Being a parent is hard work, and it can be even harder when you don’t have family nearby to help you. As a mom who has experienced this firsthand, I know just how challenging it can be to raise children without the support and guidance of family members nearby.
One of the biggest challenges of raising children without family nearby is the lack of support. When you have young children, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to take care of everything on your own. Having family members nearby can provide a much-needed break from the daily responsibilities of parenting, whether it’s helping with childcare, running errands, or simply offering emotional support. Other challenges such as times of crisis, special occasions, and affording childcare also make parenting difficult when you do not live near family.
Despite all of these challenges, there are also some positives to raising children without family nearby. For example, it can give you the opportunity to create a closer bond with your children and build a strong support network of friends and community members.
Here are my top tips for raising children in San Antonio, Texas, when you do not have family living nearby to help:
- Make Mom Friends. Easier said than done… right? The most important thing to remember when making mom friends is that friendships are built on common interests. Build those close relationships with other moms by starting conversations with women who are attending things that also interest you. For example, strike up a conversation with another mom with similarly aged children at church. You know right away you have two big things in common—your faith and your children’s ages. Perhaps you enjoy exercising or crafts or even your career. Whatever your most passionate interests, try searching for moms within those environments because you are more likely to build a successful friendship that way.
- Communicate with Your Spouse/Co-Parent About Your Feelings. Chances are, you will feel isolated and overwhelmed at times. It is also likely that your partner is feeling those same things. Sharing your feelings with each other and using the lack of support as the “common enemy” can actually bring you two closer together. Start a conversation with, “I really wish we had help from family. I feel like raising kids without family support is so hard. Do you ever feel that way?” This can be a great way to build trust, intimacy, and general closeness.
- Become a Member at Local Attractions. This one is a must, and San Antonio has SO MANY amazing kid-friendly attractions. Our favorites are The DoSeum and the zoo. My kids also love the SA Botanical Garden, Kiddie Park, EMMAzing play, Maui Maui Kids Play Island, and trampoline parks. We choose two or three attractions to become members of each year on Black Friday. (They almost always have sales then.) Then, we go multiple times throughout the year and I do not feel guilty if we only stay for an hour or so. There are many days when I feel like we just need to get out of the house for a bit, but I don’t want to spend $40+ on entrance fees and food. Going to The DoSeum for an hour feels like less of a waste when we can go multiple times throughout the year, whereas if I were paying the typical entrance fee each time, I would want to get the most out of our visit and stay for as long as possible.
- Get to Know the San Antonio Parks. San Antonio also has amazing parks and playgrounds. We live in the Stone Oak area, so we are really excited about Classen-Steubing Ranch Park opening soon. Some of our other favorite parks are Stone Oak Park, Walker Ranch Park, and McAllister Park. We also like to go to Cambridge Elementary and use their playground some weekends. Again, the park is a great way to get out of the house and kill some time to make the day go faster while keeping your kids entertained. It is also a great place to meet other moms!
- Invite Friends for Play Dates. If your child is school-aged or in daycare, reach out to other families in their class to come over for playdates. Parents are more likely to feel comfortable if they are invited too at first, so don’t feel strange inviting the whole family over. Especially once your child is school-aged, getting to know the kids and parents in their grade level will be a huge asset and already has a built-in common interest.
- Give Yourself Grace. The bottom line is that raising kids without family around is tough. Really, super, extra tough. You will likely have less 1:1 time with your partner and less time to yourself than many other parents. If this means you let your kids watch an extra hour or two of TV on the weekends so that you can keep your sanity—then DO IT! You’re still an amazing parent, and filling your own bucket will make the time you do spend with your kids more meaningful.