She also dropped everything and flew here to help me for a few weeks during the end of my pg when my back pain was so awful and I could hardly care for myself or dd1 (they go south every winter, although they have a condo 5 min from here). She did my dishes, kept my house neat, fed dd1, put her down for naps, played with her, etc.
So. I know I'm so very lucky to have her as my mil, and I know many people don't have anywhere near as good a relationship, and I do feel very blessed.
That said, we had a fight today ... probably the only fight we've ever had. DH went back to work today and mil came over this morning to help me out on my first day all alone (she is gone now, had a doc appt). I mentioned that he was up during the night helping me with Sophie (she is still super gassy and wiggly at night, so he takes her for part of the night and puts her to sleep in a bassinet). She flipped her lid and started chewing me out, saying it was *MY* job to take care of the baby at night, not dh's. That he has to go to "work" during the day, and I don't dare interrupt his sleep. That the only time he should have to "help" me parent is during the evening before the kids go to bed, and then it's my job again all night long. And how would I feel if he fell asleep while driving and was killed in an accident! I would be all alone! Etc., etc., etc. I countered that I WORK during the day too, and I have no opportunity to make up the sleep (dd1 only naps once or twice a week, and it's very unpredictable). She told me his job was more important. I beg to differ, since I am primarily responsible for raising our children and making sure they feel loved and cared for, and grow up into compassionate adults, and I don't think either one of us can say our job is "more important" than the other. But she insisted his job was more important, and told me I had been a "working woman" and I know how hard it is to work without sleep, blah blah blah blah.
She went on to say that she did it all alone, and her friends did it all alone, and she didn't have her mother to help her, and have I asked MY friends what they do? And I said yes, their husbands also help, and she practically yelled that she just doesn't understand the women of my generation, and then went back to telling me I couldn't "do" this to dh.
I could go on and on, but that is the gist of things. Her voice kept getting louder and louder (all in front of both dds, I might add), every time I tried to defend myself she said "NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" and I finally held up my hand and said I didn't want to argue about it. Which she thankfully respected and that was the end of the conversation and the beginning of a tense half hour where we practically didn't speak to each other.
I feel so hurt by what she said. I know she doesn't think this about me, but it felt like she was accusing me of being weak and greedy and uncaring. That I'm somehow deficient because I'm not able to do something that she and everyone else she knows could do. I didn't mention this to her, but we have chosen to parent in a way that requires a LOT more effort IMO, at least in the short term (no CIO, lots of time in-arms, no time-outs for dd1, lots of time and energy put into finding ways to solve problems creatively instead of punishing, bribing, etc.). I simply can't parent like that when I'm getting 4 hours of much interrupted sleep a night. And yes, I happen to be someone who does not function well without enough sleep. I get short-tempered and irritable. I yell. I know that in order to be a good parent, I need dh's help at night.
We eventually went about our day like nothing had happened, and she accompanied me to the grocery store with both dds. She kept saying how "brave" I was to make this outing, and she couldn't believe I let dd1 have her own little cart (much harder to manage her when she's not strapped into the seat of my cart!). I wore Sophie in my wrap, so my hands were free, but even with mil's help, yes, it was a little hectic, but whatever . That's life with two kids! It was just so weird that an hour before she was telling me I should be able to do this without help, and then she went on and on saying she never would have had the courage to go to the grocery store with both kids, even with help! I don't know if that was her way of trying to apologize or what.
I dunno. I'm just looking to vent I guess. I'm not worried about our relationship. I'm not even expecting or necessarily wanting a "sit down and let's work this thing out" discussion. She doesn't have to agree with our choice, and she appears willing to keep her mouth shut about it (once I told her to, at least). I just needed a place to cry about it .
What a hard thing for you to deal with right now.
Maybe she's feeling defensive and jealous. She sees the wonderful relationship you have with your children and husband (and, yes, even herself) and she knows she missed out on all that because she made different choices.
You and your husband both have full time, 24 hour jobs. One isn't worth more than the other, that's silly. Of course you need help at night. Besides, it's not like this stage will last forever.
Sounds like she may be a bit stressed herself, I obviously don't know her but from what you've said about her this seems odd, doesn't it?
I agree with you 100%, my DH helps out at night now and was before I was pg. He will once the baby comes too. That's how we work, and we sound a lot like you!
I have a friend who feels like your MIL and I'm always wanting to say to her "and taking care of your children isn't work/important?" sigh. I really don't understand why one job is more 'important' than the other.
I think you handled it extrememly well too, I think I would have broken down and cried.
Hope things get better soon...
We live with my inlaws so I have to deal with them all the time. I'm sorry that your mil went off like that on you. I do not agree with what she said to you. The only one who should be worring about your hubby is your hubby and you. She may not understand this but what if your hubby wants to do this, to help you out. Then its really none of her business. Your hubby is really sweet to willingly stay up at night helping you out. Plus it's not like it going to last forever-baby wil eventually learn to stay asleep at night. I totally understand the needing sleep thing or I am the same way.
No ones job is more important then the mothers, otherwise society would not survive.
I think in her own way she was trying to apologize when she said those comments at the store.
This sounded all jumbled but I hope that this helped.
Wife to DH(10/02) Mom to DD1('03), ('04), DS1('05), DD2('07), DS2('08), DD3('10) (08/11), (09/11). We follow Jesus, , quiverful, , ,,,, and we are a food allergic family.
Like someone else said it's temporary as well. Both things you could remind mil if she brings it up again. Maybe dh can defend himself-have her ask him about it.
Sounds like you guys agree to disagree at this point, which heavens knows I have done a billion times with my mil/sil...all the "ils" in which case, maybe just let it lie. Even in a couple months, there will likely be more sleep for everyone and less stress in the house. It's hard on families as a whole, stress wise I think, to have a newborn in the mix even if they are excited and it's happy stress. I'd cut everyone generous amounts of slack and know that you guys love eachother alot.
I hope things are smooth as glass next time you're together (and PS..you are doing an awesome job!)
So I think it is great that your DH is helping out with the baby! You should just tell MIL that she did such a good job raising a gentleman that he wouldn't dream of leaving you all alone at night to deal with a fussy newborn babe!
I was floored.
Not only because I'd just spent the day alone with an 18 month old and newborn and had just lost my grandfather to a sudden heart attack and was dealing with some vicious PPD....but also because my husband WANTED to do those things. He worked long hours and didn't see his son all day. He liked to come home and take over with him. Then he'd take the baby after Gabe was in bed and play with/feed/love on her for an hour or so. Those were his choices. I didn't MAKE him do it (although I darn well would have ) and she just couldn't get that. He also got up with Hannah every other feeding (she was bottle fed) at night. When she got a bit older he did all the nighttime feedings. It was their quiet alone time. He's never once complained and often says it was some of the most special time he could have had with her (sort of like nursing, only for a man).
Anyway, she said it herself. She doesn't understand. There were different expectations in that generation. One, I will point out, that started the anti-depressant craze. Women were expected to do an awful lot more then and we still don't have 'equal footing'. Studies show women that WOH still do the majority of the child and home care AND put in 40 hours a week at work.
My DH is gone right now, but when he was here he gets up when ds wakes up during the night to change his diaper and then he give him over to me to nurse him.
My MIL came to visit and suggested we take shifts during the night. Me and DH just started chuckling b/c obviously I always have to get up b/c I have the boobs.
Your MIL is just from a different time.
Mommy to THREE sweet boys & ONE sweet girl + a newb due in February!
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I need a nap.
Even when I hand a child over to him for him to take care of for whatever reason, she'll take over for my husband as if it's inconvenient for him, so she'll do it. For example, I can hold my baby at dinner, but if I get tired and hand the baby for dh to hold while he's eating, she'll jump up and get the baby from my husband. She doesn't do that for me.
It also seems that every aspect of our parenting is up for approval or disapproval. It's not just how it is, it has to be dissected.
Anyway, I feel ya.
Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will. If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk New User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/articles/user-agreement
I hope your dh is able to mention to his mother how important it is to him to be able to share some of the nighttime parenting and maybe inform her that it's his choice to be involved when the need arrises.
Her mother, who likes to remind everyone that she raised 9 kids, and her husband didm't have to help at all... had for many years of that time one of her kids grandmother's either living with them, or comming to stay every weekend.
they don't think they had help, but they lived i n the age of "it takes a village" it still takes a village, we just more often than not don't have one, which makes things only haerder for us. but really, in the dayds of or moms and grandmothers, in many areas, at least, even if family wasn't right there, there were always neighbors you could trust to help watch out for your kids... they could send there kids down the street to a freinds house without fear of the kid beibg snatched, or worse. very few places are safe enough now to do that.
i take everything the oldeer generations say witrh a grain of salt. just because it was rught for them in their day doesn't make it right for us now.
WAHM behind Crystal City Fibers on Etsy.
My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
On a very sweet note, dh was changing Sophie's pooper diaper during the night last night, and had her out of her sleeper (poop leak ). He said, "I don't think I spend enough time touching her," and the next thing I knew he slipped her into his shirt and was snuggling with her skin to skin! And you better believe that would NOT have happened in the evening, what with a tired toddler running around and having to fix dinner, go through the mail, talk about our days, etc. It really warmed my heart .
I remember a poem I read once about this and it brought tears to my eyes!
I am so glad you have a husband who understands the precisiousness of these times. That is so awesome!