parents

"Moving away was fun but after having kids, all I wanted was to be near mum."

I took my time moving out of home.

I was working full time but earning terrible money and my work hours were long and unforgiving. It was so easy to come home and crawl into my childhood bed, to eat the dinner my mother made for me and to stay cocooned in the warmth of the family home.

Luckily for me I came from an Italian family so it was perfectly normal to still be living at home at 24. In fact there was an unspoken rule that I would remain at home until I either a. Got married or b. Moved away for work. Fine by me.

Sometimes I envied my friends who were living on their own or with roommates, meeting their mums for lunch and choosing their own laundry powder. I even toyed with the idea of moving in with one of them before quickly changing my mind because I just couldn’t be bothered.

Then, I met a boy. You know how it goes. He lived on his own and I started visiting more often, playing house. I started thinking about joining all the other grown ups and moving in with him. Except I didn’t want to just move in with him. I wanted to move away from my family and figure out who I was without them.

I was 25 by the time I took the leap, moving to a home an hour away from my parent’s home. I know an hour may not seem to be a big deal to you but my parents aren’t the most mobile of people and never drive to the city, so my move was tantamount to moving somewhere three hours away.

I really wanted to get away and find out who I was without my family.

It was absolutely thrilling. Why had I taken so long to start my life? Grocery shopping was fun. I got to choose the foods I wanted to eat and even prided myself on domestic duties. Not until my boyfriend and I eventually married and I had my first child did I start wishing I live just a little closer to mum and dad.

At first I used to do the weekly drive on a Thursday to see my parents and my older sister who had kids and had already found a home just a five minute drive away from the family home. Eventually I grew reluctant to return home on Thursday evenings. I craved my family around me, especially because I now had a family of my own. I wanted to see them every day, especially my mum.

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I broached the subject with my husband who balked at the idea of moving to the ‘burbs but eventually came around when he saw how much it meant to me.

For the past eight blissful years I’ve lived five minutes away from both my parents and my older sister. Our two other siblings eventually did the same. We all waited until we had kids to move back home and even though we thoroughly enjoyed our time away, coming home with partners and children in tow just seemed like the perfect ending to a wonderful adventure.

I craved my family around me, especially because I now had a family of my own. I wanted to see them every day, especially my mum.

I think my mum probably panicked as we all started coming back. We had several kids by that stage and there’s just one of her but my oldest sister and I quickly put her concerns to rest, by helping each other out as much as possible and only asking mum to help when one of us was sick or our commitments clashed. Also I’m proud of my mum for the limits she set herself. She’s happy to lend a hand and she enjoys her grandchildren, but her days of raising children are over, as they should be.

Now that we all live within five minutes of each other, you’d think we’d see each other every day, right? Not the case, much to my surprise. We go through phases where we see each other more regularly and actually looking back, we probably saw each other more when we lived further away because we all made more of an effort.

It’s just the comfort of knowing we are all there and that our children are surrounded by so many family members who love them just as much as their dad and I love them.

Sometimes I look back on my ten year “adventure” of moving out of home. Sure, I only moved a short distance away but it gave me the space to live life the way I wanted to live it without anyone questioning me or constantly suggesting better ways to do things. I was all grown up and making all of my own decisions. Now I’m back, still all grown up, still making my own decisions, but sharing my journey with all of my family by choice, without any obligation or dependence.