Today my parent came up to the city to help me in the backyard. We got so much done and for the first time I actually think I’m going to finish that monstrosity of a summer project before the school year starts.

Oh, and my mom also cleaned my kitchen and our sunroom/dinning room which has become my mud room this summer, as it’s the entry point from downstairs and gets very dirty when I come up from working in the yard.

Having my parents here to help makes me realize how much I’ve come to expect their help in my life. The reality is I expect help from my in-laws too. It’s not that I assume they will help or get huffy when they don’t, it’s just that I get help frequently enough from both sets of parents that I think I subconsciously I make decisions with the expectation of help from parents and in-laws built into those decisions. I definitely assumed my MIL would take care of our second child for the first year or two when we were trying to get pregnant. We would be going into considerable debt if she didn’t. I wouldn’t have been upset if she didn’t want to watch our son, but I would have been very,very surprised.

I realize how lucky I am to have so much help from my extended family. They truly are amazing, all four of them, and I can’t fathom how much harder life would be without them. I don’t know how we’d manage it, frankly. We’d be a mess without their financial support, the childcare they provide and the man hours they put in cleaning our house or doing projects like working in our backyard today.

There is definitely a part of me that feels guilty for all they do and I know that if any of them were to ever need us we would absolutely have to do everything in our power to help them. I do hope we can pay them all back some day and I hope we can provide as much support for our own children as our parents have for us.

Do you get much support from family? Why or why not?

12 responses

  1. I’ve said this before, but you are soooooo lucky! Having the help of one set of in laws, let alone two, is something I can’t even fathom.

    We get no help from our parents, and I mean absolutely NONE. From either set. My parents are not the helping type and don’t even play with our kids. Ever. I had to tell my dad to play basketball with Matthew two weeks ago – and Matthew was pulling on his legs and physically pushing him to the hoop, saying, “throw ball” over and over… And my dad wouldn’t play. I can’t imagine them ever helping us with anything. Bs parents have watched Matthew a handful of times when he was tiny, and again when Bryson was born. They are too busy helping Bs sisters and are tied up every time we ask, so we don’t ask anymore. His sisters need the help (single parents) so we understand. They are great grandparents though and see and play with the boys a lot.

    But no, we get no help from family. We’re entirely on our own. It sucks knowing you can’t count on family to help.

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  2. That is a blessing! We didn’t have family nearby for most of our marriage, and we missed having the help, emotional support, etc. My in-laws both passed away in the last 5 years, and my dad is distant at best. I’m very grateful that my mom is living with us now – it’s a mutually beneficial situation. She doesn’t have to worry about working with fibromyalgia, we get free babysitting, and Isaac gets to grow up around his Mimi.

  3. That’s great that you have such helpful parents and in-laws! My mom died before I even met K and my dad has never really been in my life. K’s parents would loooooove to “help out” but they live a good distance away. My MIL probably only wants to help out to be all in our business anyway. Sometimes I wish they lived closer but other times I’m so, so glad they live far awat.

  4. I’ve written about this a few times on my blog. McRuger’s parents live across the country. They are “helping” types, but we just don’t see them often enough to make a difference. My parents rarely visit and when they do, more often than not, they end up causing more issues. But, the more I see them through the lens of adulthood, I see that they just don’t put themselves out there like that. I have always had this fantasy that my parents would want to be involved, would want to be there for me and my children. I just don’t think they ever will.

  5. My parents are such a huge help; I don’t know what we’d do without them! My mom watches C a day and a half a week, and she almost always arrives with something for J – new clothes, snacks. My dad mows our lawn every time he’s at our house, and he fixes everything else that’s broken too. We are really lucky.

    On the other side, the help flows the other way: K pays his mother’s hospital bills, his cousin’s school fees, and more. It’s frustrating to me, since I feel like we don’t have the money to spare, but that’s the way it goes.

  6. I don’t know if it is a function of our coming to parenthood later and each of our respective mothers ages (70 this year) status (widowed) or their personalities (aging beauties accustomed to being the center of attention) but while we do have a certain amount of involvement it is largely hands-off and no more than an hour at any given time.

    My best friend’s recent illness and death required that I ask for help that I would not have ordinarily… presuming (rightly) that I would put them out…But by asking and giving over some control It was really an intimate act of vulnerability for me and it’s thawed things with both of them. They will never be the doting, no questions asked, easy grandparents of my dreams but they are who they are. I try to be grateful for that. (And largely fail.)

  7. Interesting to read. I am grandmother to 2 girls, one from each of my children. I
    t is my honor and pleasure and joy to get to provide help for my children and to spend one on one time with my grands from birth on. It is harder to do as much helping when the grands hit first grade as their time is so restricted. But I try as possible. No child has ever had too many people loving them and supporting their parents.
    For me, it is critical that parents of young children have time to be together without a child along and to have time ‘of’f when single parenting. And the financial costs to do this is staggering today.
    It is super important to me to know my grands and be part of their lives.
    I know it is sometimes hard to be a parent. I love and adore my children and grands … but I also know grandparents who love their childrenandgrands but do not have the ability or resources (financial or time or health) to do what I do. How you grandparent isn’t a reflection of how much you love.
    I do try hard to follow the parent’s rules and to ask first….but I know sometimes there are generational differences and I am deeply appreciative of my children’s patience with me.
    Being able to make a contribution for the generations after me…. so important to ME. My children and grands are miracles in my life. I am incredibly lucky to have them.

  8. I am really happy that we moved back to Chicago because now we are 30 minutes away from my parents. They have given us house advice, have taken the dogs on a few occasions, and have helped us paint/do work/ plant/etc. My in-laws are now a plane flight away but they weren’t as helpful when we lived closer to them. I am infinitely grateful to my parents.

  9. Er, well. 😉

    My parents would love to be more involved, but they live 2,000 miles away. They came out when the twins were first born for 6 weeks, and I am eternally grateful for all of the help they gave us then: they worked like ants doing laundry, cooking, helping me with feedings, etc. It was so much work my dad lost 25 pounds and my mom 15! They also came out for a week to watch the kids when we went to Italy.

    My in-laws definitely help and have helped. The greatest help was for the first year, when we lived in a third story walk-up. My FiL came every day without fail and helped me get down the many stairs with the twins. Otherwise, I would have never left the house. Now, they help out the two afternoons they are available. The biggest thing to get used to was that I can’t ask for help at the last minute: they just are too busy. That being said, once I came to terms with this, and learned never to ask and just receive whatever was available, I felt much better. They help us financially too; we’d never be able to live here otherwise. I know this is really common in the Bay Area, but probably (maybe?) not elsewhere?

  10. As complicated as having help can be sometimes (I understand how it ties you to them in ways that can be difficult, especially when you disagree about childrearing), it is GREAT to have an extra pair of hands. My mother doesn’t come to help … she comes to watch. Which drives me nuts. As if we were a show … !

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