As you know, if you have been reading here, I am not especially good about asking for help. I am surrounded by wonderful friends who would drop everything for me, I KNOW, but I am always worried about putting on people. My two bestest, most wonderful friends in the entire universe live at least an hour away and so, while I know that both of them would drop everything for me in a heartbeat, it is too much to ask. Anyway, my big worry with this pregnancy was what I would do with Pk when it was time to do the hospital thing. I have had a couple of friends who are local offer to take her but while she knows them, they aren't like family, if you know what I mean and she would be scared and they would have to deal with her in hysterics. I also wouldn't want to burden someone. My mother has been adamant that she was going to come up and stay and give us lots of help and that I wouldn't have anything to worry about. I was really grateful.
Well, she arrived last week. I know that some of it is my control-freakedness but on the other hand, I find that the offer of help doesn't always translate into the reality of help. She doesn't have the stamina that she thinks she has so she offers things and doesn't follow through. We had a big lunch at church on Sunday and I was signed up to make sandwiches. I spent a good portion of the day on Saturday doing mommy-duty while everyone else did their thing (I took Pk to music class, did lunch and then took her to the open house at our favourite pool - I found it interesting that both gran and daddy who were supposed to be "helping" ended up swimming in the lane pool doing their thing while I was the one schlepping Pk around the kiddie pool in the crowd). In and around everything else, I made filling for three major batches of sandwiches. I was told that I was "working too hard" and that I should "let people help." The resentment had definitely started to build at that point but hey, I tried to fight it.
So, we come to Sunday morning. Guess what? The pregnant lady who had gotten no sleep at all was up at 7 a.m. putting sandwiches together while dealing with Pk who had woken up early. Nobody else was up and nobody else was offering to help (it was starting to feel a bit like the "Little Red Hen"...) My mom had let us know on Friday that she was leaving this week on Wednesday to go to the city for a doctor's appointment and would be returning Thursday so Dh was supposed to call his father and ask whether he would be willing to be on call for us with Pk (they live 2 1/2 hours away but this was Dh's contribution to helping the situation and I was going to take what I could get). He finally rolled out of bed, decided he was going downstairs to work out and I continued, making sandwiches, feeding Pk, trying to get showered and get she and I ready for church and getting increasingly grumpy. By Sunday night, everyone else had done their thing, I had done all the food, made a casserole for dinner, did all the work for the lunch at church (while also trying to get things set up for the church picnic the end of June, which I am also coordinating) and then was told again that I should "take it easy". When, at bedtime, I asked Dh what his father had said about being on call, I discovered that he hadn't gotten around to asking.
Now, the resentment was really starting to build. It really begins to feel like I am having this baby alone and nobody else is prepared to do much to help, whatever the offers are. It gets to be a bit much. I had no sleep Sunday night (I have been getting terrible pain in my hip and between that, heartburn that had me throwing up - which I might add that everyone slept through, and I was brooding about how I was going to manage Pk if I went into labour because I realised that there is no point in asking Dh's family - Pk will end up at his sister's, I am sure, they would view this as a perfect time to "mend the rift" and I can't underscore enough, I am really, really uncomfortable with Pk being in that environment) and I was a mess. That's when the calvary arrived, so to speak. I took Pk to daycare and I guess I was looking pretty awful because J, her amazing sitter who I can't say enough wonderful stuff about, asked immediately if I was o.k. and the story poured out. I can't say enough about that woman. Before I knew it, I had an offer to keep Pk as long as needed, no matter time or day or night and if she isn't around for some reason, the other sitter she works with, who Pk also loves, would also be on call. What a relief. I should probably have asked but again, I didn't want to take advantage. Even writing this now, I have tears in my eyes, having that burden lifted really has made it so much easier.
Finally, I get up this morning and come downstairs for my few minutes on my own before the day begins and mom is already on the couch. She isn't feeling well and wants to go home today in case she has something I might catch. Could I find her a thermometer and could one of us drive her down to the city? I could have screamed. Neither of my parents drive and frequently, the assumption is made that we can act as chauffeurs - she "knew I couldn't take her but could Dh take the day off from work and drive her into the city." First, I ran around trying to find a thermometer for her that hadn't been used rectally for a child (obviously, I didn't succeed because the only one I found told her that her temp was 116F and I don't really think that was accurate!). Then, it was up to face Dh. At first, I had told her that we couldn't and the best I could do was take her to the bus but then, I felt guilty and selfish so I decided to tackle Dh. We are teachers and have lots of sick days and he never takes time off. Also remember, I am 9 months pregnant so I have been reminding him that he needs to be ready to drop everything and leave so he needs to be on top of things. When I asked if he could take the day and take mom back, his initial response was a very grumpy "No" because he wasn't ready to leave the kids today, he had report card stuff to do and he hadn't done his copying for today. I almost lost it totally at that point - I managed, by the middle of May, to write reports, pack up a classroom, leave copious notes and materials for a supply teacher and all while 8 months pregnant. I KNEW he wouldn't be ready to drop things if I went into labour (and to be honest, when he puts work before me, I can't help but feel really, really hurt - he is supposed to be on-board and desperately wanting this baby too and at times like this, I feel really alone). He finally agreed and started to get ready. I let mom know.
That's when we hit the final straw. Mom comes upstairs with her pills to get a glass of milk. Pk is watching Treehouse in the living room while I am trying to get dressed. There is a knock on our bedroom door and it is mom. She has dropped one of her pills and has no idea where it is. Let me remind you, I have a 2 year old and two dogs and a cat. She can't tell me what room she has dropped it in and initially couldn't remember the colour of the pill. There I am, hugely pregnant, in my bathrobe, crawling around on the floor trying to find the pill. After 10 minutes and Dh vacuuming the entire kitchen, she comes back up to tell us that she found it in her purse.
I am so tired and frustrated and feeling so guilty and resentful. I feel like such a horrible daughter and ungrateful wife. I love my mother and I feel like I should just be grateful that she is here but at times, it really gets to be too much. Why is it that when people say that they are going to "help", it ends up being more stressful for me? I still end up doing all the cooking (mom doesn't cook, she offers, once in a while, to pay for take out), dishes are left everywhere, I get undermined in terms of dealing with Pk and yet it seems to constantly end up that I am taking care of Pk (which I love, so I hope it doesn't sound like I resent her - she has been the easiest one to deal with) while mom is napping and Dh is out at the hardware store or mowing the lawn or working out. Is it selfish of me that there is this constant expectation that I am going to drive down to the city to drop off or pick up my parents or that we are going to turn our schedules upside down because it is more convenient to go down at a certain time so my brother can see Pk for a few minutes? Is it terrible of me to resent that when my brother comes to "help", he is sneaking out to smoke all the time and I don't want Pk exposed to that second hand smoke or that I get to hear lectures about the "selfish middle class" who are destroying the environment with our cars and our big houses whereas he is Mr. responsible because he lives "in poverty" (i.e., at home with my parents because he is too lazy to get a job?)? Is it unfair of me that I don't want to deal with my inlaws because the entire time I will have to listen to how my s.i.l. is so "sorry" about things and wants things to be better but is afraid to apologize in person to Dh because he might "blast her" (he has never yelled at her or criticized her, that's her specialty) or that when my m.i.l. came to "help" when Pk was born, she fried up ground beef, threw in in a jar of spaghetti sauce to "give us some food for later" and then proceeded to leave all the dishes in the sink and tomato sauce all over the kitchen that I had to clean up? Is it petty of me not to want to hear advice from my m.i.l. the entire time about labour and delivery, breastfeeding and parenting (when she never breastfed, dh was 9 weeks premature so he was in the hospital for his first few weeks and her best advice with Pk was that I should be putting her to sleep on her stomach covered in blankets because she must not be sleeping because she was cold)?
This really gets to be too much. I guess I need to just focus on the wonderful people in my life - the J who offers to take Pk for me, the mom from a street over who, despite having two little ones of her own who offered to take Pk for me, my two wonderful, dearest friends who are better than sisters who I KNOW would do anything for us and be there for us and, more than anything, don't treat me like a whiny pest when I do need to vent. It's hard though, when hormones are raging and I am scared of delivery and feeling like an inconvenience to everybody.
There, rant done. I will try not to do this to you again but thanks for listening!!!!