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Mommy Dearest: Mother-in-Law Wants to Help With Newborn

Mommy Dearest,

I'm seven months pregnant and my mother-in-law just called to ask how long my husband and I would like her to stay after the baby is born. Since she lives in a different state, she plans on flying in for the delivery and then helping us get situated at home.

While I love her good intentions, but would prefer if we ease into life as new parents as a couple. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but think three will be a crowd in our small house when I'm bonding with my infant. What should I do?

— Pregnant and Perplexed

To see Mommy Dearest's response,


Pregnant and Perplexed,

The best thing to do is tell your mother-in-law the truth — that you appreciate her kind gesture, but would prefer to spend those first couple of days at home bonding as a family and establishing your own routine. If you are comfortable with her being at the hospital after you deliver, extend an invitation and recommend a place she can stay in the area. If you would like her to visit at a later date, suggest some in the future so she can put it on her calendar. Since she's a mom, she may understand where you are coming from.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

Join The Conversation
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
my dh & i had the first week ourselves... my mom came the second week AND WHAT A BLESSING THAT WAS... i wound up w/mastitis and her help was PRICELESS.... so while i thought, oh GAWD do i really want my mom all up in our faces... YEAH... WAS I HAPPY SHE WAS THERE!!!! so i'd say... give it a shot after the first week, or the second. it may be more of a blessing than you think!
Moms Moms 9 years
My husband and I took care of both our kids ourselves. No one stayed with us though we had a steady stream of visitors. I liked getting situated from the get go. Eventually, all parents have to anyhow. That said, most of my family lives in the same city.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i don't know why anyone would need help with a new baby (first child). seriously, all they do is sleep/poop/eat for the first 2 or 3 weeks. and the mom just wants to sit there and look at the baby. tell her you are looking forward to the first few days of your new family, just the 3 of you. but that a couple of weeks down the road it would be great to have her stay a week (or whatever you're thinking). unless you have twins or a special needs baby there won't be anything much for her to do. in a couple of weeks you'll be wanting to go out and get your hair cut, have a meal with your husband, etc. and you'll not feel the need to be RIGHT THERE with your baby.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I agree that there's no such thing as a routine with a newborn, I use the term as learning the newborn's habits as a routine, not an actual schedule. But that's another reason I hate having people around, it gets in the way of me learning my baby. I never like people staying with us, though. I'm not a hostess at heart, and it's even worse in the days immediately following childbirth. You couldn't even pay me to host anyone but my husband and hospital personnel in the room while I'm giving birth.
vinnie vinnie 9 years
wow! sorry for the loooong post!
vinnie vinnie 9 years
When I was pregnant I told everyone that I didn't want anyone but my husband in the room. I also said that I wanted to be by ourselves for the first week or so to "establish a routine." A few things I learned: 1. At the moment of labor, all preconceptions go out the window. I didn't care who was in the room. All I was focused on was getting through the labor and having the baby. My MIL, FIL, and sister were all there staring at my naked butt and swollen bits the whole time. I did not even care. 2. You will want somebody there for you during those early days. When you can barely handle going to the bathroom, it's great to have somebody there to cook and clean for you. My husband and I were able to focus entirely on our little one and not even worry about anything else. 3. There really is no such thing as a routine with newborns. I've found that being flexible is the best way to operate. Newborns change their routine often in the beginning (mine did and still is). My little girl is a month old and we're still figuring things out. I hope that helps! Good luck!!
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
My future mother in law is already talking about how she can't wait to be in the delivery room when we have our kid and how she'll help take care of the baby when it's born...and I'm a couple years away from even being pregnant! So, unless you have a MIL who is this overbearing, I think an honest conversation should clear the air. We've started already by correcting her when she says things like that, but it is tiring! From everything I've heard though, I do think that you will want the help (but of course, everyone is different). I think a good solution is to find a hotel for her close by and maybe have her wait a couple days to come out.
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 9 years
I see it like a tradition... she just assume and well.. it shows that she didn't really knew her daughter in law. It is not a party she's crashing... it is not a vacation either... but well, if the new mama thinks is rude and thinks she can handle herself thank you very much, she is in all her right! it's just... that for me is just natural that the mother's and mother's in law just go and stay with the couple, I didn't, er, knew they have to be invited, I, too, assume it was something normal. For me the wrong part is for them not to show and stay and help. My mother said that her mom only went to the hospital, and on Sundays, to visit, and her mother in law invited herself and stay before and after.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I was also thinking of how I'd feel in the MIL position--I would probably be pretty eager to meet my grandchild. I think that could explain/excuse her otherwise rude self invitation.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
My MIL came to visit about 1 month after my girls were born. I had time to establish a routine so her viist was not disruptive at all. It was great to have someone help out with cooking, shopping, housework etc--and to have adult conversation. Also she is mother of 5 so she was/is a good resource. I pretty much agree with jennnifer76. I'd operate under the assumption that you MIL's intentions are good and try to work something out--just put the visit off a bit. You may be pleasantly surprised.
lms lms 9 years
I also agree that it would be a great help if she did come, unless you truly dislike her for some reason. You would still have time to bond because she would be able to help out with the other daily chores and she will let you get some sleep. In my opinion "bonding" is not so wonderful when you are totally exhausted and overwhelmed. When I had my daughter I told my MIL that she should come a few weeks after. She was also from out of state. I had my husband home for a few days and my mother was there for about two weeks. She came afterwards and it was a nice help. You know...depending on how your delivery goes it may take longer for you to get back to normal and you would probably appreciate help from mostly anyone.
graylen graylen 9 years
I don't have a child yet, but I know my brother and SIL LOVED having my mom there. They paid for her to change her plane reservation and stay longer. And really, she just came and cleaned and cooked and took care of the baby so they could get a little sleep. She also just came with their second and her most useful role was helping with their first child. Watching them, when the time comes, I think I will BEG her to stay with me and help!
babysugar babysugar 9 years
I'd love to have my mother–in–law around when I have my second. She's so great with my first child that she would be a huge help in just entertaining her. Besides that, I just love her so I'd love her company.
Mommy-of-Three Mommy-of-Three 9 years
It may be a great help to have her around. You will have plenty of bonding time with your baby and she can have some Grandma bonding while you rest, shower and just get a few minutes to yourself. Take the help that is offered and be grateful your child will be born into a loving extended family.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
My mom expected to do this exact thing--flying in around my due date and helping out right after the baby was born. My husband and I wanted our own personal time and didn't want my mom, who can be a bit overbearing, there at the hospital. So I felt the best thing was to just to be up front with her and explain that we appreciate the offer, but would rather her come out a week or so later, after we were settled. She was a bit miffed at first, but came around. Plus, she realized that she would actually be more helpful to me if she could be there after my husband went back to work--there was no need for both of them to be hanging around. So she flew in a week after I had my son, stayed for two weeks, and it all worked out.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Oh, and I would add that it's significantly different after your first vs. after your second, etc... Your first infant can be kind of confusing and terrifying and overwhelming and it's so nice to have someone who really knows what they're talking about around.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
It's possible that she had her mother or mother in law come stay with her after her first child was born and she so cherished the help and support that it never occurred to her you would see her as an imposition. I don't think the mere fact that she thought you would want help says bad things about her personality. I agree with some of the other posters here, you will be really surprised at how much work a newborn is. She will probably be cooking, cleaning and helping out with the laundry, giving you more time to bond with baby. If you really can't stand the idea of her being there, then definitely politely decline. But, I suggest you at least consider her offer.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
It's such an individual thing and only you know what's right for you. I hate - HATE - having visitors the first days after giving birth. My husband is the help I need, and I want us to get situated and figure out the new routine on our own. If someone tried staying with us during that time, it wouldn't be a help at all, it would be a huge intrusion and stress. I don't even invite my mother to stay, much less my MIL. This past time, I told my mom to wait a month and then found a hotel for her, and it worked out great. She actually ended up having a great time because she had her own space, we got to visit, and our boundaries were clear. Be honest. If she's offended, she's not likely to be very helpful anyway. I agree with CaterpillarGirl that she's little out of line informing you of when she'll stay anyway.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
well it sounds like this MIL is already intrustive, inviting herself *rude* so i would think she wouldnt be a wallflower when it came to personal space. Woman up and tell her the truth, if she gets offended make your hubby deal with it.
rgrl rgrl 9 years
I was the same with my first, didn't want anybody here, just our little family. But now I realize how great it is to have a bit of help, and that you still get to bond, surely grandma will not be too intrusive (you never know though). If you really just want to be alone, have your husband explain that to her. Most people should understand your need at this time.
mini_pixie mini_pixie 9 years
I would definitely see if she would be willing to stay at a local hotel/ b&b so she can be close by but go to her own space at the end of the day (whenever that is with a newborn!). Or see if she would be willing to wait until 1 or 2 weeks after the baby is born to visit. You may be surprised at how much her (and other women's) support will mean to you in those first complex, confusing and overwhelming weeks.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Hm toughie. My FMIL is super nice and I love her lots. However, I don't think she would ever offer something like this on the simple fact that she has health problems. She is so ready for us to have kids already. And I imagine that she will come visit as often as she can (she lives about 2 hrs away).
Dbtabm Dbtabm 9 years
You know what, I would have felt the same way but then I gave birth. As wonderful as it was, those first few weeks were incredibly hard and I had horrible baby blues so I would have accepted help from ANYONE. I would send my mom home and then call her and beg her to come back. My mother in law and I are VERY different and sometimes she gets on my nerves but when she came for a week after my mom left I was really happy.
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 9 years
mmm my friends just told me "aaww she's gonna need the help" yes, the mother-in-law will feel insulted, I think. I know a lot of mother who receive help from they mom's or their partner's mom... They did appreciate, they said they feel so, so awful... and they happened to be there, help, feed you, and with experience. even my mom remembers that way... even if my grand ma was really mean with her... when she was pregnant my mom said that grandma was a bless... a little nice creature that feed her with all the food my mom liked... then help her to the recuperation, then left and be mean again... :P
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
That is a tough one. Although I know my mother in law would never even offer due to the fact that she is still a working girl, even if she did...she would definitely understand if I said to wait to visit. BUT...not many mother in laws that I know would really understand. They would feel insulted. No matter how tactfully you try to say it.
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