Oh - I knew she was due in May and have been meaning to stalk her! Congrats to Chrissy!!!
Samantha - ditto on the hard USA puzzle! I got it out after your post (Robin asked for it, as she has regularly for months). that was last night and it still sits on the table, in pieces!
Heidi - enjoy your landscaping. dirt is fun, but grass is too !
Jen - we're hoping to get in on a pox party this summer too - there's a thread in the Atlanta group. But if Eli gets them, apparently it won't really provide him immunity b/c my immunity is so present in his system - so it'll be a challenge to try to keep them apart for 3 weeks. Impossible, actually.
So, WWYD: My dear SIL, who I love, hated her job pre-baby #3 (he just turned one). Her job changed after her maternity leave with him, and now she really enjoys it. She works a minimum of 3 days a week (12 hour shifts), but usually it's 3 1/2-4 and she's on call so it's often 5 days a week, incuding some weekend days. When she's at work, MIL watches her kids for free. meaning MIL arrives there about 6:30, and BIL picks the kids up at about 6:30 from MIL's house. MIL only has room for 3 kids in the car, so as I've had end-of-pregnancy and post-partum appointments, she's wanted to help me with child care, but really can't unless she stays home, which she has done when she can. MIL is also responsible for her own household and GFIL's, so the 1-2 weekdays she has "off" she is frantically running errands and working on projects, then spends all weekend at GFIL's working the family garden, cleaning his house, ets (as am I at least 1 weekend day). When SIL works ont he weekends, BIL usually brings the kids to GFIL's, where we all watch them. In short, MIL's pretty overwhelmed and tapped out, having offered to watch the kids part-time, but in reality watching them full-time in addition to her MANY other responsibilities. I help her out as much as I can, bringing Robin over so they all entertain each other, running her errands when I can, sharing the responsibilities on the weekends, etc.
SIL has had PPD basically since my first nephew was born (aug. '04), and i know part of it for her is being overwhelmed by her kids. Basically, every time I talk to her on a day she's not working, she's complaining about the kids being so demanding and hard, and how she can't get her house and yard cleaned, she can't run errands, etc. She has her mom come stay with her about one weekend a month so that she can help with the kids and housework. She is always wanting to send the kids away or have someone come help her with them so she can work on her house and yard (they are a mess, it's an ongoing battle - as is my house and yard) This weekend is her birthday, and her birthday present from her mom is that she is taking all 3 kids for the weekend so SIL can do yard/housework. MIL and I offered, as our birthday present to her, to come over with our hubbies and FIL's handyman and do whatever work she tells us to. We were also planning to buy her some of the things she wants for her yard (pea gravel and plants). We would spend the day doing the projects she's been wanting to do. However, SIL doesn't want us to do that - she thinks everyone will have their own opinion and won't want to do it the way she wants it done (a very realistic fear - FIL will not "go with the flow" easily). So she has declined that offer.
What she wants instead is for us to watch her kids more. She wants us to keep them another weekend so she can continue to get the house/yard work done. In the past 2 weeks, we've had 7 days of hard, screaming and crying swimming lessons, with just MIL and I there for all but 2 of those days (2 adults to 5 kids, 3 who are wet and crying, 2 who must be held - no pleasure there. The 2nd day SIL did come, she was obviously frustrated with how hard it was - but we had had the same thing for 7 days). Then last weekend MIL took the oldest 2 and Robin to the lake on Thurs. - CLint and I came that night, and BIl was there by late fri. night, but SIL spent the weekend at home just with the 1 year old and her mom getting things done. Parenting her kids is hard - and to be quite frank, MIL and I treasure every day we have to ourselves. MIL especially needs everyday she isn't watching them to do other things (basically none of which is for herself, or cleaning her house or yard). So we aren't inclined to volunteer to split her kids and watch them for a weekend. Plus, I feel like SIL is volunteering for more and more responsibilities at work and looking for ways to pass on her kids when she isn't working rather than accepting that this is what mothering 3 kids is like and finding a way to be with them and get things done at the same time. I want to support her and if she's asking for support with child care, I don't want to not be there for her. I want to help her with her PPD, and I think getting control over her environment will help with that. But I also think she's running away from her kids, and I don't want to enable that - and I think she would feel very confronted if I said that to her. And part of me is petty and resentful because *I* need child care help sometimes and I don't have it b/c she is monopolizing a resource we used to share. If I wanted to go back to work, I couldn't at this point unless I hired a paid sitter, whereas previously I could count on MIL for a few hours a week. And my house is a disaster, and no one has been able or willing to help me, and that is largely b/c taking care of her family occupies everyone's energy and time. So maybe I'm just being bratty. Would you volunteer to keep the kids, splitting it with MIL, or just get her something else for her birthday? Sorry this is so long - I've just really been trying to mull this out.