“She was a HUGE help!”
Genevieve and I were sitting in her living room; her two older children – Jimmy, age 3 and Annie, age 2 – taking afternoon naps down the hall. Penny, her newborn, was quickly transferred into my waiting arms after I set up the digital recorder and put it in-place. This “writing about MILS & DILS” adventure sure has its perks!
Her MIL had spent 10 days with the family helping out just after Penny’s birth and Genny was eager to share about the experience. I mistakenly thought that she would be rolling her eyes and complaining, venting and sharing all the annoyances of the visit. Was I surprised!
“Did you invite her?” I asked, remembering my own experiences with my MIL and newborn babies.
“No. I got to the point where I realized I really needed help. I was thinking it was going to be a real challenge. She’s a teacher. So, it’s really hard for her to get time off during the school year. So, I didn’t think it was possible. So, I didn’t ask”
When Genny’s MIL casually offered, Genny eagerly accepted. She talked about how their relationship had grown over the years , how she had gotten over a lot of her insecurities, had become humble enough to ask for and accept help instead of feeling “invaded”. She recognized that it would be challenging to care for three children under 4 years of age, right after childbirth.
“We planned that she would come after the baby’s birth and after Sean’s paternity leave from work. I’m sure she would have preferred to come when he was here, also, so that she could visit with him, but she knew that that’s when I would need the most help.”
“She slept on the futon right there” pointing to the couch on which I was perched.
“If I had the opportunity, I wouldn’t care where I slept!” I blurted out, looking down at Penny’s tiny, sleeping form.
“That’s what she said! I asked if she was sure … but she loved it because Jimmy would get up at night and climb into her bed and cuddle with her and she loved that. He did, too. She was worried that Jimmy wouldn’t be able to sleep after she went back home.
“Yeah, but don’t tell her that!”
The end of the 10-day visit was Easter, and so more relatives came over to celebrate. “A week would have been enough, if the rest of the family hadn’t come.”
Sounds like there’s a limit to the amount of “MIL help” that can graciously be received at one time. And that offering and accepting help often has wonderful results! I’m storing those thoughts in the “Remember this!” brain file!