Raising kids without family support system

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Raising kids without family support system

    DH and I just found out that his family, who live nearby, are moving far away as soon as their homes sell. Our baby is due in a few months and we're nervous about not having family around. We also don't know many people in the area; anyone close by are mostly work-acquaintance friends. 

    Has anyone experienced having a baby and being far from family and friends? Was there anything that made it easier? I've been looking for moms groups but haven't found any yet. What in particular was difficult and how did you cope?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Hugs, WPP! That's a hard thing to have to go through at a time when you and DH are already preparing for a huge change.  It's normal to feel sad and a little angry.

    While I don't have personal experience with raising kids far away from family and friends, I can tell you there are a ton of moms groups around the greater Boston area and hopefully nearby where you live.  Isis Parenting is located in Needham, Boston, Arlington, and Hingham (and maybe another location?) and has amazing classses both for moms of newborns and for pregnant moms.  The classes are a great springboard for making friends with other people who have kids exactly the same age as you, and the friendships last much longer than the classes do!  In my case, I took a class with 9 other moms after my DD1 was born, and I still keep in touch via email with the entire group and am very close friends with two of the other moms.  I've heard good things about Baby Cafe in Melrose and many of the new hospitals have new mom breastfeeding support groups - which are free and a great way to meet new moms of little babies even if you don't end up breastfeeding long term.   Having kids in general is a great way to meet people.  Once the baby is old enough to go on walks in the neighborhood, bring to the playground, etc. you will naturally befriend a lot of other moms who you will instantly have a lot in common with.

    As for lack of family support - yes, it will be hard for you to not have an instant babysitter/support person who you can trust besides DH.  I think the hardest part will be right after the baby is born because that is when the baby is the most needy/most unpredictable adn you are the most emotional and tired. Do you and DH have family or friends from out of town who you could line up to visit periodically for the first few months after the baby arrives? I think that will help you a lot.  I recommend you start interviewing babysitting candidates, through Care.com, sittercity.com, or even ask around at work to see if anyone has anyone they recommend.  Once the baby is a few months old, having someone local you can trust to care for your baby will allow you the flexibility to do errands, go out on a date night once in awhile, or even accomplish things around the house.     

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    We live far from our family and friends with kids - most of our local friends are from the boathouse (but don't have kids) or work (not too many), so we definitely have experience with this.

    For our first, DS was born early so we were caught by surprise - my mother was going to come just before the due date and then stay for a few weeks, then my MIL fly in for a week... since they had plane tickets, they could not change their schedule so easily. So we ended up hiring a post partum doula at the last minute which helped a lot. Definitely look into a resource like doulas for immediate support afterwards.


    Since I knew I wanted to nurse, I found my local LLL group before the baby was born, and that gave me some additional support, which helped me a lot (my local group is very laid back and accepting of all situations but I don't know how other LLL groups are) - I believe a lot of moms here talk about Isis - see if you can go before the baby comes to get an idea of what to expect.

    Also, after a few months, we found a great neighborhood girl who would come every weekend for a few hours as mother's helper in the beginning, then eventually became DS's babysitter.


    Second time around, we lined up the post partum doula, and my mom/MIL, and it worked out better for us.


    For first time around, the hardest part was not really having anyone I was close to that I could talk to or share my frustrations or confusion with other than the LLL support group I found and having help so I could get some more sleep especially since I was stressed about getting everything done right and not hurting the baby through inexperience. Which is why I recommend doula support over anything for that first month. It is expensive but since we did not have any family around who could help take the load, it was the best way for us.

     

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP-Most of my family is about 2.5 hours away. DH's family is about 7000 miles away. I do have a flaky sister who isn't much help, but super close. trust me, it isn't as bad as you think! Schedule time for them to come in the beginning. It will help you to know on X date I will have help, but will allow you time to bond/adjust/know what you need before they arrive.

    The one thing I wish were different with my mother who lives away, I wish she was better about sticking to a schedule about coming to visit-she gives me lots of grief that I don't travel to her more-but at this stage with two kids, it's much harder on me and the kids to get to her than it is for her to come to me. Her health issues has also limited her coming to visit-so manage your expectations down.

    As your LO get's older you'll make connections thru activities you've become involved in and your kids are involved in. You'll connect with some parents from you're childs day care. And they can help lend support. You'll find connections for baby sitting from day care providers.

    Your friends from work will be a great connection too-just because you work with them doesn't mean they aren't good friends!

    I find it harder to connect with other mom's in my neighborhood because I work full time. But you'd be surprised at who and where you connect with people once you have a LO!

    It's really not going to be as bad as you think!

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP, I just saw your post in Pregnancy. I am sure that was quite a blow to you and DH. It also must be hard to think of your in-laws living with BIL/SIL because you know their kids will get to see their grandparents every day.

    2 hours away is not that far, and you *will* see them a lot, still. They are still a car ride away, and babies are often very good in the car! You mentioned that you and DH did not let on that you are upset they are moving. My opinion is to tell them you're upset. Not to wail and cry and make it all about you, but to be honest and simply state that you're sad they are moving just when the baby is about to be born, and how you've come to rely on their emotional support, and that you'll miss them! It's important for them to know how you feel because things may get a little strained in the next several months, with them focused on their move and perhaps less aware of your feelings, and you and DH welcoming a new little person into your house. If you tell them, they might start planning for specifically when they can visit, and even if they (or one of them) can stay with you for a bit when the baby is born. Or, better, sit down with them and say you'd love for them to visit at that time, and ask them what they think would be a realistic plan.

    Everyone so far has given you excellent ideas, too. You don't mention your own parents; are they in the picture?

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP - sorry you're so sad about losing your support system. I totally understand. My parents used to come every week and sit my twins so I could go out. Then my mom got cancer and that stopped immediately. I had to find sitters to replace my parents - both so I could get some errands done like before, but also so I could visit my mom in the hospital.

    Find some sitters at sittercity or care.com. Treat yourself to a night nurse at the beginning if you can - try the Bluebirds and ask at Isis for other recommendations.

    If your in-laws are only going to be 2 hours away - thats a fairly easy car ride with a baby. And an easy car ride for the grandparents too.

    Find a mother's goup in your town.

    Finally - just keep concentrating on the joy of having a baby. My mother and father moved to MA from Ohio in 1959 with a 2 month old baby (my brother). She knew not one soul, but she got some help, found a sitter she liked and started to make friends.

    It will all work out in the end.

    Hang in there and good luck!

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP, it's too bad that your idea of how it would be has changed unexpectedly; that's always tough to process no matter what it is.  

    When we got married and I moved out here to the boonies I was comforted by the fact that DH's brother and wife lived 10 minutes away and she stays home, too - we'd be buddies.  They moved away a month later.  I was crushed at the loss of the future I had envisioned.

    On topic, not that "other people do it just fine" is a great comforter, but I believe (and I have no stats to back this up, just observations) that it's more the norm to be on your own regarding extended family.  My 4 siblings and their kids live in NH, CT, and CA (2 hours away in CA).  Our folks are from Maine but moved to PA after we'd left the house.  They all had newborns at one time or another without any family nearby.

    Mourn the loss of your expectation of having them live closeby and, when that mourning has run its course, you'll find you will get along great.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Discretion is the better part of valor.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from siena09. Show siena09's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP--we're in a similar situation.  My family is 1000 miles away, and DH's family is a 5 hour drive from us.  Neither lends itself well to spontaneous visits or regular help with childcare and household tasks.  My mom did spend 3 weeks here around baby's birth, but now she's been gone for a few weeks, and we are managing just fine.  

    I am trying to take advantage of local resources for families--mommy & me yoga classes and new parent groups in my neighborhood. Most of our local friends don't have kids yet either, so that situation is familiar!  My hope is to develop a babysitting swap with one of our friends who do have kids, so we can get a date night in every now and then, but we'll wait to try that once DD is a little older.  I've heard a lot of women report that they developed lasting friendships through local new mom groups, and I'm sure we will meet some of the daycare families once DD starts there.  

    If you are looking for new parent resources in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville, let me know...

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Thanks, everyone. There are some great ideas here. I think some of my driving concerns stems from my anxiety disorders...they've always manifested around driving; I don't know why. There was a point at which I couldn't even leave the house if I had to get in a car. I've been coping well and unmedicated for awhile, but pregnancy has exacerbated a lot of my anxiety lately. I just started therapy again, though.

    We see my parents 3-4 times a year. They travel a lot and go back and forth between Buffalo, where I'm from and where they own a business, and Florida. My parents are kind of Jerry Seinfeld's parents...I think that paints a good picture!

    Now I'm thinking that we should wait a week to calm down and get some more clarity, then I'll nudge DH to express our concerns. He's really reluctant to say anything but I think we'll need to so we stop worrying and they know that we just want to make sure that we still see them.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Change produces anxiety; it's how we're wired.  If you have an anxiety disorder, all the more so.  Take heart, though, change is only ever change for a very short time...then it morphs into the norm.  You can do this.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Discretion is the better part of valor.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP - I just read your pregnancy post... I would also include - just because the grandparents (i.e. your parents and DH's parents) are not close by won't mean the kids won't remember or love them. We live in TX and my parents are on one of the coasts (they switch coasts although they will settle permanently on west coast after fall) and MIL is in Boston, but DS who is just short of 3 loves both set of grandparents - each visit we have with either of them really stands out for him as special events because he gets so excited and knows all rules are off when they are involved. We see my parents at most 2-3 times a year, and MIL comes usually around once a quarter... and that works out great for us since we can call them, and we have pictures of them with him that he loves to look at.

    My sister went crazy on me when DD was born (extreme sibling rivalry gone bad - on her side - when DD was born, she could not handle the fact that I had a girl) so I lost complete touch with someone who I thought I could talk to about raising girls - and although it was a huge emotional blow especially with her anger spilling over onto my children, I found there were other places to find support and frankly, our lives are so busy with the children and our world in our town that I found I was able to not just cope with lack of family in the same state but be content with our lives here - we were able to find ways to get the support we need when we need it.

     

     

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system


    WPP - one last thing. Cleaning ladies!! My two wonderful ladies come every other week for 2 hours and clean my whole house top to bottom. It's $80 and worth every penny. It keeps you from descending into chaos with a newborn, frees you from washing floors and toilets and lets you spend more time with the baby. They are easy to find, and unlike sitters, you don't feel like you are entrusting your most prescious posession (your baby) to a total stranger.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from siena09. Show siena09's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Cleaning ladies are great; I agree with misslily!  Also, WPP--you may consider using a postpartum doula for some extra support.  I have heard wonderful things about them, but didn't use one myself.  (My mom was in town for a few weeks after the birth, and I feel like we have things mostly under control now.)  We had a fabulous nurse for one shift while I was postpartum at the hospital; she was also a lactation consultant and was just extremely helpful with her suggestions about managing life with a baby.  I remember feeling like I wished we could take her home with us--I would imagine that's the role of a good postpartum doula. :) 

    http://www.dona.org/mothers/faqs_postpartum.php

    I will add that many of the daycare moms I talked to said they related to the older daycare instructor in a grandmother-type way, and really relied on her for general parenting/baby advice...

    There are a lot of ways to build support and surrogate family, with friends and the right paid help; I'm sure your family will find your own path!

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Novembride. Show Novembride's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    I'm so glad you mentioned the daycare instructor, Siena.  DD's teachers are not older, but they have cared for A LOT more children than I have, and I regularly ask them for advice, or if my issue of the day is "normal."  I trust them deeply.  Are you going back to work WPP or will you be home?

    WPP, I have been trying to think of something helpful to say since your first post, but couldn't come up with more than what's been said, except this:  you and DH are the perfect parents for your child.  You will go out of your way, and way, way out of your comfort zone to provide for her. Not because you choose to, or because someone or some book tells you to.  Just because you do.  You'll be amazed by what you are capable of. 

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhirledPeasPlease. Show WhirledPeasPlease's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Thanks for all of the responses! I'm starting to feel a little better about this. I've been trying to decide what to do about returning to work too; I have my own massage therapy practice and so far I'm planning to stop working around Oct. 15 (EDD 10/24) and take November and December off. I think DH will be able to work from home a couple days a week so we're thinking we'll do day care  maybe two other days? This is something we probably won't know until DD's here. 

    Nov, your last paragraph really hit me and that's the perfect perspective. :)

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Yes, Nov, loving that last paragraph.

    I have a weak stomach when it comes to blood and guts (have lost color in my face, felt nauseous, etc), and when my dog had an infection post-knee surgery and I had to do horrrrrrible things to take care of it (too gross to mention), I managed to do it and actually act cheerful in the process so as not to add to her anxiety.  I didn't think before that that I'd ever be able to do what I had to do, but there I was doing what had to be done for a creature in my care. I'm pretty amazed by that phenomenon, actually, that I really did do it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Discretion is the better part of valor.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Novembride. Show Novembride's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Thank you, ladies, and WPP I'm glad it helped.  =)

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from thistleflower. Show thistleflower's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    Neither of us has family close by (our parents are 3 and 4 hours away) and that's been just fine. The truth is, I realized once my daughter was born that I found my in laws--and sometimes also my parents--to be kind of intrusive, and it was actually easier for me to get into a rhythm with parenthood without also having constant guests.  They do all visit frequently for weekends, and we've often tried to schedule those visits around weekends when we have plans that require babysitting, so they do help when they're around.  (I bet you'll find that your in laws visit more than you're expecting--2 hours is really not that far and I'm sure they'll be excited to see their grandchild!  We see all the grandparents way, way more often than we used to before the baby.) We also have a regular babysitter on Fridays, which is costly as a regular expense but totally worth it if you can swing it financially, so we do get out, and we really respect and trust her--the truth is that I trust her more to exercise good judgment with my kid than I trust my in laws, whose choices around what to do when, say, she wakes up during the night are sometimes very strange. I wouldn't have necessarily predicted feeling this way at all before my daughter was born, and I was also very worried about not having the kind of support that my brother, who lives closer to home, has with his daughter.  But it's possible that you'll find that some independence is a good thing.  

     

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    I was going to say something about the intrusive side of things.  My brother and his wife moved away from her parents in part because the grandparents were constantly undoing the discipline work they were doing - it wasn't cute.  The free child care just wasnt worth it...it wasn't free when you counted the behavioral cost.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Discretion is the better part of valor.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    WPP - just commenting as a fellow anxiety sufferer (I also have had driving trouble, too).  Two things - one, what Nov said is also so true regarding anxiety.  You'll do it for that little one.  That said, have your therapy sessions lined up for after the baby is born (I bring the baby) and don't rule out a short time on medication again.  This is a big change, plus the hormones!

    Two, go to new baby groups but know thyself.  I had a whole list of free and drop in groups, and I never made it to a single one.  But I paid for the Isis group, and I was darn sure going to be there for every class!

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCKristi. Show BDCKristi's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    There is some great advice here.

    I just wanted to chime in because I know all too well what it's like to live far from family when you have a baby. My parents are in NY and I lived in Florida when my son was born and Alabama when my daughter was born. At first I felt so alone. Then I found support in online forums like this one and at the local library (story time) and children's museum (mom classes) where I met moms with kids the same age as mine. Some of them became really good friends who I turned to when I needed help.

    Also, I worried that my kids wouldn't know my family. Someone suggested I put photos of the family in the kids' rooms so they saw their faces all the time. And I think it helped. My kids have always been close with my family, even with the distance.

    Now I live 3 hours by car from my family and it feels so close. I love the fact that I can put the kids in the car and see them any weekend I want. Or they drive here. In fact, my mom is visiting from NY right now.

    Good luck to you!

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    They are easy to find, and unlike sitters, you don't feel like you are entrusting your most prescious posession (your baby) to a total stranger.

     

    This is beyond offensive. 

    Babies are not possessions.

    If you find a good sitter they aren't a "stranger."

    The guilt tripping of parents who need to *hire* support because they do not have the free relatives on hand (and it's never really free, as this forum has shown) is a mean-spirited, selfish, sanctimonious, and dishonest way of feeling superior to others. 

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from user_3753669. Show user_3753669's posts

    Re: Raising kids without family support system

    You may find that regardless of whether your family is nearby or not, your best support may come from the mothers (and fathers) who live in your neighborhood and have children the same age as your kids. You may not know them yet -- you may not even know they're pregnant yet -- but you will. You may find them in organized playgroups or reading hour at the library, or at Starbucks or the playground or the waiting room at the pediatrician's office. You may find them at work or somewhere else entirely, but you will find them. Just be open to chatting, make sure to introduce yourself and your child when opportunities arise.

     
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