‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

Sharing an email.

Two questions:

1. Do Working Dads share these concerns?

2. Why is this expectation of care-giving from grandparents – (more from paternal grand parents I think), so common? Is it because the paternal grand parents are seen as having more rights on the grand children? Can this be also compared to the higher expectations from sons (from the Shravan Kumars via their wives) than from the Paraya Dhan (daughters)?

And because,

An update: “My friend is having the baby because her mother absolutely refused to support her decision to abort.”

“…and every month if my periods get delayed I am given a weird look and it clearly shows that she is afraid i might get pregnant again.”

An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

Hi IHM,

I am in a dilemma. Pls read my story. I am a working mother of two kids. We live in a joint family (My In laws, husband, myself and two kids). My inlaws take good care of my kids while I go to work.
My kids are very fond of their grand parents.
I have 2 SILs who are married and well settled.
We are generally a happy family and contented with what we have.

Now here comes the life changing decision everyone has made.
My MIL is having a very bad time according to her horoscope and she has to live separately from her son as told by the astrologer.

So it is decided by everyone that we move out of house and settle in a different part of the city !!! I am greatly confused and shocked hearing this. My kids are sooo affectionate toeards their GPs….I donno how they will cope without them….
I am also worried how I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical / moral support….
Ladies out there…Kindly advice….

WorkingMother

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67 thoughts on “‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

  1. Dear LW,
    Is there a possibility that you move to different houses very close by? Like in the same buliding/same apartment / in 1 km radius distance so that either of you can drop off the kids at your inlaws’ place & pick them back from work.Talk to your husband that you will find this difficult to manage, and share the responsibilities/chores.It might be difficult for the kids and the family initially, but eventually it’ll get better.We all take time to adapt to change right?If you cannot stay close by, perhaps a day care is a good option?Does your profession/job allow you to work from home? Don’t worry, things will get better soon :) , but try to be patient and calm through this phase so that you don’t end up getting frustrated/depressed.
    Hope u find these links helpful
    http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1049816/parents-tips-how-to-successfully-manage-work-and-family-life
    http://www.parents.com/parenting/work/life-balance/moms-balance-work-family/
    coping with change-
    http://alidavies.com/how-to-manage-sudden-change-in-your-life-and-work/#.Ur6ajfQW2So

  2. 1. I am sure there are working dads that do however, I think, the majority are not as concerned. Women feel a greater responsibility for such matters. Maybe men would if women did not p

  3. I feel that it’s not right to expect grandparents to take care of grandchildren on a daily basis. They have done their bit and should now be able to live their lives as they see fit. This may be a good thing for the letter writer – she will finally have to grow up and manage her life and responsibilities.

  4. The way most people in the modern world manage! Children love their grandparents based on how grand parents respond, not only if they all live together.

    From the grand parent’s point of view, while it is nice to have time with grand kids, no responsibility and only pleasure, et al, it seems pretty unfair to expect them to be a major day care provider. What about what they’d like to do in their lives? Shouldn’t it be their choice to pitch in without expectations? Paternal or maternal!

  5. In my case I wanted to be left alone so i could look after my children. My husband’s extended family stayed with us and considered me their personal slave who was born just to serve them. You are lucky to have inlaws who have no expectations from you. But remember they might be getting tired looking after the children. After all they are growing old and might be needing their afternoon rest. Look for some other solution for childcare. You can always meet up on holidays if it is okay with them.

  6. If the separation is temporary — (Get a creche) / (Babysitting help) / (Aaya to do other work while u look after the kids)
    If more “permanent” — above three + boarding school is an option ( if you can stomach sending your kids away )
    There of course is always the option of either of the parents/ both reducing workload to concentrate on the kids , though i assume that is not the case.
    Now IHM’s Q’s :
    1. It really depends on the Father & on the situation
    2. In my observations within my family, when both the husband and wife are working, they need help with the kids. This usually turns out to be the paternal grandparents because they usually stay with their son’s, and also because in many cases its not financially feasible to get hired help for this work.
    3 As for the shravan kumar thing , it may be true in many cases, though i also have noticed many times, the maternal grandparents also helping out.

    • I believe that most grandparents would love to be a part of the growing up of their grandchildren’s lives, and would want to pitch in in whatever ways they could. But I’m sure nobody would want to be taken advantage of and treated like scum.

  7. In every adverse situation, there are hidden opportunities.
    Meet the situation head on and avail of the opportunities.

    Your choices are:

    1)Ignore the astrologer and see what happens. You will get an opportunity to test the validity of this prediction. I can assure you nothing will happen. I have faced plenty of these kinds dire predictions and nothing happened. I have faced plenty of dire situations that were never predicted.

    2)If your mil is too blinded by faith, then do what many fence sitters do.(These fence sitters are those who don’t wholly believe in astrology but also dare not totally disbelieve.) Cheat the stars! Go by the letter, and ignore the spirit! There are plenty of precedents in our scriptures. You must have heard of Maanglik girls being married to trees. They cut the tree and kill it. So the astrological prediction of the girl losing her husband due to his death is fulfilled. The girl is then properly married and everyone lives happily ever after!

    So go literally by the words of the astrologer. He has merely said “she has to live separately from her son”. “separately” is not defined exactly. So you define it to suit your convenience. Let your husband take another room close by (say, another small flat or room in the same building) and move out tempororarily, till the stars say it is okay to move back. The whole family need not move out. If you dare to be even more liberal in your interpretation stay in the same house but see that your husband never enters your mother in laws room and vice versa till the astrologer gives the all clear signal. After all, just where do you draw the line? Do you need to go to another city? Do you need to go to another country to fulfill the astrological requirement of living separately? So draw the line where it is most convenient. These devout and blind believers need some straw to clutch. This idea will do. There may be other straws too to clutch. Ask and find out.

    All this is of course silly, but silly predictions (in my opinion) need silly responses.

    3)If your mil and all of you will have none of this and you wish to take this prediction really seriously, then treat this as an opportunity to really grow. Lots of working couples with children manage to live without their parents living with them to take care of the grandchildren. Ask them how they manage. For every problem there are solutions. Steel yourself and become tough. Your children will also learn to take care of themselves.

    All the best
    Regards
    GV

    • GVJi, it is obvious that the MIL is getting tired and feels she is being taken for granted by her DIL. The LW seems to be an unreasonable brat who has been used to the goodness shown by her inlaws. She feels it is her right and the MIL’s duty to look after her children. She needs to change her attitude. Then probably with this change in attitude, the inlaws might start helping her with her work again…though I wonder…but one can always hope.

      • Hi Bhagi….No I have never been unreasonable….I do all chores -> cooking, packing food for myself, wash and dry clothes and get my kids ready for play school etc….and even feed my kids meal in the morning and then go for work….I am more concerned about the separation anxiety my kids will undergo….

        • That is something that children will have to learn in life, isn’t it? People move, get separated, that is part of life. Children get adjusted very fast to new surroundings. It is not the end of the world. But if you are anxious THAT anxiety will be picked up by the children.

      • Thanks Bhagi for responding to my comment.
        I feel differently about this.

        Since I don’t know this family personally, I would assume that the facts of the case are as stated by the Letter writer. I would not assume that the Letter writer ” is an unreasonable brat. and that the MIL is getting tired and feels she is being taken for granted.”

        She has clearly stated that they are a happy family and I will believe it.
        I will also readily believe that the MIL is genuinely affected by astrological fears. It is quite common among people of our age groups.

        My advice was based on these assumptions.

        I agree with your earlier comment that that “most grandparents would love to be a part of the growing up of their grand-children’s lives, and would want to pitch in in whatever ways they could”

        For your information, we (wife and I) are ourselves such grandparents.
        We had almost give up hope of becoming grandparents.
        We had to wait for 11 years after my daughter’s marriage for the arrival of our first grandchild last year and my wife and I are now, willingly here in California, at our daughter and son in law’s invitation, to help them cope up with the pressures of parenthood, since both are busy career professionals.

        From 7 am to 7 pm we are busy managing the household and also taking care of the child. We don’t feel exploited in any way and we are doing this job (not duty) with great pleasure, even though it is rather strenuous for us at our age.

        In this we are fortunate to have the full cooperation of my son in law’s parents too and between us we are taking turns to be here in California for 6 months at a time (the maximum period we can stay on a tourist visa) to help the couple. This arrangement will continue till the child is old enough to be sent to day care centers and pre-shcools.

        Not that my daughter and son in law are hopelessly dependent on us to take care of the child. Lots of couples take the help of nannies and if we had declined this invitation, they would have no other choice but to get a nanny. Or else one of them would have had to give up the job and stay at home.

        But, here in California, a nanny costs anywhere from US$1600 and upwards to hire for just 8 hours a day, and since we, the four grandparents are not doing anything in particular in our retired lives at Bangalore, we are more than willing to pitch in, enjoy the job, and also save the couple a good sum of money.

        The only danger in this arrangement is that our little grandson is getting totally pampered!

        Regards
        GV

  8. As far as I have seen, both maternal and paternal grandparents help out. Be it couples in India or anywhere abroad. So in my experiences, the 2nd point about Shravan Kumar, doesnt make sense to me.

    • I agree, my maternal grandmother took care of me and my brother when my mom worked because my paternal grandparents were dead.

      Although I think this is a feminist issue. It is the grandmother not grandfather who is expected to take care of grandchildren. While the grandfather enjoys retirement and old age women continue working and slogging away till they die; taking care of children is not an easy task especially in old age.

      • I know of a joint family where the MIL took care of everything…cooking, supervising the part time maid, opening the door for everyone, putting away dishes, entertaining guests, hanging wet clothes, removing dry clothes, folding them, taking care of grandchildren right from when they were infants till they started going to college….you name it, she did it. The son and DIL went to work. They were doing nobody a favor by working. The money was their’s to keep. The grandfather too pitched in with household duties. Then the MIL fell ill….her health went downhill and she started sinking. When she died I rang up the FIL to express my grief. What he told me, saddened me. He said “now she has found her peace”.

        Now the couple is growing old. Their children must have seen how parents are treated. Wonder what awaits them in their old age!

        • It is a lesson for parents especially parents of boys. Teach them to help at home. Because parents expect only sons to live with them even after getting married. Or give up on those expectations. Ask them to be on their own, let them set up their own house, manage their own life and not interfere in their reproductive decisions. If they feel they can’t manage kids they might not want to have them. And when they are at work can they come back to open doors, fold clothes and attend guests? Whose guests are they anyways?

      • I have seen both grandfather and grandmother, be it any side, take care of the kids equally…. And as much as I have seen, grandfathers do much more active physical stuff like playing, taking kids out, dropping or picking up from school/playground, etc….. So I will not agree to any gender bias in this area…. All stems from my own personal experience and from what I have seen in urban working households…..

  9. First of all, it’s not very nice of you to expect an old couple to look after your children, having whom was your and your husband’s decision alone. This is not their job, so thus far, you have been imposing upon them.

    Now please return back to the normal world, and consult the other primary caregiver for your children, your husband. Why on earth are you putting this question out for strangers? Have you spoken to your husband? There are plenty of ways to work around this problem. There are child care places where you can leave your children, maybe you and your husband can work overlapping shifts for a few years, or maybe one of you can even take a small break from work.

    Leave your in-laws out of this equation as this is none of their business. Your children will survive in their affection for their grandchildren without you taking advantage of their presence. I have plenty of affection for my own grandparents and I’ve never lived in the same house as them. I am sorry but you just come across as self centred, selfish and opportunistic in your post. This problem is yours and your husband’s so please consult with him on the various options available for child care without having to impose on two old people who are past the age of running after toddlers.

    • I totally agree. Children is the parents (MOM AND DAD) responsibility, they need to figure it out together.
      Letter writer, I really feel like your MIL is trying to get out of it because she may be exhausted. How old is she?

  10. You may also want to consider that your mother in law is just being nice and finding a non-controversial way to get out of caring for children. It sounds like a plot to me, and you had better take the hint.

  11. “I am also worried how I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical / moral support….”

    Errrm….like a gazillion working poeple do?? Daycare, nanny, split the responsibilities between you and ur husband?? Pretty sure these solutions aren’t rocket science-y…its the pretty obvious way to go!

    Why is this even a “dilemma”…? When you had kids, was it with the assumption ur in laws would take care of them? I’m sure people will jump up to assume that the dad will contribute nothing to this supposedly extremely challenging situation. But, please, lets not jump to conclusions. The LW has said they lead a happy. contented life, so i am prone to believe the husband does not suffer from the shravan kumar syndrome.

    Also, in most families around me the maternal and paternal parents pitch in equally (or depending on the physical proximity to the families). I know many of my married cousins/friends in the US have both sets of in laws over alternatively. Similarly, in India, i have seen both sets of parents visit their kids families equally. The reason, in this case, the paternal grandparents were so attached to kids was coz they all lived together (which wasn’t an evil thing as they happily lived together).

    The real issue that needs to be addressed in this letter is that the LW & her husband seem to have gotten used to comforts and conveniences of a joint family, with someone else taking on the responsibility of their kids / chores. And now when its time to get independent and shoulder these responsibilities, she (and probably her husband) are getting nervous.

    I do not see how the shravan kumar and paraya dhan angle fits in here!

  12. Having family help with children is a privilege, not a right. They are your children, not your in-laws. Figure out how to raise them on your own.

  13. :) I have nuffink new to add, just All the Best.

    Secondly, pls don’t assume lack of physical and moral support. Please talk about how everyone is going to deal with the new situation. The grandparents will miss the children as much, if not more. you will have to do a lot more as a couple, and the children will have to deal with a lot else.

    You may find solutions coming thick and fast as all of you sit down to brainstorm on how everyone is going to deal with the change, and what the change means to them.

    • Day care (with CCTV) would be safer than a live-in maid. At least there are more than one grown up, a deterrent against any harm to the child.

  14. I don’t think it’s fair for the working couple to leave child care to grandparents. I also think it’s good for you and your kids if you are closely involved in their upbringing.
    There are many ways in which working couples manage, without turning grandparents into nannies. Here are some ways we managed when we both worked full time –
    – I would leave early for work, while he gave the kids breakfast, dropped them off at school, then went to work a bit later. I would return early from work, so I could give them their after school lunch, help with homework, and get dinner started (with my husband coming home much later).
    – One of us would work for a company that is flexible, allows working from home, while the other could work for a more face time company.
    – If one of us took on a travelling job, the other one opted out of a travelling job.

    I don’t want to be judgmental here about daycare but if people have kids, I think they should spend some part of the day involved with them. So, it’s okay to use some nanny/childcare time, but make sure you also have time to be involved with your kids – talk to them, read to them, play with them, discipline them as needed, inspire them – have a positive role to play in their lives – and this applies to both the mom and dad.

  15. The letter writer did not mention in which city/country you live or the age of your children so please do not expect specific answers to your problems. You made babies now learn to take care of them. I think you just love the free baby sitting that you get from the grandparents while you go to work with a free mind and are scared to take responsibility of your kids. There are millions of working parents in India (more so in the western world) who manage kids while they are at work. Yes, i am being judgmental and my tone is a little harsh. Grandparents are not free servants. Grow up!

  16. I hate to say it, but I don’t understand how you can expect two people, two old, retired people, to take care of your children (emphasis on your)? For free, that too. I understand if it was because they offered, but honestly, why on earth would you take them up on that? Raising children is a difficult business. They’ve done it once already. Don’t they deserve some peace?

    With that being said–they are your children. You should have taken responsibility for them from the very beginning. It’s all well and good to have the help of people when you’re first starting out, and they’re quite young and in need of constant attention that working mothers often can’t provide. That is a temporary arrangement at best for a few years. But to expect that your parents will raise your children for you at the expense of their own lives is wrong. You can’t expect that of anybody.

    My advice to you would be to start by teaching your children to become self-sufficient themselves. This is an excellent opportunity for them to learn that, and it doesn’t matter how young they are. You’re never too young to take some measure of responsibility over your own life. Teach them how to cook light, simple meals that don’t involve the stove so that they can feed themselves if the need arises. Teach them how to dress themselves, pack their own school bags, and keep their rooms and living spaces tidy. Most of all, teach them that save for a few things (like monetary needs, taking them places, helping them handle dangerous things), they can’t always come running to you, their father, or either grandparent for help.

    And this is the important part–no matter what happens, do not do anything for them that they can probably do for themselves. I’m not talking about big things, but things like cleaning up their rooms, putting their clothes for laundry (not doing the laundry themselves), putting their clothes away, their morning routines, etc. Do not do these things for them. Before long, they will learn that they must start doing things for themselves if they want things done, and they will learn to be self-sufficient. This will take a big load off your back. As for them coping without their grandparents, you would be surprised at how resilient children are, and it’s not as if they cannot visit. As for moral and physical support–you have someone called a “husband” (not many people know of their existence it seems). It turns out that they come fully equipped with arms, legs, and the ability to do household chores and take care of children. Instead of relying on your in-laws, why not start relying on your husband for a change and demand that he pull his weight, if he has not been doing that already?

    • Also, it would be important to mention that you should always take time for yourself. You’re feeling overwhelmed by all these responsibilities now, and truth be told, even women who don’t have help, who seemingly manage fine, feel overwhelmed. Let’s face it, it’s a lot of stuff that you have to do. So every once in a while, remember not to be too hard on yourself. Remember that you don’t have to do everything that is ever expected of you. Remember that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes and ask that others take care of themselves every once in a while. You are a human being too. Take a deep breath. You are capable. And you can do it.

      • It is the LW who is having such unreasonable expectations. The MIL must be a pretty decent human being not to point this out.

        • I never said that she didn’t have unreasonable expectations. I simply said that assuming a new set of responsibilities that one has previously been avoiding (for whatever reason) is frightening. LW is in the wrong to expect her in-laws to care for her family and children, and she is wrong to believe that she is somehow incapable of managing without them. But, I can see that she’s also overwhelmed by all these new duties, and let’s face it, she’s probably thinking to herself that she’ll have to do everything all on her own now, with no help from her husband or her children (who are all people who need to learn how to take care of themselves and pull their weight). I was merely pointing out that while she is wrong to ask help from her in-laws (who aren’t part of her immediate family), she is not wrong to ask for help from her husband and children in taking care of domestic duties.

    • Excellent points, A. It always stumps me why people think that their parents are free babysitters. It’s okay for an emergency, but it is really not nice to expect parents to give up their old age comforts to run after YOUR children.

      My friend actually suggested to her MIL that she start supervising HER daughter’s studies as a cure to her boredom. That’s not a hobby, it’s a responsibility and not her MIL’s either! The husband does nothing, but she keeps grumbling only about her MIL refusing to take responsibility. I finally told her she was wrong to even expect such a thing.

      • “My friend actually suggested to her MIL that she start supervising HER daughter’s studies as a cure to her boredom.”

        See, it would be a different story entirely if the MIL piped up and said, “I’ll look after your daughter’s studies for you.” Or if they’d talked about it and it was a mutual decision. But you can’t expect your grandparents to look after something like that when it’s your responsibility. My grandma did it because she wanted to, since she was a retired teacher and needed someone to boss around. But if my parents had told her that it was her responsibility? She would have laughed at them and told them to stuff it.

        You cannot expect other people to raise your children for you. That is the job of two people responsible for creating said children. They’re your progeny. You have to do what is best by them, but raising them is in your hands. You cannot expect your in-laws, your parents, your television, or the rest of society to do it. If they offer to help, or if they do it out of their own free will, that’s a different story. But you can’t take that for granted and assume that they’ll do it all the time because they said yes that one time. That’s not how it works.

  17. I think this astrologer thing is an indirect way of saying that your in laws want to be relieved of the responsibility of baby sitting.. You cannot depend on them like this.. sit with your husband and sort out the baby sitting matter as many people suggested above..
    Questions by IHM :-
    1. Working dad should share this concern and sit down with the working/ SAHM to find out a solution of care giving to the child ..
    2. I do not believe that the responsibility falls on the paternal grandparents only as I have seen maternal grand parents being involved and taking responsibility also..

  18. I want to specifically comment on IHM’s question on paternal grandparents and expand it to include maternal grandparents. When I was in the US it was common to have your parents over for an extended period of time; sometimes alternating sets every six months [because of visa restrictions]. I looked at my own parents then and thought how selfish it would be for me to ask them for this. In India they are independent, have a social life and travel. In the US they would have been cooped up at home, no matter how big and luxurious it was, depending on me to drive them even to get milk and not know anyone. The only socialization would on the weekends, at the Indian grocery store. As much as I would love for my parents to be with me when my child is born, I have to acknowledge what they would be giving up for this. I feel this way, even though I am back in India now. Few of my parents’ friends are in this limbo – they like taking care of their grandchildren, but are expected to organize their schedule around their children’s jobs. When a crisis happens, their social priorities are the first to be scrapped. In this case, both children and parents are not being thoughtful. Grandparents for not sharing that childcare is difficult, and children for not understanding that it is difficult. Grandparents also don’t share their actual thoughts because they feel it might cause a rift with their children, and who else would take care of them in their old age? Children need to be more sensitive though – insecurity increases with age due to loss of physical strength and they should assure their parents with words and deeds, that childcare by them should not be out of guilt or fear.

    • “that childcare by them should not be out of guilt or fear.”

      ^ This. I know that my parents have offered countless times, to both me and my sister, that they are willing to take care of their grandchildren after their retirement, should we ever need help. However, I would never ask or expect this of them, and I would never ever make this a permanent decision. If I ever have children, they are my responsibility, not my parents’. If my parents offer to help, then it is also in their hands to decide for how long they want to help, when they want to help, and to what extent they want to help. For me to enforce expectations upon them is not a nice thing to do.

  19. I pretty much agree with the commentators who say that expecting unlimited care from grandparents is unfair and the astrologer angle in this story might very well be because the grandparents want/need a break. I do disagree with the idea that it’s only the paternal grandparents on the hook though. I think that’s only the case when the couple lives with the husband’s parents. Even then usually when a woman gives birth she goes to her maternal home for a few months before and after the birth. This is also the most intense time in the entire process which is left to her parents to shoulder. It’s also common for the woman’s parents to shoulder the financial responsibilities i.e. medical bills during this period. In cases where couples live alone e.g. in the US it’s very common to have both sets of parents alternate for child care.
    I think in this case the LW should look at this as an opportunity to embrace a more nuclear setup and let her in-laws enjoy their freedom while she enjoys hers. She already has a good relationship with them and she might find that the relationship will only improve when there are less expectations from both sides.

  20. Things to do.

    1. Make your husband share the chores. He had been too pampered too.
    2. Make you work time more flexible. Or consider making it temporarily part-time.
    3. Visit your in-laws regularly. Ensure they don’t feel that they were just used as babysitters.
    4. Remember that toddlers grow up. Life with children change all the time. First it is diapers, then it is home work, then it is sanitary napkins, peer pressure, board exams. Prepare to be a Mother with a capital M. Some new mothers seem to think that toilet training is everything and get surprised by the other difficult times.
    5. Relax. Everyday. With music or yoga or Pilates or all.
    6. Your in-laws have pampered you. Nice of them to have done this. But Remain in this situation even after the Astrologers curfew is over.
    7. A world without astrologers would be pretty awesome. You should try it sometime.
    8. Ensure that your parents and in-laws get their regular check-up etc going on smoothly.
    9. You weren’t doing anything horrible by accepting their help in childcare.
    10. Visit your parents too.

  21. Nothing to add , just that time has come to reorganize your life and take care of your responsibilities . As some one mentioned in another comment , depending upon where you are , how old are kids and how much you and your husband can be flexible with your jobs you need to make changes . Do’t worry about kids coping up without grandparents , they can spend there weekends and vacations which both set will enjoy .

    On IHM’s question ,

    1.Working men do share concern . My brother does not trust his kid with anyone except immediate family which includes his and wife’s siblings and parents. Some may not be too bothered as they assume its primary job of mother to ensure kids are safe and taken care but they will pitch in if they see its not happening or if asked for help . My question is has she discussed this with husband or has he considered these concerned when deciding to move out immediately . we have no information in the mail on this topic just her concern and point of view.

    2.Both set of parents provide child care depending upon their other priorities and proximity to couple and kid.

    My concern now days is with exploitation of kids at childcare and nannies . So even if the prime responsibility of actual taking care should not fall on family members apart from parents , I would like supervision of my immediate family almost 24 *7 till child is at an age where we can discuss things.

  22. Sorry, I was a bit too harsh on the LW. After reading her post again, I felt she was not evil, just a bit overwhelmed at the new developments. Lady, ask your husband to pitch in with some chores and use short-cut methods to run your home.

  23. Dear LW,
    My views (entirely out of my experience):
    1. Congrats! Your learning curve will be exceptionally steep now – as will your husbands. The real meaning of being parents will hit you like an asteroid – but you WILL like it.
    2. This is the time to perhaps change some of the traditional (read : patriarchal) value systems – such as the boundaries of kitchen and childcare. You and husband will have to distribute chores seamlessly – and believe me, it does wonders for the kids too – they see Mom and Dad as being equal partners, and will grow up believing it.
    3. Invest in a good daycare. Do your research, your random audits and speak to other parents in the neighborhood. Also get some help at home – you will need to spend quality time with the kids since they are going to be away from you both the whole day.
    4. There is a possibility MIL has felt that she was taken for granted. Damage control.
    5. If you have to relocate, do so in a place that has all your amenities including daycare close by. Travel time in metro cities are the biggest time and energy wasters.
    6. If you are both in one of those nerve wracking corporate jobs (as was in the case of my husband and me), be prepared with plan B for all kinds of exigencies (kid falling ill, PTM meetings, missed school vans etc).
    7. Also let people at work know that you (and husband) are stepping into a transition phase, and may need a little support to settle in. (I work in a cut throat retail environment. But during my transition from joint to single family, I told my team that I would need to be a clock watcher for a few weeks – and they were most helpful)
    8. Its okay to order out once in a while – don’t feel guilty if some changes are not exactly by-the-book-perfect! All the best :-)

  24. Many readers have doubted the astrological angle and like to believe that the mother in law is using it as an excuse.
    I don’t.
    I know for a fact that many of my generation are believers and have taken decisions in life and family matters on the basis of astrology and the horoscopes.
    My own mother gave me trouble way back in the seventies when she was in a hurry to get me married before I was ready, simply because, based on my horoscope, the family “Vaadyaar” had opined that if I was not married before a particular date, there would be no “muhoortham” for 19 years and that I may well end up a chronic bachelor.
    I had a lot of trouble with my parents putting off my marriage.
    Fortunately, I got ready for marriage just two months before the deadline.

    My sister in law (wife’s younger sister) had to wait long for marriage. There was something in her horoscope that stated that her mother in law would die soon after the marriage. Most eligible boys and their parents would run away after seeing her horoscope.

    It took quite some time for a family who didn’t believe in all this to accept her as a daughter in law.
    For everyone’s information the handsome mother in law, was as strong as an ox, and lived to a ripe old age, defying all astrological predictions.

    Regards
    GV

  25. I think we need to look at the bigger picture. It is a problem as a result of falling into the trap of good old patriarchal joint family system. All those who glorify joint families can now see the exploitation behind the fairy tale they make joint families out to be.

    First the son is expected to live with them and bring in a wife who has to live according to their set of rules. Their moving out is considered bad. What will people say? How will they control the couples life? And then comes the next step of pestering the couple to give them a grandchild. Sometimes the couples themselves want it and at times they are coaxed or pressurized. When the kid arrives some work falls on grandparents because of the enmeshed lifestyle and lack of boundaries. So why not let your son set up his own house? And no interference in if and when they want to have kids?

  26. Our co-dependent society never fails to amaze me. Has the LW never heard of daycare/ maids etc? How does she think mothers/ couples without in-laws manage to bring up their kids! Her EXPECTING her MIL to take care of her (and her husbands) kids is so similar to the expections from a DIL to cater to her husband and his extended family’s every requirement (wish) Uggghhhhhhhh.

  27. Couples have to find ways to cope with their own life and not depend on in-laws’ or parents’ goodwill. I find the question really amusing. What if the LW did not have in-laws?

  28. My husband and i stay alone and have fairly independent life here. In laws stay in different city and are working too. The expectation that either they would visit us for longer duration or we would do so is not there. Ofcourse it took us long to reach that understanding but thats where we are.
    After 5 years of marriage Children issue comes up too often to our liking. We dont have children – one primary reason is that at this point i am too occupied with my work – same goes for my husband. Both of feel that we will not have kids till the time we are sure about how we can manage. My mother in law has gone to the extent to offer me that she will take care of our Child since we cant – i actually was offended and had a clear discussion with my husband.
    We’ll not have children to please somebody – And most of all i dont want anybody else to take responsibility of our kid.

    Sometimes in laws do offer help — but they have their own life. they have slogged entire life not become baby sitters. In my family i have seen my cousin treating her mother just like a baby sitter- and trust me the relationship is going south because of this. Her mother is angry/ irritated most of the time and also feels guilty if she has to say no at times. all this has started affecting her health and thats just not fair.

    There are obvious benefits of staying together- but those should not be the reason for staying together.

  29. The letter-writer has to figure out solution on her own without taking the support of her in-laws in baby-sitting for granted. In response to IHM’s questions:

    I think our society is seeing a gradual shift. During my grandmother’s generation, women were typically not earning. During my mother’s generation, my mother had to be a super-woman who had to take care of babies and simultaneously manage her job. My grandmother used to be of little help and my mom had to hire nannies. During my elder cousin’s generation, grandparents (maternal/paternal based on reachability) were assumed to help take care of babies. During this whole time, I think it struck few people that father is also expected to contribute towards child-rearing and share the responsibility with the mother. With our generation, because our parents themselves are too old to actually help with any child-caring by the time we’ll have babies, I think our society will be forced to confront the fact that child-raising is a responsibility of both the parents. You mentioned in an earlier post that current work hours and working standards have evolved as per men’s needs. I think this will change with this societal shift when men can no longer afford to depend upon a biwi with chai ki pyali at home for attending to their and their children’s needs. We’ll have longer maternity and paternity leaves, flexible work-hours for new parents and child-friendly work environments.

  30. Having children is an absolutely huge responsibility. I feel you have been too reliant on your inlaws for help with the kids. What about your husband? Where does he fit into this equation?
    My parents do not even let me leave my daughter with them for more than 3 hours, because they confess they are exhausted and I respect that.
    Left and right, I see other mothers always exploiting the free help from their parents or inlaws – who can’t say no, without even a thought at how exhausted they must be. Some sensitivity needs to be there for them.
    You have so many options – day care, nanny, maid – so many options for child care that many people use…ask your friends and office mates for recommendations.

  31. Its just starting trouble. you will be fine, we Live in india, had 2 boys ( twins) both worked and were alone . we survived, thrived in fact. so will you. It’s not a big deal. You both had kids, you both deal with them. As for separation anxiety, they will be fine. in a month or so they will get used to their new life and enjoy it, kids are resilient and will ajust according to the situation, Its the adults who are stuck in a rut.

  32. Pingback: ‘This issue might sound very trivial, any stranger talking to him for few minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  33. Pingback: Why are mothers ignored, asks SC | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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