Why My FIL Is Coming To Help Us With Our 2nd Baby – Our Fight & Career Opportunity

As I am typing this post, my father-in-law (FIL) is preparing to get on a plane to fly from China to the US to help us with our baby.

Mr. FAF and his dad made the decision just a week ago, and now our plans are changing.

RelatedAnnouncing The Birth Of Our 2nd Baby – How It All Happened

The impetus

It was about 2:30 AM last week when I woke up to pump and saw Mr. FAF being frustrated with our baby, “She doesn’t want to eat.

She doesn’t want to sleep. She’s just being really fussy.”

I offered to do the night shift from then on, but Mr. FAF refused. He wanted me to rest and recover fast.

He then told me, “I will ask my dad to come here to help us with the baby.”

I felt puzzled “Why? I can take care of her at night and during the day. You don’t have to.”

Despite my insistence, Mr. FAF called his dad the next day to ask him to come to DC.

And his dad agreed although he had previously declined just months ago.

Mixed feelings

If my FIL weren’t coming, Baby F2 would start daycare in November when the weather is getting cold.

That’s when a lot of kids get sick.

In a way, I am glad that Baby F2 won’t have to go to daycare when she’s just 2.5 months old. Her immune system has not fully developed, and daycare centers are known for having lots of germs.

Now I know some parents will start saying that I should quit my job and stay at home with the baby. However, not everyone’s situation is the same. You can read more about my decision to return to work in the posts here and here.

In a nutshell, I choose to be a working mom since both my husband and I agree it’s the best decision for our family’s finances and well-being.

My FIL will stay with us for four months until the end of January and will return to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year’s.

When he leaves, Baby F2 will be about five months. It will be a much better age to go to daycare than when she’s just 2.5 months.

RelatedHow We Are Preparing To Welcome Our 2nd Baby

Why the FIL?

When I tell others that my FIL is coming to help us, I always meet with surprise and the question “Can HE take care of the baby?”

And I understand the concern. Usually, the women in the family are in charge of child rearing. It is hard to imagine a husband or grandfather doing that job as well as the mother or the grandmother.

However, Mr. FAF and I have seen my FIL take care of Baby F1 three years ago and agreed he did a much better job than my mother-in-law (of course we didn’t tell her that).

When Baby F1 was in China with my in-laws, he was super attached to my FIL. On the first night our son returned to the US, he actually cried a lot and kept calling “ye ye” (grandpa in Chinese).

My MIL was in the US for a year and just returned to China in June this year. She was on a tourist visa and won’t be able to come back to the US until next year.

My mom applied for a tourist visa to come to DC to help us but was declined entry. My dad doesn’t have a visa. My FIL is the only one left with a visa that’s valid for another six years. Basically, he’s the only grandparent who can come to the US at the present.

RelatedTime To Freak Out: My Mom Can’t Help Us With Our 2nd Baby

The fight

Although I was glad that we’re getting help, and that our daughter won’t have to go to daycare until she’s five months old, I wasn’t totally happy with Mr. FAF’s tendency to rely on his parents.

I was willing to take over more responsibilities to not have to ask our parents for help. After all, we’re in our 30s and have full-time jobs. I want us to be independent and take care of our family on our own.

Plus, having lived with my MIL for almost two years, I eventually realized that the stress and emotional turmoil can far outweigh the benefits of living with the in-laws.

RelatedHow Our Lives Have Changed After My Mother-in-law Left

Mr. FAF mentioned to me that he wanted his parents to come stay with us in August 2019. I asked him why, and he looked at me and then asked “Can you take care of two kids?”

That question really ticked me off. I got visibly upset and refused to talk to him for two days. I eventually lashed out at Mr. FAF and thus ended our cold war:

— You decided to have your parents coming here without even discussing with me?

— You know your mom and I don’t get along well. We fought constantly. You saw what happened. But you still want her to stay with us. Do you care about how I feel at all? And I know exactly why you want them to be here. You want them to do housework for you and take over your responsibilities so you can have more free time and just have fun (to which he admitted). But I will still have to do my part and deal with the stress and tension of living with your mom. Do you think it’s fair?

— You are almost 40 now and still have to rely on your parents to take care of your kids. If you can’t take care of your own kids, why did you decide to start a family to begin with? And you asked me if I can take care of my two kids? You wanted to challenge me? This is exactly why I don’t want to have a 3rd kid. You just want to pop out kids and have your parents raise your kids for you. You made me question your responsibility as a father and a husband.

That’s pretty much what I said to Mr. FAF in anger and frustration. And it’s not because his dad is coming to help us. I’m glad he is. But I was really upset at Mr. FAF’s tendency to rely on his parents to solve our own problems.

He eventually apologized and said that he would discuss with me about our parents coming to stay with us either short-term or long-term.

Related: The Pros & Cons Of Living With In-laws

A career opportunity

To be fair to Mr. FAF, he was super hands-on during the first month after our baby’s birth, taking care of our baby at night, caring for our son, and doing all the housework.

And there’s more to the story. Mr. FAF wants to have more time to study, take coding practice tests, and prepare for a job interview.

Two weeks before I gave birth, Mr. FAF was contacted by one of the biggest tech companies in the US with an office in DC. The company messaged him on LinkedIn and invited him for an interview.

Since we currently can’t move for Mr. FAF to take the job offer at Google, he was super excited about this new opportunity since the company is planning to expand their engineering team in the DC area by tenfold.

As Mr. FAF hasn’t been on the job market for a while, he will need at least 3-4 months to prepare for the technical interviews and take other online courses.

With the arrival of our baby, however, he now finds little time to focus on this new career change. I offered to take on more responsibilities, but Mr. FAF insisted that we needed help and asked his dad to come stay with us for four months.

RelatedTraveling With A Purpose – Our Plan To Move Out of Washington DC

Finances

Below are the changes that will happen to our finances.

— Baby F2 will stay at home with my FIL for about 2.5 months after I return to work. We will save $3,245 in daycare tuition ($295/week for 11 weeks).

— Our daily expenses (i.e. food) will increase due to having another family member. We will also spend close to $1,000 or more in gifts for Mr. FAF’s extended family when my FIL goes back to China. It’s not to mention the plane ticket and the money we plan to give his dad each month (~$500).

In the end, the extra expenses might just cancel out the daycare savings. But it’s ok. The most important thing is that our baby girl will be able to spend more time at home before having to go to daycare at five months.

Conclusion

I realized that Mr. FAF and I are very fortunate to have our parents here to help us out with our kids.

When I first wrote about the possibility of my mom coming to DC, I received a few comments saying that not everyone is so lucky. And to be frank, I did sense some jealousy in the feedback. I would be jealous too.

In fact, before my FIL said he could help us, I was secretly jealous of my neighbor, whose MIL could stay with her until her baby can go to daycare at six months old.

However, everyone’s situation is different. Mr. FAF and I are not trying to compete with any other parents to show that we can do it all on our own.

We have family to help us out just as others might have help or other perks that we don’t have.

In the future, I truly hope that Mr. FAF will become more independent and learn how to take care of our kids without having to rely on the grandparents.

That’s when I will feel the happiest and confident that we can weather any storms in the future when our parents are not around.

Related:

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19 thoughts on “Why My FIL Is Coming To Help Us With Our 2nd Baby – Our Fight & Career Opportunity”

  • Wow, that’s a lot of decision-making and emotion to deal with for anyone, but especially while you’re still recovering from having a baby. It sounds like you two got on the same page and that you have a good mentality about it now. We’re fortunate that both sets of (future) grandparents are nearby — I can’t imagine all that you go through, and am so happy you reached a conclusion that suits you both. And, like you said, more time with family and out of daycare is a huge silver lining 🙂

    • I’m just so relieved our daughter won’t have to go to daycare at 2.5 months. My parents were really worried she’d get sick or get some weird viruses from the daycare. 🙂

  • It’s good that your FIL is able to come and take care of baby number 2- I agree that 2.5 months to daycare is too young. Lots of germs for a newborn. Here in Canada we have up to 1 year or 1.5 year parental leave but the amount you get is not much compared to the regular pay cheque.

    Congrats for the interview that is a huge deal!

    • That sounds like a great parental leave. I guess I’ll just take what I can get in the US and try to be happy with it 🙂

  • Good luck. The family dynamic is difficult to navigate. You guys probably need more space. Maybe you can move into a duplex or something later. That way the parent will have more personal space and aren’t around all the time. Mrs. RB40 has a hard time with my mom too.

    • A duplex is definitely what we have in mind. If possible at all, I’m willing to buy them a separate condo and pay the mortgage and related costs just so that our family won’t have to go through stress and tension every single day. The parents always think what they do/want us to do is right regardless of the time, place and culture. But we’re not kids anymore. I always wondered why my mom and my grandma just can’t get along. And now I know exactly why. I don’t blame either of them.

  • I am glad your FIL is coming to help, if even for a little bit. As for Mr FAF, I am glad that you two were able to discuss the issue at hand even after a bit of tension. I get where he is coming from, but your feelings should always be considered too (and vice versa of course) before any big decisions are made! I am sending positive vibes for you guys to get into a good steady routine with two kiddos in the mix now!

    • Aww thank you, JJ! I think Mr. FAF realized that both of us need to reach a decision on an important matter like that. I guess our communication is always a work in progress!

  • I am glad that your family has 2 and a half months of a loving and nurturing grandparent. I also appreciate your honesty about the emotional cost of having someone else in the house no matter how beloved. I really appreciate you blog.

    • I did consider leaving out some details, especially the ones about my MIL and me. But I decided to be open about what’s really going on in our family. I’m not blaming or criticizing anyone. It’s all reality!

  • My mom started staying with us every Monday through Wednesday to help with Baby Kpeds. We have a 1 bedroom 600 sqft apt. My mom sleeps in the living room!

    My wife is back at paid work 3 days a week and her mom is helping the other day so we have day care covered.

    Living with my mom is a bit of a squeeze but knowing our munchkin is with his Oma who couldn’t be any happier is wonderful. Plus I get to see my mom every week. Something that hasn’t happened since I was in high school.

    Goodluck figuring out your situation!

  • Baby2 is so fortunate to have a grandpa coming to take care of her for another 2.5 months while she is so little. The first few months are so important for babies and she will get so much more individual attention and care by her grandfather than even the best daycare is able to give. I grew up so close to my grandfather. Grandfathers can be every bit as nurturing and good caregivers as grandmothers. I think it will be worth the inconvenience of having a long term “guest” for the benefits received for Baby2 and your family even if it costs a little more in the long run.

  • Ditto what Joe said. The duplex is a great idea. I know this is hard on you and Mr. FAF right now, but I think you guys will master child-rearing like you’ve mastered everything else. Best of luck.

    P.S. Even though I’m an admittedly outside observer who doesn’t no squat, I think it’s cool that FIL is coming to DC to help. I think it will be a great experience for him and Baby F2.

  • That’s so great your FIL is coming to help take care of Baby F2. I remember with Baby F1, he had to stay in China with your in-laws while the both of you had to deal with work and school. And so it shouldn’t be too hard on the FIL to watch the baby. Great support system within the family.
    Glad you and Mr. FAF were able to work things out about having you FIL coming over. I think it’s nice that Mr. FAF wanted to have his dad help out but he should have talked to you first about that instead of jumping the gun and deciding on his own . Decisions like that require the couple to decide together. Hopefully Mr. FAF will learn from it and talk to you first and foremost about important decisions like this one.

  • There are already excellent comments about the communication issue . I will just chime in on a different topic.
    I can relate to your hubby for not taking the Google offer in the Bay Area. I did something similar with a different giant tech company in a HCOL city. If we did not have kids, we’d move there and save like crazy so that we could FIRE to a LCOL city quickly. Once factoring in kids, the returns are diminished due to the high cost of living and agonizing long commute.

    But the downside of living in a LOCL area is career growth. The tech giants tend to avoid LOCAL areas. But Apple is coming to our place for sure. Amazon might or might not. But our place is one of the 20 finalist for its 2nd headquarters. Not sure if it matters to us much because we are pretty close to FI.

  • Thanks for sharing…I think a lot of families go through these issues. I am very lucky that my mother and my mother-in-law live nearby and can help. It is also great that they live separately as I can see how much tension there can be. Heck, even with them living apart, there is tension at times! Maybe it’s a cultural thing or generational thing, but Asian moms really like to tell you what to do and how to do it!! And they tend to judge you on what you’re doing. In their mind, they are trying to be helpful, but it would be helpful if they would give the young parents more independence and trust their judgment. Good luck with everything!

  • Having a baby is so difficult. Having two babies I’m afraid to imagine. I have been a stay at home dad for 18 months now. I have cooked and cleaned every day and I’ve watched over my boy grow up for 4 to 6 hours a day. And then it’s off to write posts and stuff for Financial Samurai.

    I am so tired. I went to bed at 1:30 this morning and got up at 5:30 AM this morning to make sure my latest post had no problems. No I’ve dropped off my boy at the science Museum with his mom and I’m gonna take a 30 minute nap after this comment.

    I wish, wish, at least one of our grandparents lived in San Francisco so they could help out even just one day a week. I hear you on the difficulties of living with in-laws. I’d rather have them live in their own space and then just come over up to three times a week.

    Hang in there!

    Sam

  • I absolutely agree with you that your husband needs to communicate with you and not run to his parents to help him when he is feeling overwhelmed. My oldest was 2y9m when I delivered twins… I went from working full time to being a SAHM with 3 in diapers… I nursed the twins 95% of the time.. Husband worked an hour away.. My mom was able to come help me 1 -2 days a week for a few hours.. My inlaws occasionally came to visit.. it CAN be done… Where I appreciate your husband wanting you to rest and recover.. if he is frustrated with the baby it is better that he pass her back to you. Best of luck!

  • Some tough love in support of Mr. FAF (since you got all the support in the comments), it does seem like you’re trying to make a point either to yourself or other invisible parents… why wouldn’t you accept help if it was available (point 3 in the fight). It’s a big leap that wanting parents to help for the first year of a newborn means he doesn’t want to take care of his kids… would you like it if someone said that about you regarding why you’re not staying home? In traditional culture, extended family was part of child rearing. Plus you set that precedent with Baby 1. From what I gather, men have pretty linear thinking. Your other discussion points are fair especially the discussion first.

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