Getting pregnant and announcing the news to family is typically met with lots of cheers, tears, congratulations and happiness of becoming a new parent. One thing we don’t take into account or even sometimes expect is how overbearing some of our family can be during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Growing up as a child we took direction from our parents, siblings and extended family. Becoming an adult, those family members continue to dole out advice, whether we ask for it or not. And when the baby arrives, that advice continues and sometimes in an overbearing way, where their advice isn’t just advice, it is a demand or statement as to what you should be doing.
As a new parent, juggling sleepless nights, feedings, changing diapers and adjusting to a new life is overwhelming enough. Add overbearing family into the mix and it can spell disaster. We all know most times their advice is well-meaning. But sometimes not well received or needed when you are already adjusting to a new normal.
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Here are some ways to put your new family first, while setting boundaries for the extended family:
Establish boundaries | Ways to Deal with Overbearing Family
This is easier said than done, but is doable if you set the boundaries early on. Set guidelines for visitors, including time frames and limits. When it is time for them leave, kindly remind them of such and thank them for coming over.
Communication is key | Ways to Deal with Overbearing Family
Communicate to family when visitors will be allowed and don’t give into demands to bring the baby to a family member’s home, if you are not comfortable. You are the one in charge in making scheduling decisions for your new family. Your family may have been used to staying over until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., but the baby’s bedtime is at 7:00 p.m. Don’t be afraid to communicate these changes to others.
Do what works for you | Ways to Deal with Overbearing Family
Not everyone will agree with your parenting style and that’s okay. Don’t change for the sake of others. Your baby, your rules. I always took the stance of listening to their advice, nodding in agreement, but ultimately doing what worked best for us. Sometimes I took their advice, sometimes I didn’t. At the end of the day, do what works best for you.
Lastly, but certainly not least.
Prioritize your baby and new family FIRST. | Ways to Deal with Overbearing Family
Maybe there was a time when you attended all of your family’s functions or stayed up until the wee hours socializing with friends and family. Those things may change once you have a baby. The priority is your baby and not on making everyone else happy. The days of caring for a baby are long and hard, but the moments are fleeting. Take the time to soak it all in.