Sep 20, 2011  •  In Aerin, Baby, Claire, Motherhood, Personal, Relationships

Family Help

It has been exactly one week since J’s parents arrived from Hong Kong to help me with the last few weeks of my pregnancy. They will stay in the U.S. and continue to help out for the next few months which will undoubtedly be tremendously difficult with two babies that are only 13 months apart.

I have stated before that I don’t have the best relationship with my in-laws. It’s not that we don’t get along — we do, but we are far from being BFFs and I still feel a bit uncomfortable around them. Add to that the language and cultural barriers, and the fact that I am a highly private person…

HOWEVER, this time around I could not be happier to have them around. They clearly love Claire, and just seeing their faces light up every time they interact with her makes me so happy that we were able to provide a healthy grandchild for them.

And despite the fact that my MIL and I aren’t that close, she is one of two people in the world — the other being my own mother — whom I fully trust to take great care of my children from the moment they are born, to love them from day one, and do everything in her power to raise them well.

(J comes a very close third. I know he loves his daughters with all his heart, but a motherly/grandmotherly touch is just different, KWIM? Besides, he never even changed a diaper before Claire was born! :-P)

The first week was a bit rough on all of us. Just three months ago, when our nanny started, Claire needed only a few hours before she became comfortable with her. Now that she is older, with full-on stranger anxiety and a firm grasp on object permanence, it took almost a full week for her to even let her paternal grandparents hold her. (During this transition period, J, my SIL, and I all took turns as the “buffer.”)

Yesterday was the first full day that I was alone with my in-laws and Claire. As soon as I put her down for her morning nap, I retired to my bedroom to take a nap for myself…and woke up with a start to realize that it had been an hour and a half since Claire fell asleep — she must be awake now! And previously, when she awoke from her naps to find her grandmother greeting her, she would cry and cry…

I hurried out to the living room to find my MIL feeding Claire a bowl of congee, my FIL sitting at the same table, and all three members of the family clearly enjoying themselves.

And the day continued just so. They played with her and made her laugh, they took her out on two long walks, and they insisted that I relax and rest.

I must confess that I was a bit resentful of my in-laws during the first few months of Claire’s life, because at times it really seemed like they were hogging her, and taking away from me precious bonding time I could have had with my daughter.

Only with recent events have I come to realize that I should have spoken up if I wanted more alone time with Claire, and that they truly, genuinely want to help. Additionally — as morbid as this sounds — I know that their (as well as my own parents’) time on earth is limited. Why should I deprive them of something that gives them so much joy when I benefit from it as well?

My in-laws could not have come at a better time. Our nanny’s own mother has fallen ill, so she is no longer available. My parents’ stores are keeping them busier than ever before. My sister is currently out-of-state taking a class, and then she will go to Paris for 3 months. Lastly, J’s brother and his wife, who have been such a tremendous help to us in the past year, will be moving to Shanghai next month!

I wish I had a picture of our entire family, but I don’t. :-( Hopefully we will be able to get one at Claire’s first birthday party later this month…but in the meantime here’s one of Claire playing with — and in — her aunt’s LV bags! (Notice how she’s using the little pochette as a purse…it fits her perfectly!)

11 Responses to “Family Help”

  1. Donna:

    I love it! The pic and your post greatly touched me. THe last time, I had family come for my one month/zuo yuezi, I nearly went insane. This time, I’m really really hoping that it’ll be different because I’ll want that distraction and my son will want the spoiling so I can focus on the second. Thanks for the great post!

  2. I’m glad that you’re having a better experience and a different perspective this time around. Having anyone stay with you for months at a time is definitely challenging. When our daughter was a month old, my in-laws came for 9 days, but I had the opposite experience from you–they hardly did anything! My MIL cooked once, and once they offered to buy dinner, but we had to go pick it up! My FIL refused to even touch the baby and slept till 11-12 noon every.single.day. I could go on and on. I hope you all enjoy this time together…BebeDeux will be here soon!

  3. Family is everything to me and thankful for you and the whole gang. :) <3<3<3 Thank you for this post and I love Claire in my purse haha. I need to bring over my other purses.

  4. I love the way your family really pulls for each other/helps each other out. While I’m sure it can get annoying, it’s a pretty amazing thing to see. We did a lot of it on our own with Everly and I guess we’ll be doing it again (trying to anyway) with this next baby. Shew lord. Enjoy the help and my guess is that you’ll be able to be much more vocal this time around. You won’t have the new mom anxiety thing as much – you’re pretty much a pro now. :)

  5. Helene:

    where do they stay? at ur place or somewhere else? i remember my mil moved in with us for the first few months after my baby’s born and i literally went crazy + depressed. while i knew i couldn’t thank her enuff deep down for the great help yet to live under the same roof was disastrous. it’s just a dilemma >,<

    • They stay at my BIL’s, which is just 20 blocks away. They’ve stayed with us in the past, and it did drive me crazy…but with Claire here, there’s no place for them to sleep at our place.

  6. I’m glad you’re looking forward to their visit! Sometimes in-laws are so hard to figure out and get comfortable with, so I understand! Hopefully you’re able to really enjoy and appreciate their help this time around! :)

  7. Sarah:

    Thanks for posting your honest thoughts.. I don’t have children yet but I also wonder how it will be with my in-laws. They are such amazingly nice and caring people, but sometimes I would feel torn about wishing they were a little less involved. I felt so guilty for being unappreciative, because of how much they want to help us and bless us, but I also wished they would give my husband and me more room. When we have children, I have a feeling they will be calling and coming over all the time. I know they will want to help as much as possible, but I wonder how I’ll feel by then.. Thanks for this post, for reminding me the perspective of how blessed it is to share this beautiful blessing with all our family members…

  8. beka:

    I’m so glad that things are going well with your in-laws so far, I remember that they stressed you out when Claire was first born. I’m so glad that you have them there to help with your nanny unavailable though – and you make such great (and mature!) points about the value they bring to all your lives. I loved your point that only J’s mom and your mom are the people you trust most. I can totally see what you mean.

  9. Erin:

    This post was very helpful. Our son is 4 weeks and my inlaws just left after a 1-week visit. They refused to put my son down all week – so while he’d nap in his bassinet or swing before their visit, now he won’t. Which means I can’t nap or do anything, and I’m tired-grumpy and resentful. But I need to realize that they just wanted to hold their grandson and get over it.

    *Typing with one hand is hard.

  10. I’m so glad you have a great support system – I can only imagine how much that helps! :)

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