Friday, May 8, 2009

Family visits...

Last week my parents were here for a little over four days. It was a mixed visit. It's always great seeing them and they helped a lot, especially with setting up the baby room. But already before they came, hubby was getting agitated. It seems to get worse the longer he knows them. He can't stand their constant organizing/cleaning up (I have the same habit, so when he has three people doing that around him, it can drive him up the wall) and sees in everything they say a criticism (which is of course ridiculous, but hey, try to reason with him, especially when they're here).

Usually he just grumbles a bit, distances himself by working, reading books stuff on his i.Phone or chatting with friends online. The atmosphere was clearly a bit tense though. I hoped we would be able to keep the peace (I hate confrontations) while my dad asked every now and then if everything was OK, they weren't staying too long, etc...

But after two days hubby exploded. First, my dad had mentioned he wanted to drill a hole in the wall and put a screw in instead of the nail that was holding up a painting above the crib, to make sure it wouldn't fall on the baby's head. Hubby interpreted this as an accusation of him being a bad dad, because he didn't think it was necessary to change the nail for a screw. (sigh). Then my dad hit his head on an open kitchen cupboard door, and because hubby has a tendency to leave them open ('to air them out') I mentioned it to him (also because it annoys me to see those doors always open after hubby has been in the kitchen). And finally my dad commented on the way hubby cooked the steak... So during dinner hubby exploded, jelled that it was his house, that he was getting crazy that we (mainly my mom) were putting things away that he had not even finished using, that he had paid for the kitchen cabinets, so if he wanted to leave the doors open, he had every right to it... The next morning he started again, this time just to me, saying they would surely critize our parenting etc., so I spent a good time crying in the bathroom...

Then there was the discussion about when my parents would actually come again for the birth. My mom prefers to come well in advance, so she'll be there the minute the baby is born. I don't mind them being here after the baby is born, but don't really like the idea of them hanging around when the little guy decides to stick around inside me a bit after my due date. Hubby prefers them to come at the earliest a week after the birth or so... Since we won't have a guest room any more (now the baby room), my parents had to book something, for otherwise all the nice but affordable lodging options might be gone. In the end they booked a nice small apartment close-by for 10 days, starting from two days before my due date (= one day after a normal 40 wk due date, this French city does 40w3d for some reason...).

But I hate it that hubby seems not to want to take his 11 days of paternity leave (in addition to three days around the birth) and that he rather gives up precious time with his newborn son so he doesn't have to 'endure' my parents' comments and way of dealing with things (and the baby). On top of all this, my cousin just emailed me that she booked her week vacation (with husband and nearly 4-year old daughter) near us exactly in the week of my due date (she is very disorganized and even after giving her my due date twice, she still didn't realize...)! So I really hope the little man will come on time or even a little early, and there won't be an entire family gathering just staring at my belly and asking me if contractions have already started... Pff, sometimes I wish we just still lived in Holland and didn't have to deal with these kind of issues.

I don't like being in between hubby and my parents. I don't want to have to choose a side, I just want everyone to get along. I know I should talk to hubby about this, but it's not easy, also because he gets in defensive mode pretty quickly when I approach the subject (me too probably, from the other side). And sometimes I have this really bad thought that I can never put the ball back in his court and say something about his parents. They both passed away many years ago. I never even knew his dad. So of course I can't say anything bad about them and in his memory they were the greatest parents ever (just like I think about mine!).

And then I wonder why my old whiplash neck and back pain (from a car accident 11 years ago, which flares up again when I'm really tired or stressed) suddenly came back last weekend...

2 comments:

eyeheartinternet said...

That is so hard! THings are always complicated for us when the parents (mine AND his) are too close, so sometimes I am really grateful that mine are on the other side of the ocean. I hope things work out alright, and that your hubs and you are able to enjoy the baby's arrival!

iambrowneyedgirl said...

I'm sorry that you had such a hard time with your hubby when your parents visited. I know how much parents can aggravate a situation even if they don't mean to. If I were in your shoes, I'd take hubby's side and speak to your parents. It's possible that they will be more willing to give you guys some space, rather than have an aggitated husband all the time. Whatever you decide, however you decide to handle it, I hope everything turns out ok.