Dear Is This Normal,
Is it normal to want to raise your child on your own? My husband’s family loves to help and did help the first two weeks when I was home but I felt overwhelmed with them being here. So I started to decline the help and overall I’ve been doing fine. Should I feel bad about not wanting the help?
Help Not Wanted
Dear Help Not Wanted,
You know what the best part of having your own children is? You, as the parents, get to decide how you’re going to raise them. It sounds like that’s what you’re doing and this is so totally fine! More than fine, it is absolutely normal—this is your baby, and you want to take the lead on the baby stuff. Nothing at all wrong with that, and I commend you for finding that balance and groove so early on! Becoming a parent for the first time (or any time, really) is no joke. But if you feel like you’ve got this, then go on with your badass self. Dealing with in-laws and a new baby is tricky territory, but you absolutely should NOT feel bad about wanting to set some boundaries. However, I think communicating these boundaries effectively and sensitively can go a looooooong way toward helping them be better received and understood.
It sounds like your in-laws are offering to help from a place of love and support, which is great. They may think you genuinely need the help and are just trying to be as supportive as they can. They probably remember what it was like having a newborn and truly believe their presence would be appreciated. So I would recommend being honest with them and letting them know that right now, you feel like you’ve got a pretty good handle on things. Explain that you’ve got a good system and schedule down, and feel like you and your partner are doing ok on your own at the moment. And don’t be afraid to let them know that having more people around (even if they are there to help with the baby) was causing you to feel a bit overwhelmed. Adjusting to having a baby at home takes time, and having a lot of distractions around during this adjustment period can make it a more difficult transition.
Now all of that being said, I would also suggest that you throw them a bone. Maybe you don’t want them around ALL the time to help with the baby, but could you find a couple of hours every week or so where they can come by and help in their own way! You can also set some boundaries here; maybe you don’t want help putting the baby to sleep or feeding the baby, but an extra hand or two with baby laundry or adult mealtimes would be appreciated. Or maybe land on a specific day during the week when your mother-in-law can come over and mind the baby for a bit while you shower or run errands or just back off baby duty. Just because you don’t need or want the help NOW doesn’t mean you won’t need or want the help at some point. So this isn’t necessarily a bridge you want to set ablaze, if you know what I mean.
You are doing an amazing job, mama. And you have nothing to feel badly about! Your baby, your rules. But if you want to maintain a good relationship with your in-laws and keep that ace in your pocket for when you might need it, I encourage you to communicate with them about how you’re feeling and what you’re comfortable with.
A Helping Hand When Called Upon,
Is This Normal