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Reflecting on time with family

October 19th, 2015 at 08:33 pm

I'm very sad to hear so many bloggers are struggling with their parents health right now. It really puts into perspective what's important in life, well at least to me.

I've lived now half my life away from the island since leaving for college and I've moved around a bit. But the one constant since I left was going home at least 1x/year usually 2x/year. The draw was always my parents, grandparents, great-grandmother, and extended family. I can honestly say I missed out on many travel adventures because my DH and I spent a lot of money on seeing my family and his instead of going trips to Europe, Asia, etc. And granted the trips were cheaper than traveling since we usually saved on hotel costs. But the real cost was the lack of vacation time we had after we visited our families. We tried to travel off peak times so we could save and we still do. But we have spent a lot on visiting our families.

But this weekend we were invited to our neighbors housewarming party and I heard more than one person ask my DH what he does. His answer is nothing. He says I quit because he wanted to stay at home with the kids.

When we first came up with moving in March, my DH said besides being ready for a change, he decided that he was envious of the time I got as a stay at home mom with the kids. He felt he was missing out on so much by working full time and life was slipping by. He wanted some time to interact with the kids before they were too busy running away from us (already happening in kindergarten!)

So this weekend when people asked he told them he had no idea life with kids and not working was amazingly busy. It gave him a greater appreciation of what I've been doing with them. But also he's enjoying the interaction and having more than an hour in the morning, and a couple of hours are night. He's learning more about their habits and how to deal with them. He also said if it means working an extra year when he's 60 for a free year now at 37 he's ready and willing to do it.(probably closer to 2 years)

We made the move for many reasons. And I know deep down my DH and I were not as frugal as we could have been these past 15 years traveling, spending time with our families, etc. Further it might have made more sense for me to have been working when we had the kids to have saved every penny. And it's certainly not financially prudent to not be working now.

But I can't give anyone a hard time for choosing to spend money to see or spend time with family. I also can't give anyone a hard time choosing to cut back on working to spend more time with their kids when they are young. I guess I do believe in Mr Money Mustache and early retirement, but I also think perhaps the greater lesson is financial independence isn't only for early retirement. It's the opportunity to make the best financial decision you can for the place you are at. Working because you have to is different from working because you want to. And sometimes you work for the privilege of being able to take time off or see your family more.

My dad turns 85 this year. He will be spending Christmas in our "rental" home with our first tree for the kids. I hope we have our own home next year and he's able to spend it with us. This is a real treat and something I can't put a price tag on or express how lucky I am. My other hope is my grandmother who is 86 is able to make 1 trip to see us. Because of their ages I've always done trips to see them since neither would have seen my younger child if I hadn't. They haven't been to the east coast in years. I also hope to take the kids maybe this summer to see DH's grandmothers but we'll see. This might be our only opportunity.

I hope everyone struggling with their parents has a peaceful night. I am very grateful that my family is doing well and I realize how fortunate I am. Life is so quick.

5 Responses to “Reflecting on time with family”

  1. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Well said about how important time with the family is and how financial independence isn't just for retirees - it's simply about being able to do the things you consider important while having a good quality of life and keeping afloat or even better!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Great post, LAL! We are so much farther away from family and we do miss them. Now it costs us so much more to visit. We will be making it happen, just not as frequently as in the past. Luckily some are willing to come here to see us.

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Blue ribbons and gold trophies for this post!

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    A+

    Living close to our family is more important to us than anything. Well, that and actually getting to spend time with our kids and enjoy their youth. It does go FAST.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    It definitely makes it difficult when you don't live near family - especially when said family is located in several different states. Time with family is very important.

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