I’ve been wanting to write this post for a little while now, and it’s finally happening! I love to share about our situation and how we make it work and be transparent about that with you guys because it’s not easy. I know I’m not the only one who is in the same boat as we are, and I see you! There is a good and a bad to every situation, and to be honest, it’s been mostly good for us. A lot has to do with our mental state and just knowing this is how it’s going to be, and adapting to that. It could also be a personality thing too because Tanner and I are pretty good at going with the flow. I’ll be sharing both the good and the bad parts of raising a baby without family nearby below!
I’ll begin with the good to keep it positive. When Oakley was first born, I wanted to keep him in my bubble and soak up every minute of his sweet newborn self. I felt like I was able to do that since our family wasn’t able to just come over or be in our home 24/7 (although I wanted that in the first week haha). It was really nice to have a ton of 1-on-1 time with him and it allowed Tanner and I learn how to be a family of four (Remi will always be the first child haha).
As he grew older, it got easier to do it all (with Tanner’s help of course) because that’s all I knew. I didn’t have a choice but to do it on my own without parental help and it ended up easier than I thought. I had friends that were willing to help if I needed it, but I honestly felt like I had things under control. Of course there were days where I wanted more sleep and I got overwhelmed, but looking back on it and even now, I never felt like I “needed” extra help all the time, I was used to it.
Another reason why it’s good is because it has made our marriage stronger. We are forced to communicate and figure things out together without family stepping in. It’s made us a better team in making important decisions and we both get a lot of time with Oakley in the long run.
To me, the worst part is our parents don’t get to watch him grow up in person. I think about this a lot and it’s hard to think how great of a relationship I had with my own Grandparents when I was younger and how Oakley really doesn’t have that with his right now. No one loves your child more than yourself and your own parents and I feel like I don’t get to share him with the people I love most. Of course we FaceTime and I send photos, but it’s really not the same and he doesn’t understand what FaceTime is right now. After Tanner is done with school, we will be a lot closer to them and I hope Oakley develops a strong bond with both sets of Grandparents 🙂
If we want to go on a date night, we have to hire a sitter and that gets expensive. If we lived close to family we would for sure never have to pay for childcare haha. It’s also hard if an emergency comes up and you have to find someone to watch your child asap. For instance, when I had to go to the ER due to being extremely anemic last fall, we had to ask one of our friends if they were available to watch Oakley for a few hours because we couldn’t bring him with us. If no one was available, then we would have to spend time finding a sitter and it’s just a hassle. Luckily our amazing friend was able to come over and we didn’t have to spend too much time finding someone.
One last “bad” thing is traveling back and forth to see them gets expensive too. We try to fly home 3 times a year and our parents come here once or twice a year, so it feels like we still see them often. Our awesome parents have airline miles that they use for us, so it actually doesn’t cost us anything to go see them, but our parents still have to spend their own money for a ticket and it’s so nice for them to do that for us! Since the coronavirus started, we haven’t been able to see them for 6 months so far which is the longest it’s been since Oakley was born. I really hope they come to visit us soon. Hint, hint haha.
With all that to be said, it all has to do with your outlook on it. There are pros and cons and if you have to move because of your job or your partners job, or if your family has to move away from you, just know you absolutely have it in you and you can do it! You can meet friends with kids and they can maybe watch your child for a date night if hiring a sitter is out of your budget, or you can plan your trips home to have something to look forward to. Some people are totally fine NOT seeing family, but for those who need family around, thinking positively about the situation will really help!
Let me know in the comments if you live far away from your family and how you cope with that! I’d love to hear from you 🙂