Maybe you love where you grew up and couldn’t imagine living far from the place you have always called home. Maybe you are on the other end and spent high school counting down the years until you could escape to somewhere more exciting. Either way, as a responsible adult you are now considering having kids and are wondering if you are better off raising your children near family or farther away.
I’ve lived on the other side of the country from my family as well as my in-laws while having my first child. Here are some things to consider about having kids while living far from family.
I’m a positive person, so we will start off with the pros of living far from family.
Pros of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family
1. There is no pressure to allow
family to be present at birth
If you live a short drive from family, there is a good chance your mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandma, or anyone else you can think of may decide they are entitled to be present for the birth of your child. You may not want an audience, but it can be really hard to tell the
2. You have more freedom to develop your own parenting style
There are so many opinions on the “right” way to be a parent. However, the right way for you is the way you and your husband decide to parent. This should be a decision made based on your preferences and not on pressure from family. Being far away means you don’t have family around offering their input as often.
3. You have more power over the visit schedule
If you live near family,
4. You and your husband learn to rely on each other
If you have a great relationship with your mom, it may be really easy to get her help and input on every parenting question and call her for babysitting frequently. However, it can be easy for you to rely more on family than your husband which can make it hard to form a parenting team. Being far away decreases your ability to rely on family and allows for a stronger parenting team to be formed between you and your husband.
5. When family visits they stay with you
This means that they are already planning to be present for those 2 am wakeups. If there is a large time difference, you can utilize it to have family help with overnight feedings or rocking baby back to sleep. We had almost four weeks of help between our mothers visiting right after our son was born. During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared at bedtime each night. Our mothers would get up with our son and give him a bottle for the 6 am feeding which gave my husband and me a six-hour stretch of sleep before I needed to be up for the next feeding. The result is we actually felt pretty human during the first month.
6. Your child gets well-traveled at an early age
I believe helps make
Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family
1. If you want
family present at birth, this can be hard to plan
Often affordable plane tickets have to be purchased well in advance. With a 4 to 5-week range around the due date, it’s difficult to pinpoint when people should
Family doesn’t get to visit as much
For your family to visit the new baby, either they need to travel to you, or you need to travel to them. Also, when they come, they usually stay with you which means extended time with
3. Family visits can be difficult if you have parents that don’t travel or have health problems that make traveling difficult
If you are in this situation and will have to be the one traveling, make sure to get all my tips for flying with a baby. You can also use my Family Travel Planner to make the travel planning process much easier.
4. You might feel like you are missing out
We lived a 5-hour plane flight from all of our family for almost 3 years. The only times I really broke down because I didn’t have family nearby was when we found out we were having a boy and when my mom left after visiting right after my son was born. These were times when I did really want to share them with my family, and I felt like a phone call or FaceTime just didn’t cut it.
5. You don’t have as much help
When you live near family, they are often happy to babysit or be an extra set of hands. However, living far from them means that you don’t have these built-in, free babysitters. Friends can be helpful, but you can only impose on them for free babysitting so much. Living far away meant we couldn’t go to the movies without paying a babysitter or going when we had people visiting. We made a point of taking our son out to restaurants, the store and the mall starting when he was only a week old. Therefore, it became normal for him and us, so going out to eat or shopping with him in tow isn’t a big deal. Definitely get my tips for going out with a newborn to make your life easier.
6. Holidays can be hard
For holidays, you will likely be traveling back to
7. Guilt trips from family about living far away
You may hear comments from family (likely grandparents) about how they don’t get to spend time with their grandchild because he lives so far away. Even if you don’t hear these comments, you may feel guilty that your parents don’t get to spend much time with their grandchild. This is likely to be more significant if your baby is the first grandchild.
Do the pros of living far from family outweigh the cons? That depends on your family situation. For us, we made do and logged some serious frequent flier miles. It was good for my husband and
What do you think? Do the pros or the cons weigh heavier in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!
Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess