Extended Family and their role in your children's lives - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-20-2006, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I read a lot of posts about IL troubles/family troubles. My husband and I are in the process of deciding whether to move across the country to be closer to family. I'm worried we may regret this decision for a few reasons.

One, I spent my entire childhood literally hating my mother. She was always very loving when I was sick and took care of basic needs, but there was something major missing. She didn't like me. She was critical. I moved to my dad's when I was 13 yrs. and haven't lived close to her since. We now have a good relationship. But, I'm worried about living close to her. She is remarried and does not raise her step-children in an acceptable way. I feel thier pain when I visit, because it reminds me of my own. But, so far she's been awesome with my kids.

Two, my husband's family is pretty distant and we have a good relationship seeing them only a few times a year.

What are your relationships like with extended family? Would you be able to raise your children without them? Would you miss holidays?

SAHM married to with twin boys  and a girl .  
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#2 of 10 Old 06-20-2006, 10:28 PM
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Both my family and DH's are involved in our childrens lives. This is the main reason we have put off moving out of state for now. We see my family a couple times a week. We usually go out to lunch or dinner with them, or just visit. DH's family we see as often as their schedules allow. They have conflicting work schedules, so that often makes it difficult. We love to have get-togethers with them and all the cousins. The kids all have a blast and everyone gets along really well.

I would definitely miss the holidays with them.
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#3 of 10 Old 06-20-2006, 10:55 PM
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I lived very happily 500 miles away from my family for 15 years -- and wound up moving home shortly after ds1 was born. It seemed kind of crazy to me to be so far away from both of our extended families (we lived in NJ, my folks were in Ohio, and dh's are in South Carolina).

I now live ten minutes away from my mother and we see her most days. She literally dotes on my two boys and is a huge help to me. I'd be happy to see less of her, frankly ... although we get along pretty well she can be critical and I just get tired of her company. We are not one of those mother-daughter duos who are super-close. But it's great for the boys, and it's great for her -- and in a very practical sense it's great for me and dh since the older one will sleep over occasionally and she is almost always ready and willing to babysit one or the other during the day. I really don't know what I'd do otherwise when I am sick and/or dh is out of town for work.

Hope this is helpful!
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#4 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 12:36 AM
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I live 4 hours from my family and i love it. we didnt mesh well living so close together and now the we are only 4 hours apart, it makes a world of difference.
I dont think i could ever live in the same town as them again
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#5 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 12:45 AM
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I live 1/2 an hour away from my parents and four siblings. My sister works for us as DS's nanny. We love having family so close and DS has a wonderful relationship with his aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

I think it depends on the circumstances though - my parents and siblings are very respectful of their roles as secondary caregivers. They don't make a move without asking us first on ANYTHING. A mutually respectful relationship goes a long way.
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#6 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 01:37 AM
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I think about this too, I really want to move far away. I'm 90% sure I don't need them, but my grandmother still needs ME, so I won't leave until, well, you know.

blood and chemistry don't mean a whole lot to me. My mom sounds similar to yours, I wouldn't say she was awful but she was not a "good mother". At all. She loves my dd though.

I'm torn because I'm so close to my grandmother and feel I got a LOT out of having her in my life. I don't want dd to miss out on that. But I also don't want to miss out on my life and making it what I want it to be just to allow biological relatives who aren't necessarily wonderful or emotionally healthy people to be in dd's life....ugh. It's a complicated decision. Either way there are sacrifices. Do what will make your family the happiest overall.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#7 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 01:55 AM
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My family is the ONLY reason dh hasnt taken the lucrative job offers in India, Japan, and Jamaica.
My dad has dd over once a week. if they miss a week due to illness or traveling they both (dd and my dad) get crabby. She LOOOOVES her "chompa"
We visit my mom once a week. During the summer we even visit my ex-step-mom once a week!
i have two much younger sisters (15 and 11) who dd and i would miss dearly if we left.

Now as for the in laws both dh and i wish they lived farther away.

I wasnt close to my parents until i had dd. They have been so awesome and it brought me new respect for them now that i am a parent. When i was in the hosp for an extended time after my cs my mom brought me homemade HEALTHY dinner every day. My dd was in the NICU and my mom and dad took shifts so that dh could go home and shower/sleep and someonecould always be there for me and dd.
When i was in the ER and on bedrest for hemoraging after a mc they swooped right in and took care of dd and my dogs/house/me

I think family is VERY important to keep in contact with IF they are healhty otherwise i will NOT surround myself with poisonous people.
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#8 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 02:37 AM
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My mother passed away when my kids were 4 and 6, but she was very very close to them and a big part of our lives. I was raised 75% by my mom (they divorced when I was an infant or when she was preg even I cant remember.) but I knew my dad and saw him on holidays, various weekends, and 3 weeks or better in the summer. Your mostly typical divorced parent visitation schedule.

My dad and I werent what I would call close really, but I knew he loved me and I loved him. We were very alike, and yet very different. (My mom raised me totally differently than he would have.) At first my dad had a very hard time with my kids... especially with my Ds. My Dad is one who thinks young kids should listen and that is it, no questions or "back talk" to adults etc. We have taken a very different route for our kids and he didn't understand it.

We have lived within a few hours of my dad and his wife for all my kids' lives with a few short term exceptions along the way. As the kids have gotten older, and as my dad has mellowed out a little, they have developed a nice relationship. He still doesn't always understand our ways, but he has tried to be tolerant of them. I like that my kids know him and enjoy visiting.

I think the bottom line is how comfortable you and your Dh are with setting some kind of boundaries and being firm with your parents about what you want for your kids... and about what you will not put up with. If they are good people underneath all the little disagreements then it's not so bad. If they are really unpleasant and disrespectful it's probably not something you want to head into. My in-laws are mostly out of state, and as much as it hurts my Dh sometimes, this is mostly good. They tend to be racist, sexist, and two faced. It's not what I look for in relationships of any kind.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#9 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 02:47 AM
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We live in the same town as my in-laws and they have a great relationship with my son. (He's the only grandchild on both sides and probably will be until we have another.) I didn't think my parenting philosophy would mesh well with theirs since they are very mainstream people - like MIL used formula from day 1, and she doesn't want us to homeschool because they will miss things like prom and football. But they are instinctively loving, gentle people, and it turns out their attitude isn't so different from mine. MIL says things like, "they say you're supposed to put him down in the crib awake so he'll learn to go to sleep on his own ... but I cuddled all my kids to sleep until they were 2. I guess I spoiled them rotten!"

My parents live 1,000 miles away. I wish they were closer, but they don't want to move. We see them about three times a year, since Corbin was born. They have a good relationship with him too - again surprising to me, since they have some strict, old-fashioned ideas about discipline that I don't agree with. But they don't do that stuff with him. (They just TALK to me about it, sigh.)

One thing I've found is that living in the same town as relatives can be a good thing even if you don't get along that well. The disadvantage of living far away is that you can't just visit for a couple hours and then go home - it has to be a LONG visit, with overnight stays and meals and being in the same house for days on end, which can drive you crazy when you don't get along. I loved living in an apartment in my hometown when I was in college, because I could just drive over to my parents' for dinner and then come home before they got on my nerves.
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#10 of 10 Old 06-21-2006, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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All the positive grandparent situations remind me of my own childhood and what my children would be missing if we didn't move back. Thank you. I feel like I'm missing out too. I am proud of my place in my family and want my children to see that, if that makes any sense.

It would be wonderful for my mom to be the grandparent she is dreaming of being! She is always thinking of my boys. Always buying stuff. She would love to visit weekly, babysit, shop, do ANYTHING with her grandbabies. I feel so guilty having my kids and my mother so far from each other.

Also, as a child, I had great comfort knowing all the people in my lives. It helped shape me into the person I am today. Without having all those different relationships, I'm not sure how well I would have done. I spent lots of time with my grandparents, aunts and uncles. They all had different views and different ways of loving me. I think that helps a child sort of find out who they are. Right now, my kids only have a relationship with me and my husband...that's it. I just wasn't raised that way. I just feel like I'm in uncharted territory not having my family closer.

And, pookel, I do NOT want another one of those looong visits to happen again!! Ugh. So stressful and I don't care to spend the night at my mother's house or my husband's parents house. I would MUCH rather have them visit 2 hours then go home and vice versa.

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