Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Of Interest

The kids have a snow day. This year, the school has a fancy new automated phone calling system. It called us at 5:23 AM to let us know school was canceled. We might have managed to keep the kids asleep through one phone call, but the system calls ALL our phone numbers. First the land line, then my phone, then Fritz's phone. Within 10 minutes, at 5:33 AM, all three kids were awake and jumping on our bed. On a day when school was canceled.

I'm not sure what to take away from this: turn off the ringer on our phones? Or think of this as our opportunity to harness some energy for shoveling the sidewalk. In the dark.


I recently read this article about the distance that most adult Americans live from their parents. I have long been under the impression that Americans move frequently and don't necessarily live near extended family, but this study proves otherwise. As the headline notes, fifty percent of Americans live within 18 miles of their parents. We live 2,000 miles from my parents and 5,000 miles from Fritz's parents. I'm pretty sure that puts us in the 99th percentile.

The article explores how this affects women, caregivers, and careers, or lack thereof. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I feel strongly that our distance from a grandchild/grandparent support system has had a huge impact on my ability do anything other than caregiving.


I also can't stop quoting this recent study by the Violence Policy Center. In my home state, gun deaths are more common than automobile deaths. This is true in 21 states, check it out.


Pregnantly Plump said...

What a mess about the phones! Our school texts, but we're so scared of anything resembling snow that they cancel snow 2 days before a possible event. I completely understand about the caregiving thing. When we had Baby Plum, we had just moved close to my family. Having a second child didn't seem like a big idea at all. I didn't realize why until I had Cheese Puff, and was floored by having three kids. Baby Plum was also just an easy-ish baby. I wish I was closer. I would happily keep your kids so you could get some time to do things that you wanted to do. I really would!
And for the last one, the stories I've been reading recently have been so sad and scary.

Katie said...

That automated phone system...it's so bad! We get the same thing - two cells and one landline. ;)

So many thoughts about why it is so important to have parents/grandparents living close by. Interestingly, my in laws live about thirty minutes away and my boys don't see them very often at all. We always thought they'd be the set of our parents most likely to help us out when we started our own family, and it hasn't been the case at all. A complete let down that tugs on my heartstrings often. My mom raised four of us kids with the help of my grandparents. I know she was better for it, but the relationship we got to have with our grandparents was the best of the best. It meant the world to me. It's a huge loss and I'm sorry you're feeling it. xx

Anonymous said...

What a service - to be called by the school. We have to check the website in the morning to see if any classes get cancelled - which is probably good because we switch our cell phones to flight mode during the night. That might have saved you two wake-up-the kids-phone calls ;)

I have been thinking about the parent/grandparent thing since I my first child was born. In a way it was good to not be too close to family, even though the first weeks and months were tough. However, I saw many young moms struggle with all the unsolicited 'advice' they received left and right from their moms, and I was glad I could find my own way into parenting. It helped tremendously to stumble across this attachment parenting group with my six-week-old daughter. Something I have not heard before but which spoke to my heart when I learned more about it.
Yes, my work situation might be different now if I had had family to help out with watching young ones, and yes, it might have taken a few years less to rediscover myself, my body, my hobbies, what 'I' want to do. But then there are always compromises, and having grandparents take care of your child means that they have influence, sometimes beyond your reach - and there might be battles to fight. How much chocolate or TV they allow is probably different from what you would allow...
My sister recently got married and had a baby eight weeks ago. They live in the same house as her mother-in-law who does their laundry, cooks lunch for them and takes the baby every afternoon for a a few hours. And her husband is on parental leave for four weeks. - sigh - I am a bit jealous, I have to admit. But then, I am really glad that my sister has all that support. Without it, she might have been a big candidate for post-partum depression.
But I wonder how long she is comfortable with this closeness.

I believe we found a decent compromise. We moved back to Germany when the kids where young so we could see family more often. Our family leaves about one-to two hours away in different directions, so my mom could easily take the train and help out for a few days when the kids where younger and I really needed to see the dentist. We can visit my older in-laws for a few hours, my nieces can visit a few days, we can easily attend family reunions without flying across the Atlantic - the children could build a relationship with our families. And at this point I am not missing the possibility of everyday support that much anymore. And I don't have to ask my mom to hold back on her opinion about my parenting style and the 'bad behaviour' of my children. At least not too often...