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New Mom Bans In-Laws From Visiting Since They Only Hold Baby And Don’t Help With Chores

Young woman carrying baby while pouring herself cup of tea
Marco VDM/GettyImages

When a newborn arrives, most family members will drop everything to greet them into the world and spend as much time getting acquainted as much as possible.

Some may even volunteer to offer plenty of help to unburden the mother’s chores after giving birth.

But semantics is important.

When a first-time mother caused drama with her in-laws, she visited the Am I the A-hole (AITA) subReddit to seek judgment.

bananastand9 asked:

“AITA for telling family I didn’t find their visiting and holding my new baby ‘helpful’?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“We had our first baby recently, and had a lot of the classic offers to ‘help’ that really only meant holding the baby. I get that this is helpful for many and can allow you to catch up on chores and avoid feeling touched out. If you like that, great!”

“In my case, I had a crash c-section and literally couldn’t do any chores for a bit because I couldn’t/wasn’t supposed to get down on the ground, unload a dishwasher, push a vacuum, carry laundry or walk my large breed dog”

“But I had no issues cuddling and feeding my baby and getting up briefly for diaper changes. I was lucky that baby also slept fine in his bassinet, so I had enough time for sleep, showers etc. in the early days.”

“’Helpers’ who just wanted to hold baby mostly got in my way because I had to hobble away in private to feed, cover up more when clothes hurt the incision, etc. I was also trying to do as much skin to skin as possible due to supply issues.”

“I basically just stared at them waiting for them to leave because I couldn’t do much else. It didn’t help that they were mostly inlaws, since my own family lives far away, and I noticed quickly that even though we had a good relationship before, they really weren’t there for me – just baby lol.”

She continued to clarify things.

“I didn’t specifically ask anyone for help with chores, but I did make it clear that holding =/= helpful after some family members were under the illusion that they could come over frequently (bypassing my stated limitations on ‘visits’) to ‘help’.”

“No one jumped to volunteer to do things that were actually helpful, which is fine, so instead I hired out for cleaning, food, grocery delivery, dog daycare etc. But shoutout to my amazing SIL who was the exception and offered to exercise and generally give attention to our dog, though.”

That didn’t mean things were sympatico.

“My partner’s family will still slip in passive aggressive or butthurt comments about how they weren’t allowed to come ‘help’ with baby more.”

“My partner has suggested that maybe I could have made other excuses to avoid the visits without bursting their little bubbles, and I guess that’s true… but honestly I was tired of fielding the requests.”

“He also wondered whether I could have just let them come over and think they were helping, and maybe I’m an a**hole for this, but the idea of them coming over and mostly being a hinderance but then patting themselves on the back on the way out for ‘helping’ irks me too much lol.”

“FWIW now that he’s a few months old, I let them come and visit whenever they please (which is often) and make it clear that NOW it’s helpful because I can actually do chores.”

The OP continued in edit:

“Thanks everyone for your input.”

“To be clear, I didn’t necessarily want or expect help with chores. I was perfectly fine hiring out. It worked well.”

“However, I really didn’t want a lot of visitors in my way trying to hold baby (which was just about the only thing I could do), which is why we limited them after initial meet and greets.”

“Family then tried to get around this by labelling themselves as ‘helpers,’ offering to hold baby, and acting like their earlier ‘visits’ were helpful. I wanted them to stop asking so I finally caved and said that it wasn’t helpful to me – people who just wanted to hold baby were visitors not helpers (in our particular circumstance), and we were pausing visits for a bit.”

“No one jumped to actually help, which again, was perfectly ok with me. But I am still getting pouty comments about how they weren’t allowed over more to ‘help’ in the early newborn days, and by that I think they mean hang out with my baby lol.”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA – it is so important to put up your boundaries early here because family will keep trampling them as the children age. You had major surgery, skin to skin is so important, it’s completely unreasonable that these people feel entitled to holding the baby when you need to have them skin to skin as much as possible.”

“Heartbreaking to hear how you had to hobble to cover yourself up because they couldn’t stand to see you feeding your baby. Shame on your husband for prioritizing their feelings over yours. He should have your back and be prioritizing YOU.”

– Memento_Mori_357

“Your partner is the biggest issue here. He should’ve told HIS family without you never needing too. I assume it was a lot of women who’ve had at least one child who should know better.”

“You’re always supposed to cook, do chores, bring food etc, so mom can bond with baby. I didn’t miss the part where you tried to limit visits and they DGAF.”

– fancyandfab


“New parents already know how to cook meals, vacuum carpets, clean toilets. They need to learn how to bathe a baby, soothe a baby, new mom’s need to learn how to comfortably breastfeed a baby.”

“People with half a brain cell and who really want to help provide the time and space for the parents to concentrate on the baby. They do this by completing things the new parents already know how to do.”

“Once the load of laundry is in the dryer and the vacuuming is done there will be time to hold the baby. This is especially true if the birth was difficult.”

“I’m sorry your husband didn’t better communicate your new family’s needs.”

– Pleasant_Test_6088

“NTA. And honestly coming not offering any help or bringing food is plain RUDE!!! Holding baby is help only if you ask for it (like you need a shower). Otherwise its a privilage which hurts the mom.”

“(I could take a long time without my baby, the instincts were just too strong, once my MIL was contact napping with my baby I was furious. Wtf!)”

– Continentmess

“NTA, not at all. When I was going through chemo (three different regimens over ~15 months), people would want to ‘visit’. I had no extra energy for visiting but I sure could have used some help with my housework and gardening.”

“Instead, I got well-intentioned people telling me how strong and brave I was (honey, that’s just the painkillers), admiring my bald head and bringing me ‘gifts’ that I generally just gave to Goodwill.”

“Wanna help? Change the bedsheets (and wash the dirty ones), take all the leftover casseroles outta the fridge, run that vacuum cleaner over the whole place. Leave me over here to enjoy my stupor.”

– PrairieRunner_65

“Definitely NTA. I had 3 c-sections. My mother came to stay for a week after each birth and she was extremely helpful – basic healing takes 6 weeks, and I was told not to lift anything heavier than the baby during that time.”

“Lots of people don’t realise that a c-section is not simply about giving birth, it is major surgery and while holding a newborn is lovely, and of course family want to do that, thoughtful family will run the hoover around, bring a meal with them, change the beds – basically all the things that are actually helpful and that a recovering mother should not be attempting.”

“When my third child was born, my mother helped out with the house and with my other two children for a week before going home. My in laws on the other hand, invited themselves to Christmas dinner just a couple of weeks after my c-section and then sat back along with their son, and watched me cooking everything – I was a pushover back then.”

“They then complained that after the meal was ready, I just took the baby and went to bed.”

“Helping with the baby is not needed after a c-section, particularly after an emergency one, but practical help around the house to aid recuperation definitely is – if you have any more children, make it clear family can come and visit the baby, but they need to bring a meal or do one practical job around the house as well as having cuddles.”

“And that is the expectation whether you have a natural birth or another surgery. It may make you unpopular, but you need to stand up for yourself – take it from a former doormat.”

– SpecialSheep94

A strong majority of Redditors continued defending the OP and sharing their stories.

Hopefully, the new mom felt seen and that the in-laws will get over their insecurities quickly because with a new kid in town, they’ll be spending lots of time together.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo