New mums or anyone going through stress need good people who help in ways that dont add stress.
I'd like as many hints as possible from your experiences good and bad of how to be a good support person, mother, mother in law, grandmother,
things to do and not do .
we need so much diplomacy, patience, listening, thick skins, wisdom, to help and not get hurt and not hurt and prevent or clear misunderstandings, and keep the atmosphere light and not stressful and not add stress to parents who are going through hard times.
all hints welcome pls.
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10-07-2012 13:53 #1Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
hints pls re how to be a good support person, mother, mother in law.
20-07-2012 21:47 #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2012
What a lovely, thoughtful question. You obviously have a good deal of self insight - the very fact that you're alive to the effect you can have (both positive and negative) is brilliant.
My family relationships are all quite challenging, so I hope my thoughts don't come across as overly negative. You sound like you'll be a wonderful grandparent - if I'm honest, I'm a little jealous!
When I was a new mum, MIL seemingly constantly regaled us with her own experience, qualifying all comments with "I had 4 kids", "we've done it all before you know", and the like. Those comments just made me shut down - it felt like she knew all and I knew nothing. I know she didn't mean it that way, but it made me feel small and that made things harder.
I know she's done it before. I get it, I respect it. But DS is my and DH's child, and we needed to find our own way. Every parent does. There is definitely a time for grandparents to share their experience - but early on may not be the right time. I think if MIL had backed off a little, I might have felt more able to ask for her opinion or support.
The other thing is that things have changed. A lot of what happened 30 years ago (in MIL's case) has moved on. Just because it was right then, doesn't mean its still favoured now. A good example is the knowledge and information now available about SIDS which just didn't exist in generations past. Again, MIL was quick to scoff at some of the things we were doing with our newborn and it was awkward for me to find a way to tell her we'd been instructed to do them that way by our doctor/midwives/lactation consultants, and so we were following their advice - MIL got quite offended. I really meant no offence!
I guess for me, the best thing my parents/their partners and parents in law could have done for me as a new mum was be gentle and give me time to find my own way. If not, then I'd have come to them - but them coming to me was often information overload.
I hope you and your family enjoy the ride!
21-07-2012 18:23 #3
I think ricepudding has given you some wonderful advice.
My mother annoys me so much with my children it has definately affected our relationship. It annoys me how my mother constantly questions what I do with my children. So I think by just agreeing and supporting the new mother and father. Just smile, nod, agree and sympathise. Dont offer advice unless asked. Tell them they are doing a wonderful job.
Ask if there is anything you can do, especially if its not baby related. Offer to help with other things, not just holding the baby. Cook meals, tidy up, hang washing, gardening, what ever it is that you would feel comfortabl doing.
Meet and greet the parents first, we appreciate that. Alot of people only have eyes for the baby when you first meet them, its like the parents are invisible.
Please organise a time that suits the parents if you are going to see them, and give them plenty of warning too.
Is this the sort of thing you were after?
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21-07-2012 18:59 #4
My sister once said new mums don't want you to take the baby to give you a break. They want you to do the cooking/cleaning so they can cuddle their baby. Summed up how I felt. Lots of offers to help with the baby but I really wanted someone to unstuck the dishwasher!
21-07-2012 19:18 #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2012
I wish I could bottle my mum and share her with every first time mum out there!!
I'm now preg with baby 3 and she is amazing! Baby 1 was such a steep learning curve for me but it was for her too because things were so different in her day. Instead of scoffing that we survived she re educated herself and travelled the journey with me.
When I got hung up on (what I know realise are little and unimportant things) she supported me to find out the information I needed to know.
Things that she would usually be incredibly sceptical of (baby chiro) she is now a full convert.
She would come to the house fold washing, clean the kitchen, sit on my bed and watch tv while I had a snooze. She would bring food and make me a yummy lunch.
Now preg with baby 3 ... And having a few complications this time around (so lots of specialist appts) I walk in her house and write all my appts on her calendar so she can babysit my kids!
This isn't to say we don't disagree but it is just he unconditional support to help me find my way as a mum.
21-07-2012 19:32 #6
The best things my mum did when I had a newborn were:
- tell me I was doing a great job, regularly.
- drop off delicious food regularly. Having dinner cooked for us made such a difference but she even brought the occasional lunch which was just as necessary!
- at 3 weeks she made me a hair appointment and watched my DD for an hour while I had some much needed 'me time'.
- listened to me relay every feed of the night for a good 6 months and acted interested.
As my children have grown, things have been strained on and off because she doesn't fully respect that I am their mother and do everything in my power to do it well. I would suggest that you pick your battles and try not to make off the cuff comments that might belittle your child or their partner. Keep up the encouragement because parenting is a hard gig and people with young children need support and love and kindness, not judgement and criticism.
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