When You Get Pregnant, Move Next Door To Your Parents

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I love my parents and I know they love me. But I think our relationship improved dramatically when I moved 2,000 miles away from them. I’m pretty sure they’d say the same thing. At times it seems the only requirement for membership in my family is that you be stubborn and strong-willed. We’re a forgiving lot, but something about the distance just mitigates the conflict. Hi, Mom and Dad! Love you!

But now that I have children, I realize why people generally live close to their folks: grandparents exist mostly to help you take care of kids every once in a while. My huband’s parents are even further away than mine — 3,000 miles when they’re in the country. But they travel all the time, all over the world. To be sure, we have a wonderful collection of child care providers that we work with for our day-to-day needs. But what happens when we need to go somewhere overnight with the kids?

My siblings live near our parents and overnights are pretty easy. They drop the kids off and pick them up in the morning. Sometimes they do an extended stay of days or even weeks. I do this with my children, too. So, for instance, I went to Israel in March. Our childcare solution? Well, I flew alone with my two children to Denver. Then I dropped my kids off with Grandma and Papa. Then I flew to Tel Aviv. And I repeated the whole thing on my way back. When I had to cover a campaign in Nevada last October and November, I did the same thing. When I had to cover a convention in Houston last Summer, I did it again. Traveling alone with children is unbelievably difficult. Wouldn’t it be nice to just drop the kids off at your parent’s house across town before heading to the airport?

Sometimes we have family come to us for childcare. My brother and his family are currently driving across the country — all so they can watch our kids while we do business in California next week. And my sister-in-law recently came out for 10 days while I lectured out-of-state. And my in-laws are coming in for a week in December when we have a work trip scheduled.

I repeat, all of this would be infinitely easier if we lived near our families.

So here’s my word of advice to anyone: Around the time you get pregnant with your first child, just move next door (or within a quick drive) to your parents. Your parents will love you for giving them access to what they really want: time with your kiddos and you’ll grow to appreciate the ease of this form of childcare.