Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?

Written by Allen Unrau

livenearHalf a century ago most families stayed in the same area. You lived your life in close proximity to most of your relatives. Children would marry and move away from home. This “moving away from home” usually meant a few miles or at most it may have been the next town where they established their roots.

There is an old Dutch proverb that says: “A happy new home is one where you can’t see the smoke from your parent’s chimney.”  That may be true, but everyone you knew lived within an hour of each other.

Things changed dramatically in the last half of the century and Canadian families are now spread out geographically.

Children went to the city for further education and never returned to the area where they grew up.  Maybe they met their future husband or wife and ended up moving across the country when they married.  Good jobs required moves and relocation if you wanted to move up the ladder.  Transfers moved families all over this country.  You’ve done your best to keep in touch, but it’s just not been the same as living near your family.  Some of your grandchildren are already as tall as you and you don’t feel you really know them as well as you would like to.

Retirement gives you a lot of choices

Should you stay where you are or have you always wanted to move closer to your children and grandchildren? Do you know for sure that they want you closer to them?  Will you be able to make new friends when you move or will you be relying totally on your family for the relationships you need in your life?

Will you end up becoming a baby sitter, cook, cleaner and gardener for your adult children?  Maybe you can’t wait to be able to help them out, but you need to consider these things in advance.

What about your son-in-law or daughter-in-law?  How do they feel about having you closer?  Have you been open with each other and talked through all the issues in advance?  Do they have blended families and how will you grandparent role fit with stepchildren?

Maybe you are moving because of guilt. You feel that you haven’t spent enough time with them or they want you near because they feel guilty about not having made enough effort to get together with you in the past.  Adult children and their parents sometimes play games with each other.  Adult children may send messages they feel their parents want to hear or messages that will not upset their parent, rather than what is true.  So, be careful and above all be honest with each other before you pull up stakes.

What if you follow the kids and they don’t have time for you?

Remember, their life is probably a balancing act right now.  They are responsible for many things and many people and their schedule may be very full!  You probably have expectations about the help you would like from them at this stage of your life.  Can they meet your expectations and will it be a joy or a burden for them?

“Knowing what it would be like” is often difficult to achieve without “actually doing it.”  If you move, you would be wise to arrange for help from other sources for some of your needs so as not to rely totally on your family and overwhelm them. Make it a comfortable transition for everyone involved.

Do you get the feeling they want you closer?

If so, you are the most fortunate person in the world!  Seize the opportunity…family is everything!

Article © Allen Unrau, used with permission


214 Responses to “Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?”

  • Alfred says:

    Hi Lindy, In listening to your story and praying about it, I feel that a visit (with your daughter) to see this boyfriend in Texas would be in order. Then all 3 of you can get a feeling of what the future may hold. I’d say that it could be a relief to get away from someone who’s got different life-style views than you do.
    That leads me to the question of how close you and your daughter are to God, and whether you are led by the Holy Spirit. I would encourage you to read the Bible (alone as well as together). Is your boyfriend in Texas is a Christian, if you don’t mind me asking?
    I’ll be watching this site to look for your response.
    Praying for you, Alfred.

  • Lindy says:

    Living in Washington state, after i got out of a 20 year marriage, I contacted an old boyfriend who lives in Texas. Sparks flew, and I respect his virtues and lifestyle, but I never persued the relationship because I didnt want to uproot my daughter at 16 years of age, also I have one other adult child that lives here. Then I met a man here in my town that has been very good to me, my daughter and I moved in with him to make bills and life easier. I found out after a short time he has some narcissist, bipolar, tendencies and different lifestyle views from mine that have made me not like him as much as I should. So I contacted my ex boyfriend who has been very supportive and loving at what ever situation I choose. I would really like to see what life would be like to be with him, but I dont know that my daughter would share the same views. I am so confused at what I should do. She could go with me if she wanted to but she loves where we live and the man I live with would probably let her stay with him for a while but he might not be real happy with me for leaving him. I am afraid she wont want to go. Should I stay here for her or leave.

  • Cindy says:

    Good article. Love my family but feel in the long run all would be happier if we all stay independent on our own not to mention we all have our own way of doing things and all have a right to privacy with our airing out the laundry. Parents are happy to know their adult children are well off and they do not have to care for their parents. With today’s planes, trains, and buses we have the ability to visit. Keeping in touch through text and Facebook is the same as being there for full life adult children these days. We are comfortable on the thought of moving to a low income senior high rise.

  • Sue says:

    Aldo—we let fear drive us. My husband’s father died of cancer at the age of 68–the age my husband is now and there is also a history of stroke on his side of the family. We know we may need help some time down the line, but my husband and I are in good health now. We have four grown children with families and they all live in different parts of the country. We can’t possibly live near all of them. I just wish we had followed our dream—we could always move closer to family later. We don’t want to move across the country—just further south in Florida. I just wish we had not let our son badger us into living in this boring little town. There is nothing to do. As far as the grandchildren go, I barely know them. They are my son’s step children and I only saw them twice before we moved here.

  • Aldo says:

    Sue, there definitely are advantages and disadvantages to living in close proximity to your children, but with so many variants which will influence the outcome. For instance, what is the health and well-being of each person; what is the loyalty and attachment of each to the other; what are each’s likes and dislikes; etc?

    My family is a really close-knit one. So much so, that our daughter has often said that neither mom nor dad will ever go into a nursing home, but that she would take care of us should that day ever come. Some time ago my wife suffered a stroke and now needs a reasonable amount of care. At present I am able to provide that care, but it is nice to know that if I was not able, mom would be cared for by a loved one.

    We enjoy time with our children, grand children, and great grand children tremendously, and they enjoy being with us as well. We look forward to the time when all encumbrances of being together will be removed.

  • Sue says:

    Do not listen to this advice. I did and I regret it. We had always wanted to retire in central or south Florida especially after living up north for many years, but out son lives in the northern part of the state and wanted us to live near him. The town he lives in is small with nothing to do. Also it is 30 miles from the beach. The summers are extremely hot and it gets cold in the winter. The town is full of rednecks with a confederate flag flying in the town square. We should have rented here, but our son convinced us we should purchase a home. I had my reservations from the start, but my husband went along with everything my son said, so now we are stuck in a boring little town with nothing to do. Also my son and his wife are constantly fighting and hit us up for money all the time. The moral of my story is—-do what you want to do, not what your kids want you to do. Its your life, not theirs.

  • Chris says:

    mary pettit…1tim 5 is clear that it is the sons or daughters place to reciprocate their parents in latter life. no need to think in terms of obligation. it sounds like you have a blessed, godly son. someone you can count on. blessings to you!!

  • Mary Pettit says:

    I am a senior living with a single friend who I babysit for and also do housecleaning and transportation for her 4 year old to preschool, Dr. Appointments and anywhere else he needs to go. Our agreement was that I would get room and board, plus $400.00 a month. I have lived there for 10 months and only been paid twice. I am living on SS alone and have decided, even though I love this littld boy dearly and with my whole heart, I need to move. I am trying to make the difficult choice of where to move. I have a son in another state who says I can move there and he will help with paying rent for an apartment, or I have a sister, also, in another state, which is where I grew up and she wants me to move back there as she’s also widowed. There are low income apartments there that I would qualify for. Either place I’d go, I will need to find employment. I need help making this decision as if I move to where my son is, I’d be close to my 2 yr old grandaughter. I have never lived close to any grandchildren and it would be wonderful to experience being a grandma. The weather is nice there also. My son has helped me in times of needs but I am afraid of putting this monthly burdon on him. Also, is he saying I can come out of obligation? I don’t know anyone there and with their busy schedules, would I see them much?
    My sister, as I mentioned really wants me to move back home so we can be together and do things together. All of my sisters children live in the same area and I am close to them as well. However, it’s in
    North Dakota and the thought of scaping off my car every morning in the winter isn’t heartwarming to me. Also, it’s not like being close to your own kids. I love my sister and to be close to her would be great. But once again, I miss my own family. Getting tio spend holidays and watching my grandaughter grow would be so fun. I’m not a person who is outgoing and dont make friends easily. Guess, I lack self worth.
    i would appreciate some help deciding which is the best choice for me.
    Thank you so much

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Ami, sounds like your mom is an amazing woman. I pray that God blesses her with strength to carry on but also gives her wisdom and discernment to know not to be an enabler.

  • ami says:

    Hi Mary Ann, if you were talking about sending me an email, I didn’t see anything or I would have answered. I’m sorry. Thanks for being concerned. But since we are on this particular subject. My mom has 3 kids, our ages are 34, 37, and 43. My brother lives directly beside her, maybe 60 ft. away, I live less than a mile away, and my sister is in and out often, she lives there whenever one of her love interests ends. Well, my mom has always been very, very, overprotective. This has been a good and bad thing. She has made us very needing of her. My brother is the oldest with 4 kids living with him and one that lives behind him. Every time he needs anything, he always expects mom to hand over her debit card. He will not work to provide. I really can’t say much, mom helps me out whenever I need gas money or something like that. Whenever I was heavily addicted to some really bad substances, she was bringing me food just so I could eat, because every extra penny I had went on the dope. She is raising my sister’s child. He is 18 years old, and mom has had him all of his life. My sister also has a girl, and her grandmother is raising her. My sister is heavily addicted to almost every drug around.
    I love living near mommy. I could never move off and leave her. We all are very open with each other, everyone knows everything about the other. We share everything. I worry obsessively about her and my daddy. She is 60 and daddy is 59. Both of my parents have OCD tendencies. Unfortunately, they both passed it to me. This makes my Christian walk a lot more difficult, I’m sure. Always worrying, afraid that everything i’m doing is a sin, i’m afraid of getting out because i’m afraid of getting in an accident and getting killed. Mom has always warned us to an unhealthy degree. It is good to be cautious, but this is just something else. I know that my faith needs to grow a lot.
    All of us kids love our mom so very much, we all probably think of her 100 times a day. We all call her numerous times a day.
    When any of us hear ambulances, we call each other to make sure that everyone is okay. It’s harder on me than the others, for I live only 1/4 mile from the hospital.
    Although living hear her, has had a few negative effects, its positive effects far outweigh the negative.
    She says that it is very hard on her, because she worries morning, noon, and night about us. Growing up was fairly hard for she was an alcoholic till just a few years ago. She attempted suicide, had already done the deed with the letter laying on the dresser. But, thank Almighty God, my brother and stepdad found her in time to get her to the hospital. These kinds of things really added to the worries that all of us shared. If she was asleep, we always checked to make sure that she was breathing, and we do this now.
    Although living near her has had some negative effects, the positive far outweigh the other. In spite of it all, it has been a blessing being close to my mother.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Barbara, I’m thankful you’re working with Ami. I also sent an e-mail, but have received no answer. thanks.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Ami, it’s Barbara. Just wanted to ley you know that I am in receipt of your latest email to me regarding several questions you have. Look forward to connecting with you through our mentoring department.

    @ Viera, thank you for looking out for Ami’s wellbeing and safety.

  • Viera says:

    Ami… If God is talking to you through some mentor, and its according Bible then do it. Just be careful if its a man mentor. God bless you.

  • ami says:

    I can see what your saying mam. Whenever I first got on this site, I was having a hard time with lots of things, it was on another forum here, He along with a woman who is my mentor, helped me a lot. He is a complete stranger to me, I just know that his info helped me in any several ways. If someone has good, bible based info for me, then I listen. What if God tried to tell me something through him or any other male, and I didn’t listen. I can see what your meaning, if it were in another situation, I really do. I do have a female mentor that I talk to daily, I only remembered his name and how he helped me before, that’s all. He seems to have a lot of God given knowledge, I need help in every direction it seems. There is nothing going on that God would look down on.

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