Anyone live with an in-law? Multi-generational living? Extended family living? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 26 Old 09-13-2008, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I recently moved in with my mom. It's challenging, but it's worth it, I think. I also know that we may be the exceptions in America, but this kind of living is very normal in other places.
I'd appreciate anyone who is willing to share their experience living in a non-neolocal kind of household. How did you cope living with a parent in adult-hood? How do you deal with people who think you should "get a place of your own"?

Thanks!

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#2 of 26 Old 09-13-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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Well, my situation is a little different, as MIL lives with us part time. Mother living with adult daughter is common in DH's culture. It is not so common to live with an adult son, and it entirely depends on DIL - me! DH wanted to give his sister a break, as MIL has been living with her for over 20 years. She is now blind from glaucoma, although otherwise in good health. She was with us for 3 months last winter, and we will have her come this winter. The house we are building has a room for her, and we look forward to her coming.

I tell you, I earned a LOT of points by having her stay with us last winter. SIL finally likes me, I think. MIL told everyone that I treated her like my own mother, which was a HUGE compliment. It wasn't that hard, as I genuinely like her. And, DH had time off due to parental leave, and he took over much of the cooking while she was here. And that sometimes required 2 dinners, as she is a strict observer of lent and did not eat any meat during that time. (DH is a big carnivore. I would have been fine with fish or vegetarian during that time, but DH made a fish dinner every night, and usually a meat meal, too). That made things even better! It may change this winter, as he and I will both be working full-time, and DS will be in daycare. But, with the new house, more space, I think we can manage.

Our house is also open to my extended family, should any of them need or want to live with us. Not likely to happen for quite a while, though.

SO, the conditions are quite a bit different in our family compared with yours, but I wanted to throw it in the mix!

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#3 of 26 Old 09-13-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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#4 of 26 Old 09-15-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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Our situation was like ASusan's... my MIL lived with us for a year and may live with us again. She watched DD while we both WOH full-time.

I'll be honest: it was rough. There were some benefits, but I had severe depression which made the whole situation intolerable. Now that I'm medicated (lol!) and healthy, we're willing to consider it again. We parted for good reasons on good terms, so it's a definite possibility. One thing that was helpful was to be clear about expectations and flexible in things around the home. One part that we would have to do a better job about next time is making sure that we all have outside interests and lives, because that reduces the stress placed on our relationships inside the home and gives us all a bit of elbow room.

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#5 of 26 Old 09-15-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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My mother lives with us. So the in-law is for dh. Sometimes I get tired of *never* having my home to myself. I get tired of the 3 of us (dd is an only) never going out... just the 3 of us. But overall, it's a great arrangement. In Dh's culture, it is *not* normal to not live with other family... at least in the same building. When I mention that I'm tired of her living with us, dh is her advocate. It's normal for him. They get along well.

In our situation, my mother lives with us and we support her. In dh's culture, that is the way it works. A child who lives with their parent is the primary breadwinner... not the parent. That would be, well, extremely taboo, if a child was living with a parent and the parent was making the living instead. But "getting a place of their own" would put my mother on the street, so it's quite easy to explain.

We built a MIL quarters onto our house for my mother. She has her own living room, bedroom, bathroom. She eats all meals with us, as she doesn't have a separate kitchen.

Also thought I'd mention that dd loves that my mother lives here. They are extremely close and it's wonderful to have multi-generational interactions. My mother, unless it's truly by accident, does not interfere or make any comments about the way I raise dd.
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#6 of 26 Old 09-15-2008, 11:39 PM
 
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Slightly different situation here...
We are living with my ILs in their house and although we have separate bedrooms, bathrooms and kids' room everything else is shared.
In addition, my DH's grandmother is also living here, always at home.
In some ways its been really nice to have them in the house, and they do help ALOT with the kids.
On the other hand, I often feel like I am not able to live my life and live by my rules. I pretty much never have complete privacy, since most of the time we spend downstairs with the grandma in site.

Mom of DS (07/2006) and DD (01/2008)
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#7 of 26 Old 09-16-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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We are living with dh's parents because we a poor. IT SUCKS BIG TIME!
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#8 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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MIL lives with us-- full disclosure, we are Dh is indian, and I'm a first gen american.

I'll come back and post later-- got to get to bed!

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#9 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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velochic-- your set up seems similar to ours. Do you think things would be better if your mom had her own kitchen?

that's my latest fantasy.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#10 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 02:32 AM
 
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Hi there! We have had one mom or another living with us for nearly our entire relationship. His mom was "visiting" when we met, and lived with us for 5 years. Just as she moved to live with my SIL my mom came to stay.
It has it's challenges, ours is different in that it is a parent living in our home, but we try to focus on the positives. When someone questions our living arrangement I say: My son has always been cared for at home by someone who loves him rather than a day care (I work). He is so secure knowing that all these people love him. He has had the time to develop really great relationships with both of his grandmas.

A big thing for us always has been that we have to have boundaries. Sure, they are our moms and we love them, but our focus is on our relationship and our son. We don't let the moms get involved in our relationship....we don't invite them in (so I don't complain about my husband to my mom and vice versa). I think it gets too messy when they get involved. We always make decisions between the two of us before involving the parents so there are no taking sides.

It can work out, but everyone has to be patient and willing to let the other one have some slack once in a while.
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#11 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 09:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aquarian View Post
velochic-- your set up seems similar to ours. Do you think things would be better if your mom had her own kitchen?

that's my latest fantasy.
In our situation, no, a separate kitchen would not be a good thing, because cooking is my passion. I *often* spend the entire day tinkering around in the kitchen. My mother cannot cook and the few food that she would cook are simply not allowed in the house (hot dogs, ham salad made from bologna).

That being said, because I do hang out in the kitchen all day, my mother is constantly coming in to get coffee and I do miss my privacy. Not that I need privacy to sit here at the computer or to chop onions, etc. but it's like a mental interruption. When I am close to starting my period I get particularly testy about my mother "bugging" me. I have to remind myself that she gave up a lot to move in with us.

I can imagine, though, that if a parent could cook, a separate kitchen would be a huge help!
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#12 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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Just wanted to come back and write a proper response.

I grew up very comfortable with the idea of a joint family-- but like pp mentioned, (heather8!) it's been really, really, really tough.

I stand by what I've said in the past-- it can be great, if done right.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#13 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 08:45 PM
 
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That being said, because I do hang out in the kitchen all day, my mother is constantly coming in to get coffee and I do miss my privacy. Not that I need privacy to sit here at the computer or to chop onions, etc. but it's like a mental interruption.
I feel this way all the time. Thanks so much for answering my question velochic.

As I was falling asleep last night I was thinking that it may have been too personal of a question.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#14 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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i live with my mil and i find it to be better for everyone involved. She's been living with us on and off for the last six years but since last October we decided it should be permanent. She's really laid back and easy going which is great. She also thinks I'm a really good mother (which is always nice to know).
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#15 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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We've been living with my mom for 3.5 years. It was supposed to be temporary until we could find a house we'd like to buy. I'm very close to my mom, but living together under 1 roof has its ups and downs. My kids, on the other hand, have grown attached to her and now I don't know how we'd ever move them away from grandma.

When things are good, my mom and I are like close friends. When things are not so good, I stay away from her space.
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#16 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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We lived with my inlaws frm the time I was preggers till ds was about 18 months! And it was PURE hell!...I hated it, I lOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my inlaws but I can't live with them...we actually love them so much we bought the house next door and believe me thats a vacation!...I really admire people who can do it, i just personally couldn't. Right now Im staying there cause there is construction at my house and its not good with a two year old and me being preggers to breathe paint in...BUT i get a break cause i can still go over there and get away!...this is hard enough!

mommy daddy son daughter = our family
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#17 of 26 Old 09-18-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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I love them but could not live with them!
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#18 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 09:11 AM
 
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I feel this way all the time. Thanks so much for answering my question velochic.

As I was falling asleep last night I was thinking that it may have been too personal of a question.
Not at all. If it was too personal, I would have just not replied.

Being an adult and co-existing with your adult parents... sometimes (in my case) even *elderly* parents... is a special situation that others cannot relate to unless they are in that situation. It's good to have others to talk to about it.

I can imagine that they dynamics are also completely different when an adult child moves in with a parent vs. a parent moving in with an adult child. In my case, my home is *mine*... truly mine because I bought it before I was married. My mother is the interloper. My task is to make sure that in spite of all my misgivings, I make her feel at home here. I can speak to that situation whereas an adult child moving in with a parent must have a completely different dynamic that needs to be addressed.

It's good to have people to talk to about this. I could nearly write a book about the situation of co-existing with parents. (Oops... almost have already!)
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#19 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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My SO and I live with my parents. Its a pretty common thing in my family... I grew up living with my parents and grandmother, and my mom grew up living in a large apartment building with her whole family (about 45 people).

We originally moved here with the intent of staying a few months, then moving on. 10 days later, we found out I was pregnant, and made the decision to stay until after the baby was born. We live in a large, 3 bedroom split plan house. Our '2' bedrooms (ours and babies) is on one side, and theirs on the other. We share all of the other areas of the house.

Its been mostly smooth, but there have been a few rough patches. My mom is neurotic about keeping her kitchen clean. Which, sure I like a clean kitchen, but you can't so much as set your drink down, and go to the bathroom without coming back to find it in the dishwasher.

Now that the baby is here, its nice to have help with her, especially considering I just spent a week in the hospital having surgery. My mother can be kind of overbearing about it, and has implied that I am doing quite a few things wrong. Thankfully, my SO is a really easy going guy, and is able to ignore most of what she says. He also has a night job, and keeps quite a different schedule then they do, so their interaction is pretty limited. I mostly have to deal with the brunt of things.

We're moving in May, and while I am THRILLED that is happening, I will miss my parents. If they lived in an area we could survive in, we'd stay here, but they live in a retirement area with low wages and high unemployment rates, and BAD schools, so its just not something we can do.
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#20 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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I can imagine that they dynamics are also completely different when an adult child moves in with a parent vs. a parent moving in with an adult child. In my case, my home is *mine*... truly mine because I bought it before I was married. My mother is the interloper. My task is to make sure that in spite of all my misgivings, I make her feel at home here. I can speak to that situation whereas an adult child moving in with a parent must have a completely different dynamic that needs to be addressed.
that's a very good point. in our case, we also support MIL. (I wish it was the other way around, I'd move in a heartbeat!) However-- she's been living with us since we got married, ect, so I guess I don't feel that same way about it being totally my house, and her being the interloper. And she's not very good with boundries. Anyways... enough with the complaining! Thanks so much for the advice Velochic.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#21 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 10:57 AM
 
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We are currently staying with my mother-in-law. My DP's mother. It is hard, but we had to leave our house due to toxic mold invading our basement. So it's temporary, and I can deal for the time being.

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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#22 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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My MIL lives with us most of the time (she takes long trips back to Lebanon). At first it was so, so hard. I was awful. I took all of her efforts to help as "indictments" of my housekeeping skills (minimal) and, once I had my first child, mothering skills. My MIL speaks no English and I speak very little Arabic, so I was always going to my dh, asking him to talk to her about things. I felt she took over my house. I'm not proud of my behavior. I'm fortunate that she doesn't seem to hold a grudge. Eventually I realized what a blessing she was, that she really just enjoyed cooking and doing housework, and that her motivation was really to be helpful, not to be critical. I love her dearly, and we get along well now. I feel like it's such a gift for our dc that she lives with us.
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#23 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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we live with my mom. and for the most part it goes well. sometimes tho we do need a break...

Visit the Holiday Helper thread and join in on the giving and fun! Loving and working with the plants. I have a store! or two!
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#24 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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When I was growing up, and into my early 20's, my maternal grandmother lived with me and my parents and it was terrible!! She constantly picked fights, and would sit there all day and needle my mom to the point that when my dad would get home, huge fights between the 2 of them would erupt and my grandmother would go sit in her room and gloat.

When I became engaged, she tried to draw my (then) fiance (now XH) into the battles too and would complain to him that my parents would never refill her perscriptions, again, not true. He came running to me, and I set him straight on the matter....

Because of this, I have told my new dh that I could never have his mother live with us. When dh and I were together in high school, she and I had a great relationship, but over the years, she has become quite bitter and she came and stayed with us last winter, and it was terrible!!!! I told dh, after that, I couldn't and can not have her in our home. I am sorry. Just can't. I was newly diagnosed with latent type 1 diabetes and she went on and on about how she wished she could be on dh's insurance so he could pay for her meds, and rode me about how much mine where that I stopped taking my insulin and spiraled into deep depression. She has turned into a mean, jealous, bitter woman, not the free spirited happy hippie she was years ago. This is not what I wanted when DH and I got married, I had really looked forward to having (finally!) a MIL who I could have a relationship with and alas, there is no way. **sigh** I envy all of you who do have good relationships with your IL's.
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#25 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 07:45 PM
 
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My MIL lives with us most of the time (she takes long trips back to Lebanon). At first it was so, so hard. I was awful. I took all of her efforts to help as "indictments" of my housekeeping skills (minimal) and, once I had my first child, mothering skills. My MIL speaks no English and I speak very little Arabic, so I was always going to my dh, asking him to talk to her about things. I felt she took over my house. I'm not proud of my behavior. I'm fortunate that she doesn't seem to hold a grudge. Eventually I realized what a blessing she was, that she really just enjoyed cooking and doing housework, and that her motivation was really to be helpful, not to be critical. I love her dearly, and we get along well now. I feel like it's such a gift for our dc that she lives with us.

this is such a similar situation to us... right down to the language thing. I hope one day that I can get to the point where you are.

Dh said to me last week "you are always thinking she's out to get you"... and I told him, " that's because she IS!!!".

She is, isnt she? !

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#26 of 26 Old 09-19-2008, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Being an adult and co-existing with your adult parents... sometimes (in my case) even *elderly* parents... is a special situation that others cannot relate to unless they are in that situation. It's good to have others to talk to about it.
This is exactly why I started this thread. Thank you EVERYONE for sharing your stories!

We moved in willingly and we have a long term plan to live on the same property (though in seperate domiciles).

We had one big fight that we got thru OK. I find that I feel guilty a lot of the time. I feel like. ..an interloper . I feel scared that my mom will get sick of us or something, but I think my fears are probably unfounded.

~laura
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