My first child’s expected in ten weeks. My husband’s family live within two blocks.
My in-laws are ecstatic about becoming first-time grandparents.
His mother (across the street) has offered to come over any time to feed the baby so I can sleep.
She's buying her own crib so she can babysit and setting up at their cottage, too.
I have two dogs. Previously, we weren't invited to the cottage because there were “too many dogs.”
No one would let them out to pee when my husband and I both worked 12-hour shifts out of town. (They babysit each other's dogs regularly).
My husband’s siblings’ dogs are welcome at their parents’ house and cottage, along with their own dog.
We highly resent this double standard and won’t visit without our dogs.
When I go into labour, I’ve asked his family to have someone stay with my dogs so that when we return home, they’re not anxiety-ridden with messes in the house.
I also feel it’d be better for when we introduce the baby to the dogs.
How can I get them to understand where I need the most help?
I don't want to punish them by withholding their grandchild, but I also won’t reward their double standard.
My husband supports me, but doesn't feel his family will change. He thinks we should deal with it on our own. I prefer trying to communicate.
It’s a shame to have increased anxieties about the dogs right now.
Your husband’s approach is the least likely to increase conflict: Handle the immediate need yourselves, i.e. hire someone to make sure the pets are walked, fed, relieved and kept happy, during your labour and delivery.
Then let the baby work natural magic with grandparents.
At cottage time, simply state that you can only visit with your dogs.
Communicating ahead shouldn’t include threatening to withhold their grandchild. Give them a chance to recognize what’s obvious about including your dogs.
I'm early 30's, single, own my own home, have a great job, and am happy with my life.
I’m uninterested in marriage or kids and finally realized there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, as my friends marry and become parents, while I’m happy for them, I’m feeling decreasingly important to them.
Many no longer make much effort to contact or spend much time with me.
It’s always me reaching out. When we meet up, it's on their terms because I'm the one without those same responsibilities.
I feel I’m losing them because I've chosen a different lifestyle.
I love my friends dearly. I just wish I still felt like a part of their lives.
Do I just need to suck it up as the new normal?
No Kids, Less Friendship
It goes both ways. Some of those friends likely feel that you stopped caring about what’s happening in their lives.
The reality is this: Raising young kids is a time-and-energy-thief.
Some of those friends would dearly love to get out for an evening and just have fun.
Some may drift away, but others will still want to maintain the connection with you, hoping you’ll understand that it is easier for you to meet up where, when, and for however long they can manage.
Share some of their joy (a first tooth!) and they’ll even make you an honorary aunt.
Good friends adjust with the times and circumstances. It’s the “new normal” for all longtime friendships.
Reader’s Commentary “I’m tired of seeing people publicly displaying horrible manners.
“I repeatedly see both men and women wipe their noses with their fingers or hands. I don't know why it’s considered acceptable.
“I do my best not to touch anything, especially on public transit, because of people who won't leave their nose alone.
“I see it too in coworkers, even among executives.
“My parents told me not to do this when I was still very young.
“I also don't want to go to people's homes. Who can eat their food?”
Ellie – The best protection you have against colds and flus (much of the world is facing the start of a flu season) is washing your hands diligently, especially after public transit, after work, and before and after eating.
Unfortunately, whether in air-conditioning or heating, nasal passages become dry and uncomfortable.
While it’s “unmannerly” to handle nostrils publicly, your best defense from any passed germs is thorough hand washing.
Tip of the day:
A new baby can change many past attitudes. Don’t bring the burden of old resentments to a fresh start for your family.