Sometimes it is amazing that “norm” for your family is something you think that has always happened.
I was listening to a Christian radio talk show. There was this woman who was taking care of their elderly mother in her home. They said how it affected her relationship with her teen child. The radio show pointed out all the negative things that the mother didn’t have time to be a mother because she was busy being a caregiver. They went on to say how it was the biggest blessing when they put the elderly grandmother in a nursing home.
Really? Is this where we have come to as a society? Do you see anything wrong with this? We are suppose to take care of our family, not put them away out of sight and out of mind.
This brought up something I have personally experienced. When we moved back to our home town, we still had our mortgage that was a mortgage from when we had dual income. We were waiting for that house to sell. We had a rental house that we had tenants living in. We had always wanted to be able to move back to our hometown. My husband and I firmly believe that family relationships are pretty important. We put family in front of moving to a different city, where we knew no one. We would have made a lot more money, but we wouldn’t have quality family time for the kids’ sake.
Now granted, both my husband and I had moved 20 hours away from our hometown during our early 20’s. Each of us moved to the opposite coast. At that time we had not been dating. We lost contact with each other actually. While the rest of the story is interesting, it’s not important to this because the point of this was that we had moved away before we had kids. Once the kids came, it changed our perspectives a lot. We are kind of unique that we have the only grandchildren on both sides. We were only living two hours away from our hometown when we had the kids. When we finally had the opportunity to get a job back home, we jumped on that opportunity.
Now getting back to multi-generational living. For six weeks, though we didn’t know how long it would exactly be, we lived with my parents. Yes it was extremely crowded. We bought groceries while we lived with them. While we were making the big mortgage payment, now on one income. It was very nice to not have another amount we were responsible for while we had large financial commitments.
In our personal experience, one side of the family had a much larger house, but they didn’t want to do multi-generation living. So we went and lived with the side of the family that had the smaller house but were open to the idea. Granted, my father is not in the best of health. He gets more grouchy and has less patience with his illness. We had a 2 year old and 1 year old at the time we moved in. Crowded spaces, lots of toys and active little boys in the winter time, did make for a few stresses.
We all had to give a little in different circumstances. We all had to work on patience. But would we do it again. Yup! My son loved living with his grandparents. While we currently live in the house that had been rented out while we lived out of town, and sold that house out of town. We still see my parents about 5 times a week.
We are thinking more about going back to multi-generation living, my husband is actually quite interested in sharing a house with my parents. We are actually trying to convince my family to move somewhere with a nicer climate all year round, where we can establish a large family home on an acreage.
This is not a new thing to have multi-generation living. When social security was established, many elderly lived with their children. Social Security was intended to help them with their expenses and not to actually be the amount they lived on there own, in which it has now become the norm.
Also in the farming communities, grandparents often lived with their kids. There is a lot of work to be done on the farm. I personally grew up with a grandfather who lived with us half the year. Granted he did have a little house in a little small town that he went home to when he wanted a break. He was also our favorite grandparent by a long shot.
We also had a grandmother who lived with us for about a year when she was going through a divorce. As you can see we have had multi-generation living about three times in our life.
When the latest recession happened, there were more people who found themselves in these living arrangements. They learned a lot of lessons though these circumstances.
In other countries this is the norm even in present day.
Granted, I know not all of you can stand to live in multi-generation living arrangements. Some of you have too many family problems for this to be plausible.
Others, have never heard of this concept.
1. Cheaper Living
2. Build in babysitting.
3. Build in elder care.
4. More helping hands to keep up the house.
5. Never being lonely.
6. Having less expenses.
7. Not having to buy everything, as household items have already been purchased.
1. Makes you get along even when its hard.
2. Who is the parent to your children?
3. Hard to find alone space.
4. Who establishes the rules for the house?
5. Crowded spaces sometimes are hard to make work if one family or person doesn’t want to get rid of some stuff.
In conclusion, there are a lot of advantages to living in these circumstances. I never knew how much fun it would be until I tried it myself. If we knew that it was going to be a longer term situation, there would have been some different arrangements. We would have moved some furniture of my parents out and put some of ours in. There are moments that can be tense. After a while, you learn to work out your problems in one way or another.
Please comment on your idea and thoughts about multi-generation living?
Photo Compliments Chris Warren
Linked at LivinTheMomLife