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Raising A Baby Without Family In Town

Parenting from 3,000 miles away...

I found out I was pregnant on a Monday.  On Thursday of that same week, my husband was called and given an unexpected (and very good) job offer.  The only catch was that the job was in Seattle, and we lived in Virginia.  After many many deliberations, we decided to take a big chance and move to the opposite coast.

Knowing we had a baby on the way, it was incredibly difficult to consciously choose to move thousands of miles away from our closest relatives.  And here we are, nine months later with an incredible little seven-week-old-baby.  Even though I know we made the right decision based on other factors, I can’t help but still feel a little bit sad that he’s getting bigger every day, and no one else is here to see it.

I grew up in Ohio, and my grandparents lived in Florida and Chicago — not exactly close enough to stop over after school for milk and cookies.  I had friends with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins in town, and I was always jealous of their big family gatherings and get-togethers.  In my family, we had those twice a year.

I remember years ago, thinking when I finally start a family I am going to make having family nearby my top priority.  But then life happened, and things like good medical benefits and a stable salary trumped my lofty dreams of grandparents around the corner.  It’s not the end of the world, and it’s something that so many families deal with these days, but it still makes me sad that my mom and mother-in-law are missing all of these moments.

Cullen has gained four pounds since he was born, and he has changed so much in seven short weeks.  He has gone from a newborn to a baby, and has developed a goofy personality and a heart-melting smile that I do my best to capture on video and camera each day.  With today’s technology, it helps that we can video chat and send pictures instantly from our cell phones, but it doesn’t replace the sounds and smells of real live people.  He can’t feel the bounce of his grandpa’s knee through our iPad.

The other reason I wish we had family nearby?  Selfishly, I’d love some help!  I never expected motherhood to be easy, but man it is TOUGH taking care of a newborn with no outside help.  We are lucky that we’ve made some great friends here in Seattle who have offered to watch Cullen here and there so we can have some date nights.  But I find myself jealous when I hear of other new moms with parents nearby who stop over regularly to relieve the parents for trips to the gym, yoga classes, a few hours of work, or even just a much needed nap.

In the bigger picture, I realize I’m really lucky that we had the opportunity to move out here for Casey’s job, and that we have an adorable, healthy baby.  But I can’t help that on some days, this new mommy finds herself missing her mommy.  I guess that’s one thing we never outgrow.

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