IT TAKES A village to raise a child. This proverb gained pressing relevance for me when my husband and I embarked on our journey of parenthood. Even though my husband was as involved with the care of our infant daughter as I was, it quickly became clear that we were not up to this adventure alone—at least not with our sanity intact. We needed help. We needed a village.
Luckily, our family in Santiago, Chile, along with wonderful babysitters, helped us through our firstborn’s infancy and then the birth of her sister. But when we moved to Brooklyn four years ago, that all changed. Despite stellar neighbors and exceptional friends, we struggled with the physical and emotional challenges of parenting our now three young girls full-time. Since my husband travelled frequently for work, I was a single parent for days and sometimes weeks at a time.
Meanwhile, we had excellent relationships with our extended families, and a life equally distant from both sets of relatives seemed increasingly absurd. After three years of swimming upstream just to stay afloat emotionally, financially, and socially, we decided to move back to my home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico—in search of a village.
The decision to move was based on our desire to live near family. The decision to actually move in with my parents was driven primarily by finances: Our stay in Brooklyn on one nonprofit salary was subsidized by MasterCard and other creative financial arrangements that would horrify Suze Orman.
Living with my parents for a year would allow us to repay debts and save for our own place. Fortunately, my parents were not only supportive but encouraging of the proposal—long stays with them in the past had gone well, and while we knew that the multigenerational household would mean adjustments for all of us, we also looked forward to being together.