The benefits of living with and near family are incredible, I have to say.
Take, for example, the 3-4 weeks when I was sick as a dog from this pregnancy. My mom woke up with G 75% of those mornings, taking him after I nursed him to change his diaper, feed him breakfast, watch him play and then put him down for his first nap. I got to sleep in until 10:30am most mornings! It really really helped when things were touch and go– getting extra sleep helped me by-pass the worst feelings.
Also, during that morning sick time, I would go for days without having to change a diaper. Either my mom or sister or Jesse were super kind and did it so I wouldn’t have to deal with the smells (a definite nausea trigger!).
Along that same line, I have not had to make dinner. Not once since we got here. I know, I know, that’s gotta change. Jesse and I are talking about ways that we want to “give back” to my parents for all of their generosity, but every time we offer to make dinner, my mom already has a plan in place. Have you ever had your dinners made for you, for over a month? It’s quite nice. Especially when they are all so yummy and healthy (unless you count last night, in which Keith made fried pork chops, grits and gravy!).
We are also saving a TON of money. Around $1500 dollars/month, when you include rent + utilities + groceries (yes, they also buy a large percentage of our groceries, mostly because it would be silly to buy two gallons of milk, two boxes of cheerios, two loaves of bread, etc., and “label” them accordingly…). Even when it’s not just food around the house that we are “allowed” to eat, my mom is constantly calling or texting me from the store, asking if we need extra diapers, baby food, baby oatmeal, etc.
We also have been getting to spend 1-2 days/week with the Cone family up in Paso. This last Tuesday, we all went and watched Emily’s high school volleyball game. This weekend, we are going over to have BBQ steak on their new patio. Every other Sunday, Emily’s group, “The Love Notes”, sings at a local coffee shop, so the whole family gathers to drink delicious mochas and listen to beautiful music.
Not to mention the everyday practical logistics. If I need the car that day (or even if I don’t!), Jesse can get a ride to work with my Dad, who is already taking Janelle to school. If not, the school is LITERALLY a 3 minute drive away, meaning it took us TWO AND A HALF WEEKS to use one tank of gas! If I need a shower, I can usually find someone to keep a quick eye on G. Every evening, when I’ve just about “had it” with G’s whining (is it okay for mothers not to like their kids between the hours of 5-7pm?), someone swoops in and takes G away to distract him from his crankiness.
My parents also have quite a nice place for a large family! If the tv is blaring in the family room, the doors shut and the living room becomes a nice place to study, especially when the cool breeze is blowing through the open windows (it’s been COLD here at night! Down in the 50s!!). But when we do want to watch a movie, there are 3 comfy couches in the family room, just waiting for people to come and use them. We’ve recently gotten my sister HOOKED on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So far, we’re only halfway through Season 3.
The yard is also nice. While we haven’t been able to use the pool since it was drained for the winter, Jesse frequently uses the basketball court to relieve some stress. Claire has a ball running all around the yard, chasing the cats. As I’ve noted here before, both of the fruit trees are producing TONS of apples and pears– perfect for making G’s baby food! And they have a nice big extra garage in the back for storing all of our boxes.
Not to mention the fact that both grandmas watch G each week so that I can work! That’s a HUGE plus! If Jesse and I want to go out in the evening, all we have to do is ask and someone can usually stay home to babysit.
The situation isn’t perfect. Jesse, Janelle and I all have to share a bathroom, which can make morning showers a bit complicated if proper communication doesn’t occur. Claire has definitely been pushing my mom’s limits, as she hasn’t quite cured her incontinence issues (she has an affinity for leaving “presents” on the floor near my dad’s side of the bed…). Eventually, we will be getting our own place. We have a few ideas, currently, but are waiting until we have a bit more $ in savings before we move on anything. Jesse and I actually have a “date” in a few weeks to sit down and hatch out a definite plan.
But the real question: is it what we dreamed it would be? Yes, and then some. Have we encountered all the things that people “warned us” about when we said we were going to live with my parents for a while? Not really, seeing as our families are so super generous. Was it worth moving out to CA for? Definitely 🙂