When my husband and I left our hometown about 5 years ago to move to the Red Stick, we gleefully waved goodbye, looked at each other with naive excitement in our eyes, and boldly said “We will never live in that city again. Thank God.” We were without kids at that point, and ready to face the world alone.
The whole situation was totally awesome- until about a year later when we had our kiddo- and now I totally understand why people never move away from their hometown.
If you have family that lives close enough to help out with carpool or when your kid is sick or give you a date night every now and then- please, do not take this for granted. Four years into parenthood I’m at a point where I would almost literally give my left arm to have some help in my own backyard. When the kiddo is sick, it’s just us. When school lets out early or is on a holiday break or closes for an “administrative day,” it’s just us. When our kiddo has an event or a ceremony he’s in, it’s just us there to cheer him on. In the moments that we celebrate a birthday or accomplishment, it’s still just us.
One Thanksgiving when all hell was breaking loose and we couldn’t make it home at the very last minute, it was just us. That year we had stuffing from a box—it was tragic. Apart from the awesome visits we have with family every now and then on a weekend, it’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just us.
I don’t say all this to sound whiny because this is the life we chose for ourselves and most days we are pretty good at doing “just us,” but I hope that if you have extra hands around that want to help you and want to love on your kiddo, that you are able to recognize all the small ways it makes your life a little easier and enriches your child’s life.
Yes, family can be annoying. Maybe they constantly give you unsolicited parenting advice, maybe they feed your kid 12 cookies for a “snack,” maybe they have an obnoxious habit that you just can’t even deal with. Despite all of this- if they love your kiddo well and they are able to pitch in even in small ways on this very difficult child-raising gig we have, then try to cut them some slack and recognize what a blessing it is to have people to help out in the day to day grind.
Appreciate your people, tell them how much they mean to you, and enjoy that date night that doesn’t include paying a babysitter.