Please tell me what you think of my "Plan" - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-19-2010, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I have been having hard a enough time trying to wrap my mind around what do when the new baby arrived (this was our first "oopsie" pregnancy, we had planned to wait 3-5 years and then decided on 1 more or not) and now that we are expecting twins I really feel the need for a game plan.
My mother in law do not have the best relationship in the world but she loves her grand-kids immensely. She has offered to help after each of my other pregnancies but I have always turned her down as nicely as possible. So this time it looks like I might be eating humble pie.
The idea is that for the first 3 months, while I get the hang of breastfeeding twins and get some energy back, my husband will bring her over while he is at work so she can watch my two youngest for me and help with housekeeping. She is very excited about the possibility to be around the kids that much. While she is doing that I can focus on the twins and teaching the older ones (we homeschool), and of course I will still be there to hang out with or comfort our younger two when needed.
What I am worried about is that she will drive me crazy more than she is helping. We have one of those relationships were she feels like she is in some sort of competition with me. If I dont do things like she did then of course I am wrong. Or even more frustrating she says she did something like I did.... only better of course. sigh We had a particularly bad fight 2 years after JT and I were married when I finally glared at her and told her "I am his wife, you are his mother, you can not be his wife and I can not be his mother, there is no competition here, BACK OFF" needless to say it took months to recover from that one.
So am I crazy to even consider this??? I know I will really, really need the extra help, but will it be worth it? Am I over worrying how hard it will be the first few months of nursing the twins???
Over the past few years our relationship really has gotten better, mainly because I finally learned the fine art of ignoring things she says to pick at me, but I just dont know if I could keep that up for an extended period of time.
Oh, and no, there is NO one else that can come and help. The rest of JT's family lives away from us and everyone in my family works. My friends fall in 1 of 2 categories either people that taking care of little ones scares them to death or they have 5 or more kids themselves.
Thank you guys for any advice/encouragement you can give.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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If there is a way to set boundaries, both physical and emotional, then yes it is probably worth it. Don't let her take over the whole house, but if you or your DH can ask her to do specific things, like cook dinner every night or do all the laundry, it might work. And if you have a physical sanctuary, maybe your bedroom, where she doesn't intrude? Or maybe take the older kids every day for a few hours, even if it is just for a walk?

My mom stayed with us for 3 weeks after the twins were born. We had 7 people in a two bedroom condo, and yes it was stressful but I needed the help. DD had never slept without me and I was in the hospital for 3 days. If the twins come early and need some NICU time, having her there could be truly invaluable.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamachicken. She would be there during the day hours and then JT would be with us in the afternoon.
One of our big ongoing battles has always been food with the kids. One for some reason she views expiration dates as just "suggestions" and sees nothing wrong with the kids eating canned pastas and frozen chicken nuggets every day, after all her son ate that and he is fine.... Really I am being to hard on her. She really truly believes that I am a crazy when it comes to food issues, and that is her right. And every once in a while wont kill my kids but food like that over an extended period of time makes me twitch just to think of it.
The idea is for me to present the food situation as a way to make it easier on her and hopefully not become some kind of wierd power struggle. Before the boys are born JT is helping me make several big batches of different types of granola (we had planned on doing that anyway) for the kids to eat with a piece of fruit in the morning. For lunches the idea is for JT to put all the ingredients pre-prepared for soup the next day in the fridge. So all she has to do to feed the kids if give them granola a fruit for breakfast and pop the soup ingredients in the crock pot after breakfast so we can have it for lunch. While this may make things easier and put my mind to rest I have a fear that she will catch on to my true purpose....
The big big job that we will be asking of her and what I need the most help with is that our 4 year old is autistic and needs constant supervision. So other than getting food in the kiddos I mainly just need her there to watch over our 4 year old and 2 year old. We have also asked that she do the dishes after breakfast and lunch.
Really to be honest she is close to a saint to even consider doing all of this for us and it makes me feel like a big mean nasty troll to even complain or worry about it. But if any of you have had mother-in-law issues than hopefully you will know where I am coming from.
I like the idea of setting up "this is what I need help with" guidelines but I am just afraid that if I start being too specific she will get offended.
I dont know if this makes the difference or not but JT is an only child but she sadly had several miscarriages after he was born and had always wanted lots of kids. So maybe that is were a lot of our conflict comes from???
Anyway, if no advice on how to make it work, than any ideas on how to transform into a nicer more forgiving person in our mother-daughter relationship between now and then?

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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On the food issues, would she buy into the "our pediatrician says X-type of food is best for the children"? I see in your siggy that you have older kids too. My DS is 11yo and it is his job the feed the little ones breakfast and do the dishes. It started as part of a scout project so maybe they can pitch in as well?

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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Old 06-20-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Oh there is NO WAY I would have accepted help from my MIL. No. Way. So yeah, I get where you're coming from. Honestly, I'd be MUCH more inclined to expect my 13 and 9 year olds to help me out. Having already had/nursed many children before my twins came, I didn't feel like it was all that hard to get my groove back. My husband stayed home with us for the first few days and then my best friend at the time came when they were about 4 days old and stayed 5 days. Then my Mom came a week later and stayed 5 days. That was all the help I had and my older children were 6, 4.5, 3, and 17 months when my twins were born. We managed OK. It would have been NICE to have help but it wasn't as vital as others have needed. We had no nursing issues past the first few days of learning how to latch and they napped fairly well during the day. The kids and I camped out in the living room and I had all their toys and baby supplies I needed in that room. The babies napped in a bassinet in there while I spent time with the olders. NIGHTS were the hardest as I wasn't getting much sleep. I lived on caffiene and sugar for months on end, which wasn't good for me or fun but I'll tell ya-still wouldn't have called her for help even after landing in the hospital from exhaustion and stomach issues.

Crock pot soups and granola sounds like a great idea! Super easy and something the older children could help you with!

I'm not trying to talk you out of it, just reassure you that if you really REALLY don't want here there long term, perhaps you could just welcome the help for those first 3 weeks when things are really hectic? I just get what it feels like to really dislike your MIL. I haven't spoken to mine in years-she's that ugly to me.
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Old 06-20-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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Having my MIL as my main help was problematic. Given that I had no other options for help, it was probably for the best, but I still carry massive regrets from the experience.

Kate
mother of Patrick (7/31/03), and Michael, William, and Jocelyn (4/27/07)
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Old 06-20-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the replies.
JT will be off work the first week with the boys but that will start the day I go into labor so at least the first 2 days of that will be spent at the hospital. My mother works full times plus cares for my bed confined grandmother when not at work. So other than to swing by for an hour or less and coo over the little guys she will not be able to help.
I'm hesitant to ask to much help from our older girls once the boys come home because I know they will have helped above and beyond in the last couple of months before the birth. I had a nightmare of a hospital birth with my oldest child that resulted in my hip coming dislocated. I have had children as large as her since then with no meds and no complications, it really was the hospital/doctors fault, and with every pregnancy since then the last month or two is very painful for me. So with twins I imagine the pressure on my hip will be even greater. I just dont feel right asking the girls for so much help both before and after the twins are born.
Fortunately if we do go with having my MIL help she would not be staying every day or most nights. JT is off work 3 days a week so she would not be coming over on those days, which will also give us all a break from granola and soup LOL.
Maybe by just calling it a few weeks at a time.... hmmm that is not such a bad idea. If we just have her commit to 3 or so weeks then if it goes terrible I can know that the time is up just around the corner. If it goes great well then... sigh, this makes me feel like a bad person like I am using her.
Thank you all for putting up with me, I am a Virgo through and through I cant even go grocery shopping without a game plan. I really wonder if maybe God is trying to get me to loosen up through all of this. First our second son has multiple health issues, and now we have an "oopsie" pregnancy that turns out to be twins. Yeah... maybe I just need to lighten up and let things happen.
that thought scares me...

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-20-2010, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hergrace, I forgot to ask what regrets did you have from having your MIL come and help? Was it looking back more trouble than help? If so, in what way?

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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Hi there, Sashabreeze! I have 11 week old twins and a 4yo DS, and am right in the thick of grandparent help. Thought I'd tell you a little about how it is going.

I can so relate to the relationship you describe with your MIL. Mine too adores the kids, passive-aggressively criticizes me, had an only child but wanted more, thinks I'm insane about food and my preference for nontoxic products in general ("you think everything is poison, haha" says FIL). Her main mode of communication with me is offering a nonstop stream of unsolicited advice. I don't at all think she is a terrible person. In fact she is so giving and thoughtful, but we do clash in many ways. Not someone I would otherwise choose to spend so much time with, but ... I love DH and she is his mother.

My folks and my in-laws are taking turns renting a studio apartment around the corner from our house, from March through the end of September! I am so grateful for the help, and wow how generous is that to offer to rent a place and help out so long for free. And yet ... it is so challenging to find that balance getting the help we need and getting the space and privacy we need. I am not crazy about the way she interacts with DS1, either. Nothing terrible, but not our style of teaching or discipline. I am struggling with wanting our kids to be raised how we want them to be raised, but letting the grandparents have their own relationships with the kids.

It was hard to know what to ask for while I was pregnant with the twins, because I didn't know what to expect. They were born at week 35, and I needed a LOT of help in the early weeks at home, after a few weeks in the NICU. Nursing is going fine, but nursing two means having both hands full much of the day - so different than walking around nursing a singleton in a sling! I've been making adjustments (so so carefully - trying to avoid big conflicts) to the arrangement as time goes by, trying to minimize time together and to clearly define roles. (For me, it is different but nearly as difficult with my own mom.) So hard to be clear about what we need without insulting anyone!

I just recently started writing out the days' schedules and the menu plans week by week. I am not usually such a planner, but I realized I need to take charge since this is going to last for so long. I only just started doing this, so we'll see if it works! I'm hoping that if it's all written out, it will require much less explaining and negotiating each day. I found that when I was in survival mode during the earliest weeks, the grandmas naturally "took charge," which I guess we needed for a while, but wow did it drive me INSANE! I definitely need to surrender some control while they are helping, but hopefully just for a couple of hours a day.

So, I'm now looking at what is in store for each day, and asking for help ONLY for the times when it makes a big difference to have an extra set of hands. Otherwise, I'll do it myself, thank you very much! Maybe your planning skills will serve you well. I've had to work on cultivating mine!

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Old 06-28-2010, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE

So having MIL come over to help when the boys are born is now OUT.

Yesterday we had some of Dh's family over, which would have been a complete blast except... MIL decided to remind both of us just why having her over longer than a few hours every once in a blue moon is a really really bad idea.
I will spare all of you the drama and nasty details but she basically went against our wishes on something important to us and tried to pull power plays with our children and extended family.

I am so disappointed I was really needing some extra hands. I just temporarily forgot just how frustrating our relationship can get.

Sigh... so any suggestions for an alternative plan?

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really do need to work on being slower to anger in that relationship.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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Sasha -- Is going through early intervention for your son with autism something that could provide you with help for him in the early days with new twins? If you tandem nurse, you're not mobile and keeping constant supervision on your 4-year old could be very difficult. That was the main thing I found different nursing one versus two -- the ability to get up, see what was going on with my twins while still nursing the baby. If you don't want to go down that road, can you totally child-proof an area of the house and make that your baby-feeding area?

Otherwise, if you keep up with schooling the older two through summer, you can slack off for a few months and ask them for more help. At 3 months, they will almost certainly be efficient nursers and able to sleep for some stretch of time.

I'm sorry things aren't easer with your MIL. If she was able to just be helpful and keep the editorializing to herself, that would have been ideal.

SAHM to F & P, : fraternal twins born 3/05, : I, born 12/07 & at 5 weeks in July 2009
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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Since MIL is out, I suggest paid help. Either a post partum doula, or perhaps you know of an older teenager who could come in a few hours before the evening meal to help. If you attend church or some other community group, perhaps within the membership you could find someone willing to help.
Good luck.

Twin boys (2/05) and little sister (10/07)
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Red Pajama View Post
Since MIL is out, I suggest paid help. Either a post partum doula, or perhaps you know of an older teenager who could come in a few hours before the evening meal to help. If you attend church or some other community group, perhaps within the membership you could find someone willing to help.
Good luck.
yeah that sounds like a plan. I hope it works for you.

mama to Alex 20 Briana 16 Cory 10 and Jade 3Tubes tied and regret it
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sasha -- Is going through early intervention for your son with autism something that could provide you with help for him in the early days with new twins? If you tandem nurse, you're not mobile and keeping constant supervision on your 4-year old could be very difficult. That was the main thing I found different nursing one versus two -- the ability to get up, see what was going on with my twins while still nursing the baby. If you don't want to go down that road, can you totally child-proof an area of the house and make that your baby-feeding area?
Thank you for your ideas.
For clarification: Our son A has not been formally diagnosed with autism yet we are still working with his therapist and pediatrician to line up evaluation. He receives OT for SPD and exhibits many of the warning signs for autism. He also receives speech and is mostly still non verbal.

We have been thinking along some of the lines you suggested.

We have a local independent pre-school that our oldest went to that we LOVED. It is ran by this group of GREAT older ladies that focused on children learning through play. Several years later we sent our second daughter but removed her after a couple of months. Because of shortages in donations they had to start receiving government funding and follow state guidelines. The same great people work there and it has a peaceful atmosphere but we hated the new focus on meeting educational goals at that age. We have been talking about meeting with the school over the summer about sending A there next year and seeing how they would plan on approaching our sons situation. Based off of what they say we may be looking into this very seriously, although it breaks my heart to think of him going while the rest of the kids stay at home, I dont want him to feel alienated.

The other idea we have been looking into is greatly modifying our school system. There is something called the WorkBox system that would greatly simplify things with my older more independent children. Which really just leaves the intensive one on one schooling with our 6 year old. The room that we currently have all our books and supplies in is getting a MAJOR purging and I am thinking about baby proofing that room and sticking a sofa in it. The idea is that during the day while the older kids do independent work I can stay in there with the littles and still be available if any of the kids have questions about their assignments.

I realize that I probably will need to do a lot more twinking with my ideas over the next few months. It is like my mind is scrambling for a solution at this point. So please keep the ideas/suggestions coming.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since MIL is out, I suggest paid help. Either a post partum doula, or perhaps you know of an older teenager who could come in a few hours before the evening meal to help. If you attend church or some other community group, perhaps within the membership you could find someone willing to help.
Good luck.
Thank you for your response.

We just moved a few months ago and had only started the process of finding a new home church when I started being very ill with this pregnancy. Now that I am feeling better we plan on starting the hunt back up again. But for now, unfortunately, we do not have a church family.

I will keep your suggestions in mind and be thinking on someone I know and trust and could either hire part time or ask for an hour or so of help from when I need it most. So far I have not thought of any but I will continue to think on it.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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I've just got a sec. Is there a multiples group in your area? Yeah, you might disagree with a lot of what they practice/preach, but they can be fabulous for helping out. Even if it just gets you a ton of meals, that would be a huge help for the early days. Check it out as a lot of them do have a new twin mother plan.

J A with DD1 7/06, lost twins 9/08
DD2 12/09 & DS1 12/09
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