The Multi-Generational Home
It’s a fact, the multi generational home is on the rise in the United States. While it’s common in many parts of the world it really wasn’t around here. There are a few reasons for this increase, one being cultural reasons since many people are coming here from other cultures where the multi generational home is the norm. But a big reason is the economy.
That second one is what got me where I am now, living at my parent’s house with my husband, two daughters, mom and dad, sister, and her boyfriend. If you count all of us up, that’s eight of us, EIGHT! And we are only living in a modest three bedroom home, and my hubby, kids, and myself are all crammed into one room. It wasn’t supposed to be this way at all.
It started with me having my first child at 16, that was going to make things hard to begin with. Then I met my now husband, and his parent’s kicked him out for hanging out with a “wh*re with a kid”(my in laws are so sweet aren’t they) so he moved in. I got pregnant, we got married, we had a baby. But then we moved out! It was great. It was freedom. It was..expensive. It lasted only six months before we couldn’t afford it due to my husbands lay off and had to move back to my parent’s house. And after a few months my sister’s boyfriend got evicted and moved in too. This makes living very tricky and let me tell you a few reasons why…
The Food Is Always Gone
This one is the most obvious to everyone I think. There are pretty much 3 groups in the house; my family and I, my sister and her boyfriend, and my parents. No one group really wants to buy food and run the risk of someone from the other groups eating it. Just today I had to yell at my dad for eating my food. Plus with two younger guys plus my dad who is an exercise freak the food goes super fast, they all just eat eat EAT! We seriously have to get three to four loaves of bread a week.
The Crammed Bedroom
Ok this one pretty much goes just for my “group” but it is very very hard to have four people in a room meant for one. There is no space for our clothes so they are pretty much all over the place. My youngest daughter has a portable hotel crib to sleep in(thank God she is super tiny) and my oldest(almost three) sleeps in a pack ‘n’ play. Plus it’s really hard to have any couple time, if you know what I mean, since both kids need to be asleep.
There Is “Stuff” Everywhere!
My mom is a pack rat plain and simple. You should see the garage, it should be on the show hoarders. So her stuff is all over the house, plus having a one and (almost)three year old running around playing with toys just adds to the mess. There is rarely room for more than three or four people to sit down or anything. It just all piles up so fast and no one wants to clean it so it gets worse.
There Is Fighting
Such cramped living space is stressful for everyone so it is easier to get on one another’s nerves. And when a couple people start yelling everyone joins in. Then the one or two people not yelling have to scoop up the kids and take them to the play area in the basement.
This is the one that drives me nuts the most. When we had an apartment, the only people who had to weigh in on the parenting were my husband and myself(and he pretty much goes with what I say) now there are tons of other people giving their opinions, or rather forcing them on you. My sister has some pretty strong opinions on what my kids eat and how much they get away with(I’m pretty relaxed). My mom pretty much goes against what ever I say it seems and my dad gives me the exact opposite advise of my mom. Then to top it off my sister’s boyfriend has an ex with a little girl he helped raise so he thinks he somehow knows better than me. It is very frustrating and, I’m sure, send my girls mixed signals. Grandparents are meant to spoil their grandchildren, but when you live with them there is sometimes too much spoiling.
These are just some of the challenges living in the multi generational home but I’m sure I’m missing some. I’m not sure how long we will be living like this but I take comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one who is going through this and the difficulties that go with it. It really isn’t all bad though, some of it is pretty good. My husband and sister’s boyfriend work night shift so when I’m lonely at night I always have my sister there too who knows how I feel. And there is usually a babysitter around when you need one. Parenting in such a situation is a huge difference from doing it in a single family home, there’s the good, the bad, and the just plain messy.
Ashley is a stay at home mom of two young girls living in a multi generational home with eight people in it. She blogs in her spare time at The Undomestic Mommy where she writes product reviews and about her crazy life as a mother and wife.