I'm so grateful that everyone wants to come help out during the last days of pregnancy, take care of my toddler during labor and deliver, and meet my new baby. My mother offered to come visit. My mother-in-law actually booked her plane ticket. My sister offered to take my toddler to her place. My friends offered to stay at my place and take care of her at home. The problem is that if you don't set some boundaries, it can be harder have help than it is to just be on your own.
Also, if you do accept help from some, how do you not insult others? Here are some guidelines to figuring out how to determine who helps you and when:
1. Be selfish. There is no way to please everyone, so please yourself. If you want to order in Indian food, order it. This is not the time for a democracy.
2. Don't entertain. If someone is coming to help, they may have the best intentions, but may easily fall into what they're familiar with -- guest mode. This is not an option. If they don't offer, put them to work. If there is laundry to be done, have them do it. If there is an errand to be run, send them. Don't even wash a bottle. Hey, they offered to help.
3. They'll get over being insulted. If you think it would be easier for you to have your mother-in-law come to town a week after you have the baby, that's what you should do. Once they meet the kid, they won't even remember that they are pissed at you. If they do remember, then just marry someone with better parents next time.
4. You are the boss. What you say goes. If someone feels like the baby needs a bottle, but you KNOW the baby doesn't -- take a stand. It's your kid. You are going to be the boss of them for at least 18 years, so you may as well practice on others.
5. Kick-out dates are fine. I'm of the belief that when you send out an invitation to a party that's at your home, you should never put an end time. This rule doesn't apply for newborn visitors. You can pre-determine how long you want people to stay. If your husband is taking off two weeks, maybe you want the visitor gone by the second week. It's okay to tell them. Just say, "How about you stay from this date until this date?" They will take the hint.
6. Listen to what your partner wants. Going through pregnancy, labor, and a newborn can be very trying on your relationship. It's sooooo hard at this point because they can be on your last nerve, but they need to remain calm. too. If they hate Betty from the office, then plan an out of the house visit or tell him to go to the driving range.
7. SAY YES. You have to accept the help in the first place. You'll need it.
Have you set guidelines for your pre- and post-baby visitors?
Image via Krystynana/Flickr