When you have kids, not only do you become a parent, but your in-laws become grandparents -- sometimes overzealous ones who suddenly want a lot of contact. This can be fantastic when you are blessed with wonderful in-laws, but I know many people who are not so fortunate -- the most common complaint being that the frequent visitation requests become burdensome (e.g., time to tidy the house, make food, explain how to handle things, etc.) rather than fun or helpful. Today I wanted to share 6 things to keep in mind to help you adjust your perspective as everyone tries to sort out their new roles.
1. Think of visits as special occasions. Reframe your perspective on visits and think of them as an opportunity to get out of your ho-hum routine and plan something special that your whole family can look forward to, such as trying a new restaurant, visiting that museum exhibit everyone's been talking about, or taking a leisurely drive up the shore.
2. Forget entertaining. Let go of the feeling that you need to make your house perfect and entertain, especially if your in-laws are visiting for an extended stay or visit frequently. You are family; it's OK for them to see that you aren't Martha Stewart (they've probably already figured that out!).
3. Enjoy the extra help. No doubt your in-laws will remember how challenging it can be to run a household with young children and will want to lend a helping hand. Don't be afraid to show your in-laws how you do things in your house and give them opportunities to help out.
4. Let the love and bonding happen. Despite whatever friction you may experience together as adults, your in-laws' desire to be around your kids ultimately is a reflection of love and devotion. That's all good. Also, kids benefit from developing close bonds with other caring adults (besides their parents). Frequent visits are a wonderful way to let the love and bonding happen.
5. Enjoy the cross-generational benefits. Spending time with a grandparent can be a wonderful learning opportunity. Your kids will gain exposure to someone with a different world view and life experiences, as well as insight into a different generation (and perhaps different cultures) with its own games, fables, and nursery rhyme verses.
6. Enjoy time off the parenting clock. Your in-laws want to see the kids so why not enjoy the opportunity to go "off the clock"? Plan date night (or a night away!) with your partner, and/or getting together with your girlfriends, and/or time by yourself to hit the gym, window shop, get a manicure, or do nothing whatsoever.
Do you have other solutions for sorting out new roles as parents and in-laws? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!
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