Friday, September 19, 2008

long week

I think we've made a huge mistake. I thought so after we made it, but this week has me really wondering what we've done.

This baby is due right before Thanksgiving. We suggested my parents should just stay at our house from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Yeah, I'm not really sure of the logic we were using, either. Partly it was they do have a fixed income, so they would come for the birth, but not Christmas. And that would screw up any scheduling of the baptism. Partially we thought we'd need the help. And that's still logical, except this week has reminded me while they help in some ways, they are a pain in others, so it sort of balances out as a zero sum neutral help situation. They're older, my dad had triple bypass just a year ago, so they're just not as active as my three year old needs. But maybe the pressures of a new baby will shift it to more of a help than hindrance.

But then I remember those early weeks, when it's all about survival. With my daughter, we did whatever we needed to do to get us all a reasonable amount of sleep. So sometimes I slept on the couch, so my husband could get a few hours uninterrupted sleep before going to work. Or he'd stay up downstairs with a fussy baby and I'd snatch a "nap" from 10pm-2am before a feeding. I fear them being more a hindrance than help during all that.

My parents were here for 10 days after my daughter's birth. What I mostly remember is that my mom was constantly saying things like, well, I would have emptied the dishwasher, but I wasn't sure where everything went. Or, I would have done laundry, but wasn't sure how you wanted your clothes folded. My clothes folded. Seriously. I just wanted something clean to wear. They do walk the dog, which is big. But my dad refuses to pick up the poop, so my mom has to do that. My dad has taken over cleaning up the cat vomit this week so that's one thing. But I swear they nap more than any adults should, even if they are 66 and 67 years old.

I was grumpy yesterday with, you know, that little thing called the root canal. So everyone was on my nerves. I'm glad they're here, and glad my daughter is building a relationship with them. She asks every morning if they're still here, so she'll be bummed when they leave next week.

I know we'll muddle through a long 6 weeks in December. At least I hope so. And there's no dis-inviting them now. The holdiays are busy anyway, so there will be other distractions. I hope.

What do you think? Would you have your parents stay with you for 6 weeks?


k@lakly said...

6 weeks is a long time to have houseguests that you like to be around much less ones that add to your stress level.
Maybe you can write out a list of things for your mom/dad that they can do while they are there that will help you out. And also mention that with a new baby and all of the people under one roof, every bit of help will be appreciated and much needed.
We all know it just isn't that hard to figure out where a dish goes or to ask someone who knows to tell you.
If that fails, I'd ask my doc for ALOT of xanax during those 6 weeks:)

CLC said...

That's a long time. My in-laws are coming for 3 weeks in a couple of weeks and I am already tense. And I like them, but I just don't like guests for that long.

You are a brave soul to have them for 6 weeks. I hope they help!

Astarte said...

Oh, holy shit!! NO!

My mother did that EXACT thing when she came after Josie was born. Nothing got done because she didn't know how it was done / couldn't reach / didn't know what to do. She would watch me do things, and when I was almost done, THEN ask if I needed help. Rather than helping to cook, she decided that she would get us all takeout, every day. It was gross, and made a huge mess of wrappers, etc. Her luggage took over the living room, because we didn't have a guest room at the time. Basically, all she did was hold Josie, all the time, so by the time she left Josie wouldn't be put down. Oh, it was terrible. When Patrick was born, we told her to wait and plan to come down a couple of weeks after he was born, under the guise of saving her vacation time in case he hadn't arrived when she planned to come otherwise. Really, it was to save my sanity.

On the other hand, I hate my mother, so it's different. I do know, though, that I don't think I would want even someone I liked to be with me that long.

Judith Viorst, the author of the kids' Alexander series (...and the terrible horrible no good very bad day) wrote a book about her now-adult son Alexander and his family coming to stay with her while their house was being worked on for a few months. It was funny, and your situation makes me think of it. You might want to read it.

Antigone said...

I think six weeks would break me. But with all of the other stress, maybe it will just blend in.

Ya Chun said...

It is super stressful. I have come to realize that neither Triple S nor I are like our parents. And we like our life, our way.

Add anybody else in there, and it just goes south.

Triple S' parents were scheduled to come for two months when I was due with Serenity. They got here a day or two before her delivery. They did kinda help, esp at the very beginning. My MIL is better than my mom at figuring out were to put dishes (and I always end up resorting after they leave). my mom is just lazy.

It is amazing too how much my ILs sleep! And the noise they make around the house (like elephants). of course, two months was too long when there was no baby here-luckily they went around the country and saw some family then came back.

So, yes, it's hard. Set some ground rules (like baby care) and she should be able to take some initiative on the kitchen and cooking - just put it back the way you like once she's gone.

Holli said...

Um, NO. 'Nuf said.

Wabi said...

I'm someone who planned the arrival of live baby #2 like a disaster relief effort. No help was unsought or turned down -- if there had been a way to arrange helicopter drops of diapers and takeout Chinese food, I would have signed up for it.

But SIX WEEKS with relatives living in my house? Sweet Jesus, lady. THAT is hardcore. I'll be saying a little prayer that you don't go bonkers!

Am I doing okay? said...

I had my Dad come when I broke my ankle at 27 wks and Hazel was 2. In hindsight, I say it almost ruined our marriage. (I was hesitant to tell you that, but more people have commented.) I was stressed. My husband hid under the guise of "working late" and was never around. It was a mess.

I think you could work now to break up the time. What about sending them to visit your sister or other relatives? Or you could change the plans on the orders of your doctor/therapist/husband.

Or you septic tank could go out, you could have an "old house emergency" that would prevent guests?

I feel for you. As if the holidays weren't already stressful enough.

niobe said...

Aren't there any nice hotels near your house?

Tash said...

How to say this politely yet clearly: Fuck no.

Everyone's parents are different, mine would drive me up a tree and they don't really help even though they think they are. I do know of people whose parents come and immediately take over stocking the fridge and meal prep (on time, nonetheless) and these people arrive home from work to find their floors mopped and the dog walked and a chicken in the oven. These people are not me. I'm not really sure they're you.