In-Laws

I must be one of the luckiest people I know. Not only do I have a fabulous relationship with my parents, but I get along great with my in-laws, too! They are visiting from the Netherlands for almost 2 weeks. Which means I get to have a hair cut, see my chiropractor, and go out with a girlfriend for a massage and tea!! What a week!

That’s not to say the road has always been smooth. I am the worst at asking for help. So when my in-laws have visited in the past, I’ve always had trouble asking them to watch Aleksander or help with the cooking or cleaning or whatever. Even when they came for 2 whole weeks when Aleksander was just 2 weeks old. And here’s the kicker – my mother-in-law is so very respectful that she doesn’t want to step on my toes and butt in! So we’ve sometimes been at something of a stalemate. She wants to help, and I want her to help, but there we were on opposite sides of the room waiting for the other to make the first move. (I know, this doesn’t seem like a real problem compared to the nightmare stories I’ve heard from friends.) But it was a real problem for me and even led to a meltdown or two, especially during that first post-baby visit.

Since then, I’ve learned a few things. First, I need to let go of control and actually let someone else take care of my child. (Funny that I almost have an easier time of it with a babysitter than with family!) And then I’ve learned to strategize a bit. Instead of waiting until the moment when I need or want the help, I try to prepare for it in advance. I’ll say something like, “Tomorrow I’d like to work on my lesson plans in the afternoon.” Then the next afternoon, it just kind of happens – I leave Aleksander in good hands and slip away to my office. For this visit, I got even bolder. I just started making appointments: the hair dresser, the doctor, the massage therapist, yoga class, etc. I had an email from my father-in-law the week before they arrived, so I was able to respond and give them a heads-up that I was going to take full advantage of their visit. It’s going great! I’m getting out of the house, and I know Aleksander is in good hands. And they’re loving all the time they get to spend with him.

Question: How do you deal with your in-law issues?

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