Family nearby can be a great thing for you, your kids and, of course, for the grandparents. However, it can also be very tricky. While living closer to your parents (or your partner's) means you'll inevitably see them on a more frequent basis (which can be great if you need help or want a date night) it also means you'll see your family on a more frequent basis. There will be no breaks. There will be no "space." There will be no boundaries. In other words, living close to your parents can be the worst.
Personally, I have lived both far away and relatively close to my family after having my daughter, so I'm well aware that there are pros and cons to both. While the positives are nothing to scoff at or undersell (having an extra set of hands is super helpful, to say the least) they're not always heavy enough to outweigh the negatives. I feel pressure to constantly include my parents in our planning; I deal with old, long-lasting issues from when I was younger and living with my parents and, well, the freedom I looked forward to enjoying when I was a kid (weirdly, even though I'm a parent myself) feels a little too far away.
Of course, not every new mom will encounter these issues when they live near their parents or their partner's parents (or any other family member, for that matter), but I tend to think that most do. After all, it's family, and while we all love our families very much (unless they're toxic, of course) we also kind of want the most space from them. So, with that in mind, here are just a few reasons why living close to your parents, while helpful, is pretty much the absolute worst.
Your Parents Try To Parent, Instead Of Grandparent
After being in the role of "parent" for so long, they might have a bit of a hard time stepping into the role of grandparent. You know, the stage where you do less disciplining and more shameless spoiling. Now, honestly, I'd be all for that stage. That sounds like fun.
They'll Have Trouble Seeing You As The Parent
Yes, I'll always be your baby, but now your baby has a baby of her own to love and take care of. Please at least try to start seeing me as a parent. I am an adult who understands the magnitude of this responsibility and is fully capable of doing it. I may sometimes need your help, but not always. Sorry not sorry?
You're Open To More Criticism
When you're further away, your family may not know absolutely everything that happens in your daily life. When you're closer, however, there's a greater chance that they do know what is going on in your daily life. If they do not agree with something you are doing in your schedule or a parenting tactic that you've decided to incorporate into your routine, you're going to hear about it. Oh, joy.
They Give So Much Unsolicited Advice...
They still think their ways are the best, even if that way is outdated and your pediatrician actively warns against it (pay attention, grandparents). Yes, sometimes your parents' advice can be very helpful and useful, but sometimes that's simply not the case and the way you've decided to parent is actually the way that benefits you and your family the most. Weird, I know.
...And You Have To Hear It More Often...
Since you are living near your parents, voicing their disapproval is exponentially easier. What joy, you guys. Decided to hop on the phone with them for a casual afternoon conversation? They'll sneak it in there. Seeing them for a Sunday lunch? Guess what will inevitably become a topic of conversation. Having them come over to babysit for a date night? They'll say something before you leave or when you get back.
...Like, You Can Never Escape It
The unsolicited advice will follow you everywhere. Texts with random thoughts in the middle of the night, a voicemail while you are at work, a casual mention during a fun conversation. You can't escape it.
You Get Less Quality Time With Your Immediate Family
When you live far away from your parents, you really only have the family you've created for yourself. While that isn't always positive either (I mean, built in babysitters are nice) you also get to spend as much time as you want, together.
That time is definitely impeded on when you live close to your parents. Whether they just show up randomly or guilt you into constantly inviting them to outings and dinners and breakfasts and every other possible moment you may want to share with your immediate family, they'll be there. Is it great? Yes. Sometimes. I mean, I feel like I'm complaining about something I really shouldn't, but wanting time with just your family is pretty valid and normal and you should, in all honesty, be granted that time (again, pay attention grandparents).
Your Parents Will Inevitably Show Up At Your Home Randomly
When you're family lives nearby, they want to always see you (read: your kid). It's nice, don't get me wrong, but it also limits the time you can either spend with your family, or yourself.
Some Of Your Parenting Work Can Be Undone
I get that the "rules" at any grandparent's house aren't going to mimic the rules I've established in my own home but, you know, that doesn't mean that what I expect doesn't need to be tossed out the proverbial window. It can be hard to establish a routine or some good behavior, only to have it undone after a weekend (or even a quick few hours) at grandma and grandpa's. Ugh.
Constant Guilt Trips If You Go Long Periods Of Time Without Seeing Them
To be fair, distance will not save you from a good, old fashioned parenting guilt trip. Not. At. All. However, a guilt trip in person is far more powerful than one given to you via the phone or FaceTime. Trust me.