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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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!

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). ;)

HairyHandedTrucker Sat 23-Feb-13 00:33:46

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

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.

HairyHandedTrucker Sat 23-Feb-13 00:18:44

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

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.

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...

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.

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!

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.

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.

sorry ... hear (obviously)

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 !

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.

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!

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?

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.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 22-Feb-13 18:49:16

"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).

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.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Fri 22-Feb-13 17:39:09

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 ...

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.

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.

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.

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