Post # 1
I’ve moved around my whole life (military) and I’m used to not being around extended family…I’d met my cousins (also military) once as a kid and then not again until I was 21. So I’d like some insight on this situation.
DH’s coworker, John and his wife (Mary) moved overseas when their DD was less than a year old. They’ve since had another child. John told DH the other day that “in order to save my marriage, I’m going to have to move back home soon.” Mary is insistent that their kids grow up around their cousins, grandparents, etc. and wants to go home.
I don’t think that Mary understands how great it is (financially) to be over here. John gets paid more (he’d take a pay cut in the states) and it’s tax-free, they have free housing, and she gets to be a SAHM (she worked FT before moving.) Mary does have friends here w/kids the same ages. But she misses her own sisters (who recently got married, one just had a baby) and her original friends.
Part of me understands that she wants to be around family again. But since she’s upset that they are here, lately she has been “off the handle”, threatening a couple of times to move back herself w/the kids (this is unrealistic as she doesn’t want to work) and spending ALL their money on very expensive things. I guess this is her way of showing John that they aren’t making that much money. She actually did leave once w/the kids (for the holidays) and John followed her there and convinced her to come back.
I guess it’s hard for me to understand b/c even though their families all live in the same areas, I doubt if they could further their careers and take better care of their families financially that they’d not do it just b/c of extended family. AND it’s not like John/Mary are going to be gone forever…it’s another 3 years.
I’ve been away from my own family for over 4 years now and I do miss them but they understand that we are “setting up our future” financially. And even when we do move back, they know we might not move to my hometown.
So I’m curious what other bees w/kids think.
Post # 3
No. My parents moved to another state when I was a toddler, and in Australia that means a long way away from people in other states. So I saw my grandparents once every year or so (and other extended family even less). My parents made friends with neighbours, had active social lives, and us kids did fine.
Post # 4
I don’t have children myself yet but when I grew up, I had aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins etc that lived fairly locally. Does that mean we spent all our time together? No, we saw each other at Christmas and randomly throughout the year but we weren’t constantly in each other’s lives. That was because our “extended family” were people in our church. Those were the people we surrounded ourselves by, they were the ones we turned to in times of trouble or in times of happiness.
So yes, I think it is important to raise children with an “extended family” but that could have a different connotation for different people. I think it is extremely difficult to raise a child purely by yourself with no “outside” help at all.
Post # 5
Truthfully I don’t think it that important. Sure I had cousins around me growing but they were either eight years older or eight years younger so I never knew what it was like having a family member close to me in age. I know when we have children we won’t having anyone near by and I will not tolertate anyone (including family) staying for an extended amount of time (I like my space and don’t always like to share).
But in truth it sounds like their relationship is on the rocks. Even if they move back I wouldn’t be surpise to hear it didn’t work out in the end. Also she could just be feeling isolated while being over there and never truely made friends.
Post # 6
@paula1248: this adds to my post above, your parents surrounded themselves with a different kind of “family” but they still had support through friendship with neighbours and your friendship with their children.
Post # 7
I think if that is how Mary grew up I can understand why it would be very very important to her.
I however, did not grow up like that. When we were younger we would see extended family maybe once every 2 years. As we got older it just became less and less. Now we only ever really see some cousins at funerals that we have to travel to.
While growing up my parents basically created their own extended family. I am still close to all these people and consider them more family than actual blood relatives. I even just tell strangers that so and so is an aunt/uncle/cousin.
Post # 8
I loved growing up surrounded by family. Most of my cousins were around the same age and we got together frequently. I’m now godmother to the kids of one of my cousins. It’s like having loads of brothers and sisters. I can’t imagine childhood, or adulthood without such a big support network and when I have kids they will definitely be brought up closely with their family. I totally understand her wanting to move back to her home.
Post # 9
Not really. It’s nice to raise kids as part of a big family – but it’s definitely not required.
Post # 10
I don’t think it matters much, personally. My parents moved a 16 hour drive away from their parents before I was born, so I saw my grandparents about once a year and some aunts/uncles/cousins I’ve met only once in my life (and I haven’t seen any of them in probably 10+ years).
We live in a different country than either of our sets of parents and it’s fine. Having family around helps, of course, because you have easier access to childcare but wherever we’ve lived, we’ve made our own family amongst our close friends. My best friend has always been my daughter’s auntie, and I prefer the company of my friends (who I choose to have in my life) versus my family.
Post # 11
It is convenient to live near my parents because I would not want to have to spend precious vacation time and dollars comin home to visit regularly.
A majority of my friends live in this area too, and that is equally if not more important to me. I am not really interested in starting my social life over from scratch. No one I meet now will compare to the old friends I have known for over a decade.
Post # 12
@tynakinnon: I wonder about them splitting up too…John is always talking to me (usually when he’s been drinking) about Mary. I try to stay out of it but tell him that marriage is a 2 way street and he needs to help her out more…he literally does everything he can to avoid being at home. We’ve seen several couples break up after coming overseas…it’s stressful and when you leave “the nest” it can make it hard especially w/kiddos.
@ms_protea: I think you’re right about how you grew up. I find it very easy to make new friends but I don’t bat an eye when I have to move (thanks to the military.) DH grew up in the same area his whole life so he constantly gets the “sooo when are you guys coming home for good?” questions.
@ElbieKay: I have some GFs that I still keep in contact with since middle school. I always find it fascinating when people have been friends their whole lives…such as DH and his friends. And being around family would help the couple w/babysitting so they could have a night out once in a while.
Post # 13
@texasbee: I think is absolutely important, but that’s also how I grew up so I could be slightly biased! Ha! I grew up in a very small community – 3 towns of less than 500 for one school, and my mom’s brother lived in the same area. They had four kids, we had three, and we were incredibly close! We grew up together, they were our best friends. All four of them were recently in our wedding and one of the girls was my MOH (I don’t have a sister.) My husband actually works for their family farm right now. I currently live six hours away from everyone, including my husband, and cannot wait to go back. My brother lives halfway across the country, and he’s planning on moving back. We LOVE living next to family and want our kids to be as close to each other as we were to our cousins.
When we were able to spend time together (tricky because of the demands of farm life) we would build forts, go out to the woods together, go horseback riding, bake like no other, have sleep overs at grandma’s, it was a blast! They were like siblings.
Post # 14
@texasbee: I should add that, had I already signed up for a life of PCSing — which I probably would not have chosen anyway — I would definitely not turn around and be a complete brat towards my husband about it. So there are really two separate issues addressed by your question.
Post # 15
I do see both sides. I think if it had a time limit- like 3 years as you said- then I might stick it out. But having family around when you have kids does make it easier. Although I had extened family around growing up, none of my cousins were near my age and I honestly don’t like a lot of my relatives. But now that I have children, I appreciate having my mom and MIL close by.
Post # 16
@texasbee: I grew up with ALL my family within 10 miles! I’m so, so sad that our kids won’t have this oppertunity!
But if all our family was still in one location, I would probably try to find a way to live there, or take entended vacations there several times a year!