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Dealing with Mothers and Mother-In-Laws

  1. #1
    FishMama is offline Registered User
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    Dealing with Mothers and Mother-In-Laws

    Hi all,

    This is not so much a dilemma as I just need to put this out there really. We are due with our first at the end of December :) We are now trying to plan dates for both sets of parents to come over and visit. My folks live in SA and hubby's live in the UK. We have already decided that they are not allowed to visit until bubs is at least 2 months old... but I'm trying to get an idea of how long they should stay, but def not more that 2 weeks.

    My folks:
    Firstly this is my side of the families first grandchild. Secondly my mum and I don't get on, she disagrees with almost everything I've ever done and my views etc. Dad and I get on very well. Mum is non too chuffed that I've told her I don't want them here for the birth.

    His folks:
    This will be their first 'official' grandchild (they have two others born out of wed-lock which they are non to thrilled by). My MIL is VERY VERY emotional and not all together there. They were going to come over in June (before we found out about bubs) and do a bit of traveling, but now they don't want to. MIL is also an ex-nurse (like 40yrs ago), and keeps telling me not to do anything and do the doctors know what they are doing etc... and they aren't overly happy that they will see baby second (after my folks).

    I of course want both sets to visit and to have a relationship with our daughter, but I'm really worried about our mothers. Mine will be overbearing and demanding and keep telling me what to do. And his will also be overbearing but heaps more emotional (and she knows how to emotionally blackmail the rest of the family) and ALWAYS there. (my SIL told me that when they visit my MIL hardly lets go of their little one).

    I'm beginning to wonder if 2 weeks is going to be too much for us to handle as I can't see either set of mothers willing to leave us alone for a day every now and then during the two weeks. Is it unreasonable to ask them to come for just over a week? They wont be staying with us (due to space - thankfully). But I am worried that two weeks of each is going to be too much? Having never had a baby before, I don't really know what to expect but I'm guessing that at about 3 months they still don't do too much, so with neither family willing to go see a dif part of asia for a couple of days without us, I fear I may go crazy.

    Am I over thinking this? Has/is anyone else in the same boat?
    Thoughts are welcome. I'm not trying to be mean to either mother and want them to bond with our daughter, so am not saying I don't want them in our lives, but just maybe for less than 2 weeks.....

    Help!

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    I can understand what you are saying, but really 2 weeks isn't very long. I say, put up with it. They are the grandparents. They will be gone and you can get on with things after they go. It's not like they live next door or anything.

    For them to come so far, I think 2 weeks is reasonable.

    You will have the first couple of months with just you, baby and hubby. So, when they come, just lay down the ground rules. "this is how we do things." and then get on with it. even if they don't agree, who cares? they'll be gone in a couple of weeks anyway. besides, they may have some useful advice. take what they say. if you think it's a good idea, try it. if not, then don't.

    I think your hormones are getting you to over think this a little.
    Irishmom likes this.

  3. #3
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    This is going to sound over-simplified but Don't Worry About It Too Much.
    One thing we all have to learn in life is that we will not be able to please everyone. (And frankly, that's not our job.)
    Next lesson that's important: We are not responsible for others' happiness. Their issues don't have to determine how we feel or react to them. We don't have to let them "emotionally blackmail" us.
    What better time to really learn and accept these truths than when you have your own family.
    Just brace yourself. Yeah, it's going to be a crazy time to have all the family and in-laws "descend upon" you. But, as Cara pointed out, "this too shall pass." It's 14 fleeting days of your life. It's uncomfortable, yes but it doesn't HAVE TO rock your boat. And it really is the least you can do for the people who gave birth to you--even though you may not be able to stand them at certain points. It's not really about you and your comfort--it's about them and honoring them.
    Look at the positives--they're not staying in your house with you. Therefore you totally have the freedom to set up the time they spend with you. Keep them busy. Take them on tours around the city. Grit your teeth and let them hold your baby even if it means they do it far more than you'd normally be comfortable with. Tomorrow is promised to no one and whose to say they'll get a chance to hold your child again? God willing, they will but the fact is when you have family (no matter how crazy they are or how much they bother you) living hundreds or thousands of miles away you can't be too choosy when you actually get to see them. And once they're gone, you don't want to have regrets. Morbid, I know, but true.
    Yes, you are over-thinking this. You'll be fine. You'll be happy when its over with but in a strange way you'll be glad you did your part to bring some happiness to them. Just don't get wrapped up in their issues. Let it be like water off a duck's back to you.
    Best of luck.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  4. #4
    elle is offline Registered User
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    I kinda disagree. I was miserable when my parents visited for 2-3 weeks when baby was a couple months old. I had a complicated delivery, was quite sick afterwards and just didn't have the energy to deal with them. They expected me to entertain them, were quite demanding and gave me a lot of trouble with their views on child rearing. If they are open to an idea, a few days in another part of Asia mid- trip may help you cope with their trip better. I would also be clear with them, in a nice way, they they are visiting your home and if you have any specific things you want done/ not done tell them clearly. however, a 1 week trip from SA or the UK is probably too short, so would probably work on how to manage them for 2 weeks, perhaps with a side trip in Asia for them. If a side trip isn't possible, you may also want to pick a day or half day as a family day for just you and your husband and child and let them know that they will need to entertain themselves during this time. Oh, I also think that them not staying with you will make the trip much easier for all as you will at least get a break for night.

  5. #5
    charade is offline Registered User
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    I think many of us would have gone through this having close family visit dilemma. I am never thrilled when my in-laws visit and particularly less so after the birth of a baby since there is enough to deal with. Someone my in-laws always seem to pick the worst time to visit, but my husband pointed out that for me, maybe no time would be a good time.

    That said, a couple of months after the baby is born (my ideal would be 3 months as really a lot of babies settle down around then, though people have always ended up visiting sooner), if close family wanted to visit I would not be able to say no. And while two weeks might seem like a long time, for older people who have flown a long way, it's not. Them not staying with you is a big plus and I think pushing them off to another part of Asia when they don't seem keen to go would not be fair given that they are coming from far and essentially want to spend time with their grandchild (how much they actually do with the baby remains to be seen - but one has to give them a chance, they might surprise you by holding her so you can get a break now and then).

    You could also stress to your husband that decisions on things related to the baby's health and care should be yours and his and that he should manage his mum so it doesn't escalate into drama. You can also make it clear that you will be occupied with the baby and cannot play entertainer but that they are free to go around sightseeing on their own etc.
    carang, thanka2 and shwetakhanna like this.

  6. #6
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    I was going to say that I wouldn't want my family visiting before my child was at least 8 weeks old. One month out hardly has given me a chance to catch my breath and I've got a couple of children. If this is your first child, hard to say how you'll be feeling so soon after the birth.

    Life is full of things we don't like, though. Just because you had a rough time in childbirth etc. doesn't mean that you won't have to face the family members. The best thing you can do is communicate clearly with your spouse and set some clear ground rules for how things will play out when the family is in town. It also is important to politely communicate boundaries with both mothers (prior to them landing in HK) and enforce when needed.

    At the same time, I don't see that it's excusable to try to "get rid of the family" by sending them off on another trip. I don't think I'd like being treated like that so I wouldn't do that to my family members, no matter how dramatic and crazy they are. With the right type of management, I think everything will be alright and if it's not, again, it's only 14 days out of 365.
    carang likes this.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  7. #7
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    2 weeks is not a long time for the amount of travel that your parents/in-laws have had to travel to visit you, your husband and the baby. Just grit your teeth and make the best of the situation and be grateful that they don't live here in HK! (I should add as my in-laws do!!!)
    Having them live out will really help as the evenings will be your own and organising some lunch dates, brunch dates outside of the home will ensure that they don't all come to your home and stay there all day.
    Also I think try to think about the invasiveness from a different perspective. As I've become a lot older and a little wiser, I've realised that with my in-laws, they are struggling to stay relevant to us and the grandchildren, and this may be where the root of their criticisms and putting thier two cents in comes from. I think some of the things they do are to try to make reparations for what they did not do in the past - my FIL hardly spent any time with his son, my MIL relegated a lot of the care of her children to amahs and then later maids, so I think that your/my approach can seem very confronting to them.
    You will be okay. For those 4 weeks, try not to see too much, try not to hear too much and most of all try not to say too much. Its hard because as a first time mom you are going through so very much yourself, but you'll feel better if these 4 weeks pass by without an incident and you can go back to life the way as it should be for you, husbs and bubs.
    carang and thanka2 like this.

  8. #8
    FishMama is offline Registered User
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    Thanks all, think I was over thinking it. I'm not trying to 'get rid' of family, I'm just trying to figure out the best for all parties. I don't know how I'm going to feel/ or act with bubs. This is our first so I guess I'm trying to figure it out before it happens. I think I'm just going on how other visits have gone. I really don't want to get all wound up before their visit and want them have a relationship with our daughter.
    I don't think that just because they are getting older and coming from far away that we should have to just let them do what they want for two weeks.
    Just need to try to let go of worrying about that, but just need to say(write) it out loud.

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