Author Topic: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby  (Read 10293 times)

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CaffeineKatie

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2012, 04:30:25 PM »
"The role of Baby for this Christmas pageant has already been filled--you two need to act like adults, or leave the stage"

Girly

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2012, 10:36:42 PM »
My MIL and FIL don't get along at all.

I mostly consider it family drama, and don't take part in any of it. At my SIL's wedding this summer, I got stuck at the table with my FIL, his girlfriend, my MIL and her husband. It was just the five of us at the table. It was pretty darn awkward, but everyone managed to act like a grownup and get through it.

If they were both at my house, and started arguing around my two year old, I would first ask them to either take it outside, or leave. They both live a considerable ways away (at least 10 hours drive for one, and a country-wide flight for the other), but I won't let them argue in my house in front of the baby. Sorry.

pwy a wyr

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2012, 05:37:58 AM »
Hey folks! OP here.

The time difference, sleep deprivation and taken by surprise meant that DH wasn't quick enough on his feet when informed of the flight schedule, so I think that ship has sailed. He's staying here for the three weeks, and I think I just need to get past it this time and learn for next. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. However, thank you for making it ok for me not to be as tolerant of nonsense now as I have been in the past. You're all right, my child (less than 2 months) is now my priority. DH has my back, but he'll be in work a lot of the time. He saw how his dad behaves towards me on the last visit, so things will start changing, I think.

MiL may not be coming now. We didn't give in to her hints or PA behaviour regarding the visit, so she has decided not to visit. Oh well.
A few more questions. I should never be secretary of defence, because I will default to the nuclear option when stressed or faced with conflict. e.g. If FiL starts moaning about being kept awake at night, I may throw him out. Any ideas how to avoid escalating a mole hill to the height of a space station?

What do if he won't listen to what I say for the baby, if he needs to sleep for example, or if FiL avoids giving the baby back?

Last one, but one I worry about, what if it gets to the stage where he needs to go, but refuses to leave? I can see me saying, "right, that's enough, this isn't working, please leave." and the response is "no." ...where do i go from there?

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply!

YummyMummy66

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2012, 05:56:46 AM »
Really, you should not go anywhere from here. Your dh should.  Yes, you may be home and your dh may be at work, but if you say something to FIL and he does not abide by your wishes, your dh needs to then step up to the plate when he does come home and say, "Dad, sorry, but this does not appear to be working out.  Here is a list of the nearest hotels.  I suggest you make reservations".

SPuck

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2012, 08:37:31 AM »
I'd say take the nuclear option if you have to. Your husband is the one who put you in this situation, and if your FIL can't afford to put himself up in a hotel room, your stuck.

AmethystAnne

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2012, 08:45:21 AM »
OP, it's never too late for a person to learn that there are boundaries, even for us older folks.  ;)

You are the baby's mother and in charge of him/her. Let your Polite Mama Bear out. You can have a no nonsense, tough attitude without going nuclear.

Before he arrives, you and DH need to come up with some easy-to-repeat phrases to say to FIL in the situations you just mentioned:

--- FIL being kept awake at night: say nonchantlantly, "Babies cry because they can't quietly get up, go to the bathroom, and get themselves a snack."

--- when it gets close to Baby's nap time, verbally point out the signs of impending sleepiness (crankiness, the red rim around the edge of the eyelids, yawning, etc.)

--- not giving Baby back: "I need to change the diaper."

--- starting the same day FIL arrives, bring up at least once a day during the whole visit, about what he is looking forward to doing when he gets back home. Say something about the 3 weeks is going to go by fast, what does FIL want to do while in this area?

anonymousmac

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2012, 11:15:39 AM »
What do if he won't listen to what I say for the baby, if he needs to sleep for example, or if FiL avoids giving the baby back?

If someone refused to give me my baby back, I would absolutely go nuclear!  I think that's perfectly justified.

I think it's really important for you to internalize now that you and your DH are absolutely in charge, the highest and final authority, when it comes to your child.  The idea of FIL "not listening" doesn't even make sense, because you don't have to persuade him of anything.  You just do it, regardless of what he thinks.  If the baby needs to sleep, or anything else, you simply take him. 

It can take a while:  I remember being in the hospital with my firstborn, completely seriously waiting to ask the nurses for permission to see whether I was allowed to pick up the baby one day.  It was a wonderful and scary feeling to slowly realize that this child was mine, and I was absolutely in charge of and responsible for her. 

It's frightening and empowering at the same time.  For me, it was very spine-strengthening, to realize that people in the older generation that I usually deferred to were truly no longer in charge.  I was in charge, and I owed it to my child to step up and stop deferring to other people, in order to give my child the care she needed.

camlan

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2012, 11:42:17 AM »
If FiL starts moaning about being kept awake at night, I may throw him out. Any ideas how to avoid escalating a mole hill to the height of a space station?

"FIL, he's a baby. He cries. There's no way to stop that. Here's the number of a local hotel if you'd like to sleep elsewhere during your visit." And give the same exact answer every time FIL complains, in a calm, matter-of-fact tone of voice. No need to justify Baby's fussiness one night, or his crying for an hour straight the next afternoon. Babies cry. If you visit a house with a baby in it, crying will happen.

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What do if he won't listen to what I say for the baby, if he needs to sleep for example, or if FiL avoids giving the baby back?

"FIL, I need Baby now. If he doesn't sleep/eat/get changed on time, he gets fussy. None of us wants that, do we?" I'd be tempted to add, "If he does get fussy, you are dealing with him," but you might not want FIL in charge of the baby.

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Last one, but one I worry about, what if it gets to the stage where he needs to go, but refuses to leave? I can see me saying, "right, that's enough, this isn't working, please leave." and the response is "no." ...where do i go from there?

This is one I really think your DH should take the lead on, maybe with you there to support him.

If your FIL (or MIL for that matter) is visiting you mainly to see the grandchild, you have a lot of power in your hands. Parents-in-law behave nicely and they get to see their grandchild. Parents-in-law behave badly and access to their grandchild is reduced or eliminated.

Do not think that your FIL has all the power in this situation. You have more than you think. Reread anonymousmac's post. You have every right to determine what happens to your child, who holds your child, who gets to play with your child. And separate from the baby issue, you and your DH have every right to determine who visits your house, who stays overnight there, and who is never invited back.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


BeagleMommy

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2012, 03:42:58 PM »
OP, as you said forewarned is forearmed.  Discuss these scenarios with your DH.  Example:

You:  DH, what will we do if FIL complains about Baby crying?'
DH:  We will tell him that all babies cry when they need something and if he can't handle that he can go to a hotel.

You:  What if FIL won't give Baby back?
DH:  We should tell FIL that we need to feed/change/nap Baby now and he must relinquish him

You:  What if FIL is just unbearable and I need him out of our house?
DH:  I will take care of that.  Call me at work and I'll make him go.

If the two of you present a united front there will be less likely a chance that FIL will overstep.

Take2

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2012, 11:43:59 PM »
It sounds like in the past, FIL has been allowed to just run all over his son and DIL? If so, he is likely to expect that to be the case this visit, as well. For your own peace, it might help to give him notice. Have DH take him aside when he arrives. "Dad, I love you and I am glad you are here. But I need to make sure that we are perfectly clear. My wife and I are in charge of this house and what we say goes. If you can't respect that, you can't stay. We have a brand new baby in the house, he is our main focus, and we just don't have the time or energy to fight for our right to call the shots in our own home. As long as we're on the same page about that, we can have a lovely visit."

Dad may splutter and act offended. But he will get the message, and he will either react well to that and avoid later arguments or react poorly and at least you can get the argument and his removal to a hotel taken care of right away.

Deetee

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2012, 12:04:45 AM »
OP, as you said forewarned is forearmed.  Discuss these scenarios with your DH.  Example:

You:  DH, what will we do if FIL complains about Baby crying?'
DH:  We will tell him that all babies cry when they need something and if he can't handle that he can go to a hotel.

You:  What if FIL won't give Baby back?
DH:  We should tell FIL that we need to feed/change/nap Baby now and he must relinquish him or he can go to an hotel

You:  What if FIL is just unbearable and I need him out of our house?
DH:  I will take care of that.  Call me at work and I'll make him go to a hotel.

If the two of you present a united front there will be less likely a chance that FIL will overstep.

I agree and just added a bit more (in bold).

Also, if someone who is staying a house uninvited (for a week of it) with a new baby has the audacity to complain about the lack of sleep, that is not a molehill. That is a hill to plant your flag and die on. Because the person he is complaining to (the parents) is getting less than sleep than said grandparent as they not only hear the baby, they need to respond to and comfort/feed/change the baby.

I'm letting my feeling bleed over because I don't think anyone should visit people with infants for longer than an hour unless they plan on helping in a substantial (laundry doing, kitchen cleaning, dinner making, dish doing, bathroom scrubbing, grocery buying) fashion and doing so cheerfully.

(I know some kids are super easy and people don't need that level of help, but even with no baby any guest who stays longer than a couple days should be actively helping out to make their visit not a burden)

RooRoo

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2013, 09:28:28 PM »
Happy new year!  Any updates?
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

gemma156

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2013, 11:21:30 PM »
Just caught up with this thread.  I too had experienced family members deciding on their own to extend their visit's with us, so instead of getting too flustered by the end of the agreed time that we all had decided would suit us best - instead of hosting them further I gave them jobs to do around the house.  As you know the toilet doesn't clean itself, nor the bathroom, and the dishes go feral if left to themselves too long by themselves if no-one washes them.  All under the guise of family togetherness of course.

After a couple of times of dusting out the cleaning aprons, we didn't seem to have that problem anymore and everyone agreed on a set amount of time to visit and then stuck to it.

pwy a wyr

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby (good update)
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2013, 03:38:20 AM »
Hey folks! Happy New Year!
OP here. Thanks for all your advice. You all kept my blood pressure down in anticipation of the visit. As it turns out, however, Fil has been wonderful! There's been a few bad nights with the little one, but FiL denies hearing anything, which i think is him being sweet. He's also been helping around the house and makes sure he checks with us about stuff regarding the baby. Oh, and before he arrived, he sent an apology for booking an extra week. He'd been so caught up in getting a good price, it wasn't until he was reviewing travel plans before leaving that he realised how much he'd deviated from the original plan. The apology was spontaneous and DH hadn't said a thing at that stage. Panic over! It was actually a fairly good length of time to visit, what with the busyness of the season.

MiL did join us for Christmas and things were mostly ok, but no new issues, just ongoing ones.

Now that we've had a good trip, hopefully, things will just get better and better!

Thank you for all your help. knowing I had a few phrases in the back of my mind helped me be a good hostess and not be resentful. I didn't want that, I'm not great at hiding it.

Thanks again! PaW x

IslandMama

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Re: Christmas, inlaws and the new baby
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2013, 07:21:09 AM »
Happy New Year, PAW. :)