This is a 4-part Generation Gap post because we’ve all 3 been there at some point…living with family. Not the typical husband and small kids but mothers and in-laws and grown-kids, maybe a grand-kid or two. We will each share our experience and in the final post, share some advice for those families considering this option. So here are the questions:
Each of us has had immediate family move in with us or have moved in with family. How did it go? What were the positives? The negatives? Advice for other families that are considering or must make this choice?
I have experienced all levels of living with family. During my first marriage economics made it necessary to move in with my in-laws. This was definitely helpful financially and we were fortunate to have several rooms in a large house to ourselves (with a new baby). The overwhelming downside was a lack of boundaries. I was a young mother and constantly being ignored or overridden in decisions about my baby.
Shortly after this, my marriage ended and, being a very young mother trying to finish college, I moved in with my grandmother and uncle. I actually forgot about this living arrangement until my aunt reminded me after I originally posted this! I am very close to my grandmother and that is probably why I almost didn’t count this. She did everything she could to make me feel like this was our home as long as we needed it. My problem was I came in with a chip on my shoulder because of my previous experience living with family. Mom had to talk me down and remind me that Nanny offering to take care of Jessie occasionally was something she WANTED to do, not a negative comment on my parenting. We set a lot of ground rules going in and changed them as needed over time which helped keep things smooth.
Moving ahead about 5 years my current (and long-standing!) marriage and my mother-in-law moved in with us. It was a temporary arrangement as she was moving from North Carolina and building a new home near us in Texas. She was working full-time and did not disrupt my day-to-day routine too much. I had Jessica, her brother and was pregnant with their sister at the time. Have an extra set of hands was definitely a blessing. Negatives about this arrangement had more to do with our relationship rather than her living with us (as many of the things that bothered me continued after she moved out). It was mostly a positive experience due to 1) There was a definite end date and 2) It was mutually beneficial to both our families at the time (her financially and me with an extra set of hands at that season of my life).
Fast forward to the near past and Jessica and my grandson lived with us in our new home in Virginia for a few months. Her husband was stationed overseas at the time so the timing was perfect. She had been living near his Army base for the past several years so I (and the rest of the family) looked forward to spending time with her and the new baby. The only downside is that all I wanted to do was spend time with her and the new baby! My husband was adjusting to a new job and I was settling us into a new home (after 17 years in our Texas home) AND supposed to be looking for my own part-time job to replace my art teaching income. Fortunately, my husband was patient (getting to come home to his grandson helped that a lot), the house and boxes didn’t go anywhere and I found a perfect job a few months after they moved out.