Let me start by saying that my in-laws are not terrible. I have a six-month-old baby who has been attending daycare since my maternity leave ended. I adore my child, and I’m equally passionate about my career, so I never intended to give up working when I became a mother. Working from home has given me the flexibility to achieve a balance in both aspects of my life. (Note: I work Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 and contribute around 60% of our family income, which I mention to provide context.)
So my in-laws have been genuinely helpful in caring for the baby and assisting with household tasks since the baby was born. Their regular visits, lasting for one to two weeks almost every month, provided us much-needed respite, especially during the challenging colicky phase. However, being a massive introvert, having them stay with us for extended periods, particularly when I’m juggling work responsibilities, is exhausting. The situation is further complicated by the fact that my office doubles as their bedroom whenever they are here, resulting in frequent interruptions during my meetings when they need to access their belongings.
The bigger issue arises from the fact that my in-laws also work full-time from home. They cherish their time as grandparents and also seek office space in our small house (but let’s not get into that rant now). Consequently, they insist on keeping the baby at home every day while they work, expecting me to take on a significant portion of the parenting duties during my work hours. We have even resorted to scheduling breakfast meetings to coordinate our daily commitments and swap baby care responsibilities. As a result, even when I take short breaks to use the bathroom or grab a drink between meetings, I often find myself handed a crying baby, leaving me with no time to recharge. This constant demand is taking a toll on me. Although my boss has been incredibly understanding so far, I fear that an HR meeting might be scheduled soon. It’s unfair to my colleagues, and it’s also detrimental to my mental well-being.
I have expressed my desire to take the baby to daycare and have suggested alternative options for my in-laws to spend time with the baby while allowing me to work, such as visiting places together or taking vacation days. However, they seem determined to follow their current approach and fail to recognize the strain it puts on me. I find their actions disrespectful, especially considering the overwhelming support they show toward my husband’s career (given that he works in an office and doesn’t face the same challenges). Unfortunately, my husband believes that this is just how his family operates (despite his own parents not imposing in a similar manner on his grandparents) and is reluctant to address the issue.
So, I’m left wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to navigate this situation. I need to find a solution that respects my boundaries, allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and ensures a conducive working environment for myself and my colleagues. Your input would be greatly appreciated.