I still remember leaving the hospital with our first born, “You do have some help at home, right? It’s important to have help in the first few months that you can rely on.” I didn’t think much about it then, mainly because I had no idea what I was needing at that time. We were leaving the hospital and driving over 3 hours away to our new home in Tyler, Texas with no family nearby.
My oldest was born in Waco, which is where my husband is from. His family lives there and we had lived there for several years. A new opportunity in his coaching career brought us to Tyler, Texas. I am from Vermont which is where my family resides. We were overjoyed with love for our newborn and it was mostly just sleeping in the beginning, right?
Our families are always there for us, but there are some truths that we, as parents raising our kids away from our own parents, believe to be true:
You have to pay for all your help
Daycare bills that add up to many people’s full salary; date-night babysitting costing more than the dinner itself, but at least you get the alone time, right? My husband and agreed that nights away were not an option for a while, but that put some stress on our relationship on times.
You will suffer major burnout over the holidays
Traveling during the holidays was something I was used to since 2005. But flying alone or with other adults is cake compared to traveling with children. My kids always seem to get sick around the holidays and don’t sleep as well when not at home. I find myself saying, “they are never like this.” And feeling guilt. Routines get broken, bad habits form quickly, and you face the challenging task of explaining how Santa knows to find them when they aren’t home. Most of our vacations consist of visiting family because of the guilt that comes from going somewhere and not seeing family for longer periods of time.
You take unique breaks
You learn to enjoy the moments. The time you use the restroom without hearing, “mom!!” or when you are able to sneak in a lunch date with a friend and your kids behave, and then… take a nap in the car to let you jam to some old school music.
It can be very hard
I can’t count the times I’ve seen a grandparent at the store with their grandparent, and I feel a little sad thinking about the limited time my kids get to see their own. It never fails that I will be at a breaking point and one of my friends will have her parents watching the grand kids for the weekend. Let alone some the days were the stomach bug or a sickness hits the entire house and we all just need our moms.
The challenge of living away from family over the years was not something my husband or I thought about in detail prior to having kids. The saying, “the days are long, and the years are short” is something I remind myself of as often as I can. Some days I feel guilty for wishing it to be tomorrow, but those days are what makes our good days so great. We are so lucky to have our loving families and able to see them when our busy lives allow. Thank goodness for technology and Facetime!