and ice cream.
I have also seen the know-it-all meddlesome MIL who takes over, does everything with the baby her way regardless of the wishes of the parents, and basically tells the new parents they're silly and wrong, making them resentful and angry.
Then there's the MIL who plants herself on the couch and wants her hosts to entertain her. When she realizes that's not going to happen, she rifles through their library and finds a week's worth of reading material, never bothering to lift a finger or lend a hand around the house. She is happy to hang out but is not really there to help.
So the answer depends the plane tickets and hurt feelings, etc, etc, but also on what type of MIL the new parents have on their hands, and what type of relationship the new parents have with her.
P.S. I would love a helpful MIL, but I'm not sure I want anyone cleaning out my basement or especially my closets.
Thank you everyone for your responses. You all have some very great ideas. I know from experience (as I have children already) that my mother in law is not going there to judge or give advice. It is truly in her nature to want to help in any way that she can along with spend time with her new granddaughter.
I do believe that there will be very hurt feelings because of many of the reasons already stated. They already have their tickets purchased, they will not have as many opportunities to visit as the other side of the family, plus my MIL attends physical therapy that has already been rescheduled, and just a general feeling of being shut out.
Thanks for the suggestions...
My mother being there allowed me to sleep with my baby as she slept. I didn't have to worry about much at all. Since I breast fed, I had optimal bonding time. The baby had plenty of bonding time with daddy too. They sleep in such small spurts that there is plenty of bonding time to go around. I think that it is more of an inconvenience for mother in law to rearrange all the plans she has made then it is for new parents to schedule a little grandparent bonding time.
I guess another matter is how the trip originally came to be planned. Did the new parents invite the grandparents out and suggest an arrivial date, and now they are reneging? If that is the case, the new parents need to suck it up and deal with the company they invited. Or did the granparents purchase the tickets and rearrange their schedules without first running it by the new parents to see if that would work for them? Or maybe it was planned mutually, somewhere inbetween the two extremes. Ugh, this is a sticky situation! ::sweats::
Yes it is a sticky situation. It was always understood (from the beginning) that they would visit shortly after the baby was born. My distinct understanding is that this date was agreed upon but unfortunately on the new parents' part with the assumption that she would arrive relatively on time.
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