I'm planning family visits for May after out first LO is born. With my DH being disabled, my mom will be staying for a week after delivery to help us out.
My SIL offered to come and help too, so we are trying to coordinate dates now since I'll be induced at 39 weeks. I'd like to have her come right after my mom leaves. She just emailed me today saying that she'd like to bring her toddler (about 20 months) if possible because she doesn't want to be away from her too long.
I'd love to say yes, because we love our nieces and they live all the way on the west coast, but I'm worried. I'm not super worried about germs and I'd be tempted to say that it's fine as long as my niece is vaccinated, but....
I'm also worried that having the toddler around will be too chaotic for us in the early days of having a newborn. Our house is small and we only have 2 bedrooms. The 2nd bedroom is the baby's room. Although he will sleep in our room, I'll need access to the changing table in his room.
What would you do in this situation? Let SIL bring the toddler? Tell her it's too much and risk that she may not be able to come? Something else?
honeydew / 7283 posts
I love my toddler, but I hardly even wanted her here when we were bringing her baby brother home (kidding, sort of). I think it would definitely be too much to have another toddler around. In my mind it would be hard for everyone (including your niece).
Just my opinion though! I know that I'm kind of uptight and would want to cut down on the potential difficulties. Someone who is more easygoing might be fine with it!
papaya / 10343 posts
I would say no personally (not no she can't bring her child, but no perhaps she ought not to come at all and she can visit later with the child when everyone is a bit more settled in... because I do think her wanting to not leave her 20 mo old for that long is totally reasonable. I just think that you not wanting to have a 20 mo old in your apartment is also reasonable).
We had my MIL and SIL and 18mo nephew stay with us for 10 days when I was 3 weeks pp and it was sort of awful to be honest. I mean, it was great to see them all, and I'm glad they got to meet LO... but it was horribly stressful. It's really hard to travel with a toddler and my SIL obviously couldn't bring all the toys and foods and stuff he was used to. So just to get him SORT OF okay when they got here there had to be several shopping trips for toys and foods and whatnot. Plus he got sick on the way here so he showed up with diarrhea. Then he came down with a cold the 2nd day which he then passed on to all of us (our 3 week old included). Plus our house was not at all toddler-proofed which made it really hard for our SIL to keep him from killing himself or destroying our house. Basically she spent 100% of her time trying to keep him happy/safe and my MIL spent about 75% of her time trying to help SIL with the toddler. So we had 3 guests and lots of germs and toddler noises and very little help.
And it wasn't so much that I needed/expected help... it was just that having guests at 3 weeks pp was stressful anyways and then add in those other factors and it was sort of just a mess. I don't think it was anyone's fault at all.... I just think that bringing a toddler into a brand new not baby-proofed environment without a lot of familiar things is really hard and made it a stressful week all around.
wonderful grape / 20453 posts
Your SIL probably won't be much help if she's chasing a 20 month old around, frankly. Can she just come for a few days? Or is that too long for her to be away from her kid? I don't think it's a big deal to be apart from her kid, but uh...*shrug* i travel for work sometimes and it's NBD, too
I would have been hella freaking overwhelmed having a toddler and a 2 week old baby. No. no no no no no.
In my experience, no help is better than "help". And this sounds like a "help" situation.
kiwi / 635 posts
I have a 20 month old and she's a handful. I would have trouble caring for my toddler and trying to help out a new mom.
On a side note, my daughter is also fully vaccinated yet very good at passing along germs to us so I would be concerned about that too.
honeydew / 7283 posts
@danda: good point about the toddler germs. We're all fully vaccinated over here, but you can't vaccinate against most of the yuck that my daughter carries around.
squash / 13208 posts
I would worry less about the germs and more about the fact that a 20 month old will need to be kept occupied by her mom so..... how will she have time to help you?
Can she make the trip shorter and come alone?
watermelon / 14467 posts
Toddler germs are no joke, but like others have said, I'd be more concerned with her spending a lot of time caring for the toddler and not being able to help you.
pear / 1750 posts
@MrsF: I agree with you, it does sound overwhelming! I'm pretty much a control freak in my house and I try to keep a structured routine at home. Caring for DH is already like caring for another kid - he needs his meals, meds, and bedtime routine on schedule. That's what I need help with.
@Mae: Oh man that sounds awfully stressfull! Good point about baby proofing, my house definitely is not. It shouldn't be too hard to install a few cabinet locks and outlet covers, but I can't imagine the 2 of us trying to keep a toddler occupied, a newborn content, and helping my DH in the bathroom all at once.
@blackbird: She does travel for work quite a bit, which is why this came up. She said the toddler was really sad when she was gone for 3 days recently. I totally get it, but I wonder if I'd manage better on my own than with the 2 of them here.
@danda, @MrsF: good points about the germ thing. I can't imagine it would be any fun if the 3 of us get a cold
persimmon / 1129 posts
@macintosh: I think it depends on the kid. Just as another view, I have a 19 month old who is pretty quiet and can be content looking at books or coloring for a long time. Obviously she still requires a lot of attention, but if your niece is like that, your SIL could still be helpful.
Do you have the kind of relationship with your SIL that you can just say to her what you posted on here? I think you worded your concerns really well, and she's probably the best suited to be able to come up with a solution with you.
wonderful grape / 20453 posts
@macintosh: then her toddler's really going to be upset when mom's attention is diverted to you and a new baby Maybe she can come like...a month later, then. Ugh i'm stressed out for you. And i'm going to be in this boat in a couple months, with my own toddler, let alone someone else's!!!!!!!
nectarine / 2631 posts
@blackbird: this exactly! that kind of "help" isn't helpful!
pear / 1750 posts
@My Only Sunshine: Yeah, I'll definitely share my concerns with her. I just wanted to get some feedback to make sure I wasn't concerned over nothing. Her daughter is pretty calm, but she is very clingy to her mom.
@blackbird: You are so right! Like I said above, the younger niece was very clingy to her mom the last time I saw her. That said, I know my SIL is great at multitasking. The last 2 times we visited she brought her kid over to our hotel and helped me get DH ready and pack everything up, while keeping the kid in line too. On the other hand, one of the things I needed her to do is take DH to physical therapy. I can't imagine that would be easy to do with a toddler. Would she take her with (would she have a car seat to use?). Would she leave her with me and my LO?
When my mom was here this past weekend, it was great to have someone around to help, but I did get easily irritated when she wasn't doing things the "right" way. I've been doing my own thing for a long time now. I do all the chores, not even DH can help much. I'm starting to think it's better for me to be solo with DH and the newborn than to introduce more chaos. It will be tough, but I'll have to do it eventually. I'm even more stressed out about DH's parents coming. They need a lot of handling, which is why I'm encouraging them to stay in a hotel.
GOLD / wonderful coconut / 33402 posts
How can she help if she is looking after her toddler the whole time?
pomegranate / 3230 posts
It's really serious if a newborn gets a fever before the 2mo meningitis vaccine. I would keep a toddler away from my newborn for that reason alone.
pomegranate / 3314 posts
I'm pretty laid back about family visiting, but this would make me uneasy. I have a toddler and I am all too familiar with the chaos they often bring in their wake.
grapefruit / 4418 posts
Any way you can hire a postpartum doula to help? I think you will want help while you're recovering, but I don't know if you'll find that the options you have lined up will provide the help an support you're looking for. All my "help" wanted to do was hold the baby! Just be sure you are upfront about what you expect them to do and then hold them to it!
persimmon / 1363 posts
@macintosh: is it possible for her to hold off booking and play it by ear? It's hard to know what you might need, and what your baby will be like and whether you'll want visitors, and what kind of visitors you find helpfull, etc. until you have a bit of time to know what parenting is like. I didn't really need help since the baby was always asleep and had a hard time with my hormones and just being irritated by visitors in the really early weeks, but by about 4 weeks I was super bored and would have been thrilled to have a SIL and toddler to hang out with.
pear / 1696 posts
@macintosh: If you're not too worried about germs then I would let her bring the toddler and just set up a changing station in your room or in the living room.
When my LO was born we lived in a tiny 2 bdrm house, my mom stayed with us and slept in the baby's room. Baby was sleeping in our room anyway, so we just had a changing area set up temporarily in the living room.
papaya / 10560 posts
I guess it kind of depends on how helpful your SIL is and how well-behaved the toddler is. My oldest was 17 months when LO2 was born and he learned excellent helping skills and was never awful to watch him and the baby. We have a 2 bedroom though too, and the thought of an extra two people staying in our already small house would be the hardest part.
pear / 1599 posts
My DD is 26 months old and i just had DS he is now 3 weeks. DH has been home to help and has been consumed with taking care of DD. So I would say no, I know the extra help is great and you have your DH to take care of too not just your newborn. But from my recent experience it was and still is at times difficult to have DD here. It's everything from her wanting to touch, help, the meltdowns, everything is harder. I love her and wouldn't change a thing but the newborn days were more enjoyable when I had DD and didn't have a toddler running around.
persimmon / 1316 posts
I think I would opt for her not coming at all over her coming with your niece. I don't really think that sounds helpful at all. Your SIL will be busy watching after her most the time and I just think the toddler would add more chaos to the house. And germs is always a factor too.
Would she be offended if you told her you weren't comfortable with that?