Return of the Mother-in-Law
As part of the rich and vast cultural expectations of my wife’s heritage, her mother was expected to come and live with us for a period of time slightly before and at a minimum of three months after our baby was born.
My initial reaction when I heard this was that of cautious optimism. Cautious, because my mother in law was going to be living with me; optimism, because “Hey Guess what! Someone else can now be with me to deal with a severely pregnant and hormonal woman!” Yeah, yeah… I know. Being pregnant is extremely hard on the body and it is a beautiful gift… I know and I adore my wife for being a vessel for the miracle of baby making; but let me tell you… living with a pregnant woman for 9 months is not easy either.
Mother in law arrives; she does amazing things to help around the house. I had more free time than the average husband in a similar situation… it was fantastic! The $1500 round trip plane ticket paid for itself. I could do my writing, I could do my drawing, and I could do other supportive things for my wife that didn’t entail trying to cook food… I loved it.
Mother in law ended up staying well past the 4 or 5 month mark. She was living with us for about a year. The day she left, the house suddenly felt a bit empty. Granted wife and I had a 9 month old to take care of, but the missing third set of hands in the house was immediately felt by both of us. Felt by the baby as well. For the first few days, she would crawl into Mother in law’s room looking for her playmate and was immediately confused to not see her grandmother smiling and talking to her.
She has been gone for almost 2 months and I have enjoyed spending more time with baby, but the third set of hands is still missed.
Today! Today I am picking up the mother in law at the airport and she will be back living with us until next April! I am so very excited. I could also tell you about the numerous studies about the positive emotional health of a child who has the ability to live with or near grandparents and relatives. So for baby, establishing a bond with Grammy can provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history. Grammy may have lots of time to spend playing and reading to baby. Such dedicated attention only improves a child's developmental and learning skills.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what does this mean for me? Less diaper changes, more time to draw and write, going to bed at a reasonable hour, more date nights with the wife… the possibilities are near endless.
I cherish the fact that my mother in law is living with us… and I’m not just saying it because she will probably read this…