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?

fairylightsinthesnow Fri 22-Feb-13 08:13:47

diddl that is impressively unsympathetic. Have you read the OP? Her partner has chronic fatigue syndrome. The OP may end up with a difficult birth or a CS which will mean she will need help with lots of things (OP, don't mean to scare you, I had 2 CS and they are ok, but you are a bit limited for a few weeks) Did your newborn (s) allow you a good 8 hrs sleep every night from the off so you could spring back into normal life? Did you have no issues with feeding or not being able to put the baby down? Again, OP, it can be really fine and sometimes people do over exaggerate the issues (never understood the "Didn't brush my teeth til midday type thing) but a hand with the shopping and washing up for a couple of weeks would be handy. It would be lovely OP, if your parents were more involved or understanding, but you can't make them. If they are so much more hands on with your brother's kids it may be the same sex thing but I bet as soon as they baby is here they'll forget all that and be up to you like a shot and hopefully, they will do what comes naturally to most people and muck in and help. Enjoy your lovely new baby x

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 08:26:02

It was a genuine question-as in-it`s often not as bad as you think!

Babies don´t massively increase the amount of housework for example.

Many of have partners who work long hours, so didn´t get any help for most of the day.

TheFallenNinja Fri 22-Feb-13 08:31:50

YANBU to ask for help but YABU for being annoyed that they said no.

Bonsoir Fri 22-Feb-13 08:35:59

Rather than paying for your parents' flights, pay for a cleaner/home help. Much easier.

BegoniaBampot Fri 22-Feb-13 08:42:01

YANBU to feel sad about it but if they aren't willing better just to get on with it and make it as easy for yourselves as you can, some good suggestions from people. My family lived away and TBH though I wanted them to see the baby ASAP I couldn't cope with the idea of guests in the house those first few days when I wanted me, husband and baby to get to know each other. It's one of the prices of choosing to live away, logistics just aren't easy but that was our choice.

Baby 2 we did have my mum and niece to stay for the birth and Really it was a mistake and quite stressful so maybe you are better without them.

For those saying suck it up and deal with it yourself, often women did get a lot of help from families and got a lot of help so the mum could just recover, they weren't alway expected to be Wonder Woman but to concentrate on feeding and bonding with the baby.

undercoverhousewife Fri 22-Feb-13 08:43:49

YANBU to be sad that your parents don't seem to want to be more involved (and that may just change after the baby arrives) but you cannot insist or expect - especially when you seem to have actually specified it is housework you want them to do rather than talking about wanting to share the excitement - they may well have bridled at that..

You just have to plan to cope without help. I am guessing the PG was planned so presumably you felt confident at one point about being able to cope - you are probably just having wobblies right now as there are about to be big changes in your life. You will be fine though. You have a DP around to at least give you emotional support. There are lots of MNers who have coped with no help from GPs and with DHs who absent themselves to work... it IS doable.

I'm afraid that I think in part it is your family situation that they are struggling with. They may have accepted the situation but then a baby coming in to the equation could have seriously unbalanced things again. Was it a shock to them? Did they know you wanted a child?

AngryGnome Fri 22-Feb-13 08:46:08

I think you need to get some contingency plans in place. Can you shop online and get it delivered? Fill your freezer now full of meals so post birth cooking basically involves slinging something in the oven. Get a cleaner ( although to be honest if the floors go unmopped, carpets not vacuumed for a few weeks its not the end if the world).

If they do come up, you may find they actually do more for you than you think. My mum had to stay with us for about three months after ds was born, and actually despite my misgivings beforehand she was brilliant.

Congratulations on the pregnancy!

PatienceALittleThin Fri 22-Feb-13 08:46:29

YANBU my mum was the same when I had my first and I lived in the same road as her and was completely alone.

This time round I'm in a different country and my new MIL has already booked an open ended ticket for the week after I'm due so she can come over for as long as she's needed. I know her well enough to know she'll have a suitcase full of cleaning materials and cooking ingredients with barely a change of clothes grin

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 08:52:53

Crikey. Sorry Op, I am sad for you that your mum sounded so dismissive and cross about it when you asked for help, as mine would always be falling over herself to help - but I suppose the reality is that you have got a partner and that means there are two of you. And maybe your mum is thinking, well she chose to be with this person (perhaps some resentment there?)) so they have to deal with it sad

If your partner is physically limited in what she can do around the house, perhaps it would be Ok to have her hold the baby a bit while you do the other things - I know it's a role reversal but it might be the only way to manage. I know, as a single parent with a 7 week old baby, that I've been struggling - but when I can hand the baby to my 9yo to hold, nothing more, while I get on with dinner or washing etc it works beautifully, well, for 10 minutes smile

I had my parents visit each day for about 5 days after he was born, but that was because I couldn't get out of bed and the other children needed to be sorted. (I was quite ill with chest infection)
since day 5 it's been up, out and to school with the others...I've just had to manage. We see them once a week and sometimes they help me with a job, but often it's just visiting and fun with the children.

It's really hard but you've one baby to care for and not other children to worry about so that will make it easier.

Best of luck, take it easy

juneau Fri 22-Feb-13 08:53:29

It's not an unreasonable expectation on your part. However, as someone who had their first child while living 3,000 miles away from my family, I would suggest you make alternative plans. If your parents are reluctant to help and only want to visit if they get to sit on their backsides holding the baby, you're going to need some practical help, but you will probably need to pay for it unless you have a network of super-duper helpful friends nearby.

- Get a cleaner, even if it's just for the first three months.
- Look into getting a post-partum doula. These women come to your house, help you with BFing (if you choose to BF), do laundry, cook meals, go shopping, watch baby while you sleep/shower, basically do whatever you need and give you emotional and practical support. I had one for the first week after DS1 was born. She came in for three hours a day and she saved my sanity (my DH went off on a business trip when DS1 was three days old). Seriously. It will be the best money you ever spend.

BegoniaBampot Fri 22-Feb-13 08:55:30

Women generally aren't always expected to do it all. My friend opted for this with the support of her family.

this actually how some cultures look after the mother or strive to

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 08:58:49

Is it a misunderstanding on their part, though?

Do they think you want them to do everything?

Whereas you might be thinking if they could whip the hoover round?

Is it that you asked, rather than them offering?

Perhaps they just want to wait & see if you need help & how much before committing?

nenevomito Fri 22-Feb-13 09:02:32

Visitors can really really get in the way when you have a new baby. Give up the house work until things are more settled.

You're not unreasonable to wish your parents were more excited about the baby, but totally u to expect them to come all that way just to clean up and cook for you.

Prepare meals in advance. Lower standards or get in as cleaner. Even if you had masses of help, you are going to spend at least the next 6 months busy and sleep deprived, so you may as well get used to it grin

redskyatnight Fri 22-Feb-13 09:02:34

OP I had the opposite problem - my parents (particularly my mum insisted that they wanted to stay and help out). I knew that my parents were not actually the helping kind despite their protestations so put my foot down to a very short visit.

Point of long dull story ... the time my parents were here was more stressful and hard work than when they weren't. Both of them thought that "helping" meant holding the baby occasionally and just "being here". Neither of them so much as made a cup of tea or took a dirty mug back in the kitchen. I spent my whole time running round after them.

I think you are NBU to hope your families would be more supportive, but at least you know up front that they won't be.

pixi2 Fri 22-Feb-13 09:03:04

YABU. Uninvite them. You are scared. It's understandable. Everyone gets like this first time around. However you do cope. You find ways. Most of us realise that the 'rest when the baby rests' mantra is totally impossible and quickly do a chore to keep on top of things. It's not the end of the world if you prioritise cleaning chores and reduce the amount of clothes you iron etc.

ouryve Fri 22-Feb-13 09:06:07

How about hiring a cleaner, OP?

If you're worried about meals, get cooking and freezing, now.

Plenty of people manage completely on their own.

hackmum Fri 22-Feb-13 09:09:23

I think it's sad that your parents aren't more excited about the arrival of the baby, but I would never dream of asking another family member to do housework for me. They're presumably pissed off that they're being invited all that way just to act as cleaners and cooks.

I also think that having people stay with you when you already have your hands full looking after a new baby is a recipe for disaster. You just end up running around after them when you're already very tired and overworked.

Sorry - this wasn't intended to be as brusque as it probably sounds. Hope it works out for you.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 09:14:38

Well that´s it for me also-I wouldn´t dream of asking.

That said, if parents did come to see the baby & had to stay due to distance, I wouldn´t expect to wait on them either.

I would expect them to help out with meals, laundry/ironing-any extra work that they were creating iyswim.

Scootee Fri 22-Feb-13 09:16:37

If your parents are unwilling to help with cooking and housework, I would not allow them to stay - if they come, tell them to stay in a hotel so you don't have to host. It is very sad that the aren't willing to help IMO. I cannot imagine visiting a close family member with a newborn and not helping out - how mean. Yes, some people do everything on their own but it is nicer if someone helps.

I would suggest that it is a bit to do with the same sex relationship but possibly they may not believe that your dp has cfs, they may actually think she is lazy.

ExBrightonBell Fri 22-Feb-13 09:18:45

Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy OP and best wishes for the birth.

I'm a bit surprised at how negative some of the replies have been. Yes lots of people have had to cope with no help, but that doesn't mean that YABU to expect some support from your mum. I am sorry for you that your mum is not more supportive towards you. I'm fortunate that I know that my mum (& dad) would drop everything and come and help out however they could. Yes I'm an adult and can look after myself, but when I had an awful birth, c section and poorly baby I truly appreciated my mum coming to stay for a week. She looked after me whilst I looked after my new baby!

It does unfortunately sound like you'll have to make arrangements to cope on your own, but your mum will be missing out on a potentially lovely experience helping her own daughter out with her new baby.

CMOTDibbler Fri 22-Feb-13 09:18:52

YANBU to hope for some support, but its not worth wasting emotional energy on it. Find a 'mothers help' - someone who will do a bit of whatever you ask them to in terms of cleaning/laundry/cooking/baby jiggling and take control of the situation.

RivalSibling Fri 22-Feb-13 09:19:28

Sorry to hear you have had this response. It can be upsetting to find out how things really stand when the chips are down.

I wonder if they are dubious about the chronic fatigue syndrome and think your partner is malingering? Some older people don't understand because it 'didn't exist' in their day.

ISeeSmallPeople Fri 22-Feb-13 09:22:10

Your mum has done you a favour.
She's been honest, she doesn't want to come & help.
Far better that than she comes & doesn't very little/nothing & you end up resenting her being there.

Book a cleaner.
And a mother's help.
Fill the freezer, & ask friends to come & walk the baby, being some shopping etc.

Good luck.

Shanghaidiva Fri 22-Feb-13 09:24:03

Agree with previous posters contingency plan is necessary:
- internet grocery shopping
- cleaner
- someone to do the ironing
- prepare some meals now to put in the freezer - casserole, chilli, bolognese sauce etc
I can understand that you are upset by the lack of support but visitors after the birth can be a complete pain.
My mum was brilliant but she is the type of woman who just gets on with things - looks to see if there is any washing or ironing to do, will go out shoppping when basics are running low etc.

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