I anticipate many visitors when the twins arrive in May. Most will be local friends who have kids so newborns most likely won’t intimidate them. I pray they will pity us and heed our desperate yet proudly silent cries for help. The visitor I’m most looking forward to is my BFF since I was six years old who will come for a few days in the very beginning to help out. She has taught me so much by example. She has three kids and is a pro at poopage scoopage, spitup cleanup, and the one-handed swaddle. She is more of a sister than a friend and is the only person I would be OK with camping out on our sofa in those first few chaotic and messy days.
Our space is so limited. We are currently renting an 1,100 sq. foot house with two bedrooms and one impossibly narrow bathroom. It is crowded enough with me, my husband, son, dogs, home office, and my stockpiling ways…G-d only knows how we will fit two more babies into the mix, much less house guests. Yet my BFF is the kind of gal that doesn’t make it more crowded. Somehow, she lightens the load, clears the space, and lifts my spirits. I can nurse, wear ratty PJs, and be covered in baby gunk in front of her without worrying about how smelly, unshowered, overtired, cranky, and generally unfit for polite company I am. With her that’s OK. She is family. She is a mom. She KNOWS.
We don’t have any relatives around and that will be difficult as we could use as much help as we can get. Unfortunately, there are huge challenges that will probably prevent my parents from making the trip. My mother and father wish they could travel from British Columbia to visit for two weeks, but I just don’t think it’s feasible. You see, my mother is in her 60’s and my father is going on 87. There are no direct flights here and it takes almost an entire day for them from door to door. The fact my dad is willing to do the trip to see my newborn children makes me so proud. But after much thought, I don’t think it’s the right thing for him, my mom, or for us. At home, he stays busy with exercise classes, friends, and poker at the senior’s center. I am worried that here, he will be bored. Aiven is a whirling dervish who doesn’t sit still for more than a minute (unless Dora or Thomas is on TV), and he does not sit and engage with anyone for very long. As for the babies…well, my dad can hold them when they are sleeping, but probably not when they are fussy, and changing diapers isn’t really his specialty to put it mildly. He won’t have his things nearby and our kitchen is small and unfamiliar to him. Getting up and helping yourself to something in the fridge in infinitely more difficult when you don’t know where anything is and there’s a flurry of babies, toddler, and exhausted parents running around.
My mom wants to help us out, but really, she needs to take care of my dad. I also don’t think that newborns are her thing. They’re not very interactive, and I think she’ll get bored. On the other hand, with some hand-holding, I think she could cook, do laundry, and take care of Aiven. And if they only stay for a week, perhaps my dad’s brain and legs won’t atrophy too badly from bingeing on TV. Since every little bit helps, it’s hard to reject my mom’s help, especially when I want my parents to meet their new grandchildren. But there’s one more intractable problem that makes their visit impossible: my dad did not like the cheap motel near our house that he stayed in last time, and nicer accommodations are further away and more expensive. They don’t drive here and we won’t be able to schlep them back and forth. I love that they want to come and help, but the logistics are just too complicated, at least for now. Something has got to give: either we move into a bigger house, my mom visits alone, everyone relaxes their standards/expectations, or our financial situation improves so we can pay for the luxuries to make their trip and visit more convenient. In the meantime, we’ll have to rely on Skype and try to figure out a compromise. I am sensitive to my dad’s age and limitation, and I want him to touch and hold his grandchildren as soon as possible. I have enough fears that I am not going to hack it as a mother and now I feel inadequate as a daughter as well.
10 thoughts on “Visitors Welcome. Please Wait To Be Seated.”
Cara darling. You are so sweet! Your comments made me smile on the inside and out. But, I don’t want to hear you use the word inadequate to describe yourself. That word is not one that describes you. You are more the type that comes across challenges and then like a great problem solver, you are able to come up with solutions. Perhaps your “fears” are getting you so worked up that you will make them all realities. Dare I say “chill out”? Yes, having babies is scary, and I can’t even imagine twins, but I know you, I know your husband, and I know you have some close friends nearby. I am certain that everyone will pitch in to help. If your parents come, your father will have pure joy from just watching Aiven do the whirling Dervish thing. With your dad going on 87, you should embrace that they are willing and able to make the journey out to be with you. If you delay their visit until you think there might be a better time, the “right time” sometimes doesn’t happen. Have them come while I am there, and I can help distract them from driving you crazy! I have experience. Again, I need to tell you to stop letting the fears get you so worked up – RELAX. The more relaxed you are, the better everything will go.
Have you considered a postpartum doula for a little while after the twins arrive, just to help you adjust? I think insurance sometimes covers some hours (or you could “register” for one).
First of all, you are SO CUTE! I love that belly picture.
Secondly, I didn’t have an older child (to add to the madness) when I had my twins and my parents do live closeby, so please take this with a grain of salt. I will tell you this – you are absolutely right in the thinking that your dad (at his age) needs to be home in a setting that is familiar to him and that your mom’s primary job should be to take care of him. My parents were 74 (Dad) and 65 (Mom) when my twins were born and whenever my mom spent more than a few hours at my house, it just created stress for everyone because we worried about what my dad was doing – my husband once went over to their house to check on him and found that my dad had, in the time that my mom was at our house with me, taken a ladder and gone up on the roof to fix the roof shingles that hubby told Dad that he (hubby) would do. On the few occasions that my dad came with my mom to our house, it just created endless havoc because my dad would wander my house, completely bored. To add to the madness, my dog hates my dad and would bark nonstop.
Take the first few weeks alone to get into a good routine and schedule. Let your husband take your older child while you get to know your new babies. This is YOUR time; let everything else go. Who cares if your house is a mess and if your husband is feeding your other kid nothing but hot dogs and grilled cheese? If your friends offer, tell them that the best thing they could do is make meals so that you can make sure that your husband and your older child are well fed.
Embrace this time. It’s crazy and you will feel desperate, but as the cliche goes, the time goes by really quickly and pretty soon, it will all be a blur.
(I put together a 10 commandments of twin moms that I gave to a friend of mine who is also expecting twins in May. I will try to send it to you and/or give Michelle a copy to forward.)
First – thanks for the lovely comment on my belly pic 🙂
Thank you so much for writing and sharing your story. Your advice is great and I do think in the end, my Dad won’t visit for a couple of months.
Would LOVE to see your 10 commandments of twins!
That is a really tough situation. The only thing that I can really offer is that when they do eventually visit, trying to shop around on some sites like Priceline for good deals on hotels. A lot of times people forget to do that when looking for hotels nearby because they think of it as more for vacations. If you found a nicer place at an affordable rate, your dad would at least be able to work out or use the pool to keep up his physical activity. And maybe even looking into a bingo night or something like that at a local senior center would make sense.
I definitely don’t think that you are being a bad daughter by asking them to wait! It sounds quite the opposite to me – you are concerned about their well-being and the inconveniences and difficulties of traveling on them, and you know that you can’t be as good of a host when you are trying to adjust to your new life as mom to infant twins. To me, that is the opposite of selfish.
And I totally remember those first days as a new mom when we had lots of company. When the baby fell asleep mid-visit, I would sometimes just say “well, I have to go take a nap now. See you later” and crash!
I remember with my fist I would fall asleep while nursing! Maybe if that happens when guests are over they will take a hint? 🙂
Wow, I can really relate to this post. I jus had my second son, and my in-laws live in Michigan. They came to visit less than two weeks after my first son was born and stayed at the house for about two weeks. As a first time mom of a colicky baby, I was so stressed out during the visit, I don’t think anyone had a good time. This time, I requested that the visitor delayed until I felt comfortable with the new baby. While it was hard for my husband to understand my need for space and for him to talk to family about this, ultimately it was the best thing. I felt selfish for asking for the visit to be delayed, but after much soul searching, I decided I HAD to put my needs and my baby’s needs first. When the visit finally happened (one month post partum), I was able to enjoy the visit and be the kind of hostess I wanted to be. While our situations are not exactly the same, I think it takes courage to ask for what you need after a baby comes and it makes you a great daughter for caring about your family enough to consider these logistics. Good luck to you on your impending arrivals!! I have always wanted twins!
Thank you for sharing. I’ll write about how it all works it out in the end 🙂 (I hope!)
Oh honey, purge the term inadequate from your vocabulary! It sounds like the first days (weeks) at home are not the best time for your parents to visit, and that is totally understandable. But what a blessing that you have a BFF like yours, and that she’s coming to help! If you feel like you’re going to need more help, maybe try sending out an email to your friends/co-workers/hubby’s friends now, letting them know what would look like help to you after the babies come (drop off a casserole, take your older child out, walk the dogs, come by to do light cleaning, whatever). I think people often really want to help, but they don’t know what would be helpful, and what looks like help is different for different families. Or, write the email but wait to send it out til after the babies come, since YOU might not even know what help looks like til then (or, it might be different from what you think now). Good luck!
Your first line of your comment is great advice! Thank you!