I live and work in Manhattan. I moved here because of my love for New York City, and after 9 years and change, I still love it. No regrets. But… there is always a but. For me, the family support system is completely missing.
My family is all in Italy, my partner’s brother lives in NJ with his family, and now that I have a 3 year old, I realize how much a family support system would be helpful and precious to have.
We are working parents and, as many people who live here and moved from other countries like me, or other places in the US, we can not count on grandpa and grandma for pick ups, doctor’s visits or nights out. So our best support system is ‘the nanny”. We literally can not have a life without the nanny! A friend of mine used to repeat: “If my wife leaves me I can survive, but if the nanny leaves us we are lost!”
Xenia has been taking care of Lukas since he was one month old, and without her we wouldn’t have been able to do anything! She is essential to our lives. We miss grandpa and grandma but you get used to it. I organize my life as an office, where everybody has their tasks and schedules, and most of the times everything works out just fine.
A few months ago, thanks to a job in Valencia (Spain) I was lucky enough to experience, for the first time, the family support system the way it would be if we were living in Italy.
There is no direct flight to Valencia so I flew to Milano first. The following day a “staff” of 6 people were coming to Valencia with me to take care of “Prince Lukas” for the next 4 days. I was going to be very busy teaching at the Conference, and he had a great chance to get to know his family “live”, instead of just having Skype and FaceTime “conversations”. A harem of women for “the baby” as he still calls himself: my mom, 2 aunts, my sister with her two daughters (Cecilia 12 and Lucia 2).
He did complain a little bit the first couple of times I was leaving him to go teach, but then, he had the best time going to the beach, eating paella, listening to Italian songs that my aunt Patrizia sang him almost 24/7. He had so much attention and fun! I like to think that he missed me a little bit but, bottom line, he was very happy and he learned so much! He was out of his environment, with new people around him, loving people, a new language… his Italian family.
I was able to work, they were enjoying Lukas whom they only see twice a year, and he was getting to know his roots!
In the future, we’ll try to recreate similar experiences, to make sure this relationship will keep nourishing, and Lukas will grow up feeling also a little bit Italian besides being a New Yorker! That will also allow mommy and daddy to go visit European capitals for relaxing and “Kids free” weekends 🙂
What’s your experience as you were growing up or, if you have kids, as you were raising them? Family support system or nannies?