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How to be assertive with visitors?

(56 Posts)
shahs010 Sun 23-Feb-14 18:46:11


Our first baby is due in 5 weeks. My husband and I are really excited and have prepared as much as possible.

However, more recently I've started to feel a bit smothered by the constant advice and tips from my in laws. I'm starting to feel really pressured.

My mother-in-law was even expecting to sleep over during the first few nights after the baby is here even though she lives locally! My husband is really supportive and has been assertive with his mother.
I just wondered if anyone had any experience or advice to help me to get through this period? I can see that it might be worse when the baby is here as it is their first grandchild! Particularly as they have a habit of turning up at our house unannounced!!

Please help!
Thank you! :-)

WorraLiberty Sun 23-Feb-14 19:14:27

You have to be firm but kind

Explain that as your sleeping pattern is now dictated by the baby, you'll need everyone to let you know in advance if they want to visit.

If she ignores this and it's not convenient when she visits, don't open the door. Just explain you were asleep.

But most of all, try not to piss them off because you don't know just how much help you might need when reality sets in.

Chottie Sun 23-Feb-14 19:24:10

Your MiL is really excited and so proud to be a GM.

WinterDrawsOff Sun 23-Feb-14 19:33:10

I'm afraid you will have to be very firm with the PIL otherwise they will ruin your first precious days with your baby. You must set boundaries now. Too bad is your MIL gets upset, this is your baby and you should set up your rules or you run the risk of long term resentment. <bitter>

Jengnr Sun 23-Feb-14 19:47:02

Maybe when you're in hospital and they visit get your husband to ask them to make sure they ring first before they come round for a few weeks as you're going to need a bit of time to get to grips with everything. That's quite reasonable and nice and doesn't push them out.

trashcanjunkie Sun 23-Feb-14 19:48:04

Oh it's cringeworthy at first, but what I've done, is get a set of 'stock phrases' and then practice them beforehand. Sounds odd but it really works. For example, PIL turn up unannounced, go to the door in dressing gown, open it a crack and say "ooh hi, sorry, now's not the time, we'll call you."

They will get the message, and you can also put the word out before hand. Something like, 'the midwife has told us it's best if we tell people when we are ready for visitors' and be prepared to stick to your guns if folk don't listen. Ultimately, you owe nobody anything, and if they get annoyed, it's their problem entirely!

bodybooboo Sun 23-Feb-14 19:52:11

Worra that post exactly.

and remember your mil is not the enemy!! mine was fantastic. loved her to bits. obviously yours may not be so great but hey she's allowed to be excited as long as not too ott.

spongebob13 Sun 23-Feb-14 19:54:03

personally I think you should grin and bear it in a way. let dp deal with the them. besides their/her help could be invaluable if your dp is due to go back to work. plus you don't know if everything will go to plan ... what if you have a section? you'll be glad of the help. just be calm... stay in bed or pretend to feed/rest when they arrive. simply say don't feel well... take the chance to go to bed while dp entertains them or has a play with the new born. use it to your advantage. don't block them out ... its their first grandchild also.

best of luck :-)

cardibach Sun 23-Feb-14 19:56:43

This makes me a bit sad. I only have a DD, so I won't ever be a new mother's MiL, but this unwelcoming nature and the idea that loving family will spoil anyone's 'first precious days' with a baby is really sad. THe idea of it ever being so inconvenient for a family member to call round that you would send them away is unbelievably horrible. How can you be so rude?
I know some family members can be toxic, but that isn't what is being discussed here, is it? If you don't want MiL to stay over, say so. Nicely. Just don't shut people out. It takes a village to raise a child - trying to do it alone is unnatural.

NaturalBaby Sun 23-Feb-14 19:59:14

'No thank you'.
My MIL expected all sorts but after a steady stream of 'no thanks' or 'I'll let you know if we need help' she gradually got the message that we would accept what we needed, when we needed it.
The only thing I'd really put my foot down about is unannounced visits - put it to your MIL that it would be unfair of her to turn up without giving you enough notice as you and baby may be asleep/busy/out/being seen by the midwife....

dammitsue Sun 23-Feb-14 19:59:25

Shockingly, lots if women also cope with no mil help so dont feel like you have to put up and shut up. I certainly wouldnt give up new born time appeasing someone on the off chance of help!!!

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Sun 23-Feb-14 20:02:24

I love my inlaws. I love my parents. But of course it's ok to just want a bit of time to yourself post birth. I'd just ask them to call you first, and don't be scared to just say that you love them and how excited they are but you're feeling a bit overwhelmed and need some help peace and quiet sometimes. Try and be kind but honest, if they are normal nice people, they'll understand. Even go as far as saying 'im not shutting you out, please come back tomorrow or later because we do want to see you'.

spongebob13 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:02:34

kind of agree with cardibach. has your relationship with PILs been good up to now? they are just as excited as you are. why exclude them?! I have a feeling you are a little naïve about the birth and first while after ... perhaps u'll spring around not a bother and be supermum or perhaps like majority will be tired, sore, emotional and will appreciate the extra help whether its to nurse the baby, bring around a shepherds pie, have MIL throw in a wash or clean up while you get to grasps with motherhood.

Backtobedlam Sun 23-Feb-14 20:04:10

I think it's a little worrying that you are already feeling pressured and baby isn't here yet-hopefully your mil isn't too overbearing. Try to listen to their tips, smile and nod and let it wash over you as much as possible. Also believe in yourself and your own instincts, rather than feeling like you have to do what others say. If you generally have a good relationship with her then she should respect your choices in the early days, but perhaps ask now if she can text or call ahead before visiting as you'll be taking naps in the day and would hate them to have a wasted journey.

spongebob13 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:04:50

I don't get the unannounced visits thing ... and I get on with MIL.

if dp was home he would let her in n sit with her I went about as normal.

if on my own and didn't want to be disturbed I didn't answer door. door was locked. I even disengaged door bell as room where baby slept was near front door. I would say afterwards IF I was informed they called that sorry must have been asleep. simple as. few white lies can spare feelings here.

spongebob13 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:05:49

I mean I don't get the stress of the unannounced visits

Mrsantithetic Sun 23-Feb-14 20:06:06

I'm not unnatural. I didn't have any help from either side by my own choice because I am private and certainly did not want anyone taking my washing!!

I just said to everyone they needed to text when they where coming or I might be asleep and they did. My mil is no bother at all. My mum on the other hand shock.

Just be polite and make your request. Really no need to make a issue out of it. smile

fluffyraggies Sun 23-Feb-14 20:07:29

My PIL live an hour and a half away. So easier to push the 'pre-arrangement' thing i know but here's my experience ...

a couple of days before our baby was due DH was chatting to MIL on the phone, talking about due date etc, and she asked something like 'so if baby comes on Tuesday when do i get to come for our first visit?'.Phone is on loudspeaker. I saw DH visibly tense up - i've read out to him so many AIBU threads about parents and inlaws upsetting new mums in the first few days after childbirth, and huffed and puffed about it, that he is well aware of the issue - so anyway - he sort of looks sideways at me and splutters to MIL ''er, oh, um - after about 3 weeks??'' and then to me ''yes babe?''

grin bless him. No way i'd make her wait that long! She cries out ''3 weeks!?!?'' and i'm laughing saying 'no, just give us 2 days'. And she did.

The moral of the story is: get your DH to tell his mum you both want a little time to yourselves after the birth, and that then when it's time for visitors, you'll let them know when's good.

dammitsue Sun 23-Feb-14 20:11:11

Exactly Mrs, and why should op have to make plans to hide, pretend to be ill or just live in her bedroom just so a crazed mil can get her hands on a new born?? And, isn't paternity leave so the dad can be the house elf help out??

kally195 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:19:16

Our first is due in May, and we are adopting an approach of setting very firm boundaries in terms of visitors. We won't be having the PIL to stay until we are ready, and there won't be any unannounced visits.

The last thing my OH wants is me stressed out just before the birth/just after because of unwanted visitors. As excited as family etc will be, you, your OH and your baby's needs come first.

It is good that your OH is supporting you - just keep presenting a united front and be very clear about what is and isn't acceptable.

cardibach Sun 23-Feb-14 20:19:24

'Crazed mother in law'? 'Get her hands on' the baby? Listen to yourselves! THis is madness! My MiL can be a bit overpowering, but she loves DD and that is normal, surely? I'm divorced from DD's dad, and MiL still includes us/visits us. I'm not always delighted, but I would never exclude her. There is so much talk about how horrible girls in school are for excluding others on here, but MiL's seem to be fair game.
By 'unnatural' Mrsantithetic I just meant it isn't something the human race has done for very long - up until our generation, or possibly our parents, extended families pitching in with child raising was the norm. We aren't really designed for exclusive nuclear families.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:24:09

My In-Laws live 25 houses down from us on the same street and they are always coming to see us unannounced and let themselves in if we don't answer the door !!

Baby is due in 4 weeks and I will be telling my DH that he's GOT to tell his parents that if they want to come round then they have to phone first. Nobody else in the family would dream of just randomly turning up knowing there is a newborn so why should they think it'd ok just because they live on the same street?!

I have amazing in-laws, they are both lovely but at the same time, I'm going to be wanting my space!!!

dammitsue Sun 23-Feb-14 20:26:25

Not so much fair game, its just they seem to forget themselves and need to be excluded sometimes! My life is not a show to be walked in on for entertainment when the mil is bored.

MarthasHarbour Sun 23-Feb-14 20:26:58

cardibach i found your post a little sad and judgemental. we are not talking about 'shutting family out' or pushing people away. The first few days after childbirth are a minefield and you need yourself and DH/DP to get to grips with your own routine. If you are feeling weepy then the last thing you want is people other than DH/DP fussing around you.

We both live away from our parents and they were all respectful to our wishes - this is all OP wants. My MIL and PIL came up for the day (live an hour and a half away) and my own parents came up a few days later and stayed in a hotel - we didnt ask them to - they offered and we were grateful for it. They all got their quality time and we made sure that they were welcome but also that we needed our space - again they respected that.

It doesnt 'take a village to raise a child' and it is not 'unnatural' to want to do it alone. We managed perfectly well on our own and managed much better than we had done if people were fussing over us.

There is no question that the OP's MIL is excited about being a GM - but she also needs to give the OP some space. Especially with the first, you need to learn to cope with the new routine.

Good luck OP, as has been said before, the important message is to let them know they are wanted but not in an overbearing way - i liked hopalong's suggestion smile

Oh and we are having another one in 2 months time - MIL is coming to help out with DS1 whilst i am in hospital - she has firmly said that she is coming on such and such a day and will leave when we ask her to - ie when we are ready. I know she will do so and i have said that i appreciate her help - its all about give and take smile

WinterDrawsOff Sun 23-Feb-14 20:27:36

I really don't understand in-laws just letting themselves in. How incredibly rude and entitled. Keep your doors locked!

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