Thursday, February 21, 2008

The revolving door

As I mentioned in the last post, Patrick and I live 15 hours away from our parents (his parents live about 80 miles from my dad and stepmom, and about 40 miles from my mom).

My dad, stepmom and three sisters as well as my mom and his parents all want to be here for the birth. Patrick's taking a week off after the baby is born, with the intention that we take time to we bond together as a family.

The problem is of course that everyone wants to stay with us. We have a four bedroom house - but one bedroom is an office and one is the nursery. That leaves us with only one guest room. Technically two people, possibly three could sleep comfortably on the couch (we have a giant sectional with a chaise). But... while I do want everyone to come up and see us -I also don't want anyone in the delivery room with me. I would like a few extra days for us to just bond together without having everyone come up at once. Having company over stresses me out incredibly - and I would like to have some time just to get to know our son.

Does anyone have any advice about how to schedule them coming up without hurting feelings? I know that everyone will want to be the "first" to be here, but honestly -it would help us a lot more to stretch out the visits a bit. Everyone's starting to pressure us about when they'll be able to come, and it's making me crazy. I don't want to hurt any feelings - but I really want some time for "just us."


Helen said...

Tell them exactly that. You're overwhelmed, you want some time to adjust, you would absolutely love a visit but maybe they can give you a few days, just the three of you, just while you have Patrick's week off. Especially position it as: "I'd love the help once he's back to work".

We didn't have a few days.

It's one of my regrets.

DD said...

Because the only person you want with you during delivery is Patrick, then it should be "easy" enough to tell everyone exactly that as no one should be legitimately hurt by your preference.

Also, if you want the entire week following to just you three, you should feel comfortable doing that...HOWEVER, that first week will be chaos. I believe that the maternal grandparents are at the top of the totem if you are close to both sets so if you are going to invite anyone that first week (which I actually recommend), it would be them.

Tell your sisters and in-laws, you'll be glad to set aside a weekend for each of them respectively. Don't wait until you're in labor, either, because they'll blow you off. Also, recommend nearby accomodations for the time you will be in the hospital for everyone. That should also send a clear signal that your home is off limits during that time.

Shinny said...

I agree with what DD said. If they are asking "when" they can come, set up a priority list of who is first, second, third and so on. Then just tell them, " you are on the schedule for this week". If they don't like it and don't comply with your wishes then you have a meltdown when they are all driving you nuts and kick them out. You can always use the post partum hormones as an excuse and they better forgive you. ;)

Steve's family all wanted to be at the hospital and I told them that only two people were allowed in the room during labor and delivery, it actually had been the hospital's policy. So they came the day after she was born to visit. Made things a lot easier to blame the hospital. Good luck and set the rules now or you will get overwhelmed when you least need it.

MsPrufrock said...

What Helen and DD said.

I was in the hospital for a week after P's birth, but thankfully my Mum stayed away for the next two weeks after we got home. She understood that we wanted family time, and you will NEED that. It is hectic and confusing enough to be home with a newborn, you don't need the added hassle of visitors right away.

Good luck, and be firm. This is your new family's time, and you don't want to regret compromising it.

daysgoby said...

Oh, absolutely what everyone else said.

And it makes it much, much better if your Mom comes first (as long as you're comfortable with her!) because you can ask questions about stuff and hand the baby off for a few seconds when you want to.

My mom and step-father stayed with us the first week my son was born.

I loved it. But they're really good houseguests - don't expect to be entertained, clean up after themselves, make dinner.

As far as everyone else? We put a note on the door and turned the phone off for four days. I wanted to learn who this new person was without interruption.

Scoutj said...

Just remember you are an adult and you can preface it by saying "I do NOT want to hurt anyone's feelings but this is what we've decided" Those first days are so special and ones you never get back. You have to do what you guys want and not worry about other people. Be honest. It's the only thing you can do!


you have every right to expect a few days for your "new" family to bond together. and since your hubby will be home you can say that you'd rather have the "help" when he goes back to work. maybe one family can come week 2 and another one week 3. that way you can let them all know you want and appreciate their help and would like to spread it out as much as possible!

dee said...

I second everyone's great recommendations!

I blamed it on the hospital where I delivered, who did indeed have a two-persons in the room policy. I only wanted (and had) A in the room with me. And, like you, I wanted to take the time for the three of us to get to know one another that first day so we told friends and family to come on the second day.

After we went home from the hospital, we gave ourselves more alone time for the 3 of us--about a week or so--before telling family it was okay to come by. Our friends pretty much knew as they'd 'been there, done that,' so they took a little bit more time coming over.

It will be nice to have Patrick home that first week and I'd take that time alone, just the three of you.

Let everyone know when they can come after that...for me, it was terrifying the first time when A went back to work and I was left home ALONE(!) with J. You may find it nice to have a little help while he's back at work. Plus, it will likely allow more time for you to catch up on sleep, or at least hopefully get some rest, while family members pitch in with both Julian and household tasks :-)

statia said...

We had a very strict "no visitors" policy for the first three weeks. We did have friends of ours come over once or twice for a half an hour or so, but they waited at least a week and a half before they even asked and they were pretty brief with their visits. But, we were adamant on not having anyone stay with us for the first three weeks at least. Everyone respected that, but then again, We were firm and they knew they didn't have a choice.

I really believe that it helped our stress level overall and because the Meester had 7 weeks off, we really god in a lot of family time. Something that I look back on fondly and wouldn't trade in for the world.

If it's that important to you, they'll understand. And don't be afraid of hurting feelings or putting your foot down. It's YOUR family now. You need to do what works for you.