How to deal with raising your family away from family

Every time someone new in my life learns that all my family live in QLD while I live here in SA, I get a flood of questions thrown my way. Mainly asking how I do it; ‘it must be so hard’ and I ‘must miss them so much’ and yada yada. As Mr Big would put it, abso-f*cking-lutely I do. Well… Some of them anyway.

My mum isn’t in my life anymore which is unfortunate, but when I had Taylor my priorities changed and having people in my life who brought me down would only tell Taylor it’s okay to let people treat you this way. So I made the call to cut all communication. There’s a lot more to the story, but I think that’s perhaps a little too personal for publishing so just take my word for it when I say it was the right decision to make. Having this distance between my Mum and I is obviously a blessing, but having this distance between all my other family in QLD really f*cking sucks.

Believe it or not, it’s the small things I miss the most. Having one of my sisters just pop in for a cup of tea or Dad and my step-mum over for dinner. Organising an Easter lunch in the park or a Mother’s Day picnic together. Even just the birthday dinner’s they throw each year at home, where we all eat potato gems, cocktail pies, lollies and birthday cake while we watch the birthday person act surprised when they walk through the door to see the family gathered and presents covering the table. Last week I had two of my sisters here (one we flew here for her 18th birthday because I obviously couldn’t go to QLD to celebrate with her, and the other surprised us and rocked up at our house a few days later). It was the first time we had been together at the same time for longer than a few hours and it was so nice. They got to see Taylor in her element, watch her play, watch her learn, watch what makes her laugh and cry, watch her tantrums and basically just see it all. We drank approx 500 cups of tea between us and just chatted at the breakfast bar for hours on end. It made me happy, but a little sad at the reality of this not being a regular thing for us.

Having siblings is a big part of the reason I wanted to give Taylor siblings (I’ve elaborated more on this in my previous blog here.) Being so close with my sisters and brothers and not having them close by to watch my daughter’s milestones and see her grow is upsetting, as is not being able to call on Dad to babysit when I know he’d literally always be available to have some one-on-one time with his granddaughter. With the pending arrival of our little boy, and Dad’s first grandson, this is only getting harder. My family are just as proud of our beautiful daughter (and soon to be son) as Justin and I are (and so are Justin’s family obviously – it’s the same as all loving grandparents, aunties, uncles and so forth…) Luckily for me, I have an unimaginable amount of love and support in my household. I never feel like I am missing out on any amount of love, affection or care. I feel happy and fulfilled because I have everything I could ever want. I have my loving fiance, our beautiful healthy daughter, and beautiful healthy soon-to-be-earthside son, our beautiful home, our fab group of friends – not to mention Justin’s family who welcomed me into the family with open arms since the moment we started dating nine years ago. I will never be ungrateful for any of this. So I guess for me, while it is extremely hard being so far away from my Dad and my sisters etc, it is made a lot easier with the people I surround myself with.

Involving my family in QLD with my family here is important to me. I want my babies to grow up knowing who raised me and who is important to me. I want them to know how much my family love them. I want them to have good relationships despite the distance. Obviously the 2400+km’s between us puts up some challenges, but I do what I can to make it work. One heck of a lot of videos and photos are sent on the daily via text, Facebook messenger and/or Snapchat (yup, even my Dad has Snapchat now and he loves it – even though he’s made it very clear how frustrating it is that the videos just “disappear” after he’s watched them, meaning he can’t re-watch over and over again..). The videos I send are of our daughter living and growing. She’s playing or showing us a new skill. Laughing, talking or dancing. Discovering something new… Eating something new… All the small things that my family in QLD otherwise wouldn’t get to see living so far away. Facebook for Face Timing is also brilliant… this is actually how we told all my family we were expecting another baby. Taylor held up a sign on camera that said she’s going to be a big sister. I got to see their reaction in real time. They got to hear the special news (well sorta….) from Taylor. It was a very special moment. Real hugs would have been nice, but the virtual ones were still just as meaningful.

All these little things make my family in QLD feel that they are still a big part of our lives and it makes me happy to know I am doing my best to make sure of it. There’s no reason for not staying in touch with family living interstate (or overseas), and while it’s most definitely not the same as having them around in person, it’s better than not having them around at all. If being a mummy has taught me one thing, it’s to be forever grateful. Grateful for the tuna mornay currently being thrown all over my freshly cleaned dining room floors. Grateful for the bit that just landed in my (still damp from being toned and washed) hair. Grateful for my beautiful family (despite one said munchkin being covered in stinky tuna – still beautiful) and grateful for plane tickets which reunite us with loved ones. Distance only makes the heart grow fonder after all, right?

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2 thoughts on “How to deal with raising your family away from family

  1. Awe I love you sister ❤ and I know how hard you try and I appreciate it ❤ I had the best time with you and it is my most favourite memory ❤

  2. No matter how far the distance is between us all you are always in our thoughts every second minute and hour of the day having the distance between us is a Heartache not seeing Taylor’s smiling face 🙂 and you’re growing bump of our soon to be grandson is always sad but knowing you’re happy and making a little family with Justin and having the support there makes it easier but boy we miss the little things and family celebrations without you are just not the same love you with all my heart in the world

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