Inside: Secretly (or not so secretly) wondering if you’ll regret moving closer to family? Here’s why moving back home to be near family was the best decision we ever made, plus what to consider before you do the same.

Five and a half years ago our family made the move from sunny Southern California to the rainy Pacific Northwest. The plan was years in the making and so many things didn’t go as planned, but moving to be near family was the best decision we ever made and we’d do it all over again.

moving to be near family

Living Close to Family Was Always the Dream

I’m part of a family of 5. My parents had my sister first and then two years and one month later came by brother and two years and one month later came me…the surprise.

My siblings called me ‘accident baby’. Yeah, that didn’t leave any scars. Oddly we are nearly exactly evenly spaced.

Growing up we fought as normal siblings do, but as we got older we learned to really enjoy, appreciate, and genuinely like each other.

My sister and I shared a room for all of childhood, so I thought I’d be happy when she left for college. It turned out having my own room wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and I missed her a lot.

As life went on, she moved to the other side of the country as she continued her schooling and got married. My brother and I stayed in California when moved into our professional careers.

My sister and I often talked about the grand plan to all live near each other again someday. It was always the end goal even when it sometimes felt like it was never going to happen.

Living far apart became sadder as we started our families. My sister had 2 little kids when she and her husband made the move from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.

About a year later my parents made the move up as well. I was 8 months pregnant with my second kiddo at the time. I was devastated that they’d be living near each other without me.

How We Made Moving to Be Near Family a Possibility

So what did I do with that sadness? I conjured up ways to try and make the move work for us. A year and a half later, we made the move up with our 3-year-old and 1-year-old in tow.

It wasn’t an easy move for us. My husband’s career was very much centered where we’d lived, so moving meant a big job change for him. It took quite a bit of searching to find the right fit for his work.

Even with the stress of that, we never regretted making the move though. Finally, after so many years of dreaming of enjoying Sundays meals together, we were able to.

Another year later my aunt and uncle relocated. And another couple of years later my brother and his family moved here too.

For many people, moving back home to be near family would mean moving back to the area they grew up. In our case, it meant we all relocated to a new state and city that none of us had lived in before.

And in case you are wondering, we are ok with the rain and only occasionally miss the California sunshine.

I don’t know how many people we told we were moving gave us weird looks and said ‘uhhh you know it rains there like a lot, right?’. I actually miss the food more than the sun.

moving to be near family

4 Benefits of Moving Closer to Family

There are so many wonderful benefits to moving to be near family that I won’t be able to put it all into words, but here are a few of the things we most enjoy.

1. Free babysitting

Who doesn’t love to have a nana or an aunt available to watch your kiddos for free 99? Our kids love getting time with other family members and it lets us have less expensive date nights or help if we need it.

Moving to be near family definitely gave us more resources for when we need to go out of town, have doctor appointments, or simply need a break.

2. Holidays & vacations

It’s so nice to not have to travel to be with family during the holidays. We all live within about a fifteen-minute radius of each other so going to each other’s houses isn’t a big deal.

After living in Southern California for so long, it’s nice to be able to avoid traffic.

It’s simplified our holidays and helped us to be able to focus on what’s most important, which is our traditions and spending time together.

We enjoy each other’s company so much that we vacation together every summer. It’s helped us to have a more relaxing vacation with trading and sharing duties. We’re able to get more of a break than we would otherwise.

moving to be near family

3. Simplifies our stuff

Since we live in such close proximity to each other, it makes it really easy to share things. Our kids get hand me down clothes from each other. No one needs to buy new baby gear.

We share tools and equipment which saves us all money and keeps us from having too much clutter. Sometimes we swap meals which simplifies cooking that week.

Life is so much simpler when you share.

4. Relationships

Above all the conveniences of moving to be near family, our proximity has allowed us to strengthen our relationships. There simply isn’t a way to replicate actual face to face time together.

A few weeks after we moved here my mom and I ran into my sister at our local JoAnns store. For the first time in so many years, we could actually run into each other places!

It was a lovely realization of how moving gave us new opportunities to see each other planned and unplanned.

Growing closer in my relationship with my parents, siblings, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, aunt, uncle, and grandmother has been priceless.

Giving my kids the gift of being able to develop their relationships with family members has been invaluable.

My kids get to grow up with cousins who are almost like siblings to them. They love each other fiercely and I wouldn’t trade anything for that.

Living Intentionally

Intentional living for me meant moving to be near family. This was a goal my husband and I had discussed very early on in our relationship.

It didn’t come without sacrifice or without effort. It took years of planning for it to happen.

We had dreams of raising our kids together, babysitting each other’s kids, and enjoying family dinners all together. We’d imagined spending time together during the holidays without having to get on a plane.

It was hard to fathom being able to be there for each other in under 20 minutes when needed, but we’ve been able to enjoy all of that for over five years now.

Is It Always Better to Be Close to Family?

So, should I move closer to my parents? Maybe.

It surprised me to read that the typical American lives within 18 miles of their mom (NY times). I realize it’s not an option for everyone to move as close to family as we have, nor would it even be advisable in some cases.

Here are 4 questions to consider first:

  1. Do you and your spouse get along well with the family you are looking to move near?
  2. Do you and your family members have healthy boundaries?
  3. Are there any codependency issues?
  4. What do you and your spouse feel is the best option for your family?

No one wants to uproot their life only to find that they regret moving closer to family. It can damage relationships and cause hurt feelings if you don’t carefully think through your decision.

Living close to family does provide many benefits that we’ve been able to enjoy, but it is not the right answer for everyone. Carefully consider the relationships and dynamics in your family.

For some people, living further apart is the healthiest decision. Have open conversations with your spouse and be honest about any potential concerns.

We’re fortunate to have healthy relationships and boundaries in my family. We can live close while still allowing space and autonomy.

Simple living and intentional living will look different for each person. This has been a wonderful part of my journey to live more simply.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. My husband and I live in Hawaii and are planning on moving back to Arizona to be near my parents. We have three kids and we’re so torn. We’ve developed an INCREDIBLE community here and I’m scared that we’ll be lonely and we’d be giving up on so many opportunities. But family comes first and that bond that my three babies will develop with their grandparents is priceless. Your words gave me hope. Thank you.

  2. This is what exactly what I needed to hear you can’t put a price on family !

    Back story : my husband and I left our hometown and moved 4.5 hours away so he could start his ER physician career he is very successful here but over the years and as we get closer to having children it’s gloomier and gloomier as to what the future can hold here without family . Even tho my husband will be taking a 25 percent pay cut to move back and that’s hard to swallow I know life is much richer with the people who love you the most and vice versa ! The human in me panics at the less salary but it’s still a great salary and change can be scary but I know I’ll never look back once we move!! Thanks for sharing !

    1. Sounds like fun adventures are headed your way, Cate! It was a major adjustment work wise for my husband, but even with that we still wouldn’t have traded it. Totally worth it :).

  3. Loved this list of why to move closer, not further, to family.

    As a single, no children, fifty y.o. gal, I miss my family, immensely. Prior to the pandemic onset, I was back in college, post graduate. Healthcare. I rent a tiny 1 bedroom on Long Island, NY. Everything is expensive and I just can no longer handle the attitudes, here. Having lived in Denver, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale…I am a tad hesitant to move to Upstate NY, slower, colder…Yet, without those who we can count on, vise versa, weather, arts, money…All inconsequential. Thanks again.

  4. Hi so for us I’m the grandma. We are a close family. My husband and I have 4 children ages 29-21. 2 boys and 2 girls. Our world shattered when our oldest daughter moved with her husband and our 2 granddaughter 9 hours away. They lived 10 minutes away and we saw each other often. I was able to help out and since my mom lives with us she helped often too. It was our joy. We had so many wonderful times together. When they moved for a better job my whole world came crashing down. I’m so close to those little baby girls. Now my husband and I r trying to decide whether we should move closer to them. It’s a hard move we have lived in our home 24 years. We don’t like the heat and they moved to North Carolina. We just don’t know what to do we are so heartbroken.

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