Family proximity with a new baby

We had dinner with two friends tonight who are married and have been living here in New York for about two years. They were eagerly anticipating leaving New York to head back to Hong Kong, where they lived for about eight years. They are both originally from Melbourne and had fantasized about a glamorous expat life in Hong Kong, but it didn’t seem to work out job wise. That, plus they got pregnant, and now our female friend is five months pregnant. They both rationalized that despite the job opportunity not being in Hong Kong that it probably made more sense for them to move back to Melbourne to be close to family, anyway, especially in light of the little one on the way.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t think I’d really love to have my parents “nearby” when I would have a baby. If anything, I think it would add to the stress, especially with my parents’ constant (wrong) belief that they are always right about everything. Not to mention the fact that despite my mom being a JW, she definitely has still kept a lot of her superstitious beliefs, so she’d probably tell me ridiculous things like, I can’t wash my hair for X number of days after the baby is born, or I can’t do Y activity until Z number of days after the baby has been born. Or, I need to drink all these Chinese tonics to cleanse my body (I’ve warmed up to some Chinese medicine ideas, but not all of them). I really could not handle any of that. I’m an adult now, and I don’t need to be told what to do. And when my mom is around, I’m no longer an adult and am of course treated as an eternal child.

Everyone comes from a different family. I accept that. Yes, it’s attractive to have family help nearby because well, it would be free. Childcare is expensive. You don’t have to worry so much about your parents killing your child as you would a total stranger you’ve paid. But still, the idea does not sit very well with me.

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