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To hope my parents would give us support around the house after I have my first baby?

(113 Posts)
LittleBlueBox Fri 22-Feb-13 04:47:39

My DP and I live in northern Australia, a four-hour flight away from our families in the south. We moved up here 5 years ago for my work. My DP has chronic fatigue syndrome and can't work, she needs a lot of support herself. We love it here and have bought a house and settled in for the near future. We do miss being close to family though and don't see them anywhere near as much as we'd like. DP's parents have never visited and mine have been up twice. We mainly go south if we want to see them.

I'm now 38+5 with PFB. At Christmas we went south and broached the idea of family coming up to see the baby and give us some help when it's born. I got quite upset when my parents suggested they might be too busy to come up and we should just bring baby down in 6 weeks or so. They're retired, they could afford the flights, and I've offered to pay if that's the issue.

Anyway they've agreed they'll visit now, but they won't tell me when they're coming or how long for. And yesterday when I suggested to mum that when they're here, we'd really appreciate some help around the house or with doing some cooking and what-have-you she was shocked and dismissive. She said she wasn't coming all this way to do housework.

AIBU to want some support - emotional and practical - from my mum? It's my first baby and I'm really nervous of those first few weeks. My DP is wonderful, but is sick herself and can't do much. How to I explain that I just need some help because I love my parents and need them, not cos I'm being lazy or selfish?

MrsHoarder Fri 22-Feb-13 04:50:40

Yanbu to want help, but sinbu to refuse, especially as you moved away. I did similar within the UK and one if the costs is lack of help from wider family.

Can you get a cleaner etc to help for a few Weeks?

YANBU to want emotional support but asking for help around the house YABU. No one has ever given us any help after the birth of our two children, didn't even bring cake! (I have something similar to muscular dystrophy btw causes mobility issues and extreme fatigue). I do feel sad for you that they aren't more excited for you though

PurplePidjin Fri 22-Feb-13 05:17:54

Are they fully supportive of you having a child within a same sex relationship?

I would assume they'll be worse than useless, tbh. The last thing you need is to be making tea and haring round after house guests, so i suggest you put them off until at least the 3 month mark and use the money to pay for a cleaner and an online shop full of easy ready meals. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Yanbu to be pissed off btw sad

Eskino Fri 22-Feb-13 05:33:11

YANBU. But you're going to have to try and do without family help by the looks of things. Look optimistically. Your birth will be straightforward, you'll be up and about after a couple of days. Newborns sleep most of the time, so it is possible to get enough rest if you are careful to not do too much.

Can your DP hold the baby, change a nappy, take him/her out for short walks in the pram? It'd free you up mentally and physically for night duties if she can take a little responsibility during the day.

Get a big online grocery shop in, forget about housework, hunker down and enjoy getting to know your baby in his/her first few weeks. you might find that you dont want anyone else around anyway. Good luck!

Ozziegirly Fri 22-Feb-13 05:37:27

Both sets of parents came out to "help" when I had our second child. Before they came they were full of talk of sharing the chores, cooking, doing hoovering, it sounded fab!

In reality we spent all our "free" time arranging where people would be, and at what time, making tea, emptying the dishwasher, shopping for food and making lunches.

They kind of tried, but when making a tea consists of "now then, where are the mugs?" "Oh and the tea bags?" "And which milk shall we use?" "Shall I just leave this cup here?" "Now who takes sugar?" It just became easier to do it ourselves.

High point was my dad making a sandwich for himself as he was a bit tired after a drive, as I sat down with mastitis searing through my body. On Christmas eve.

It was all ok, but honestly, sometimes it's just easier to get on with stuff yourself.

I found it a lot more relaxing once everyone had gone home.

Carolra Fri 22-Feb-13 05:50:20

Yanbu. Unfortunately, some of us do not have parents who like to do this sort of thing.... When I was pregnant my mum talked the talk "my job is to look after you whilst you look after the baby....." But after dd was born we barely saw them... I remember one fateful occasion when DH was away and dd was not sleeping ever and I asked if I could go and stay with them for some support. That night at 3am my mum came into my room where I'd been pacing with dd for an hour and said "can't you keep her quiet, I'm trying to sleep". Gee, thanks mum.

Anyway, we got a cleaner once a week and we got a ton of practical support from friends (mainly making sure we got fed!). A couple of times I did struggle to ask for help but I found people generally incredibly generous with their time when we needed it.

We can't pick our family and we can't make them want to do things they don't want to do, but we can pick our friends and love them to bits!!

BeaWheesht Fri 22-Feb-13 05:58:00

I'm not sure yabu but its sad that they aren't happier for you. However, I think you should change your mindset and just tell yourself you'll cope.

Will you be on maternity leave for long? I don't know what it's like in oz. if so then surely you and your dp will be home for most of the early days which is more than most people have as one person would be at work.

firesidechat Fri 22-Feb-13 06:04:25

It's lovely if parents are willing and able to give you some practical help, but I'm not sure that I would expect it necessarily. I certainly wouldn't want an unwilling helper around the house.

We had zero help with our children from family for many reasons including mental and physical ill health and distance. It was actually easier to just get on with it ourselves.

YANBU in my opinion - but I am 37+3 with my parents first grandchild and they can't wait to set up camp in the hospital and then at my place!! Do they already have a lot of grandchildren? This will be my MIL's eighth or ninth grandchild (can't remember which) and she's much less excited about it than my parents are. Also, I don't want to pick at the same-sex thread, but are they less excited about it because of that? I don't see why, though, as it's their daughter having the baby!!

It is a real shame, and I feel very sorry for you OP. Have your parents shown excitement in other ways? I would suggest that you let go of the hope that your parents will "save the day", and look forward to that period of time between having the baby and having visitors as a good time to bond as a new family - not just with the baby but with your partner too. Everything is going to change very rapidly for all of you, and it may take some time to adjust to... perhaps your parents not being there is a hidden blessing - I like to try and believe that everything happens for a reason.

Good luck and I hope that this baby brings all of you closer together in the end.

anonymosity Fri 22-Feb-13 06:11:51

Sorry to break with the trend, but I think YABU. You have to do it all yourself and they are letting you know this, from the off. That's life, I'm afraid.

WinterMymble Fri 22-Feb-13 06:19:16

I agree 100 percent w purplepidgin - it sounds like they aren't going to any practical help and will ecoect to be hosted like usual guests w tea etc - the LAST thing in the world you will want to do, honestly, is be pitting biscuits on plates and getting tea and hosting in that way. Definitely ask them not to come straight away - the three month mark as Purple suggests is a great one and much better timing. Even age four weeks will be easier than straight away. At the start you only want really practical people who appreciate the beautiful chaos and want to help.

People warned me of this before my baby and I didn't believe them but they were so right! Best advice I got was to stay in pyjamas for the first week ! - it helps visitors realise 'oh yes I guess she has just given birth after all and is getting hardly any sleep and needs to focus on baby'

Those first days and weeks are such bliss. You and your DP will be in heaven! Sleep deprived heaven admittedly, but i found that it is amazing how much that is bearable!

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 22-Feb-13 06:23:43

Bloody hell fire, some of you have shit families. OP how sad for you that your parents aren't more excited about the arrival of a lovely new baby. YANBU to hope for some help and support with the baby. It would be lovely for and your partner to feel part of a wider loving family and support network at a vulnerable time for you.

I don't think it matters at all that you have moved away, I too live in Aus and my mum came over from the UK for a month when dd2 was born, did all the cooking, most of the cleaning and entertained dd1 whilst I sat around breastfeeding. It was fantastic, I know I'm really lucky but it was a really special time and I'm so glad and grateful to my mum for supporting us all.

If my dds need me in the same way I would hope I would be excited and generous enough to help them too, also that they would want me there too of course.

But I guess if they're not willing to come and help you have to try to make other plans - get a cleaner if you can afford it and let your parents come up when they're ready. As others have said, guest who expect to be waited on hand and foot are a nightmare when you've got a newborn to deal with.

I'm sorry that your parents have taken that attitude though, it's sad for you.

Rosa Fri 22-Feb-13 06:24:15

Its obvious that they are going to be of no hope - YANBU in wanting help but as its not going to be forthcoming I would as said try to sort it out yourself. Find a cleaner and ask them to come in 2/3 times a week to hoover and heavy clean - hang the washing out . If you can make a few dishes and freeze, otherwise takeaways and ready meals and fruit for the first few weeks. Many people do cope alone and when you have to you have to.

WinterMymble Fri 22-Feb-13 06:28:35

Also - I totally understand how you want them to be there and involved and excited, and how it hurts they aren't. I had the sane - only 1 immediate family member alive and they couldn't be bothered at all to come. But you can definitely do this without family around and the MAGIC oif the time alone together, just with oneself and the baby and DP, actually is really what is needed. In those first days you all fall in love and knit together as a family. It is incredibly precious time.

Much better to savour that than having to spend energy being hostess to people not enthusiastic and not giving practical help. Savour those first few days in your cocoon !

slightlysoupstained Fri 22-Feb-13 06:43:04

It sounds like they have no idea how disruptive it will be to have non-contributing house guests. Do they realise your priorities are going to be baby, you, partner, and running around cleaning up after visitors who feel they deserve "looking after" after coming "all that way" is going to have dropped soo far down the priority list it won't even be in sight?

Bear in mind that your mum has likely entirely forgotten the first few weeks after you were born, & her memories of you as a baby may be rather rosily tinted, so she's not necessarily being unkind, just collosally unrealistic. Not a good sign that they're not willing to tell you when & for how long either. Sounds very much like they feel like they're doing you enough of a favour by coming "all that way".

Don't know about flying, but you're not recommended to put a baby in a carseat for too long, which limits your travelling range anyway. We travelled just under two hours to visit family when DS was five weeks, & in hindsight this was a bit far at that age. (Would probably have waited if it wasn't the only opportunity in several years to see them).

Agree with suggestions that you try to put them off visiting immediately afterwards if they're not prepared to help. Perhaps you could suggest that as they're not sure when they can come, it's probably better for them to visit later when they'll have more time to make arrangements (could phrase it in a way that suggests they were right to suggest that at least 6 weeks after is a better lead time).

PessaryPam Fri 22-Feb-13 06:43:32

Do they basically have a problem with the same sex relationship and that is what is coming out here?

LittleBlueBox Fri 22-Feb-13 07:10:29

Thanks all for the advice and excellent suggestions. I really hope it's not the same-sex thing. My DP and I have been together almost 14 years now and out to family for all that time. It was a bit tricky (for all of us) at the beginning, especially as my parents are very devout Catholics, but I had thought all that was behind us.

I think it's probably right that what I'm really upset about is that they don't appear to be very excited about the baby. My younger brother has 3 DC's and my parents just dote on them, my mum spends at least 3 days a week taking them out and whatever. I guess I assumed it would be similar for us. I understand the distance thing, it's not the time spent, but the interest taken iyswim.

I tried to politely suggest to mum that if they weren't able to help out but still really want to come up right after the birth, then maybe they could just come for a short visit and then come up again or we can come down in a couple of months when we will have more energy to engage with them. Mum wasn't happy with that idea at all and insisted they 'wouldn't get in the way'.

DP, baby and I will cope as a family. A cleaner is a good idea and we'll adapt whatever happens. It's just that as people say, having family visit if they aren't going to be supportive is worse than useless. Especially because they've come such a long way so I'd feel bad not spending time with them.

PessaryPam Fri 22-Feb-13 07:19:13

Well whatever is causing it Little you and your DP will get through and when you both hold your baby you will know that it's your parents loss. It's not long to go so arrange the cleaner and settle down and relax now as when the birth happens you will be busy. Have some brew and put your feet up and concentrate on the 2 (soon to be 3) of you.

MamaOgg Fri 22-Feb-13 07:32:40

I'm sorry your parents are not more excited or willing to help. Please don't stress about chores after the birth though. I hope you have a straightforward delivery, if you do, you'll find things easier than you think. Newborns sleep a lot in smallish chunks admittedly but if you don't insist on a showroom ready house, you'll be fine. Good luck with the new arrival.

exoticfruits Fri 22-Feb-13 07:36:11

I think that it is just that they have done it all once and love their freedom and don't want to start again. You can't make people what they are not and maybe they are not keen on babies.

twinklesparkles Fri 22-Feb-13 07:58:04

Sorry you're dp is unwell..

But at the same time your an adult now with your own house and baby.. Can't rely upon mummy and daddy forever.

Sorry :/

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 07:59:57

Perhaps they think that two adults at home is more than enough to look after a baby?

Or they have visions of doing everything whilst you two sit around with the baby?

It might be better if they don't come as it could work out that they sit around holding baby!

Hopefully, it´t won't be as hard as you think.

Babies don´t create that much work.

It´s the recovery from the birth, tiredness & how long it can take to get out the door if you want to go somewhere!

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 08:01:17

What is it that you think you will need help with btw?

ll31 Fri 22-Feb-13 08:07:29

think yabu tbh expecting them to visit to do housework..

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