Looks like we’re almost done with When Two Become Three! This is the third to last chapter, but it’s an important one. In this chapter, Mark E. Crawford discusses how having a baby can impact your relationships with your friends and family.
First, he tackles family – mostly focusing on the grandparents. He discusses the idea that not all grandparents may be as enamored or as involved with your child as you had pictured. They may simply not be baby people. If you find this bothering you, you may want to discuss it with them. However, he issues a few words of caution – for one thing, you should only confront your own set of parents. If it’s the in-laws that are a problem, leave it to your partner. Another caution he issues is that it likely won’t actually do much to change their behavior or feelings. He recommends not initiating such a conversation unless the act of discussing it will make you feel better, regardless of their response.
Of course, the flip side of this is grandparents who are too involved or controlling. Similarly, Crawford says that each member of the partnership should handle discussing things with their own parents. He says that stopping the controlling behavior of a grandparent can be as simple as reminding them that the child has two parents – and they have executive authority. If that is not respected, then it may be necessary to limit contact with that set of grandparents.
Crawford does take the time to remind readers that it’s important to understand the difference between advice and control. It is okay and healthy to listen to advice by outside parties – after all, they may have been through things like this before and learned a thing or two. Try not to get defensive when advice is offered.
The chapter then moves on to discussing how friendships will be impacted. Two types of friends are mentioned: those with children and those without.
You may find that you grow closer to your friends who already have children, and that’s great! It is important to have a support group around you who can offer the previously mentioned advice. However, it’s also important to remember that there are hundreds of parenting philosophies in the world, and just because you ascribe to one, does not mean your friends will ascribe to the same one. That is perfectly okay! You don’t need to see eye to eye on everything.
The book also discusses that your friendships with those without children will change. Now that you’ve welcomed a new member of your family, you may start to become a different person – and your friends without children may have a hard time understanding or accepting this. You may have even experienced this from the opposite side if you’re one of the last members of your friend group to have children. Try to be as empathetic as possible.
Overall, this is a really important chapter to check out if you’re concerned about potential, stereotypical in-law problems or if you have any concerns about maintaining your friendships!
Join us next week as we discuss Chapter 9: When Worlds Collide.