Friday, July 9, 2010

Family - Not what it's cracked up to be..

What is it about a new baby that makes grandparents (and yes even great grandparents) go completely insane? It's been a rough couple of days because my mother and I have not been talking due to excessive meddling from her and my grandmother. It doesn't help that they babysit my son 3 times a week so I can finish up the internship weeks that I missed during maternity leave and finally get my degree mailed to me.

The major argument was that the pediatrician said that the baby should be eating every 4 hours because he is a little overweight, and he needs to learn how to be able to eat at appropriate times. He's 4 months right now, so this is the time when it's important to start helping him have a more normal eating/sleeping pattern. Well, I've explained this to my mom and grandmother a number of times and they continue to belittle this and say that they've raised kids for years and pediatricians don't know everything.

So they proceed to feed him at their own schedule (which is pretty much as soon as the poor kid starts crying), as opposed to respecting what my husband and I have requested. I've tried to ask nicely, I've tried to send articles to my mom about grandparents having to respect boundaries, but to be honest, earlier this week I was at my wits end. I came back from my internship to find my grandmother feeding the baby about an hour and a half sooner than was necessary. I just blew up. It didn't help that I had about 3.5 hours of sleep that night since the little tyke still doesn't sleep through the night. Needless to say, I became the bad guy, and everyone pretty much came against me (including my brother which pissed me off, but that's a whole other story) saying that I shouldn't have yelled at them, I was out of line, etc.

My husband, trying to make things better, called my mom that night and tried to calmly ask her to please respect our guidelines for the baby and that we love them and know they love our son, but it's important that they realize that we are the authority figures when it comes to him. Well my mom was NOT having that. Considering our family is filled with a plethora of strong-willed women and spineless men, she was not used to a man sticking up for himself. She then told my husband that she did not care about watching our son, she was just doing it as a favor (which is not totally true), what does he know because he runs away whenever the baby cries (which is also not true.. not anymore anyways), and that she didn't care what he or I said, if the baby was under her roof, he would be taken care of the way she deemed fit. Wha?! I'm so proud of my husband for not letting her have it because I would have, but he wanted to be respectful (though he was seething inside).

The problem is, the situation goes deeper than a feeding schedule. It's about the lack of respect that we get from our family. I'm 28 and my husband will be 30 in a couple of months, yet we're treated like children. Always. Everytime I ask them to do, or not to do something in regards to my son, they scoff at it, saying that they know how to take care of babies, and that whatever I'm asking is silly. We've had arguments over when to start solid foods (They were trying to force me to feed the baby rice cereal at 8 weeks old!) We've had arguments over when to allow him to drink water, etc. By the way, just to let you know what I'm up against, my grandmother once refused to EVER watch our son again unless we followed her rules of feeding him cereal. So that's the craziness that's happening over there. Yup.

Anyway, it's been this constant back and forth, struggle, and it just came to a head. Though I miss talking to my mom, this had to be nipped in the bud. My husband brought up a great point to her. What happens when the baby is now 5 years old and we tell him that he's not allowed to eat candy, or watch something on TV because he misbehaved, but when he goes to grandma's he's allowed to do what he wants? That's undermining to us, and confusing to the kid.

Not to mention that for the past couple of months, I've gotten very little more than discouragement from them all. If it's not a snarky remark about my weight, it's a comment about how my house is not clean enough for a baby, or how I'm not bathing him enough (despite doctor's orders of only 2x/week due to bad eczema). It goes on and on. Why not have a little grace? Why not show some understanding that I'm a first time mom who still gets less than 5 hours a sleep every night, who busted my butt to finish up graduate school, who now is looking for a full time job to help support our family, I mean c'mon!

For once I would love to hear "Hey, you're doing an amazing job." I don't even remember the last time I heard that. Except from my husband and my friends. And speaking of friends, the scripture is sooo spot on that says, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24) I have had more encouragement from friends (some friends that I have not even met in person, can you believe it??) than I have from my own family. Yes my family helps out with babysitting, yes my mom helps out financially when we're in a bind, but many times going over to their house is emotionally draining.

I wish I could express that to them, without being yelled at for being "silly" or "overly sensitive". At this point, all I can do is focus on God, my NEW family (me, hubby, and baby) and enjoy all that life has in store for us. I've been mulling over this family issue for the past two days now, and it really has done nothing more than give me indigestion. I have to remember, the bible says, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27) Worrying about this family issue will not change the situation. I can work on myself, and eventually apologize for shouting at them, and what they do in return is up to them. I have Jesus, and I have tons of other people in my life that lift me up instead of tear me down. And I thank the Lord for that, big time!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time with family. While my mother is a joy( she has her opinions but doesn't get mad if I disagree), my mother in law is a terror. I've been holding my tongue for months now. And refuse to let her even think about keeping him. She is discouraging when it comes to breastfeeding, bathing him in our bedtime routine every night, and putting him to bed at 8 pm, not giving him rice cereal in his bottle at 6 weeks, not feeding him solids from her plate now. And the list goes on and on. But anyway, my point is, I think she is beginning to understand that if she wants to see her grandchild, it will be with MY rules, not hers. Parents always think they know what's best for us, and don't understand when we have out own opinions. I try to keep that in mind. (it's really hard though!).