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..

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.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 09:24:06

But if OP does have a difficult time & needs help-maybe they will come.

It´s speculation atm, isn´t it?

And I agree they might not understand about your partner's illness, or might resent doing stuff that benefits her as well-especially whilst she is there & do

exoticfruits Fri 22-Feb-13 09:25:12

I always think that it is such a shame that people can't swap grandparents , many complain they see too much and even get upset if MIL gets the washing in if it looks like rain! It is a bit of a mine field- some want help, some don't- if we could marry the like minded ones up then life would be simple!

bbface Fri 22-Feb-13 09:25:18

I feel for you OP, but I can't say I am all that sympathetic.

I read these threads about people expecting help after having a baby and I just can not relate to them. People decide to have a baby and then get pee-ed off when others, who had nothing to do with the decision, do not help them.mof course it would be lovely if your parents would help, and I sure as hell intend to help my children out when they have children! But I do think YABU to be user when they do not respond the way you won't them to. Also, to actually ask them to do housework is a bit off in my opinion.

My parents passed away when I was in my twenties. My inlaws live on the other side of the world. I have a 2.6yr old DS, due to give birth next Wednesday, and a DH who works 14 hour days. I actually find I cope so much better than my friends who have help from their parents. My child has absolute consistency, and I do things my way and on my terms, answerable to no one (DH is wonderful but works damn hard so that I can be a SAHM).

My point is, don't stress, it really is NOT that big a deal having a newborn. They need milk, warmth and cuddles. That is it.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 09:25:36

Sorry- was trying to put & seemingly doing nothing-when they might think that she should be!

Maybe be glad they've said they will visit you and the new baby (though they can't say when or for how long ?)

Also your partner may be able to help more than you think - having her around to keep you company and if she is able to spend some time holding and cuddling baby you may be able to get on with a few things you want or need to do more easily ?

Agree with others, maybe focus more on you and DP and how you're going to cope with things when your lovely new baby arrives. Not everyone has parents/ grandparents who see their role as helpers - some of them, and other visitors, can have an amazing tendency to sit around waiting for you to make them a cup of tea, even when you've just got back from the hospital with your baby wink

tiggytape Fri 22-Feb-13 09:41:41

I suspect that when they arrive, they will help out a bit. Maybe not in the sense of doing a list of chores for you but certainly the odd meal or tidying up or helping more if they see you struggle. It is probably more that you made it clear that you expected help rather than leaving it to them to offer it that grated a bit.
And even if they don't help out, you will be just fine. Newborn babies sleep an awful lot (in theory) and although you will be tired, you will have the time to do the things you need to do. You can also do some cooking in advance to freeze, getthe baby clothes ready, build the crib etc so that once baby is here there are no major or stressful jobs to do in the first week or so.

countrykitten Fri 22-Feb-13 09:53:11

I don't think that your expecting them to come and do housework is very nice at all - why should they? As another poster said, you have to get on with life and you cannot rely on your parents forever - and who on earth would want to?

Fleecyslippers Fri 22-Feb-13 10:05:10

YABU. You already knew that for whatever reasons, they were reluctant to visit. Yet when they eventually agreed you push things further by mentioning housework.

I think you both need to shift your focus to what you as parents can do to.prepare for the baby. Simple things like cooking double portions and freezing meals every night for the next week or so.
You can't expect unwilling grand parents to help. Reduce your expectations of them.

littlewhitebag Fri 22-Feb-13 10:08:27

In my experience i did not want loads of people around my house after i had my children. They got on my nerves and i just wanted to spend hours starring at my lovely baby. Your parents may have very different views on bringing up a baby which might annoy you after a while. I think their plan to wait until baby is around 6 weeks is a good one. You will be in more of a routine and more sure of yourself as a mother. The first few weeks are for you and your partner to bond with the baby. Don't stress about housework. Babies are not too messy at that age.

SirBoobAlot Fri 22-Feb-13 10:10:45

Honestly from the sounds of it you will be better without them around.

Batch cook now, so there is stuff in the freezer for the first few weeks. Have some tins of soup ready.

Also worth considering breastfeeding and co-sleeping if you haven't already, as mothers who do both get the most sleep in the early months.

There's also a thread for those of us with CFS over in Health if you or your partner wanted some extra support adjusting to being a parent and balancing out the illness at the same time.

BegoniaBampot Fri 22-Feb-13 10:15:54

I think the OP is getting a hard time. If your child has a baby one day, would you really think sod it, do it all on your own no matter what the circumstances are. Or, do you remember what it was like if you were on your own and struggling yourself and think it might be nice to offer some support and practical help whether it's wanted or needed.

Had to get in with it in my own the first time and it was bloody tough, though my choice to live away and not have my mother come to stay. I've had friends from cultures whose families see it as their job to help the mother recover, they recognise that childbirth can be big thing and it takes it toll.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 10:22:52

I was of the mindset that I would ask for help if needed, but certainly wasn´t of the thought that I would need it before I´d even had the baby.

When I was pregnant with my 2nd & they would be 21 months apart, my Mum assumed that I would want her to move in to help??

No I didn´t!

I wanted to wait & see.

At least you know they don't want to help now. Book a cleaner, batch cook and fill your freezer. Get lots of take-away menu's grin

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Fri 22-Feb-13 10:27:50

You will be fine. As others have said, do as much as you can to prepare now. Have you got that nesting-type energy yet?

I found that often, the very little things helped as much as the big things. Could your DP manage holding the baby long enough for you to have a bath, bring you a cold drink whilst BFing (I was going to suggest a nice warm cup of tea but then realised where you live and when you're due!), stroke your achey bits etc?

undercoverhousewife Fri 22-Feb-13 10:42:58

I agree with someone who said to use the money you would have spent on your parents' fares to pay for help around the house for a few weeks.

appletarts Fri 22-Feb-13 10:43:48

I have two children, 10 months and 3.5 years. We have never had any help of any sort. Nobody has ever even made me a cup of tea. You'll cope!

appletarts Fri 22-Feb-13 11:17:37

Ooh actually popped back to say that I find this sort of entitled thinking a bit infuriating. I have friends who scarcely look after their own children with one being shipped off to inlaws while the other is left with parents while the mum has endless hours to kill at the beautician having this and that done. That in itself wouldn't wind me up, their life etc but the bit that pisses me off is then moaning and groaning about how hard it all is. I think that some mums are barely full grown themselves and expect everyone to be available to fuss over them and deliver food parcels (extraordinary for full grown adults I think), it's a good idea to remember who is meant to be the adult in this scenario. Fair enough if baby is sick or high needs or mum has PND or there's other difficult circumstances. Other than that mum up!!

YANBU to hope they might help but YABU to expect them to.

T'was nice though when DSIL and DBro came to visit and brought a yummy veggie lasagne with them ! grin

BegoniaBampot Fri 22-Feb-13 12:17:30

medal for appletarts - you realise that this do it all on your own, no help from family is a fairly modern concept. women used to often get help and support from family. just cause you can and often don't have a choice to have help means that it's ideal to do so.

ExBrightonBell Fri 22-Feb-13 12:36:10

Blimey appletarts. Did you read the OP where she explained that her partner has chronic fatigue syndrome? Wouldn't it be a nice thing if her mum felt able to go and help them out with their first child? Not because they have a sense of entitlement, but simply because it is reasonable to think that a mum would want to help her daughter out? Isn't one of the benefits of having family is that they are there to support you if you need it? We don't all have to exist in independent bubbles.

diddl Fri 22-Feb-13 12:54:30

But surely all this help was when people lived closer together and it was easier?

Maybe less appliances so housework was harder?

Often now GPs are still working themselves!

LittleBlueBox Fri 22-Feb-13 13:11:52

Thanks again all. Have been reading all your comments with interest.

I do just want to make it clear that I know the responsibility for looking after our child lies squarely with my DP and I, no-body else. Perhaps I was unclear in my OP; I'm not expecting or wanting to laze around on the couch like the Queen of Sheba while my mum hoovers under my feet and my dad feeds me chocolates. (Although, hey that does sound nice!).

Specifically what I said to my mum is that we were very excited to have them to share the joy of new bubs, and that if they could give us any help while they were here it would be wonderful. It was mum that took that to mean 'do all the housework' for us. That's not what I meant at all, just that we would be tired and focused on baby and not able to spend a lot of time being good hosts. The history here is that they have never been particularly supportive. When we were down at Christmas (and I was seven months pregnant) they let us stay with them which was lovely, but never even offered a cup of tea. They would cook their own meals at night and tell us there wasn't anything for us to eat.

I'm just really excited about this bub and wanted to share that excitement with them too. It was sad not to be able to, but I guess you can't force these things.

I think waiting to see what happens is excellent advice. We may be fine, they may be lovely and either way we will figure it out when the time comes.

My DP will certainly help with holding baby and bringing cups of tea/cool drinks and whatever. We just have to watch that she gets enough rest (haha!) but if she's not too sleep deprived she'll be ok. I've definitely got the nesting instinct although not the energy unfortunately. Our house looks like a bomb's hit it already blush.

"They would cook their own meals at night and tell us there wasn't anything for us to eat."

That's crazy and so rude.

MammaTJ Fri 22-Feb-13 13:18:45

I'm not expecting or wanting to laze around on the couch like the Queen of Sheba while my mum hoovers under my feet and my dad feeds me chocolates. (Although, hey that does sound nice!)

It does sound nice but it isn't going to happen. grin

bubs Netmums is that way >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Seriously-You will actually be fine, have a little more faith in yourself.

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)

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 22-Feb-13 20:23:04

I had my mum and my inlaws staying with me just after ds was born.
I never asked them to come and do housework though, it was my in laws first and now only grandchild (I was 39 when I had him), and my Mum was just my Mum.
They were brilliant though, and helped out loads.
Maybe your approach was wrong, my inlaws lived at the other end of the country and the invitation was to meet their first grandchild, not come and me my skivvy.

echt Fri 22-Feb-13 22:25:34

LadyBeagleEyes has it right, though your parents' initial reluctance, being too busy, lack of commitment to dates and length of visit should tell you that there's no eagerness here. The fact that they didn't feed you on visits to their house is a worry; they sound quite hostile. Like other posters, I wonder if there's an undercurrent of disapproval of the same-sex relationship. Sorry your DP's parents don't visit, you must feel very isolated.

I'd back off on the hoping for help, re-iterate a welcome to visit, but be very careful about how much running around by you and your DP is done. I'd also be wary about flying down to see them with the baby, unless you take sandwiches.grin

Upthread a/some posters got bit snippy about this being the price for moving away. In Australia, like anywhere else, you go where the jobs are, and in Oz it's always a long way. Also the snurk at OP calling the baby "bubs" - it's what Australians do, and is not netmumsy.

All very best to you both, and hope this works out well.

NumericalMum Fri 22-Feb-13 23:15:30

Another adding that having people about was super stressful. My DM wanted to do everything her way, which wasn't helpful or supportive. She did cook and clean but mostly she wanted to cuddle the baby. My DH was basically not allowed to hold his own child or do anything as my DM just told him she knew better when he tried. Most people aren't naturals at changing a nappy etc and he only learnt really when she left. The day she left was like a dark cloud lifting from over me. It sounds like your parents would be less helpful so probably best to go and visit them when your DC is 8 weeks + and you have stumbled into some sort of routine that works for you. Good luck with it all!

charlottehere Fri 22-Feb-13 23:35:20

YANBU but tbh it might be easier to pay for help or do it yourself - sorry, speak from experience.

MummytoMog Fri 22-Feb-13 23:39:10

YABU, sorry. I can't for the love of Christ imagine wanting my mum or my mil for that matter, hanging around while I had a newborn. By at any rate, you chose to have this baby, knowing your circumstances, and I doubt asked your parents if they'd mind being your skivvies for a bit first. It's a bit sad that they don't want to help, but there's no reason they should.

Cheer up a bit, it's a baby, not a time bomb. Plenty of women manage on their own, and you will at least have emotional support from your lovely DP, even if she can't manage much practical support. Newborns are lovely, cuddly and adorable. Even when they're being sick on you. Try and relax, they're like cats, they pick up on your tension...

apostropheuse Sat 23-Feb-13 00:05:08

Lots of people don't have help from their parents when their children are born. My parents both worked full time so it was of course impossible to help.

I actually don't understand what you think you will need help with.

Honestly, you will cope fine, just as millions of other parents the world over do.

You're heavily pregnant so I wont call you unreasonable. But you are behaving much like a very unreasonable person would.

BegoniaBampot Sat 23-Feb-13 00:27:13

I know a lady who on the day after she give birth, went home to find her husband had invited his family round for dinner. She had to clean the house, shop and cook a four course meal. Mean if she can do it, guess the rest of us can stop being precious and do the same.

I know a lady who on the day after she give birth, went home to find her husband had invited his family round for dinner. She had to clean the house, shop and cook a four course meal. Mean if she can do it, guess the rest of us can stop being precious and do the same.

eurgh, what an arsehole

pollypandemonium Sat 23-Feb-13 00:45:22

This is all a bit sad and heartbreaking but not the first time I've heard it. Sometimes when parent live a long way away they find it hard to bond or don't want to commit, whatever the reason it's just plain sad.

Why do you live where you do? Is there a good community - do you have any friends who can support you? I have a great support network that I couldn't do without. I had some support from my mother in the first year or two when we stayed with them but since then haven't had any input from any relatives. But that's why we have friends and neighbours (and good neighbours become good friends as you know). ;)

Internationaltraveller Sat 23-Feb-13 00:54:39

I think you will be fine OP. It will be a bonding time with your partner and new arrival. Yes, it's hard work but you do get through it. You'd also be surprised where help comes from - sometimes from the most surprising places!

ModernToss Sat 23-Feb-13 09:10:53

I don't think you're being at all unreasonable, and I can see why you're disappointed and a little hurt.

However, when I read They would cook their own meals at night and tell us there wasn't anything for us to eat I must admit I wondered why you'd invited them at all. I just cannot imagine anyone with guests - let alone your own parents - acting that way.

Maybe it's time to start expecting very little of them. That way you won't be disappointed.

appletarts Sat 23-Feb-13 10:50:06

Of course families and mothers being disconnected from extended family is a modern social construct! But we live here now not in mud huts around the fire breastfeeding eachothers offspring. We turned down help from family who had issues and wouldn't bring a healthy happy vibe with them. It was an empowering experience for me that this is now my family and I am the mother, not that we are an extension of our parents and we need parenting in a hands on, food parcel kind of way. Sorry if I came off harsh, this one friend of mine pisses me off with her beauty regime smile

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