Ever since becoming a mom, I’ve always lived about 10-25 minutes away from my immediate family. Which meant lots of visits, help, and quite frankly a whole lot of readily available family time. It wasn’t until we moved our little family to Oklahoma, leaving everyone on my side of the family behind, that I understood what leaving really meant. This was a big change for us. We now had 3 kids and up until that move, my family had played a huge role in childcare for my two oldest children. Looking back at this life transition, while figuring out how to raise a family away from family, I have learned a few things, both positive and challenging. Hopefully, it will speak to you if you are making this transition or find yourself in this situation at some point during motherhood.
1. You will PAY for everything
By this, I mean anytime you want to do something, you have to hire a sitter. We love our babysitters and have been able to find some amazing young women to watch our kids, but I do miss the days of being able to call up my mom or sisters and ask them to watch the kids while date night, girls night out, or a random Wednesday mani/pedi was in the works. Having to pay for childcare every time you want to get away can mean a lot less time you plan to get away. I wish I would have recognized what a luxury this was while I had it.
2. Figuring it out
On the flip side of that coin, having to figure everything out on your own, without the safety net or crutch of having family right around the corner, is kind of liberating. Nothing will make you feel like a real grown-up quicker than having every single decision about your family completely and utterly up to you. I mean, it’s not like you mean to involve your family in decisions when they are so close by, but somehow it just kind of happens, especially when they are helping to care for your kids. Raising your family in another state not only gives you that ultimate independence, but also you get a little more confident in your parenting decisions. Talk about growth!
3. Intentional time
Time with family when you live far away is just that much sweeter now. We have to be intentional with scheduling visits, and I feel like it makes us appreciate each other more. In fact, in our case, I feel like we make more time for one another when it has to be a planned trip vs. just a drive down the road.
4. Not just a phone call away
Sure, modern technology gives us the ability to connect on a much more personal level these days. Hello, FaceTime! But there is something to be said about missing the times when you could call up your mom because 1 or more of the kids are sick, and you just need an extra set of hands or a shower. This can really bring you down and heighten your stress level when you look back at the days when your mom or close family member was literally just a phone call away.
5. Building your “Family”
When you are far from family and raising a family, you will soon learn that you must begin to build your family where you are planted. Call it a tribe, a crew, a group, a girl gang or whatever you want. BUT find your mama friends. The ones you can rely on to be a shoulder to cry on, vent, or complain to when you need it. Find the ones that will drop whatever they are doing to bring you a meal, take care of your kids, or come sit with you during any time of need. And most importantly of all, ones that will love your kids like their own. That’s why you’ll start to call them a family when you are away from yours.
A move is a huge transition and can feel very crippling to have your lifelines and support system so far away, but with a little positivity and a lot of friendship building, I know you can make raising a family away from family into a situation that will help you grow!