Living far away from family is both geographically and emotionally draining. Yes, sometimes it's nice to have some actual distance between you and your nosey parents, but you give up a lot when you move far away. For example, there's no more "quick trips" to grandma and grandpa's house, no built-in babysitters, and no close-by emergency contacts. I have a feeling there are more than a few things all moms with long-distance parents know to be true and, for me, one of those things is the struggle associated with being away from people who are usually jonesing to be supportive.
When my husband and I made the decision to pack up our things and move our family 1,000 miles away from the place we called home, we knew we'd be sacrificing a lot. We hoped, however, that we'd gain enough new memories and experiences to make that sacrifice feel worth it. That didn't make it any easier, though. With a 6-year-old boy and a 11-year-old girl, convincing our kids that a near-cross country move was a positive decision was a tough sell. And once they realized they'd no longer have their beloved weekend getaways to their grandparents' houses, it became even more difficult to let them know this wasn't "the worst thing in the world."
While starting a new chapter of our family's life and moving to a new state was exciting, losing time with grandparents and having to adjust to taking care of my kids without the nearby support of family members really highlight just how big a deal moving really was (and is, and probably always will be). So if you, too, have moved your family far away from your parents (or if you've never lived that close to them in the first place), I have a feeling you know the following things to be true:
You Always Talk About "Grandma & Grandpa"
I don't think we really appreciated having my parents and in-laws around, until frequent visits were no longer an option. It's easy to take that time for granted when there's a lot of it. But now that my kids can't spend a significant amount of time with their grandparents — aside from the expensive trips we have to save up for — my partner and I find ourselves talking about them constantly. Every single day, we think about the things we left behind when we moved, and all the grandparents top the list.
Your "Vacation" Days Are Spent Visiting Your Parents
Say goodbye to beautiful beaches and exciting city trips. Gone are the days when you could book a trip overseas or enjoy a nice staycation. No, now any "free time" you have that takes you away from work obligations must be spent visiting your parents. Every single "vacation" is a trip to grandma and grandpas, and we all know that isn't really a vacation for the parents.
You Get Homesick Frequently
I love that social media connects us all, and that my kids can use FaceTime to see their grandparents. Having said that, it also serves as a harsh reminder of everything we're missing out on. Yes, we're envious when we miss a birthday party or event we'd otherwise be at. Yes, sometimes we miss "home," even if it wasn't really a home we lived in. Sometimes home is just a group of people, and when you can't be with that group of people you feel out of place.
You Miss Free Child Care
It's a struggle to find the time (and money) to enjoy kid-free moments with my partner. Family time is great, yes, and we knew moving would require certain sacrifices. But holy hell is it hard to stay connected in our relationship without the help of free child care.
You Have To Really Plan Before Visits
We used to live in a small town, half a mile from my mother-in-law and just blocks away from a dear family friend who spent the majority of his time playing with my son. My mom was an hour away, and my dad was only two hours away. All our friends were within driving distance, and we didn't need to really plan before stopping by.
Now that's changed. Now, if we want to visit, we have to pack a week's worth of stuff and deal with airplane flights and, well, you get the idea.
You Enjoy The Space
While we definitely miss our family members, it's also kind of nice to have some space. There's no more people stopping by without warning, or dishing out constant unsolicited advice. We don't feel obligated to spend all of our free-time with grandma and grandpa because, well, they know we can't hop on the plane every weekend. Do we miss them all very much? Of course. Is the extra family time with just us four pretty nice? Yes. Yes it is.
You Worry Your Kids Are Missing Out
The grass is always greener, right? As a parent, I think it's pretty impossible to not worry that your decisions are somehow messing up your kids. The decision to live far away from their grandparents, obviously, is no different.
So, yes, we worry that our kids are missing out when they can't pop on over to grandma's on the weekend. But if the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true, then my kids are going to have a stellar relationship with their grandparents. Always.
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