When starting my own family, I quickly realized the continued importance of my family, too. Having come from a wonderful family, it didn't take me long to piece together the undeniable face that, hey, living close to your parents after you have kids is pretty awesome. Of course, not everyone feels this way (especially if there are toxic family members in the mix), and even though I liked living by my family, it wasn't always easy, either. Like every other aspect of parenthood, there's good parts and bad parts and you have to simply figure out what works best for you. For me and my family, I think that motherhood is much easier to figure out when you're living next to your parents.
As a mother, I've lived both close and far away from my parents, so I know the benefits and difficulties of both. When you are far away from your family like I was (a 12 hour drive to be exact), your friend group becomes your makeshift family and they take up the roles your parents would otherwise be fulfilling; babysitting, helping with pick-up at daycare, maybe even bringing over a meal or two.
When you live close to your parents, they tend to take up these "assistant duties" without you even asking. In fact, your parents will probably be quick to offer up their babysitting duties on the regular. After all, I don't think I've ever known a grandparent who doesn't want to spend time with their grandchild. While it may be frustrating and trying at times (because, you know, space is nice) there really are so many benefits to living close to your parents after you become one yourself, including the following:
You Have Built In Babysitters...
Sure, your friends may not mind when you ask them to babysit and, honestly, some may just up and offer to watch your kid, randomly. Still, when it comes to your parents, you honestly don't even have to ask.
...So Date Nights Can Be A Frequent Thing
Date nights (or solo-date nights, where you just need to get away and spend time by yourself) are so much easier to come by when your parents are close by to watch your baby. You feel comfortable leaving your baby for a few hours because, after all, he or she will be with your parents. So, whether you and your partner are reconnecting or you're out on a first date, having your parents around make it all easier.
Taking A Much-Needed "Break" Is Much Easier
When you're struggling and you're exhausted and you can't see the light at the end of the parenting tunnel, you (and/or your partner) can call your parents and politely ask them to take over. You have, essentially, another line of defense that can keep you from a total breakdown. It's the best.
There's Someone Always Available To Pick Up Your Kid
We've all been there: running late to pick our child up from daycare or preschool or wherever, because of traffic. Enter grandma and grandpa.
Traveling To See Your Parents Isn't Expensive
Goodbye expensive airplane tickets and checked baggage fees. Goodbye long lines at security and goodbye horrific traffic patterns. Honestly, there's something to be said for not having to travel long distances to see your parents, or for your child to see their grandparents.
Someone Who's "Been There, Done That" Is Around To Offer Constant Advice
This is a double-edged sword, of course, but having someone you can just call up to come over and check out that one rash or that one weird poop, is pretty great. It's like you have a living, breathing baby book on demand.
Holidays Are A Lot Easier To Plan
Instead of trying to organize all the grandparents to come your house, and instead of trying to figure out who you're going to visit this year and who you're going to visit next year, you can all just meet up at the same time for every holiday because you're just a few minutes away. Magic! Magic that saves a lot of headaches and strong discussions.
Your Kid Gets To Grow Up With Their Grandparents...
There's a certain amount of special extra fun energy that only grandparents can truly provide. So, it's no surprise that there's something to be said for your kid being around their grandparents on a frequent basis. Getting to "go over to grandma's house" and be spoiled and make memories with your parents truly is a special gift.
...And Your Parents Get To Watch Your Kid Grow Up
Now that I'm a mother, I truly can't imagine what it's like to watch your baby have babies. My mother knows what that's like now, and I can tell you that she really appreciates the moments when we are around, so she can watch me grow as a parent, and watch my daughter grow as a human being. All the feels, you guys.