Visiting new baby - OH's family are flexible, mine want to stay for a few days...(21 Posts)
I'm full-term next week with first baby. OH's family live very close by - my MIL and SIL both live less than 15 minutes away, and have said that while OH is on his paternity that it's completely up to us. If we want them to come over for a few minutes every day, or to come over and cook/clean every now and then - or stay away completely but be on the end of the phone - absolutely fine. I get on very well with OH's close family - SIL is a birth partner.
My family on the other hand live 3-4 hours drive away. Yesterday on the phone I said what we'd said to OH's family - assuming everything goes okay with the birth we may wait week or so before we have visitors unless they're willing to potentially only be here a few minutes and help. My dad is very old-fashioned and does not do housework, my mother wouldn't come to visit anyway due to mental health problems (we have to go to see her).
However now my dad has said he booked time off work around baby's due date to come up, he 'sort of' understands but said "hmm" a lot. And in the background I could hear my mum hissing "oh so she's not treating us the same as his parents is she!"
I feel like I've upset them. I said it's all conjecture but my sister had tipped me off to have a word with them as she overheard my dad planning to surprise me with him staying over! I don't think they understand the difference - OH's family can be here then leave again in the drop of a hat, whereas my dad would expect to be catered for and live with us for a few days. Sadly I don't have a great relationship with my parents anyway, partly because of my mums mental health problems, so maybe I've just made things worse. OH does not want residential/'waited on' visitors at all for a week or so.
Oh dear. I do feel for you. There's nothing worse than surprise overnight visitors when you've just had a baby. It's rude and inconsiderate.
You must be firm with your Dad.
"Please do visit, but please do not stay. In a few weeks (insert date of choice), I will bring the baby to see Mum. In the meantime, OH's family are only allowed short visits, the same as you."
How would your Dad feel about staying in a B+B/hotel ?
I think you will have to make it clear you are not up for entertaining people. I've never understood people who think its ok to drop themselves on new parents and expect to be waited on. I was just going to say I've only heard of this on MN but remember MIL,FIL,SIL,BIL descending on our two bed house for a week when DS was 5 weeks...we had already put them off for a few weeks. MIL chivying me to finish BF to make their dinner. I wish I had been more insistant to them all, including DH that I was not expected to wait on them
Be firm, gentle but completely selfish about this. I get you, because both DH's and my parents live in our home country, and unable to navigate around our city solo, and would have had to stay for at least several days and be very much 'looked after'. We said no visits at all for three weeks, and it was a godsend, because I had some physical issues after a CS, huge problems getting BF established (in the end insuperable and very upsetting) etc etc. I appreciate that not everyone will find having a newborn as difficult as I did, but in your shoes I would make no apology at all for prioritising you and your baby's needs and politely but firmly making those plain, rather than pussy-footing around someone else's preferences.
Both sets of new grandparents were held to the same no visit policy in our case. In yours, your father is presumably welcome to pay daily 15-minute visits like your local ILs, if he is prepared to stay locally and drop in to be helpful. If that doesn't suit him, he will have to wait and see the baby when you're both ready and able to travel.
You must address this with your parents ASAP - I can't imagine it would be a 'nice surprise' for a unexpected house guest when you've just given birth. Be open and honest with them, you can be no more. If they live 3-4 hours away a 15 minute visit each day is not practical even if staying in a B&B or hotel locally. It will just frustrate your parents.
Why not actually arrange something and say, come stay with us for a couple of nights on x date... we'd love to see you before hand but understand it is difficult to just pop over and we can' accommodate having house guests so close to little one being born. You'll then have lots of time to spend with baby!
If they live 3-4 hours away a 15 minute visit each day is not practical even if staying in a B&B or hotel locally. It will just frustrate your parents.
I have thought about the hotel option but yes, as you say I imagine it being awkward - what is my dad (and probably sister) meant to do for the rest of the day if I say to be fair to OH's family they can only stay for half an hour at the most? PIL's have offered to let them stay at their house, but my dad has only met them once in the 6 years I've been with OH so again, awkward. And I think my parents may be insulted by the suggestion.
My dad and sister are coming tomorrow to visit (to bring some gifts for my baby shower this weekend) so I'll be able to bring it up with him again then. My sister is 18 and really not offended about this and has tried to reason with my parents for me but they won't discuss it with her.
Thank you for the understanding everyone. The whole being a parent for the first time is scary enough without suddenly finding that battle lines have been drawn. My parents have made several comments about OH's parents recently, for example after an antenatal appointment - "did you ring us first or his parents" . So there is more to it than just the visiting arrangements.
I think an issue is that my dad booked time off work so he would be annoyed if I made him wait and he then didn't have time off - but like I said, he has made these arrangements without speaking to me first. I think when he is here he probably will do things like peg washing out for me, but he would have to be asked - and when I said on the phone that we have a tariff for OH's family (must bring food or do housework) he laughed on the phone and repeated my words back to my mum as a joke.
No one can come and stay w hen you have just had a new baby. It's time to get used to each other - bleed, sweat, cry, feed, leak in private.
Either your dad comes up for one day and goes home again - or stays in a nearby hotel. Get takeaways in and be firm.
I assume your dad is aware that babies can be late, so his booked time off might not work anyway. (Looking at my DS who was 14 days late. FIL had fixed holidays and ended up flying home whilst I was in labour).
Can your dad do a shorter visit during his standard non-working days to take the pressure off?
Your OH family sound very understanding. Would they be happy to spend some time with your father, say taking him out for lunch or similar so he's not around you the entire time?
In your position I'd insist on a hotel or B&B. Perhaps remind him just how much night disruption a baby can cause!"
Congratulations on the imminent arrival, can't you say to your dad can't wait for you to come visit, someone to make cups of tea, cook, clean and help around the house whilst I bf and recover from giving birth. I won't be able to run round after you but would love some help. Has your cooking improved?
Nothing to add to the above except why has he booked time off work? Does he realise full term is from 37-42 weeks of pregnancy?
Could you maybe say something along the lines of "I'll be in the living room breastfeeding most of the day." That might make him find another arrangement?
i think it's terrible when relatives put their needs and wants above a recovering mother and new born baby.
It sounds as if your dad doesn't accept that you are an adult with the responsibility to make your own choices. You are living in your own home with your partner and about to become a parent. He doesn't seem to have picked up on these signs that he is no longer an authority over you, as he was when you were a small child.
He needs to learn very quickly that you are in charge of your situation and you will not give in to his demands (no matter how he expresses them). So you need to set clear and firm boundaries.
You can say something like, "It's unfortunate that you're upset about the decisions I've made about when the baby arrives. However, those are my decisions to make. You are welcome to stay in a B&B and pop in for a few minutes per day if you would like to. However, I will not be having overnight guests until I am ready." Repeat calmly, like a broken record, and he will eventually get the message.
He might not like it, and I know you don't want to upset him, but on the other hand, he's not worried about whether he upsets you!
"Dad, do you not think that I will have enough to do, what with looking after a brand new baby? Do you really think I will be up to having people to stay and catering for them? I would love to see you, but it has to just be a day visit. I'm sure you understand how overwhelming it is to have a new baby. Thanks, love you"
I know you don't want to upset him, but on the other hand, he's not worried about whether he upsets you!
Exactly. You and the baby are the priority. Not a grown man who wants his own way.
Great post above by AdjustableWench. If in doubt, just read and re-read that.
You seem awfully keen not to upset someone who doesn't seem bothered about whether his decisions suit you or not. Look, OP, you aren't responsible for the fact that your father made an incredibly high-handed decision to book time off and assume he'd be welcome as a longtime houseguest just after you've had your first child. You also aren't responsible for your mother's MH condition - or for what sounds like their joint determination to feel in direct competition with your ILs (who sound very nice and very sensitive). I do think you need to prioritise your own desires here, whether you see that as baby welfare or not - the two aren't unconnected.
Some people thought it was appalling that my parents and DH's parents didn't meet our son for three weeks, but I haven't the slightest regret in doing it that way. When people come from abroad or long distance, it's a completely different situation to a quick visit from down the road to briefly admire and help out with something practical. I had a very difficult first week and having live-in houseguests adding to the stress would have been beyond awful, whether or not they thought they were being helpful. My MIL thinks BF is disgusting, my father can't cope with breasts, and my mother always thinks all of her children are going to fail at everything, so isn't exactly helpful in a crisis.
Your dad can't surprise you by staying over at your house unless you let him.
So when he turns up with his bags and says "surprise, I'm staying", you or your DH simply say "no, sorry, you're not staying".
What can he do - stage a sit-in at your place?
Adjustable and Niki you make some very very good points and I really appreciate the support.
A reason I moved to live so far away is my mum's controlling attitude and my dad's belief that my mum's feelings should be protected above all others, so I think its very telling Adjustable that you've picked up on how my parents treat me like a small child still.
I guess I'm still at that stage where I need reassurance that I am doing the right thing, especially when it involves going against your parents. Family, eh?
I will put my foot down, say he can visit but only for half an hour, or he can wait until we're settled.
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