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Anyone else live in a multigenerational household?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

We live in a two family house - side by side with a shared front and back porch as well as yard - with my mom, my self, my mate, my son, our daughter, and one on the way who is due in May. We run, or at lest try to run, the family as one household. I know, not exactly the most "conventional" multigenerational household, but I think we qualify.

Is there anyone else out there?

How is it working out for you?

post #2 of 28

We have 4 generations in our home!  My grandmother, mom and dad, myself, husband and daughter.  Thankfully there is enough room- my husband, daughter and I live in the 'in-laws quarters' on the lower level, while mom, dad and grandma live upstairs.  It's awesome.  I feel really blessed to be in a situation where she gets to develop close, day to day relationships with her 'Papa', 'Bubbe' and 'Great-Gramma'!

post #3 of 28

We used to have 4 generations, but then my Grandmother passed and now it's 3. We don't all technically live in the same household but on the same property. It's a double city lot with a two flat in front and a large coachhouse in back. Currently DH, DD, and I live on the 2nd floor of the 2 flat. My sister, her DH and DC's live on the first floor. Our mom lives on the second floor of the coachhouse. Grandmother used to live on first floor of coach house. My Mom and I have been sharing this property for about 17 years--I hold the unique title of having lived in every apartment on the property. DH has been a part of this for about 14 years, my sister and her family for about 5.

 

There are a lot of benefits to living this way, the most obvious one is the built in support system which is huge. Another benefit is that collectively we can afford more than we could individually, so we have lots of outdoor space for the kids and we can pool resources for outdoor toys and stuff. Plus shared childcare, and the cousins are growing up together and they are very close. The negative is that privacy is lacking (even though each family has their own apartment) it can sometimes feel like my mom and sister are too far up in my business and for my DH and BIL I think that can be even harder and more annoying. They basically have their MIL around all the time and even the most awesome MIL can be a bit much 24-7 :) !

 

Interested to hear from more people about their multi-generational situations.

post #4 of 28

Subbing... my mil lived with us for quite a while... and it didn't go well. She has moved away temporarily, but I don't know how long that will last. I feel that having a seperate home for her (like a duplex or something) would have helped a lot, but now our relationship is in the crapper. Totally looking for stories of how other families make it work!

post #5 of 28

My Granparents lived with my mum, dad and I (and my brother when he arrived!) from when I was 5.  I was very close to Gran and Pappy and can attribute this mainly to the close proximity that we lived in.  They allowed both my parents to work full time at building up their own business while being reaasured that we were taken care of.  My Pappy was the one who took me to and from school, my Gran made my post school snack.  My parents were very good at making sure that whatever time I had with them was QUALITY time and I never felt that my granparents were trying to be subsitutes, just felt very lucky to have them around and felt very lucky to have them in my life until I was 26.

 

When my granparents passed away my husband and I moved in with my Mum, Dad and Brother and although it wasn't easy we muddled along just fine.  We had our own bedroom and sitting room but shared bathroom and kitchen.  We moved out nearly 3 years ago now but we were with them for 3 years and it worked for us.  I could not, however, live with my mil and my DH agrees, the main reason it worked with my parents is because there was never any pressure, we were allowed to live our own lives.  I think that's the key. 

post #6 of 28

We're living with my folks.  Three generations here: my parents, me and my sister, and between us the 4 grandchildren.

 

It took us maybe 9 months to feel like it was working smoothly.  Mostly it's great now, we work together, everybody does what needs to be done, we respect each other.  Since my sister moved in when she was pregnant, there have been a few ruffled feathers.  My boys are noisy and active, she desperately wants quiet all the time, and her baby doesn't sleep well.  So, a little snippy now and again.  But otherwise we're doing well.

 

I have been so grateful for them opening their home to us.  Dh is finishing up 18 months in his home country, and especially being in the same house as my dad while dh is gone has really helped my boys deal with that.  Also, their vocabularies skyrocketed after moving into this house where everyone talks all the time and dad reads to them classics every night.  I love it. 

post #7 of 28

We have 3 here. Sort of. We moved in with my dad... 3.5 yrs ago now 'for the summer'... and never left :o My dad & grandpa built a cabin next door last summer and dad has basicly moved in over there (gives him a bit more space, free of kiddos... :p), but we still share a phone line, freezers, and he has most of his stuff over here still (it is his house, afterall :p)

post #8 of 28

We have lived with my parents twice since I became an adult. The first time was when I was pregnant and newly single. It worked out very well for the first year or so because I was very wrapped up in taking care of ds, going back to college and working, etc. I paid them rent and utilities every month and bought a fair share of the food. My mom bought common household stuff like toilet paper, laundry soap and babysat ds from 7-3 PM every day. My mom shared her van with me and I paid for gas and car insurance. The in home childcare was awesome and ds is still very close to his Grandma.

 

This time the kids and I are staying with my parents temporarily until DP and I get married in a few months. It is rapidly going downt he tubes though because my mom feeds on drama and on being the martyr and unlike our first stint where she clearly had the upper hand (I needed to stay there for childcare, didn't have my own car at first etc) this time the dynamics are different. The kids and I go places, we spend lots and lots of time together as a family out and about or at their dad's place, the kids spend nights over there, and frankly we're just too busy to engage my mom's drama and keep her itnerest. So we're kinda getting pushed out. Another big thing for my mom is cleanliness...she freaks if everything doesn't look perfect. It's an almost impossible standard to maintain with two little ones and a part time job. I can keep it decent, but not to her standards. And I can't blame her for wanting her house to look the way she likes it, but honestly, I feel like she invited me to live here, knowing beforehand, obviously, that I had two kids. She had been to my house enough times to see that we (ahem, the kids....) are perpetual dish-users and laundry-unfolders. I do try but it is hard. The other thing that drives her bonkers is that I bltely ignore her childrearing advice and do exactly as I please. She cannot STAND it and even threatens to call CPS. lol. I told her CPS would laugh if she called in to report some of the things she thinks are complaint-worthy.

post #9 of 28

us...more later on what i think of it

post #10 of 28

We're about to be. Mil, dh & I just bought a place together. We will all be moving in the summer. I'm a little nervous but she will have her own separate space so I think it will work.

post #11 of 28

OK..yesterday I was all ready to answer and then the baby woke up, so I put just a quick thing so I'd get the email.  :)

 

Yes, my mom lives with us.

 

The good:  Having someone here to do things like drive DS1 to school, so I don't have to bundle everyone up and go.  Or like right now, my van is out of commission, we CAN'T all go!

 

Having someone else who can and does help with some of the household chores.  I don't know that I'd be able to do it all alone...well I WOULDN'T...I would have *no* personal time and much less time than I already do to spend doing anything with the older ones.

 

Last summer, I loved being able to put DS2 down for his nap and take the older kids swimming...they were just at that age where it was too much for one of me to try to take all 3 of them during the busy afternoons.....when I NEEDED To be there because it was SO HOT and I was pregnant...

 

The downside?

 

Having to tell her to butt out sometimes and let me parent my kids.  Especially DD.  My mom has a different connection to the boys and DD knows it.  I worked when DS1 was a baby up until she was born--my mom was "daycare."  And she moved in with us a few weeks before DS2 was born.  My mom probably babysat DD a total of 40 hours her entire babyhood before she moved in with us. And DD is a much more spirited, high-strung personality than the boys....she 'fights back' to being disciplined where they never did.  It's getting better but I literally one day told her DD KNOWS she doesn't like her.  (probably a little too strong but I was sick of it.)

 

The fact that I grew up with her cleaning one day a week basically, other than doing dishes every night, and our house stayed fairly clean...I was the only child.  I have had to learn that this is not a realistic goal with 4 small children.  And there are times that I really wish she'd just see something and do it so I don't feel like I'm nagging for help. (Like take out the trash, or wipe a counter.  And I am literally the ONLY person who cleans the 2 bathrooms.  I'm not exaggerating.)  And she will nag the kids or get upset that it's a mess *again*.  I think basically we are all adjusting our expectations to life with many little people.

I never realized this till recently too......she is the one who nagged me to DEATH about being organized, yet actually *I* am the one who is constantly putting HER crap away.  I literally want to buy a television that mounts to the wall because I am SO SICK of cleaning everyone's JUNK off our entertainment center.  I HAVE places for this stuff, I'm just the ONLY one who puts it away.  Finding the kids' coats just thrown in the closet rather than hanging up, gloves, hats all that on top of the entertainment center or thrown in the closet so the mittens get lost, instead of in my hanging pocket thing. 

 

My mom is a HUGE TV watcher.  To the point that when baby DS was in the hospital for his surgery, DH came and told me mom watches too much TV and that is no kind of a life.  DH never says ANYTHING negative about her and usually won't listen to it from me.  She has a TV in her room, but there's times she'll sit in the living room and watch and complain about the kids' noise, etc.  *I* am getting to where I can't stand it in the background all the time.  The noise of it plus the kids plus whatever machines are running (dishwasher, washer, dryer) is just TOO MUCH.

 

you also can't talk to her because then EVERYTHING is blamed on her.  :P

 

And this really doesn't have to do with my mom but we desperately need a bigger house.  I wouldn't want total separation, but right now the older 3 kids share a bedroom, mom has a room, and the baby is in with me and DH.  They have no other playroom.  We *desperately* need at least a place that would allow them a playroom of some sort.

 

post #12 of 28

We have been in the past and I expect we will in the future.  My mother lived with us for 8 months while getting on her feet after separating with second husband. It had its challenges. We live in a very tiny house, I had 3 kids including toddler twins and was pregnant. My mother wasn't in a position financially to contribute but we all knew it was short term until she could get established in her job and afford to get her own place. She's a nurse and ended up getting a job working mainly 3 - 11 shifts so she rarely saw my husband which is probably a good thing.  We were glad to help but there wasn't a huge upside in terms of a stronger relationship with my kids or an extra set of hands.

 

We're just in the process of buying a new house and one of the criteria in looking for it was that it needed to have main floor bedroom and bathroom space so that we could take in my MIL or FIL if anything happened to either of them.  My FIL would probably manage fine logistically but be incredibly lonely. My MIL has some mobility and health issues and I don't know that she would be okay living on her own in her current house without a fair amount of support.  I would rather have either of them live with us than try to balance helping MIL manage their current house on her own.  My kids have an incredibly strong relationship with my ILs for which I am very grateful and I think we would transition to living in a single household relatively smoothly. 

 

If either IL came to live with us we would hopefully be able to put a family room addition onto the new house and give my ILs the living room, den and main floor bath which are all connected and are separated on one side of the house by the main centre hall  so that they could have their own sitting room in what would essentially be their own  "wing"  of the house. They are also connected to the front porch which would give them some outside space and their own entrance for guests etc.   

post #13 of 28

My mom has lived with us for almost 6 years now.  It's not a great situation.  I couldn't leave her to starve and my siblings can't/won't help.  I wish I'd never invited her to live here, but I would have still been supporting her anyway and this makes it a little less expensive (I have pretty much supported her for most of the past 15 years).

 

For us, personally, there are few advantages.  The advantages have all been my mother's.  I could complain and complain about the situation, but I'm trying to have a better outlook on it, in general.  More than anything, I just wish I had my home to myself again.  I never get time alone and when I ask her to go visit family to be away for a few days, she acts like I'm exiling her.  I crave some time to myself but she goes nowhere, has no friends and does nothing, so she is here unless she is picking up dd from school.  If she actually helped around the house (the ONLY household chore she does is the dishes about 50% of the time - and she is physically capable of doing anything), I guess I'd feel better.  I'm trying to teach my dd that everyone in the household needs to do their parts to keep things running smoothly, yet my mother's actions are teaching her otherwise.

 

I will just say this.  Put your boundaries in WRITING before you ever establish a multi-generational household.  Whatever the arrangements are, make them binding like a contract.  It sounds cold, but if you don't establish what each person is responsible for, one or both parties will end up hurt/mad/upset.

 

Good luck to everyone.

 

ETA:  We built an addition on to the house so my mom would have her own separate space with entrance.  However, she shares kitchen and downstairs bath with us.  In the mornings, after dd has left for school, I just want a little bit of down time.  My office is in the corner of the kitchen just off of the bath.  Every morning, she is back and forth in the bathroom and kitchen about a dozen times and it just drives me crazy.  I just want.to.be.alone.  Gah!!  My point... if you can, when you have someone living with you, make sure they have a COMPLETELY self-contained living space, including kitchen and bath.

post #14 of 28

:hugs velochic..

post #15 of 28

velochic--I get that.  My mom also does almost *nothing* as far as her own social life.  She did go with her sister to visit their other sister for a couple days last summer.  Other than that, she goes out to do the school runs for DS1, errands like the grocery store and bill paying day, and about once a week to the library.  She complains nonstop about the kids and about not "being able to do anything" and yet NOBODY IS STOPPING HER.  We've shared a vehicle at various points during the last 2 years, but there's also been times we've each had our own like right now.  And even so, there are days I just stay home with the kids...absolutely NOTHING is stopping her from finding some sort of gathering of people her age and meeting people but HERSELF.  I've pointed this out....repeatedly.  It does no good.

 

I've come to the conclusion that she enjoys complaining.

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post

velochic--I get that.  My mom also does almost *nothing* as far as her own social life.  She did go with her sister to visit their other sister for a couple days last summer.  Other than that, she goes out to do the school runs for DS1, errands like the grocery store and bill paying day, and about once a week to the library.  She complains nonstop about the kids and about not "being able to do anything" and yet NOBODY IS STOPPING HER.  We've shared a vehicle at various points during the last 2 years, but there's also been times we've each had our own like right now.  And even so, there are days I just stay home with the kids...absolutely NOTHING is stopping her from finding some sort of gathering of people her age and meeting people but HERSELF.  I've pointed this out....repeatedly.  It does no good.

 

I've come to the conclusion that she enjoys complaining.

 

I'm right there.  I can totally empathize.  In our case, we bought my mom a car, so she has no excuse to not go out and do things.
 

post #17 of 28

My parents,step dad and I all live in the same apartment house.My dad owns the house.Me and the kids on the 2nd floor,dad on the 1st,and mom and step dad in the basement.I do get a little agravated at times with my mother.Ds is autistic,and has some meltdowns,which especially in the summer can be heard through the whole house,and she will repeatedly call in the middle of it instead of just letting me take care of him,and maybe calling after he has calmed down.Then she'll get mad if I don't answer the phone,since I'm dealing with a screaming child,and she'll come upstairs.Which always makes the situation much worse.She's also constantly in my business.If exh comes over,she freaks out and tries to call the cops,without finding out if he is drunk and being a jerk or sober and treating us fine.I can handle him,if he's drunk he stays out.She'll tell me that she'll help me with anything,like food or whatever.Tonight we had nothing for dinner,I ended up with toast,and ds a pb and j sandwich.Instead of taking me to the store,I had my own money,just needed a ride,she rubbed it in that they had pork chops and fed dd but not ds.She's constantly favoring dd over ds.She'll watch her while I go to an appointment,but not ds.Dd's old enough to stay upstairs by herself. But,my dad and step dad are great.My mom can be,don't get me wrong.Ds is starting to notice the favoritism though.Dad does alot for us,takes me to the store and appointments,since we don't have a car.I try to buy his food and other household items,since I don't pay rent(mom and step dad do,but very little).He'll also watch ds.We've been like this for 10 years(step dad for 6 or 7).It's working.Mom keeps saying she's moving,but hasn't even looked for another place,so she's not going anywhere anytime soon.

post #18 of 28

DD and I moved in with my parents last year when I left my XH and he started making threats. The plan was for me to move close to XH, so that kid exchange could be easier, but then he started becoming insecure and thought making threats would help his cause.

 

Anyhow, we've lived here, in the house that I lived in from the age of 16 to 25, for over a year now. It's a "single-family home", with 3 floors and 3 bedrooms...located in a really family-friendly neighborhood with a great little park walking distance. This was only supposed to be a temporary measure, but then it suddenly dawned on me that it would be a huge advantage to stay longer, so I could wipe out the debts XH had put in my name and save up money. Also, as DD adjusted to her new surroundings, she became hugely attached to my parents. I feel it would be cruel to yank her away from them now that she identifies them as her family. Finally, I feel that by staying here, I am giving DD a slice of the childhood that I could never afford to offer her on my own.

 

Overall, I feel that the arrangement has worked very well for all of us, perhaps because we were close to begin with. Though there were some serious bumps between us when I was married to my abusive alkie XH, my parents and I are very close. My father is generally ecstatic about my being here, as he feels it is his duty to help his only child get back on her feet. The whole "multi-generational living" thing is also very near and dear to his traditional Viet values. Most of my extended Asian family lives in similar types of arrangements.... He did however insist that I pay for 1/3 of the food and 1/2 the gas (since my parents use their cars to drive DD to and from daycare), because he fears that I'll just become lax about money. My mother is way more easy going, and she feels that since they are using certain services anyway, there's no need for me to pay. I still do though.

 

My father is semi-retired, so it's very helpful to have him at home most days. He does laundry, lots of cleaning and occasional grocery shopping and cooking. My mother does most of the cooking and groceries, and works full-time. I work the longest hours so my chores are generally tidying/cleaning, laundry when I can, and contributing yummy deserts and breakfasts here and there. Since DD's tdaycare is close to my mother's work, we both take DD together in her car every morning, and then drive over to her work which is right next to the subway. I travel to my work from there by subway. Usually my mom and dad swap who goes to get DD, usually at 4:30. Since I finish at 5:00 and work downtown, this is a HUGE advantage for DD who spends less time in daycare.

 

In terms of child-rearing, we've had lengthy discussions about what I want and how I would like them to intervene where DD is concerned. My mother has asked me on numerous occasions if I felt she overstepped her bounds when she disciplines DD, and I really appreciate that. Whenever DD displays a new kind of behaviour, we'll all discuss our approach together, which I think is awesome. However, I feel that now that things are settled into a routine, my parents step back way more and let me handle DD. I know they don't agree with all the things I did parenting wise (extended bfing, cosleeping, etc) but they just agreed to let me do my thing.

 

In the end, DD gets LOTS of love and attention. Her language skills are doing awesome with the added input of daycare AND three adults at home. I get to have a tiny bit of a personal life since my parents watch DD after I put her down if I ask them. There isn't much privacy though, and I've been blessed to meet a *very* family oriented and tolerant bf.

 

The long-term plan that's coming next year or so is for my parents to sell this house and to purchase a duplex with me. They'd live on the main floor and DD and I would live upstairs. Ideally, we'd find a place that has an internal stairwell so that DD can easily travel between apartments. This way, we'd all regain some privacy but still be close....because we enjoy being close.

post #19 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post

velochic--I get that.  My mom also does almost *nothing* as far as her own social life.  She did go with her sister to visit their other sister for a couple days last summer.  Other than that, she goes out to do the school runs for DS1, errands like the grocery store and bill paying day, and about once a week to the library.  She complains nonstop about the kids and about not "being able to do anything" and yet NOBODY IS STOPPING HER.  We've shared a vehicle at various points during the last 2 years, but there's also been times we've each had our own like right now.  And even so, there are days I just stay home with the kids...absolutely NOTHING is stopping her from finding some sort of gathering of people her age and meeting people but HERSELF.  I've pointed this out....repeatedly.  It does no good.

 

I've come to the conclusion that she enjoys complaining.

 

I'm right there.  I can totally empathize.  In our case, we bought my mom a car, so she has no excuse to not go out and do things.
 

we now carry insurance on 3 vehicles for the same reason.  It hasn't changed anything.  I think I am going to go search park and rec website or get a copy of the activity book or something...when I used to take my kids to playgroup at one of the CC's they had some sort of senior group meeting there.  since it's there, it's likely free, which would be an advantage to my mom possibly--the sr. center here has a yearly membership fee.
 

post #20 of 28


ugh....well, I feel slightly better.  While my mom does do some little things that seem to favor my 6 year old over my 4 yr. old--like allowing him to go into her room and watch the TV or use the computer but telling DD she can't....it does have a little basis in the fact that he will just do his stuff and not mess with her things, while if they are in there together, they end up jumping on the bed and stuff.  And while she *will* watch DD, she would rather have just the boys.  (but DD and the DS's fight, while DS1 and DS2 really don't.  So again, I see that there's a little bit of a reason, the boys are easier to babysit.)  But she would never do something like only feed the boys and not DD, or other stuff that doesn't have at least a semi-valid reason behind it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muldey View Post

My parents,step dad and I all live in the same apartment house.My dad owns the house.Me and the kids on the 2nd floor,dad on the 1st,and mom and step dad in the basement.I do get a little agravated at times with my mother.Ds is autistic,and has some meltdowns,which especially in the summer can be heard through the whole house,and she will repeatedly call in the middle of it instead of just letting me take care of him,and maybe calling after he has calmed down.Then she'll get mad if I don't answer the phone,since I'm dealing with a screaming child,and she'll come upstairs.Which always makes the situation much worse.She's also constantly in my business.If exh comes over,she freaks out and tries to call the cops,without finding out if he is drunk and being a jerk or sober and treating us fine.I can handle him,if he's drunk he stays out.She'll tell me that she'll help me with anything,like food or whatever.Tonight we had nothing for dinner,I ended up with toast,and ds a pb and j sandwich.Instead of taking me to the store,I had my own money,just needed a ride,she rubbed it in that they had pork chops and fed dd but not ds.She's constantly favoring dd over ds.She'll watch her while I go to an appointment,but not ds.Dd's old enough to stay upstairs by herself. But,my dad and step dad are great.My mom can be,don't get me wrong.Ds is starting to notice the favoritism though.Dad does alot for us,takes me to the store and appointments,since we don't have a car.I try to buy his food and other household items,since I don't pay rent(mom and step dad do,but very little).He'll also watch ds.We've been like this for 10 years(step dad for 6 or 7).It's working.Mom keeps saying she's moving,but hasn't even looked for another place,so she's not going anywhere anytime soon.

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