I used to feel smug about all the family drama I avoided since we live far from my family. I’d hear my friends complain about family fights or in-laws who lived too close for comfort, and I felt lucky that I didn’t have those issues. When it comes to family, I thought, absence does make the heart grow fonder. But when I had kids, I started to envy my friends who had family nearby. I may avoid the family fights, but my friends get all the perks of having parents who can be there at a moment’s notice. So to my friends who have family in town, I’ll admit I’m jealous. Here’s why.
1. Family = free help and support. From providing free babysitting to helping out when your kids have different class events at the same time, having family nearby means you’re not dependent on friends or paid babysitters for an extra hand with your kids… and that goes for when you’re sick, too.
2. It’s easy to uphold family traditions. You know the traditions you loved as a child and want to pass on to your own children? That’s a lot easier to do when your own family is nearby.
3. You don’t have to spend Christmas alone. If you decide not to travel to see family at Christmas, holidays can be pretty lonely. Even though holidays with family can be stressful, it’s better than feeling like you’re the only family in town who doesn’t have a place to go.
4. You don’t have to use up holiday time visiting family. Without family in town, there’s pressure to travel to see family every chance you get. But there’s also a big world out there of places to see — and places your family won’t be thrilled you chose to see over visiting them.
5. Your kids get to build deep connections with their relatives. My kids love when my family comes to town, but those visits are only a few times a year and there’s only so much bonding that can happen. With family nearby your kids get the added bonus of forming those deeper relationships.
So if your mum is your neighbour and she drives you a little crazy, just remember how lucky you and your kids are to have her nearby. She’s not just a free baby sitter, she’s one more person who loves your kids as much as you do. Everybody wins!
More real mum stories from the trenches:
- 9 Things I Judged Parents About Before I Had Kids
- 13 ‘Should Dos’ I Don’t Have Time for Now That I’m a Mum
- 21 Things Every Mum Thinks While Cleaning the House