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Old 31.05.2010, 17:10
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How to deal with your Mum...

or more specifically - my Mum!

My second child is due in early September, my first being 2.5 years at the moment, so nearly 3 when her baby brother arrives.

I have a very kind set of parents and parents in law, as they have offered to come over to Switzerland after the baby is born in order to help out. I am sure this post makes me sound incredibly ungrateful and I am certainly not that, but I am feeling a little pushed and crowded by my Mum!

My daughter was born just before Christmas time and was followed with a family Christmas at our place with guests staying and as far as I was concerned, complete chaos although I am sure that was just my hormones! I felt I just wanted to shut the door on everybody and be with my husband and new baby for a while.

This time, my Mum mentioned that she could take some time from work to come over to help out...that was it, just a passing comment. There has been no further conversation about when, how long for, my/my husbands feelings etc.

She has just stayed with us for a week and on leaving said she was planning to stay for 3 to 4 weeks after the baby is born and that my husband should call as soon as labour starts so that she can get a flight booked and be here when I get home from hospital. I said that I would prefer to have a week with just hubby , daughter and new baby so that we can all get to know each other and I can try to get breastfeeding established without pressure of anyone else being here. I tried to put it nicely, in a relaxed way, but the look on her face was as if I had told her I never wanted to speak to her again! Then I felt bad...

This last week I have found it quite testing with my folks staying as they had mentioned me having rest and lay-ins etc etc, but in reality just stood around for the majority of the time waiting for me to make the first move on everything, or I found Mum contradicting everything I said to my daughter.

After 30 odd years you would think I could deal with my own Mum, but seemingly not. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I would just like help on my terms without feeling I have to host and arrange everything whilst she is here, whilst recovering from childbirth and learning how to deal with two small children!

Does anyone have any suggestions/tips on how to handle this? What have you done?

Thank you

EnglishRose
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Old 31.05.2010, 17:29
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

Why don't you ask her to read this ?

I am sure she will understand.
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Old 31.05.2010, 17:31
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

What you describe is what many people go through, so you don't need to feel bad about it. I've written a short list of items I must not do if and when I am a grandparent (i.e. a list of all the things that piss me off about my parents and in-laws )!

Anyway, we did the same for all three of our children: the weeks immediately after the birth were ours and ours alone. I took 3 weeks off work each time.

My wife had to have c-sections for all 3 births so stayed in hospital for the first week. During this first week we extended a welcome for a couple of days to both sets of parents to meet the newborn, but it was on the understanding that they were gone by the time my wife was home. All grandparents had to have left as soon as my wife was discharged from hospital.

We then had 2 weeks to ourselves. We felt that it was important for the children to get to know one-another and bond (as well as us) with the newborn in a different setting without having grandparents around to confuse (with the contradictory messages you mention!) and distract them.

When I went back to work the grandparents came back over to help until my wife was fully recovered.

Decide what you want, explain gently by saying it is what you (and your husband) want. It is important that you have what you want during this time and you know your family better than your parents or in-laws.

Be gentle, but stand firm and don't let them make you feel guilty. It is important for grandparents to realise that they are no longer "in charge" and that things are done differently or that you want to do things differently.

Last of all - good luck.
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Old 31.05.2010, 17:50
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How to deal with your Mum...

With my first child, my husbands mother and his sister wanted to come over from South Africa for a visit once the baby was born. I said no. I felt bad about it but when I look back I'm really glad I put my foot down. The birth was crazy and it took months for me to get back on my feet again. I would have completely broken down if I also had guests to take care of. You are right in that those first few weeks are a special time for you all to bond together as a family, for you to heal and of course establish breast-feeding. Our folks obviously feel they are helping us out and it's very touching of them to want to be involved in our family lives and we should count ourselves fortunate to have that in our lives as many people who long for close relationships with their parents don't have. When you are feeling good, (not sure how your hormones are while you're expecting)give your mom a call and tell her your feelings and how much you appreciate her. Everone wants to be around when a new baby enters the world as it's really such a precious and special time. This time round, put yourself and your baby first. Babies can feel when we are stressed out and I feel that we should try our best to make their first introduction into the world as peaceful as we possibly can. Good luck
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Old 31.05.2010, 18:01
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

My parents had a habit, unintentional I'm sure, of being rather negative about me and my abilities. After one particularl incident, where they questioned my knowledge over one of the few areas were I really do know what I'm talking about, I had to go out for the afternoon. During this period, I later found out, my wife savaged my parents over their treatment of me.

Since then they've been as good as gold. In fact, it did all our relationships a world of good. They just didn't realise how badly they were behaving.

So, one possibility, depending on his relationship with her, maybe your husband could have a quiet word with his mother-in-law, "behind your back", so you've got plausible deniability.
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Old 31.05.2010, 18:06
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

I agree with the OP. 2-3 weeks alone time is a minimum requirement for a family with a new baby.

My in-laws pulled an equally unwelcome stunt (with the best of misguided intentions of course). Following a 48 hour labour, my wife popped out our smashing little son at 1:30 am. I was a physical and emotional train wreck, cradling a bloody, squalling baby, the wife was bouncing off the ceiling on a variety of drugs while getting stitched back together, and my attempts to call the in-laws to give them the good news were coming to naught. That was because they were in a taxi on the way from Zürich airport, and the roaming signal had not locked on yet. 5 minutes later, the attendant nurse came running in to ask what I wanted her to tell the two grinning in-laws who had turned up at her desk. "I want to see them!" giggled my stoned wife from the birthing chair, so in they came carrying champagne and flowers. I was so tempted to ram one of the champagne bottles where the sun don't shine, then shake the rammee up and down.

I gave them 10 minutes then gave them my house keys and their marching orders.

Cheers

Jim
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Old 31.05.2010, 18:11
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

Thank you all for your kind replies. I am quite reassured by your posts that at least I am not the only one to feel that we need some time alone and that I should stick to my guns and just explain that to Mum.

@ NotAllThere : My husband does have a good relationship with my parents and is probably the far more diplomatic of the two of us! That may well work - good advice!

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Old 31.05.2010, 18:23
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

I don't really know what to advise you . If she does not understand that she is intrusive , it's hard.. As you say it is important for you to start this new life of 4 just the 4 of us.. It migt take some time also for your oldest. what does your husband has to say about this? I guess he is also not so happy.. with my first baby, I stayed one week in hospital in Germany because my husband was working full time and I had no family and friend. It was then easier that way. When I went home, my husband had to go to Asia so my mother came for one week. It was just me , her first grand child and her.. it was much easier.

For the second one, I was in China so no family around.. my parents met their second grand daugther when I flew back to Europe. She was already 10 months old.

Now my mother come more often as we are so close to France but she comes when my husband travels to Asia which is 2 a year. It's perfect !

Otherwise, in your situation I would have had to be firm and say you come one week and then you are free to come anytime for a month when the baby is a little older and when the routine has been established. But of course I am aware that travelling from SA must be very tiring and pricy.
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Old 31.05.2010, 19:55
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

my mother has pathological 'ownership' issues of my children...she had many miscarriages and never 'finished' having children of her own...so she thought she could just take mine

It took a few major arguments including me doing things like threatening to phone the police (because she wouldn't let me leave the house with my daughter), or to remove her from my house...because she wouldn't leave...she's a tough one when she loses herself in an argument, that's for sure!

She's also completely hopeless at being alone...my dad was here on the weekend and I got a very awkward phone call because no one had called her to skype or whatever...because we were too busy having fun and she was at home on the other side of the world...

One thing I hope I can be...is happy alone...my mum isn't happy unless she has other people to organise...

Edited to add: point is, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind...my life has to go on...
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Old 31.05.2010, 20:06
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

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My parents had a habit, unintentional I'm sure, of being rather negative about me and my abilities. After one particularl incident, where they questioned my knowledge over one of the few areas were I really do know what I'm talking about, I had to go out for the afternoon. During this period, I later found out, my wife savaged my parents over their treatment of me.

Since then they've been as good as gold. In fact, it did all our relationships a world of good. They just didn't realise how badly they were behaving.

So, one possibility, depending on his relationship with her, maybe your husband could have a quiet word with his mother-in-law, "behind your back", so you've got plausible deniability.
Oddly, enough I and my wife have had similar conversations with some of our various relatives. Her mother was dismissive of her and our ability to run our own lives let alone our daughters. I finally got her to tell her mum that if she wanted to see the child again that she would stop contradicting us and second guessing us in a manner that made it seem as if we were idiots. Note, this is not the same as disagreeing with us. But, I will not brook anyone contradicting my in front of my daughter, unless they are the law and/or carry a gun.

People, whom you would think love you and have your best wishes at heart can act very strangely when these sort of situation come up.

Good Luck to the OP.

Make up your mind what you want/need and don't put up with any crap.
You are not crazy.
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Old 31.05.2010, 20:14
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

i've found the easiest thing to do is just say exactly how you feel.

example.

mom, i could see the other day that you were upset when i said i needed a week with my family together. please know i don't say it because i don't want you to be a part of it- it's just that with the new baby here and the change it is for my daughter and both of us- i think it's important that we have the first few days together to get a bond and a rhthym together. it was so nice to have everyone around when my daughter was born () but it was a bit overwhelming and now i think with two little ones i just need a bit of time the four of us first. i'm so grateful and excited that you will come and spend time with us- it means so much that you offer to do it and it's very precious time.

something like that. of course if you say it nicely, i would think, she has to understand, she went thru it once too. sometimes people just forget what it's like to be a new mommy and if you remind her, softly, hopefully she'll understand.

best of luck.
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Old 31.05.2010, 20:28
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

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What you describe is what many people go through, so you don't need to feel bad about it. I've written a short list of items I must not do if and when I am a grandparent ...
I suggested that to my kids. They think it's great, so long as they get a copy, and then they'll tick off each one as I do it...
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Old 31.05.2010, 21:09
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

Dealing with my mom.... the story of my life. Let say I am happy to live very far far away.

But even being far far away brings some problems (Gosh she is good to find them)
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Old 01.06.2010, 12:32
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

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I suggested that to my kids. They think it's great, so long as they get a copy, and then they'll tick off each one as I do it...
Ha! Mine started out as a "10 commandments of grandparenting" kinda' thing. I'm now on #23...
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Old 01.06.2010, 12:47
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

i am surprised on your comments...most of yours...i will do anything to see my mother with me at the time of my delivery..i am surprised..i really am...
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Old 01.06.2010, 12:59
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

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I tried to put it nicely, in a relaxed way, but the look on her face was as if I had told her I never wanted to speak to her again! Then I felt bad...
Hah, I know that look. I get it if I just try to suggest to my mother that it would be better if she came over to see me after the working day, not at 11am every single day (I work from home, she lives opposite us) Mothers can sulk for England when they want IME lol
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Old 01.06.2010, 14:25
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

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i am surprised on your comments...most of yours...i will do anything to see my mother with me at the time of my delivery..i am surprised..i really am...

I am sure this is one area where some people are very different from others.


I think that in situations where there is no paternity leave available to new fathers and / or the father (or life-partner) can not be there to help with things when mother arrives home, it is good to have someone there not only to help give rest to mother but also for emotional support.



I also think though that it depends quite a bit on basic personality and habits of both the mother and "helpful" family members.
Here's an example:
My family is a bit chaotic but my sis-in-law has OCD and can not stand for things to be out of order a moment longer than absolutely necessary... Having my mother stay and cook for her didn't feel so helpful to her as she was anxious about how messy the kitchen may become. Even though my mother would clean up after herself, it wouldn't necessarily be immediately after cooking so my sis-in-law would be exhausted from the stress of thinking about that kitchen.


So, for those who have kept their own lives similarly run to how it was when they were with family, it may be comforting to have family around. For others (myself included actually), they have adapted to a life different from their parents and so it is more stress on top of stress to have them around at such moments.
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Old 01.06.2010, 14:31
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

My mum came over as soon as I came out of hospital. To be honest I couldn't have managed without her as let's just say my ex wasn't that "hands on" and I was clueless as to what I had to do and terrified of hurting her in some way. Having her there to show me how to bath my daughter and things like that made my life much easier.

What I didn't appreciate however, was my ex's friend turning up from America when my daughter was 8 days old. He stayed with us for a week and had apparently planned the trip months in advance with my ex who had failed to tell me. To make matters worse he expected to be waited on hand and foot by me and my mum and felt it was no problem to come in the living room and turn the tv channel over when me and mum were watching something.

My nerves were so frazzled but I just couldn't say anything without causing more problems.

Looking back I should've forcefully removed both him and my ex and sent them to a hotel
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Old 01.06.2010, 14:35
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

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My mum came over as soon as I came out of hospital. To be honest I couldn't have managed without her as let's just say my ex wasn't that "hands on" and I was clueless as to what I had to do and terrified of hurting her in some way. Having her there to show me how to bath my daughter and things like that made my life much easier.

What I didn't appreciate however, was my ex's friend turning up from America when my daughter was 8 days old. He stayed with us for a week and had apparently planned the trip months in advance with my ex who had failed to tell me. To make matters worse he expected to be waited on hand and foot by me and my mum and felt it was no problem to come in the living room and turn the tv channel over when me and mum were watching something.

My nerves were so frazzled but I just couldn't say anything without causing more problems.

Looking back I should've forcefully removed both him and my ex and sent them to a hotel

I expect there is a "reason" why he is your ex.

Yeah, you are right. You should have told them to go walkabout. But, hindsight is a wonderful thing, no?
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Old 01.06.2010, 15:15
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Re: How to deal with your Mum...

I do appreciate everything you say ... I love having my parents to stay but always during the stay find it can be very tricky .. particularly the contradicting what you say with your daughter and waiting for you to suggest what to do .. snap!

However, I had both my children at home and both times my parents came to stay from the day of the birth for a couple of weeks and although the same irritations did not melt away, I realised how very much they were helping us and realised that the irritations were worth it. Many of your replies have been on the theme of advising you how best to get your feelings across to your mother but I am just wondering whether you shouldn't have another think as to whether on the whole, your mother's loving help might be worth the odd irritation. My parents cooked meals, shopped, looked after the first child when I had my second and really enabled me to have lots of time with the baby, getting breast feeding established etc. Looking back, it is some of the best times I have ever spent with my parents. It also gave them both a very special bond with both my children.

I must say that my comment is also somewhat coloured by the fact that my mother died very unexpectedly last month. I just wish she could be here now to irritate and contradict me. Mothers are very special. Treasure her.
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