Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You'd Think I'd Learn

My mom gets "weird" when I have a baby... or get married... or buy a house... or really, anytime there is a Big, New Thing in my life, she gets weird. By weird, I mean she tries her best to make it as difficult as possible for me and is less than supportive. I could go on and on with concrete examples of this, but if you are really interested, you can read this post, which does a good job illustrating what I mean. Or this one is probably the best example of a time in which her antics were really hurtful. If you don't want to click back, let me just say, I know I can be as hormonal as the next gal, but my mom really likes to push my buttons and chooses just the right time to do it.

I am a 31 year old woman, a mother myself, and this still sets me off balance. When Will was born, she had a nervous breakdown and so I have been trying to prepare myself for it to happen again. Even though she has been a fantastic grandmother for the past year, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I specifically did not include my parents in any of our plans for watching Will or anything that had to be done and felt as if I had prepared myself much better this time around. Unfortunately, I have once again gotten burned.

Back in late May, my mom sent an e-mail, saying that she and my dad wanted to come for a week before Emma was born and help me with Will. I was all for it and asked them to just let me know when they were coming. Next thing I knew, they were heading for a couple of weeks to California instead of coming here.

Okaaaay. I was disappointed, but I got it. Head to a swimming pool and 80+ degree weather to lounge around and do nothing or come sit in 60 degree rain and help your very pregnant daughter manager her toddler? Yeah, I think we all know what we'd choose.

The next plan was for them to come up the day M goes back to work, when I am two weeks post-surgery. Now, they have decided to keep a puppy from the litter one of their other dogs just had. So, they are up to four dogs. That's two large dogs, one geriatric poodle who has lost bladder control, and a 10 week old puppy. Oh, plus our two, of course.

When Will and I went to visit them last, they asked us not to bring our dogs because. . . wait for it. . . it would be unsettling for their dogs with newborn puppies in the house. Now, I am a dog person. I love my furbabies. But it's perfectly okay for them to bring four dogs to our house when we have a newborn human?!?!

My parents will not consider leaving the dogs at home, however, so I am forced to choose between them not seeing their granddaughter and feeling like a total b!tch or letting the circus come to town. I have worked really hard to get this house in order, and even if it wasn't for that. . . we simply do not have the room for seven animals. I'm sorry, we just don't. Our three are overwhelming enough.

So, now, my parents are saying they will come for just one night, when M is still home from work, stay at our house or a nearby hotel, and just bring the puppy. They'll leave my brother home to watch the other dogs. This is a good compromise, except I was kind of counting on their assistance when M goes back to work. I know that at two weeks out, I will be pretty well on the road to recovery, but still. . . two under two, recovering from a c-section, and no family right in the area? It's gonna be rough.

To be honest, there is every possibility that their plans will change yet again, so I need to not get riled about it. But the combination of pregnancy hormones, plus the very real fact that this behavior is just irritating, has me riled. To be honest, I am not sure what my mom wants from me. Does she want me to beg for her to come? That's not my style. I will pull up my big girl boots and do things myself (even if I shouldn't) rather than feel as if I am asking too much of them. They raised me to be independent, but there is still a part of me that kind of wanted my parents.

You'd think I'd learn.

Edited: Thank you for your support and suggestions. My wonderful friends have put together a calendar to help with meals and some playdates for Will and we are trying to get to know some teenaged girls down the street who could come and watch Will for a few hours two or three times a week. We can't afford much more than that.

My parents are uncomfortable leaving my brother alone for more than a night or two and I can't say that I blame them. He is only 17 and a very immature 17 at that (not trying to be mean, it's just a fact). He has never been alone for a night before and we live 3 hours from them, so leaving him longer is probably not a great idea. My sister does live in their town, but she can also be unreliable and they are not close.

And my mom doesn't drive (!) so they can't really switch off, although my dad has made mention of coming on his own. But that's when my mom started talking about hurting herself last time, when he was going to come solo. I couldn't live with myself if something happened while he was away. To be clear, she hasn't made any of those threats this time, but then again, there was little warning last time that she would have such a reaction to me having a baby.


Laura said...

I hope they change their plans again, and hopefully leave your brother for a week with the dogs. I'm surprised they don't understand.

I hope you are still feeling well!

Rachel said...

It sounds like you are taking a very reasonable approach to the situation. Any chance you can splurge on some part-time babysitting for a week or two when you are alone? Maybe even a high school kid who is home for the summer, since you will obviously also be home to supervise?

It really is crazy how some family members chose the worst time to focus exclusively on their needs. I just got a guilt trip over the weekend about not bringing my fusspot to visit her (distant) relatives. Needless to say, given that they are only 2 hours away I would far prefer for them to hop in their car (seeing as we have none) and come visit, rather than dragging an active toddler on greyhound ... It just puzzles me. Here's to hoping your mom finds a compromise that works for you too.

christine said...

My daughter was 16months when my twins were born via c section. It was hard but I did manage. You are better off with out your parents.Try to do what Rachel suggested. Maybe even a Mothers helper. Good luck. You can do it.

Ms. J said...

My Mom flaked the couple weeks after I brought home number two, also. I hear ya. Oh, and FIL has been "coming to visit" to since late-February.

Honestly . . . you are better off with them NOT coming. It will be rough, but it will be better for you to only (ONLY) have to deal with Will and Emma than adding in some Fruitcakes on top of it and the dogs.

The best thing that happened after Peanut was born . . . twice that first week I was home my stepmother (OF ALL PEOPLE?! Cuz we aren't close) drove the 75 minutes each way from her house and picked up Lil Pumpkin and took her elsewhere for 5-6 hours at a time. BINGO!

So, if you can get a friend or hire a babysitter to take Will elsewhere for a couple of hours each day, or a mother's helper (pre-teen or teenager) to come over and entertain Will each day, you will be soooo much happier.

My two cents!

HereWeGoAJen said...

Are they crazy? You don't bring four dogs to someone else's house.

I think you and I should start a business. We'll call it Rent a Mother. It will make us millionaires.

It is what it is said...

I want to be supportive of you in this situation and the best advice I can offer is to count on not being able to count on your mom. Make plans that help you reach your end goal (of having help, post c-section and put the choice for what she is/n't going to do squarely on her.

You are NOT being a bitch by requiring a grown woman (who also happens to be your mother) to leave her pets at home when visiting you who has a toddler and newborn at home. On the contrary, she is being a bitch by even suggesting it (I'm sorry, but I said it, no disrespect to your mother).

It sounds like your mom has a lot of yes people in her life and she has never been held accountable to making reasonable and respectful decisions. (I say that as a woman with a mom who is similar).

What worked for me with my mom is actually what works for me with my toddler: having clear, communicated boundaries, having consequences, and offering choices. Then, the decision is up to her and I no longer get my feelings hurt if she makes a choice that I wouldn't have made.

Beth said...

Aaaahh, families.....Stress (good or bad) tends to bring out the worst in everyone's family, no?

I'm sorry the situation with your mom is stressful right now.
I hope for your sake that they rethink this and make accommodations that work so that they can be present during a very important time in your life!

Any chance you can offer to have your parents stay home to care for the dogs and your brother come out to help with you & the kids?! That might send a message....;)

Hope you're continuing to feel well and enjoying these last few weeks of Emma on the inside and Will on the outside.

Nicky said...

I agree with everybody else -- don't count on your folks for anything. And I assume that they don't want to leave your brother at home with the dogs for too long, or that possibility would have also been on the table? One more thought, which is what my parents did when LL was born. Could just ONE of them come for a while? Maybe your dad can come for one day, then go home to take care of the dogs while your mom stays with you for a little extra time, to help out? Dogs taken care of, you taken care of, everybody wins?

I wouldn't make plans based on it, since they've been flaky in the past, but it's a sort of compromise to propose to them so that you at least have a shot at getting some help.

Anonymous said...

Families can be so frustrating.
I would have to draw the line at all of those dogs though.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I'm so sorry you have to deal with that. I'm sorry, but it sounds like your mom has a screw loose.
There's no way you can have a puppy around -- they are messy. You are better off alone or with the help of your friends.
Time to make an excuse like "I'm worried that a small dog might not be able to handle some of Will's aggressive love. Come later on in the year when they are both bigger."
Good luck!

Jen said...

2 weeks post c section I was moving around just fine and could pick Jillian up easily, which was the biggest annoyance. So you might not necessarily need the help. Hayden is so easy that I don't think having her plus the toddler is any more difficult than just one colicky, fussy baby. It all just sort of depends on your baby's personality, which you can't yet predict. I'm putting in an order for any easy baby for you though :)

Personally I hate the idea of having people come help me. Maybe I'm a hermit but it feels more annoying than helpful. And I love my dog too, but would be pissed if somebody came to visit with 4 dogs!

Anonymous said...

You can do it! I think you'll be amazed at how much easier it all will seem this time around :)