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How long should my foreign inlaws stay when our first baby arrives?

(54 Posts)
Bunnylion Tue 09-Apr-13 08:44:51

Im due tips summer and my foreign inlaws will be flying in from a long way away soon after to see the baby.

They are nice people but as I have only got to know them in infrequent short bursts, I find their visits (even when I don't have a baby) quite stressful. I am getting very anxious about the baby visit.

I'm quite a quiet person who enjoys my own company and when they are here it's... intense - they just don't stop talking, they also constantly micro managing how I look after my house and my DH and they always seem to be over my shoulder whem I'm doing anything. I find it very draining.

I saw them once during my pregnancy and they wouldn't keep their hands off my belly, so I can only imagine how much time I'll get to cuddle my baby when they come over once it's arrived.

They are planning to visit after my DH has used up his paternity leave, so it'll just be me, baby and them - 24h/day.

They have said they want to come for 2 weeks but MIL wants to stay on for a month or longer.

I have a history of depression and am at mid risk of postnatal. If I do develop it and am having a tough time early on, I'm so worried that their visit will not only drive me insane but be quite damaging to my early bonding weeks with my baby.

I also have my own mum who I want to spend a lot of precious time with during these early weeks, and it could be more difficult to talk to her if there are always other people in the room. My mum is currently going through chemo and this time will be precious.

But I know that they should and would love to spend as much time as possible with their first grandchild, I just don't know the best way to plan it all without driving myself to dispair.

Any experience or advice would be greatly appreciated!

You need to talk to your DH and put your foot down. He needs to make arrangements for them to stay elsewhere and make it clear to them that you will be seeing them on your terms. They can go sight seeing etc..., they do not need to be there the whole time.

HazleNutt Tue 09-Apr-13 08:54:51

A month shock

No way would I agree to this. I know how you feel, my ILs are lovely, really, but a few days is the most I can manage. If it's a really long flight, a week max and even then I would make sure they know that you will have a newborn, who will be your first priority and you cannot be the perfect host. And that it's your baby, so they will only get to cuddle it when you want. They have plenty of time to see the baby when it's a bit bigger, not like it's the last chance.

WishIdbeenatigermum Tue 09-Apr-13 08:54:58

From what you've posted it doesn't sound like a good idea at all.
However if it's going to be impossible to flatly refuse them, think about what you can do to manage their expectations now.
How far are they coming from? Within Europe I think it's reasonable to say 10 days only- that would almost even up the time DH is at home v. the time you're alone with them. Is there any chance they could stay elsewhere for part of the stay- nearby relatives to give you a break half way through?
Other options could be a trip to them when the baby is a little older and an apology but no, no visit when the baby's tiny.

Bunnylion Tue 09-Apr-13 09:16:05

Thanks for the quick replies.

They are coming over from America.

They don't have a lot of money (especially after the flights) and as we have a spare room I think asking them to stay in a hotel might not be possible but I will look into local bnbs.

We plan to go there for Christmas with the baby.

BumbleBee2011 Tue 09-Apr-13 09:21:51

Hi OP - it's tricky, is there any chance they/DH could adopt a flexible approach to the visit? Something like, yes plan to stay for a fortnight but be prepared to leave earlier if we ask you nicely.

However, putting my optimistic hat on it might be that they are suddenly really helpful, and having someone else to stay over could mean an extra pair of hands for the night shift. My MIL is quite a neat freak so probably would've done all the cleaning if she'd come to stay with us (PILs live 30 mins away so they'd come for short visits, where she'd go into the kitchen and tidy and clean the counter - by then I was just happy for the help!) Could be a bonus? In some cultures women get help from a female relative who comes to stay for the first 40 days, maybe try as a family to take the best from that idea as they are meant to be there to support the mother and therefore help bonding, rather than interfere with it.

Good luck!

WishIdbeenatigermum Tue 09-Apr-13 09:26:42

How disastrous do you think it'll be to say no then? It sounds like really hard work and if you're anxious already, not a good idea. If you had older dcs I'd say, go for it, use the extra pair of hands to spend time with your Mum, but I really can't see any benefit and a lot of potential for real stress.
How about saying, wait until the baby is born, Mum's ill and we don't want to commit yet- perhaps suggest a visit later in the year, or you going out early at Christmas- travelling with a few month old is a cinch and you'll appreciate the change of scene and extra help then.

BabyHMummy Tue 09-Apr-13 09:39:00

Be honest with them and ur dh Huni. Tell them how you are feeling about it and if there is no way to say no completly then lay down some very strict ground rules.

Explain that with a newborn you would love the help with things like meal and cleaning but you need to be given your own time with baby to bond.

Is there anyway you could compromise.and have them come later...say October time?

Mutley77 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:00:17

I feel your anxiety - I have had so many awkward and difficult conversations with my DH about visits to and from his parents.

I have agreed to visits to them that I've later regretted as not being in the best interests of our children (their visits to us were completely infrequent as they don't like travelling so the onus was generally on us).

Circumstances are slightly different now but they are coming to stay in a couple of weeks and due to me being heavily pregnant and just having emigrated with 2 children - plus being due to make a move into our "permanent" home the week before their visit I have said no they are not staying with us. I know they are short of money and DH is not particularly happy - I do feel guilty but I just can't bear the thought of it and woudl rather cope with the fallout than deal with them staying.

Please put your foot down - my thought would be if they need to stay with you they need to delay the visit at least by a few weeks - and certainly 2 weeks is the max with MIL not staying any longer.

FattyMcChubster Tue 09-Apr-13 10:05:56

Please please be honest and put your foot down, either they visit later in the year or stay in a hotel when they visit. How you feel now will be magnified when baby arrives and you do not need the stress of having people living with you and dealing with a newborn.

Say no. Very few grandparents get to stay with a newborn gc for 2 weeks or a month. The only ones that do, are the ones who are very close to the mother and very very helpful (cleaning and cooking type helpful, not hogging-the-baby-and-nagging). If your PILs lived, say, 3 hours drive away, they'd come for the weekend every 2 or 3 months. And the first time they'd stay in a B&B, given that they're not the type to be listening to you or considering your needs.

Look at what you've written.

stressful anxious intense
don't stop talking
constantly micro managing how I look after my house
always over my shoulder
very draining
wouldn't keep their hands off my belly
history of depression
worried drive me insane
damaging to my early bonding
my mum is currently going through chemo

Tell them that due to your PND risk, your midwife has advised you not to have house guests after the baby is born (I'm sure she will advise you that if you ask her grin). And that if they want to book themselves a UK holiday in a hotel/cottage near to you they will be welcome to come for short visits (as in, a few hours, and not every day).

Newborns are frankly quite boring. They sleep, they cry, they spend hours feeding. Nothing for the GPs to do but housework.

Get them connected on Skype. Get all excited with them about seeing their lovely 4-month-old new grandchild at Christmas. By then it will be able to smile, interact, grab at toys. Way more fun.

Not seeing their gc in the flesh for a couple of months is not going to damage their relationship at all.

shrimponastick Tue 09-Apr-13 10:14:45

I would also try and delay their visit. Sell it to them that baby will be sleeping most of the time as a newborn anyway.

However I hate anyone in my space - a sleepover is one night in my house and then they are out.

After giving birth you will probably be leaky, bleeding, crying, sleeping(hopefully) and just want to be left alone - if you are anything like I was after DS was born. I would not want people I didn't know too well in my house for longer than a couple of hours visit.

littlemonkeychops Tue 09-Apr-13 10:16:16

You must chat to your DH sooner rather than later before definite plans get made.

If you don't know them well 2 weeks is a very very long time, especially with your DH at work. Don't agree to anything you're comfortable with. Maybe your DH is not quite aware what it'll be like with a newborn.

Also, from personal experience lasting damage can be done to family relationships in the early stages, i still resent my ILs for how much they imposed when DD was born and so am very much keeping them at a distance for the birth of DC2, i've found it so hard to forgive and forget. I think because it's such a vulnerable time as a new mum everything gets amplified.

Maybe give them a choice, a shorter visit now, or a longer visit later perhaps when DH has some annual leave? (I won't see my ILs without DH around).

glossyflower Tue 09-Apr-13 10:20:59

I would discuss your concern with DH and be honest.

2 weeks would be my absolute maximum at a push, a month most definitely not!

I would also say that you'd rather them stay in a B&B whilst you establish your newborns routine, This may be the incentive for them to stay for a shorter period if they don't have much money; and also there is other family that need to spend some time with you too. Just because they live abroad they shouldn't monopolise the situation.

Also does DH have any siblings you PILs could also stay with?

Though I can understand their excitement of new baby in the family but they have to realise this is about you, your DH and new baby not about them so much

Let us know how you get on. Xxx

littlemonkeychops Tue 09-Apr-13 10:24:47

Sorry i mean don't agree to anything you're not comfortable with obviously.

Don't be afraid to speak up for what you can/can't cope with - i went along with a lot of things with DD1 because i felt i should because they were her GPs/great-aunt/whoever and the result was i look back and regret not having mord time to ourselves.

I eventually developed quite bad anxiety and have had counselling and will be dealing with things very differently whdn DC2 arrives. As you already say you might be at risk of pnd please talk to your DH andbe totally honest, he will hopefully want to protect you from any source of anxiety. But do be brutally honest, my DH just thought i got irritated by his parents it was only when i broke down about the anxiety he realised it was serious -so tell him hos you feel.

midori1999 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:25:55

I would say no too. I had my in laws to stay while my DH was working and i had a young baby, even though I kept suggesting they stay another time and it has irreparably damaged my relationship with them. I am now not willing for them to stay here again ever.

It will be better for everyone if they come when the baby is older and your DH there to entertain them.

dinkystinky Tue 09-Apr-13 10:28:06

A month is far too long. 2 weeks sounds the absolute maximum. You need to speak to your DH and lay down ground rules - they should look after themselves and not monopolise your time or the baby. If you want to go out to get some space with the baby, you should be able to do so - and likewise, hopefully they can plan day trips and get out from the house for a few hours each day to give every one space. If you feel things are getting on top of you, then you have to be able to communicate with your DH without him getting offended - if you need space, then that is what you need.

HazleNutt Tue 09-Apr-13 10:47:26

read this thread www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/a1707730-To-not-want-PIL-to-stay-even-though-they-have-nowhere-else-to-go why having ILs stay for a month is not a good idea when you have a newborn. Yours don't sound anything as bad as the ones described, but there are some intersting points that you probably haven't even considered.

Quoting:

If you want to make a quick drink or snack are you honestly saying you would just do it in front of them cos I couldn't.
If you need to sit on the loo for hours trying to pooh would you like the door being tried occasionally by pil trying to get in.
When you use the downstairs loo do you want to carry your sanitary towel bagged up past them?
If you leak milk or bleed onto your pjs do you want fil watching?
If you want skin to skin whilst watching too gear do you want to go up to bed to do it?
Do you want to sit bolt upright on the sofa rather than lie down?
Do you want to sit with dh gazing at new baby and cooing without mil interjecting every five minutes?

Bunnylion Tue 09-Apr-13 13:43:20

Some very helpful replies - thank you all.

hazel wow, some scary questions! But really help confirm what huge a problem this could potentially become.

They keep saying how for their first DC my MILs mum moved in - but obviously this was her own mum, not her MIL. It's definitely different and not her place. I don't want to offend them but I'll speak to my DH and try and get them to stay elsewhere and for a much shorter time.

They don't know about my previous depressions and often talk about someone else in the family who has ongoing depression as the "mad one", so it's not something I feel comfortable telling them about.

FloppyRhubarb Tue 09-Apr-13 16:01:31

Oh Wow...
My Dad and step mum came to stay with us for two weeks after the birth of my son. They planned on coming for 10 days, heading off to Ireland and staying with my step-mums family for a few weeks and then returning for a week more with us before heading back to Aus.

It was great to have the idea of their support, but the actual fact of having them in the house 24/7 with my son only a few weeks old, trying to get to grips with breast feeding and other changes was in fact a nightmare... In the end they didn't return for the second visit and holidayed in Europe for a while before heading back to Aus...

If I could (or had to) do it again I would set down some rules before they arrived - firstly they wouldn't be staying in our house, but rather at a B&B or hotel close by so that we got family time together the three of us (partner, baby and me) and also gave them some space from us as slightly stressed new parents. (That was the plan to begin with by they scuppered it with some parent/child manipulation and fast talking!)

I would organise some days out in advance - I know this sounds absurd when you have a newborn but it does make dealing with the relies and those same four walls a little easier, even if it is just a trip out to a local cafe for lunch or to take in a few tourist sites you can walk around.

And thirdly I would let them know that I wasn't going to be 'on tap' for them whilst they visited, so they would be needing to treat my house like their own whilst there, which would mean making their own cups of tea, tidying up after themselves and if they could stretch to it, helping me out a little rather than sitting like lumps on the couch waiting to be entertained by me and the new grandchild...

I know it sounds ungrateful, but seriously it would have been better for family relations all round if we had put our foot down about the above before they turned up - and they were my side of the family!! So good luck and get your husband on board with this too!

Nordicmom Tue 09-Apr-13 16:13:51

I had my own mom for a week when DS was 1 w old and that was great but wouldn't have wanted to have any guests for longer than that after my emcs ( DH could only stay home for 1 w post birth ). Didn't want my mil to come for an extended visit like this at all since we didn't have a proper guest room and were in a two bed flat (1 a study where guests stayed) so she came for one night per week to help out for the first few months). This was a great help we haven't unfortunately had this time around with dd since mil is unwell .
I'm also a person who needs quiet and my own space and feel like I'll go crazy if I have to entertain people for more than a few days . If u r like this then definitely do not agree to people staying weeks on end let alone a month right after birth which is a trying time anyway . I personally just wanted to be left alone and we only had a few visitors and rest got to meet DS when I felt ready ... Good luck smile!

HazleNutt Tue 09-Apr-13 16:18:35

Bunny I'm expecting DC1 as well, so can't really imagine what it will be like with a newborn, but those questions from more experienced mums seem quite valid. It will be a major, massive change. Having ILs sounds stressful even in normal circumstances, not to mention when you will need all your attention, time and energy for your little baby and yourself.

juneau Tue 09-Apr-13 16:19:49

I have American in-laws. After our first DC was born I limited their visits to two hours! They were close by, at the time, so that was lucky. FGS don't have any guests (unless it's your mum or someone else of your choosing), in the first three months. You will be exhausted, hormonal, trying to get into a routine of feeding/sleeping with your baby, wanting to sleep when the baby sleeps (impossible with house guests unless they are really, really understanding), and you can't be entertaining, making cups of tea, rustling up dinner every night, etc. You need to rest and be waited upon, if anything, so anyone who is not going to do that should be limited to very short visits (no more than two hours and at a convenient time - if such a thing exists - which it really doesn't in the early days).

Nordicmom Tue 09-Apr-13 16:21:45

With DD both of my parents came for 2 w last summer when she was 7 w old but now we have a 3 story house with more space inc several bathrooms and a guest room so we didn't feel like we were on top of each other . DH was at work in the day and DS at school so it was just me , baby and my parents at home and it was lovely actually smile! They were a great help with my dad doing all the school runs, getting us lunch and doing the food shopping daily . They helped in the house making dinners etc , they did almost all feeds and nappies . It was lovely to have all that time just to hang out and talk since I normally only see them a few times a year. I think it also helped that dd wasn't a newborn and was in a routine of sorts and I wasn't struggling with breast feeding etc post birth . Also I'd only want to spend all this time in close quarters with my own parents ....

BlingLoving Tue 09-Apr-13 16:32:46

I think there are a few things here, but that unless your DH comes from a family where he can tell them to sod off, you can only aim to make their visit easier, not try to stop it. I had a similar issue with MIL wanting to come for SIX weeks when DS was born. In the end it was fine, but that was because DH and I came to some very firm guidelines and he was 100% behind me. That made all the difference.

1. See if you can talk them into coming just a touch later. Those first few days are so stresseful and frankly, you don't know exactly when the baby will be. Can DH suggest that rather than come immeidately after, they come when the baby is a few weeks old?

2. Agree boundaries in advance with DH - in our case, that meant that MIL didn't get to go out with DH every evening as she usually does when she visits and DH would not give her lifts all over town.

3. Ensure DH totally understands that he needs to be on your side. So that means if your MIL suggests something for the baby that you're not comfortable with, DH needs to be prepared to jump in. In my case, it was usually around when to feed DS or when to pick him up - MIL was always of the opinion that he could wait a little longer, or cry a little longer. I wasn't. DH backed me. Every time.

4. Mentally prepare yourself to ask for help and to be very clear about it. This may take practice in your head beforehand. I walked around for weeks practising with a friend acting as MIL saying things like, "MIL, please could you make me a cup of tea while I BF DS". Or "MIL, we're not going to cook dinner tonight but if you'd like takeaways, here is a good local Italian menu".

Sorry for such a long post. I just feel very strongly about this. I think for some people they can simply put their foot down and say no, but that's not always possible or even fair to DH and/or PIL so I think it's all about managing expectations and the process when they arrive.

Good luck!

Chesterado Tue 09-Apr-13 19:08:43

Can you find any alternative accommodation for them? I have a couple of friends who managed to arrange house-sitting/house swap type arrangements for parents and in laws in the early weeks. It worked really well as everyone had their own space and was much cheaper than hotels etc. one was through a professional home exchange programme, another through gumtree and another a convenient arrangement with a neighbour.

I'd agree with everything others have said about needing your own space and privacy in the early weeks. I also have anxiety issues and found long visitations from dh's family extremely draining both physically and emotionally.

SittingBull Tue 09-Apr-13 19:24:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

They keep saying how for their first DC my MILs mum moved in

Say that that is a fantastic idea and you are, indeed, considering having your mum to stay for a long time after the birth, just like MIL did, and therefore, sadly, the spare room is not available for anyone else.

And do tell them about the depression. Best case, they'll be lovely and understanding and you won't have to have them to stay. Worst case, they'll be sneery and awful to you too, and you won't have to have them to stay.

Flisspaps Tue 09-Apr-13 19:43:16

Can you mention all of this to your MW too, and get her to speak to you and DH about the importance of not having long-term guests when baby is so tiny if you're at risk of PND? Realistically, he should listen to you and sort it out based on what you say, but some people respond better when it comes from a professional (annoyingly)

CheungFun Tue 09-Apr-13 19:46:59

I think if possible it would be better for you to ask them to book their tickets after your baby has been born! Technically anything from 37 weeks is considered full term, and at my local hospital they will let you go up to 42 weeks before inducing you, so that's a 5 week window for your LO to arrive! I think that's a good enough reason to delay their visit grin

A tactic I have found useful with my interfering FIL is to speak to my son e.g. "DS, say goodnight to grandad now!" and whisk him away to the bedroom for his night time routine, otherwise FIL would never hand him back again! I don't really want to tell off FIL yet, so this is the technique I'm currently using!

mamij Tue 09-Apr-13 19:58:58

My in laws stayed for 2 months! They wanted to come over straight after DD1 was born, but there was no way was going to let them. I wanted my own time withy newborn, feeding, resting, getting to know my baby. They came when she was 3 months old, and have to admit I was counting down the days from about the first week! It felt like I was looking after me, my baby, DH and two other adults!

So I'd say if there's no way to put off a visit, try getting them to come when baby's a bit older. Also, baby mainly feeds and sleeps, so there's not much they can do in terms of "playing" with your baby.

Flisspaps Tue 09-Apr-13 20:25:44

Cheung It's not up to the hospital to let a woman go to 42 weeks. It's up to the woman, who is well within her rights to go past that if labour doesn't begin by then. There are MNers who have gone to 43w+.

So it could be even longer!

Definitely tell them not to book anything until the baby is actually born (otherwise they could be gone before the baby arrives. Actually...)

CheungFun Tue 09-Apr-13 20:34:23

Flisspaps yes that is true, DM refused to be induced with me and I was 16 days late...she often complains pregnancy isn't nine months it's ten months grin

LadyMedea Tue 09-Apr-13 20:40:00

Coming from America is not a long way really... Australia would different.

A week plus travel days would seem reasonable to me. Also make sure it is booked no sooner than term plus 4 weeks to allow for you to go overdue.

But frankly this is one for your DH to tackle. You and you little one should be his priority and he should protect you from stress. He needs to set the boundaries with your inlaws.

nannyl Tue 09-Apr-13 21:40:31

OMG

i couldnt even bare for my own mother to stay for a month.....

i would start to out your foot down now, that a month with you, when sleep deprived etc etc is just not fair, and nor should you be expected to just go along with it.

soupmaker Tue 09-Apr-13 21:46:45

My MIL came and stayed for 2 weeks when DD was 5 weeks old. It was the worst 2 weeks of my life. DH was working and I was left dealing with a new baby when I had no idea what I was doing and MIL was constantly fussing and asking why she hadn't settled yet. My MIL did SFA around the house. I think she made one cup of tea for me. I ended up in tears on the phone to my own mum and begging for MIL to go away. It very nearly caused me to have problems bonding with DD and I have a very poor relationship with MIL. She lives abroad which is why she comes over for long periods. I am expecting DC2 and DH and I have agreed MIL will not be resident with us for more than 48 hours. Please do not allow yourself in the same position as I did. As others have said get ground rules agreed with your DH and refuse to be hostess. The PIL should be there to do your bidding and if they aren't you need to arrange accommodation elsewhere. Good luck.

dragonflymama Tue 09-Apr-13 22:36:07

Oh my, this sounds horrific! I would have a serious chat with DH and reassess the offer to PILs. I would suggest no flights are booked and you wait and see how you are, and what you feel up to, once the baby is here. You really can't imagine the life change (in a good and bad way) you will go through - instantly! Otherwise I think you'll regret it forever & the damage will be irreversible to your relationship with PIL, DH & baby (bonding and how calm, settled baby feels).....

I have foreign in-laws and young children: dd1 (3.5) and dc2 due in June and am v cautious about the length & frequency of visits as well as managing expectations about what can and cannot be done when they're here. E.g. Am not the hostess I once was pre-kids, a takeaway dinner or pizza in oven is fine! DH and I agree the boundaries / rules in advance so I have his support when needed, especially concerning opinions on parenting styles / cultural approaches. Even so, it always ends up stressful with us having crossed words in bed at least once during the visit.

For the record, I wouldn't allow them to stay for more than a week (perhaps a few days with you, a few days exploring uk, a few days back with you) and would consider if you want them there when dp at work. I've found that visits are sold on the prospect of help, which rarely materialises. You also need to learn to be honest to PILs about things that upset you or are unhelpful - one of mine is asking MIL not to phone at 8pm in the evenings just as dd1 has been put to bed (1-disturbs her 2-first 5 mins peace we have every day!)

Best of luck, really, as like BlingLoving I feel passionate about this!

joanofarchitrave Tue 09-Apr-13 22:49:39

What Bertha said. Big time.

There is room for this to be better than expected, in that they may be so bedazzled by the baby that you get to have an actual break and they are not so in your face. And you may be so empowered by the birth that you become Tiger Mother and are able to sit on the sofa topless for the statutory endless hours of feeding, barking regular requests for tea refills, while they do the hoovering, scrub nappies and shop.

But I wouldn't count on it. Liking the roleplay idea as well.

AlohaMama Wed 10-Apr-13 08:00:55

We live 24hrs travel from our family. Even with my own parents we asked them to delay visiting. We put a positive spin on it - "it would be great if you could come when ds is 6-8 wks old, that way he'll be more fun and interactive for you, and I'll be recovered and we can go on outings etc." Mine came for about 3 wks then ILs for 2.5, but being later in meant we went out and did stuff which was much easier than if we'd all been in the house all day. Definitely get the msg out early though and get dh to fight for your needs.

Sheshelob Wed 10-Apr-13 08:23:51

My MIL came to stay for three weeks when DS was 6 weeks old. If my husband hasn't have been on annual leave, I would have said no. I have a pretty fraught relationship with her anyway, so it just became a battle of wills, with her giving me long lectures about how she wasn't a bad mother and how things were different in her day, all while getting tanked up on cheap white wine. She wanted to show me how to mother, and I could think of nothing worse. But I was breastfeeding, so found I could slip off and get away from her a lot.

But she's a prick difficult person. If your inlaws aren't difficult, it might be fine. To me, it sounds like you actually just want this time with your mum, who has been unwell, which is completely understandable. Can you not speak to your DH about it?

An alternative to them staying with you would be to housesit for a neighbour/friend if they are coming over the summer. Do you know anyone who would appreciate some cat sitters??

Bunnylion Wed 10-Apr-13 13:37:51

Thanks everyone for all the advice - very helpful.

They haven't implied that they are planning to come over for the purpose of helping me, they just want to see their grandchild and I'm sure will find it hard to put the baby down when they are here. It's nice that they are so excited but I really don't think that I have been thought about while they make these visiting plans.

I'm going to talk to DH tonight with the aim of getting them to only book once the baby is here - if I'm feeling ok - and then to stay somewhere other than our house and not visit for 18 hours per day.

I really want this time to be about the three of us and my own mum.

Ilovestackingcups Wed 10-Apr-13 14:09:07

My MIL was very very pushy with me in the run up to the birth of DC1, so in an attempt to tone her down, I got her a copy of The Good Granny Guide by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (mum off that cook off the Guardian) which points out, over and over again, that as the mother of the dad, the role of that granny is Granny Number 2. Granny Number 2 comes second to Granny Number 1 (mother of the mother) in everything, unless she is told otherwise.

If subtlety isn't your MIL's bag, would your mum be able to call her up if she's feeling up to it and say lots of useful things like:
"I'm so excited about being a granny for the first time, but I am going to try and leave Bunnylion and Mr Bunnylion alone for the first few weeks. Don't you remember theimportance of bonding with your children when they were born?"
or
"I'm only going to go to see BunnylionCub when I'm invited. I won't stay for long because I remember how tiring having visitors will be. Don't you agree?"

I don't think you can insist on having your own mum take precedence, even if you naturally find her company more relaxing and helpful. They may be grandparents no2 in your eyes, but they certainly aren't in your DH's or their eyes.

The approach I would take would be to accept they are coming but once they are here be fairly full on with how you want things. I stop my DD being passed round as newborns really don't like that. I don't discuss it, I just say no. Also, assuming you are bf-ing, your baby will spend most of the early weeks either being fed by you or napping. If they are fretting, colicky, or have reflux hence won't sleep, believe me you will be glad for someone else to hold them. If they are sleeping nicely it is quite easy to say that no, you don't want them picked up and woken as they need to sleep or they will get cranky.

Start as you mean to go on, and practice saying no now!

Bunnylion Wed 10-Apr-13 15:39:28

ilovestackingcups good idea - I'll speak to my mum about that.

worsetishiresauce I really do understand that they should have the opportunity to see and spend time with the baby, I just don't want it to be stressful and suffocating.

My own mum isn't as loud and forceful as they are and she also is going thought chemotherapy and will be when I give birth, so I will need to be the one to make sure she isn't completely pushed out while they are here by setting some boundaries. I just need to figure out how to do it without offending or upsetting anyone.

Ilovestackingcups Wed 10-Apr-13 18:01:38

worcestershiresauce it isn't about showing an obvious preference for one granny over the other, just a tool to make the MIL think about the existence of Other People, especially as Bunnylion's own mum will maybe need someone to speak out for her too if she is feeling poorly after the chemo.

You sound too nice Bunny. Don't worry about offending and upsetting people when setting boundaries. Just say no, with a smile, and mean it. So long as you are polite about it you're not being unreasonable. Totally understand where you are coming from about stressful suffocating in-laws, but you need to be careful that they don't get the impression that your mum is getting preferential treatment or there will be hell to pay. Oh, and get your DH to support you, always, in front of them. Not always easy as if he is anything like mine saying no to his mum won't come easy.

popebenedictsp45 Thu 11-Apr-13 16:44:42

Oh dear, I feel for you. A month is simply too long. You've had some great suggestions on this thread, I can't really add anything else.

My ILs are coming to stay for two weeks a week after DC2 is due. I am dreading it because although they are very nice and we all get along, we live somewhere very 'foreign' and ILs won't dream of going out on their own to explore so we'll all be shut up together 24/7. Even when we lived in the UK when they visited they would happily stay inside and just drink endless cups of tea on the couch. At least I can keep them busy with DC1 I suppose!

Feel your pain, OP, I hope you get it sorted.

Bunnylion Thu 11-Apr-13 17:35:06

Thanks all, I've had some great advice on here and it's really helped me get it straight in my head and de-stress about the whole situation.

Spoke to DH last night about all my concerns on the impending visit and he said his number 1 priority is my mental health and happiness, so we've agree that they will only come for 1 week when the baby is 6 weeks old, they willstay in a hotel and only visit me and the baby either am or pm - never all day. His mum will then come alone next spring for 2 weeks when he is on annual leave so he will be here.

Being selfish I'd prefer it if they didn't come at all as I'll have enough to deal with, but I think this is an ok compromise. I've really stressed to DH that if I am not coping well then they will have to be ready to possibly change daily plans and not come over on some days while they are in the UK and only for a very short time per visit if they do. DH is going to arrange some activities for them to keep them from just sitting in the hotel room waiting to come and see the baby, but for now we will aim for them to come each day for max 4 hours.

popebenedicts45 I feel for you too. Although England isn't very foreign to USA, my ILs still refuse to drive on the "wrong" side of the road so won't hire a car. We are in the countryside so that would still mean they would be housebound staying at mine, but thankfully my DH has understood how bad that situation could be and agreed to pay to put them in a hotel and for daily taxis if they say they can't afford it.

zipzap Thu 11-Apr-13 17:42:45

So mil had her mum to stay to help after birth - bit how long until she had her mil to stay and how long was that for? Bet it wasn't within the bounds of what she is suggesting for you...

StrangeGlue Thu 11-Apr-13 18:09:26

Well done, your dh sounds fab. Now spend the next few months practicing in your head confidently taking your baby out of their arms and saying "can you let me sit on the sofa I can't really sit on the floor having just given birth" and "tea is a great idea, could you put the kettle on"

Bitter, bitter experience of people doing the "I can hold the baby whilst you make tea/wash up etc etc " NO I'll hold my baby and you can do the crap thanks... Didn't say that...wish I had

Bunnylion Thu 11-Apr-13 18:10:49

zipzap her mil only lives an hour away from my ILs so I think they just did the odd pop-in, definitely no overnight stays let alone a month.

But living in another country to my ILs makes the pop-in a bit more difficult.

Bunnylion Thu 11-Apr-13 18:12:29

strangeglue excellent advice! smile

popebenedictsp45 Thu 11-Apr-13 18:21:56

That is really good advice StrangeGlue. I wish I'd been more assertive after DC1's birth. I remember making lots of cups of tea and trying not to cry while the baby was passed around in the front room. I am usually very stroppy and assertive but just crumbled with the post-birth hormones. I will be prepared next time, practicing it in your head is very sensible.

Bunnylion - maybe you could tell your ILs to practice driving on the 'wrong' side of the road in their head!

minimuffin Fri 12-Apr-13 16:04:23

Bunnylion well done for speaking to your DH about this, and he sounds great and supportive. Everyone's said all that needs to be said really - this is a very bad idea. The phrase "emotional rollercoaster" doesn't begin to describe the first 4 weeks or so with your first baby! You have no idea how the birth will go and what kind of recovery you will need. You are so vulnerable physically and emotionally and will need a lot of emotional and practical support, which is difficult to get from someone you barely know. The baby will just need you and DH.

If you're breastfeeding too, there really is no-one who can "help". With a tiny newborn, you mightn't really want anyone other than DH changing nappies, cuddling, trying to settle them. It's a very primal instinct and you may be surprised by the strength of it (I was). That all changes in a few months once the baby is settled and your days have fallen into a pattern and it's actually nice to have visitors. There is no pattern to the early days with a baby and that is what can make visits at this stage so tough. Even from people you know really well.

Just an idea - if MIL is unhappy with this, you could ask DH to speak to his dad, remind him how it was MIL's own mum who came to stay when DH was born, ask how she would have felt having her own MIL there - rekindle some memories of the firstborn period. They really do fade. I say all this as someone with 3 DSs so I will in all likelihood have to deal with this issue myself. I hope I can stamp on what is undoubtedly a powerful urge to bond with a new grandchild and remember how the only person I really wanted around was my own mum - not even my dad or sister particularly. Good luck!

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