My neighbors have two young daughters. This semester, the mother is teaching at a university a few hours away, and so she is commuting during the week, returning to her family each weekend. As a result of this arrangement, the father’s parents have come to live with them, to help care for the girls before and after school and to help the family around the house. It’s a nice arrangement to observe. It seems, from my point of view, that this family support system is a benefit to all.
I know, of course that this kind of thing would be unthinkable for most mothers. First, the workweek absence from family, second the in-laws moving in to replace you and third, spending every weekend for an entire semester without time alone with your husband, let alone your children.
I think, though, there has to be some peace of mind, and a reasonable trade-off for my neighbor, who is free to go devote herself to her work during the week without worrying about her girls or her husband. She can return on Friday and fully focus on her family for the weekend. I hope (because I don’t know) that nothing awaits her return; that laundry isn’t piled up waiting to be done; that she doesn’t have to resume cooking or cleaning duties just because she’s there for a precious few hours. I hope, for her sake that having her in-laws there is truly helpful and not a burden; that they don’t seem like guests she must serve and entertain. I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s like that at all. If anything, the grandfather and grandmother are working constantly, caring for the girls, working in the yard, helping to build a new shed in my neighbors’ yard. They are tireless.
I’m traveling quite a bit this year for work. Wonder if my in-laws would like to pay a little visit?