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?

LittleBlueBox Fri 22-Feb-13 13:19:26

And jeepers appletarts! I don't feel 'entitled' to anything. I don't know who these mothers are that you're talking about, leaving their kids with the parents so they can get their nails done and whatever. I wonder what OP you were reading cos it wasn't mine. confused

Thanks Begonia and ExBrightonBelle that's it, just that it would be nice to have some support, not that we're owed it, or can't do without it.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 13:21:05

Your partner might be lucky & able to sleep.

When I was in hospital after having psb, the woman across the way was snoring really loudly.

That was annoying enough.

But her baby was crying for a feed & she was completely oblivious!

I had to fetch a MW to rouse her!

My husband would usually wake up when they cried in the night for a feed, but did find it easy to drop off again.

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

Are you sure the hand-fed chocolates and hoovering are out of the question MammaTJ? Cos I was sure the NHS (or Medicare here in Oz) would pay for all new mums to have a live-in servant for the first 6 weeks. Damn!

Personally I think the idea of a nesting instinct with loads of energy just before you have the baby can be a bit of a myth ? Or at least not everyone gets it in the same way ? I was quite happy to sit in the garden eating some new season strawberries the day before I had DD - I always say she was waiting for them as she was 10 days late ! Probably a better preparation for birth I reckon than cleaning the house from top to bottom as some women apparently feel inclined to do hmm Getting a few meals in the freezer could be an idea though if you've got one/ think it would be helpful ?

Your DParents sound a bit odd at Christmas in their hosting style ?
Hope it all goes better when they visit you with baby !!

LittleBlueBox Fri 22-Feb-13 13:26:33

That sounds promising diddl. My DP and I have talked contingencies to make sure she gets enough sleep. She can always sleep downstairs on the couch, or even have a night or two out of house altogether if it means she isn't exhausted. It won't help anybody if she relapses and her CFS gets worse.

DIYapprentice Fri 22-Feb-13 13:26:50

YANBU to hope and to be upset. I live on the opposite side of the world to both my and DH's family, and while my DM wasn't physically able to come and help, my MIL did and was absolutely wonderful. I can't imagine my family simply refusing to help if it was within their power. (If I could have afforded to buy my DSis a ticket she would have been been packed within the hour!!!grin)

Please try not to be too hurt though, focus on your own family unit. I think online shopping is still limited in Australia, but there are alternatives.

Buy some pre-cooked meals and freeze them, do some batch cooking. Make sure you stock up on convenience foods - pasta packets, long life milk, soups, sliced bread for the freezer. If you can avoid having to worry about food for the first few weeks, all the better.

Make sure you get a washing routine going - it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the extra washing with a baby, especially if he/she suffers from reflux, etc.

Hire a cleaner/mother's help, some sort of domestic assistance.

Good luck, I'm sure it will go well.

I think YABU to expect your parents to help. Some grandparents offer, many don't, but there certainly isn't an obligation. I'll have no family help when I have my baby (hopefully next week), and I wouldn't expect it. I'll buy frozen meals, and get a cleaner if things run out of control.

Good luck with everything. Don't waste time being resentful, just accept that in life leaving home and becoming independent means exactly that. Your life, your choices, all your responsibility.

countrykitten Fri 22-Feb-13 13:43:46

appletarts grin at 'mum up'!

Ilovexmastime Fri 22-Feb-13 15:51:47

YANBU. I had this too and it's so disappointing when you realise that your parents aren't as excited as you and also, that they don't want to help out their own child when you need it most.
I don't think this counts as entitled behaviour either. If you can't ask your own mother for help after you've just had a baby then when can you?

thebody Fri 22-Feb-13 16:03:24

If you have to ask for help from your mum then generally you are on a sticky wicket.

Mine offered but love her as I do to have anyone staying in my house and doing my washing and cooking would have driven me crazy.

You will manage op.

BlatantLies Fri 22-Feb-13 16:03:48

Sorry not read all the replies

YABU asking for help. If you can afford airfares then you can afford help.

Y would not be U to tell parents that you would love them to visit but you would like them to 'pitch in' when they visit as you don't want to feel you have to host them.

Y would not be U to ask for confirmation as to when and r how long they want to visit. AND Y would not be U to say whether that would be OK.

Congrats on the baby. Hope everything goes brilliantly. [bunch].

CPtart Fri 22-Feb-13 16:08:23

YABU- we had zero help. Welcome to parenthood and get on with it!

ExBrightonBell Fri 22-Feb-13 16:46:10

I still can't believe the number of people who think that the OP has a sense of entitlement about this. Read the first post - the OP was asking for emotional and practical support when their baby arrives. Not unreasonable to ask from your own mum! In fact I would hope that most mums who care about their children would offer this without having to be asked. Of course you don't have to take them up on it if you feel you would rather be on your own. The attitude of the OPs mum is really harsh especially given that she is very involved with her other grand children. I feel sad for the OP that her mum has let her down like this.

Why are so many people being so harsh about someone wanting their mum to care about them? I know that having a baby is a normal event but it is quite overwhelming even when things go smoothly. Isn't it a lovely thing for a mum to offer to help her own daughter to settle into her new role? All these grumpy posters saying "suck it up and do it on your own without any family support cos I had to!", it's just so grim.

Fwiw, my mum came to stay with me for a week after my partner went back to work at the end of his paternity leave. I asked her to come and help me out - does that make me entitled? No. It just means that my mum cares about me and wanted to help me when I was struggling.

BegoniaBampot Fri 22-Feb-13 16:54:12

yes things have changed for some societys but doesn't nessessry mean it's better or ideal. seems to be folk almost enjoying being able to say, i had to do it all myself, just suck it up and get on with it. just because some dealt with it in their own doesn't mean thet is the best way. so if you have young children and one day they are having their first baby, are you going to turn around and tell them to get on with it, no support, no help.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 17:14:29

Well yes, ExBrightonBell-but OP does have a partner for emotional & hopefully some practical support.

OP-where are your partner's parents in all of this?

I think you may have said, but I can't seem to find it.

whistleahappytune Fri 22-Feb-13 17:19:42

ExBrighton you are right.

OP, I'm sorry to say this, but I think you've probably underestimated the same-sex issue with your family, especially as they are devout Catholics. This may explain their coldness and lack of enthusiasm for coming GC. It's terrible and you and your DP don't deserve this treatment, but the sooner you accept the situation as it actually is rather than as you would wish it, then the sooner you can focus on your own family and building a network of loving support amongst friends (who then become part of your "family).

I wish you and DP all the best.

You know how the thinking goes when people have a baby though. She can't do any housework/hostessing cos she's just had a baby, and He can't do any housework/hosting cos, well, cos he's a man and he can't do housework, so they're going to need some help. But you, you've got two women there, so what's the problem? OK so one is having a baby and one has some fakey malingering not-really-there illness but you'll manage, you're women ... Do you think some of that is going on?

Although, given your mum invited you for Christmas and then didn't cook for you, it is possible she is a lazy cow / hates you / hates your dp / is socially inept / is seriously weird.

Might be worth (briefly) being sad over not having a nurturing mum who is excited about your new baby, and then figuring out how to deal with the one you do have.

Like, telling her that you're back to plan A, they're not invited, and you'll visit when you're ready. But only if they promise to feed you, otherwise they can see the baby on Skype ...

Inertia Fri 22-Feb-13 18:15:23

I can't get beyond the fact that you travelled to see them at Christmas , stayed as their guests, and they cooked for themselves and told you - their seven month pregnant daughter - that they were not willing to provide food or drinks for you ! I am genuinely flabbergasted by this - hell, I even made cups of tea for the window cleaners when they were in my garden for ten minutes. It takes an especially mean spirit to refuse food, or even a cup of tea ,to a heavily pregnant woman who has travelled across a continent to see you.

It sounds like they'd be worse than useless even if they did come - sorry, but they are not loving caring parents. I'm not surprised you feel let down. I'm sorry. You 'd be better off spending the money on a doula for birth / postnatal support, and a cleaner.

"They would cook their own meals at night and tell us there wasn't anything for us to eat."
And something tells me this was not an isolated incident sad.

I'm so sorry OP, but I really think you need to accept that your parents are completely and consistently shit. Did you think the baby would make a difference? Because I sincerely doubt it (and to date, they've proved that).

magimedi Fri 22-Feb-13 19:32:54

I am so sorry you won't have help from your parents.

I am just waiting for my DC & partner to have their first (they are trying grin ) & I would do ANYTHING I possibly could to help when that time comes. (They live in Europe & I'm UK).

I would be quite happy to go there & be told what to do. The thought of a grandchild fills me with such joy & I hope that when and if it happens that I can be of some help.

As far as I am concerned if I am asked to go & asked to clean/wash/iron/cook any of them would be OK.

But for now I am just keeping my gob shut & not asking anything.

Internationaltraveller Fri 22-Feb-13 19:43:15

Perhaps your approach was wrong, asking them to come and help around the house - I wonder if they feel they are being used?

Roseformeplease Fri 22-Feb-13 19:52:05

I know that this might not be right but I wonder if there is something slightly sexist in your Mum's response. She sees 2 women and assumes twice as much domestic / mothering / cleaning / household competence. However, with your brother she sees one woman and therefore the need for help. Not sure about this but it seems odd and it being your Mum who says she won't help (and no mention of your Dad) suggests that it is seen as woman's work in a 2 female household.
Congratulations! We managed without help, in the middle of nowhere with my OH working full time and running a hotel. I can't remember much of it but we came out the other side. Good luck!

FlouncingMintyy Fri 22-Feb-13 20:02:19

OP I think your parents (quite justifiably imo) think that you could probably find someone locally to help you with housework, shopping and washing after the baby is born and it is a very big ask to want them to come all that way specifically to do domestic chores for you and your dp.

I am sure they would be there if you became very ill or needed them desperately but the fact is there are two of you (what sort of care does your dp need?) and one small baby and that doesn't really mean everyone should drop everything to rally round.

If the DM here is worried about how much is being asked of her (though I gather it's she who interpreted the request as involving housework) she could just say "Of course I'll lend a hand but I don't know how practical I'll be. Can't wait to meet my new grandchild though" or something along those lines.
Think the OP just needs to here some enthusiasm really more than anything !

sorry ... hear (obviously)

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