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RoseRed135

The multigenerational household -pluses and minuses

121 posts in this topic

In recent years, these seems to have been an increase in multigenerational households, w/ 3 - sometimes 4 - generations living in one house. Or 2 generations of adults (parents and AC - adult children), w/ or w/o CIL (children-in-law) and kids. If you're in one of these situations, what do you think the pluses are, if any? The minuses?

Edited by RoseRed135
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12 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

In recent years, these seems to have been an increase in multigenerational households, w/ 3 - sometimes 4 - generations living in one house. Or 2 generations of adults (parents and AC - adult children), w/ or w/o CIL (children-in-law) and kids. If you're in one of these situations, what do you think the pluses are, if any? The minuses?

Our kids have moved in and out quite a few times since they left for college. Most moved home right after graduation, before or during grad school, before weddings, after grad school, and while awaiting a home to close. Finances ruled those choices.

We had a few years when we finally lived alone, fabulous. Following that ODD and her 3 kids began living with us, probably permanently. We have enough room, the kiddies have stability and a male figure. Works well for the 4 of them.

Recently YDD moved in when her home fought with a tree and lost - finally those 4 could move out, into a 1900s farm house my husband renovated for them. Spectacular 10 year market cycle - they now have a paid off home, lots of money in the bank, and our SonIL was able to quit pulling overtime to pay the mortgage.

Minuses - loss of privacy, lack of quiet, and general chaos.

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On 8/3/2017 at 9:37 PM, JanelleK said:

Our kids have moved in and out quite a few times since they left for college. Most moved home right after graduation, before or during grad school, before weddings, after grad school, and while awaiting a home to close. Finances ruled those choices.

We had a few years when we finally lived alone, fabulous. Following that ODD and her 3 kids began living with us, probably permanently. We have enough room, the kiddies have stability and a male figure. Works well for the 4 of them.

Recently YDD moved in when her home fought with a tree and lost - finally those 4 could move out, into a 1900s farm house my husband renovated for them. Spectacular 10 year market cycle - they now have a paid off home, lots of money in the bank, and our SonIL was able to quit pulling overtime to pay the mortgage.

Minuses - loss of privacy, lack of quiet, and general chaos.

Janelle, I think you described in a single post many of the ins and outs of the multigenerational living situation. Thank you!

@ All - Anyone else have something to say on this topic?

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Pluses: Transportation in case of surgery, occasional meal with family, petting family dog, occasional interaction with family in yard, occasional invitation to watch TV with family, son good at doing handyman jobs.

Minuses: Prisoner in my own home.

We recently moved in together, after I bought a house with a basement apartment where I live.  They live on the two floors above me.  Oh, the love that was showered on me when I was deciding whether to buy a house and live with them.  I envisioned frequent meals together, and frequent mixing with the family.  But now that we are all moved in, it's like stay in your hole, Dad, unless we invite you up.

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2 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Pluses: Transportation in case of surgery, occasional meal with family, petting family dog, occasional interaction with family in yard, occasional invitation to watch TV with family, son good at doing handyman jobs. Yes! All good things!

Minuses: Prisoner in my own home. Ugh! What an awful feeling! So sorry!

We recently moved in together, after I bought a house with a basement apartment where I live.  I hope they're contributing financially. They live on the two floors above me.  Oh, the love that was showered on me when I was deciding whether to buy a house and live with them.  I envisioned frequent meals together, and frequent mixing with the family.  But now that we are all moved in, it's like stay in your hole, Dad, unless we invite you up. So deeply sorry about their apparent change in attitude! It seems very unfair. More about that below...

Welcome Gramps! Glad you decided to come in and talk w/ us! So sorry your current living situation is causing you such unhappiness, but glad you brought your concerns to us.

I take it the people you're living w/ are DS (dear son) and DIL (daughter-in-law). GC (grandchild/ren) as well?

Unfortunately, it seems that you had a very different vision of what was going to be than DS and DIL did. Or maybe their view changed after they were actually in the situation. Either way, I know you must feel very frustrated and disappointed. I'm so sorry about that and again, about their apparent change of attitude.

It sounds as if DS and DIL have decided they want/need more privacy than you - or they - thought they would and are trying to set some boundaries, That's probably why you've been told, "(Don't come up) unless we invite you." At the same time, I understand if that makes you feel trapped and lonely... sigh...

Is there a door from your apartment to the outside, so you can get out and go for a walk or visit friends, etc? I hope so.

Meanwhile, I've made a few comments on your quoted post above, as you can see.

Edited by RoseRed135
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Welcome Gramps.  It does sound like they got what they wanted and now they want something else maybe.  I do hope you have a private entrance of your own.  Is so, why not pretend you just live in an apartment and simply visit when actually invited and forget you live in the same house even if it is your house.  Why not go out your door, walk around to their front door, knock and act as any invited guest would.  Leave the same way.  To me, this would show respect for their individual family.

I can't imagine living in the same building as my adult children (AC).  But my sister and her husband did live with my mother for 7 years after their daughter finished high school and they seemed to get along fine with my mother respecting their privacy if their connecting door was shut after dinner.

I do hope any financial arrangements that were made in the beginning are being met so that at least isn't a burden on you.

Just another thought...does your sons family respect your privacy also?

Edited by SueSTx
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Thank you, RoseRed and Sue.  Sue, that's an interesting idea, to go to the front door and knock.  I currently have many topics to discuss with them, and I think I'll try that idea this evening, after my DS gets home from work.  My DIL is very sensitive about her privacy, and I suspect that DS is...what's the term...running interference?...for her.

They are paying utilities and have taken over payments on DS's student loan, which I had been paying off.  They are also offering medical transportation if and when that becomes necessary, and they are feeding me about twice a week.  I go up, eat, then get the feeling that my welcome is over and go back downstairs.  DS also offers to help with handyman stuff.  He installed a door lock for me.  As to whether the finances place too much burden on me, we'll see.  The mortgage payment is indeed hefty.

Yes, they respect my privacy almost too much.  I had expected occasional visits from GC, but that's not happening.  I think a reasonable compromise (which my DIL may veto, but I'll propose it) would be to have a visitor's chair in each living room.  A GF chair in their living room for me to come up and sit in at any time, and a chair for them in my living room.

Yes, I have a door to a sunken patio and a stairs to the outside world.

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It might help to remind yourself that you are not actually a "member" of their individual family even when living in the same house but a true visitor.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, GrampsX9 said:

Thank you, RoseRed and Sue.  Sue, that's an interesting idea, to go to the front door and knock.  I currently have many topics to discuss with them, and I think I'll try that idea this evening, after my DS gets home from work.  My DIL is very sensitive about her privacy, and I suspect that DS is...what's the term...running interference?...for her.

They are paying utilities and have taken over payments on DS's student loan, which I had been paying off.  They are also offering medical transportation if and when that becomes necessary, and they are feeding me about twice a week.  I go up, eat, then get the feeling that my welcome is over and go back downstairs.  DS also offers to help with handyman stuff.  He installed a door lock for me.  As to whether the finances place too much burden on me, we'll see.  The mortgage payment is indeed hefty.

Yes, they respect my privacy almost too much.  I had expected occasional visits from GC, but that's not happening.  I think a reasonable compromise (which my DIL may veto, but I'll propose it) would be to have a visitor's chair in each living room.  A GF chair in their living room for me to come up and sit in at any time, and a chair for them in my living room.

Yes, I have a door to a sunken patio and a stairs to the outside world.

I suspect that will be vetoed, b/c means that they have no privacy, if you could pop up whenever. It doesn't seem like a compromise, honestly.

Did you all discuss the expectations? I'm wondering if everyone made different assumptions, had different expectations that weren't verbalized, and now things aren't how anyone envisioned them to be.

How often did you guys visit before?

If you want the gc to visit, why not call and invite them down? (Sorry, didn't catch how old they are)

It really sounds as though this wasn't a nefarious plot on the part of your ds/DIL, but unspoken, grossly mismatched expectations. Doesn't mean any of you guys are wrong, just that adjustments need to be made.

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I can't imagine why your DIL would agree to you coming up anytime you might want to do so.

What if she is giving herself a facial, applying nail polish or wanting to take a long bubble bath in the middle of the day OR any number of things a woman especially might put off while she had visitors/guests but might indulge in if she were in her own home with immediate family only?

What if she is cleaning the oven, a closet or in the middle of disciplining a child?  What if she and hubby are "cuddling" during their favorite movie or some such.

I understand wanting to know and be prepared for a guest.  You do not actually live IN their home, but have your own apartment. 

If she has young school age children, her schedule is busy.  Maybe offer to help with home work on her busiest night or something of that kind. 

If everyone is on the same page....Maybe provide a desert for your once a week shared meal.  Maybe invite them down to your place to share a sandwich or an ice cream sundae on a hot afternoon after they have finished their weekly chores.  Fix a pot of stew or soup with cornbread after the kids sporting event one evening.  A visit doesn't have to involve a special "grandpa" chair in their living room to be used every day.

Edited by SueSTx

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14 minutes ago, SueSTx said:

I can't imagine why your DIL would agree to you coming up anytime you might want to do so.

What if she is giving herself a facial, applying nail polish or wanting to take a long bubble bath in the middle of the day OR any number of things a woman especially might put off while she had visitors/guests but might indulge in if she were in her own home with immediate family only?

What if she is cleaning the oven, a closet or in the middle of disciplining a child?  What if she and hubby are "cuddling" during their favorite movie or some such.

I understand wanting to know and be prepared for a guest.  You do not actually live IN their home, but have your own apartment. 

If she has young school age children, her schedule is busy.  Maybe offer to help with home work on her busiest night or something of that kind. 

If everyone is on the same page....Maybe provide a desert for your once a week shared meal.  Maybe invite them down to your place to share a sandwich or an ice cream sundae on a hot afternoon after they have finished their weekly chores.  Fix a pot of stew or soup with cornbread after the kids sporting event one evening.  A visit doesn't have to involve a special "grandpa" chair in their living room to be used every day.

Yes. It sounds like, on their part, they viewed it as two separate living arrangements in the same building. You saw it as more of a collective family living arrangement.

Seems to me, you guys aren't so much 'living together' as 'living in separate areas in the same house'. Independent lives/families.

I also question the 'prisoner in my own home' perspective. You have a separate entrance, so you're not trapped anywhere. You're just not having access to the rest of the house as often as you would like, which is actually a normal arrangement when there's an 'inlaw' suite with separate kitchen/entrance, etc.

So, you've got a cpl of decisions to make. What do you *need* to make this work, vs *want*? And, if what you *need* is a no-go for them, what's the option? Are you willing to sell the house? Ask them to move out and get other renters so that you're truly just a landlord? It'll mean no more twice a week dinners, etc, but it would solve your issue of feeling used.

I hope things can be sorted out without damaging the relationship.

 

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And, IMO, they should be part of the "hefty mortgage", especially since they have a large home and you have the basement apartment. That should have been part of the original agreement. If your DIL isn't working at least part time, she should be. These people are married adults with children so should be toting the majority of their family's financial load. 

Invite the GC down to visit. Working an age appropriate jigsaw puzzle is an easy way to pass the time with them. Respect the privacy of the family upstairs...that really is important. Start a garden in the backyard if there is room...the GC may gravitate toward it out of curiosity. My #1 GS started out by helping me with mine (I had him up on a ladder picking cherries and let him climb along a wide fence rail to pick cherry tomatoes from a hanging basket, both things I didn't want to do, he was 5) then he was hooked. He badgered his parents into a space in their yard so he could patrol his own "acres". He loves it and will still help me (now age 13).

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1 hour ago, Mame925 said:

And, IMO, they should be part of the "hefty mortgage", especially since they have a large home and you have the basement apartment. That should have been part of the original agreement. If your DIL isn't working at least part time, she should be. These people are married adults with children so should be toting the majority of their family's financial load. 

Invite the GC down to visit. Working an age appropriate jigsaw puzzle is an easy way to pass the time with them. Respect the privacy of the family upstairs...that really is important. Start a garden in the backyard if there is room...the GC may gravitate toward it out of curiosity. My #1 GS started out by helping me with mine (I had him up on a ladder picking cherries and let him climb along a wide fence rail to pick cherry tomatoes from a hanging basket, both things I didn't want to do, he was 5) then he was hooked. He badgered his parents into a space in their yard so he could patrol his own "acres". He loves it and will still help me (now age 13).

Depending on what the mortgage payment vs utilities are, yep.

I know for us, utilities, esp in the winter, (oil heat, curse everything) are MORE than my mortgage.

And about the DIL working: it's not always that easy. Daycare costs may cancel out any money DIL makes, depending on ages of kids. 

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5 hours ago, SueSTx said:

It might help to remind yourself that you are not actually a "member" of their individual family even when living in the same house but a true visitor.

 

 

Isn't there a middle ground between visitor and family member?  Such as: Grandparent?  It's hard for me to forget that my son and I are members of the same nuclear family.

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Mame, good idea, I will set an example by giving them an open invitation to my living room at any time.  And yes, there is garden space in the back yard, another good idea.

Edited by GrampsX9

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5 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

I suspect that will be vetoed, b/c means that they have no privacy, if you could pop up whenever.

I am not proposing that I pop up to the third floor, where their bedrooms are.  I'm simply proposing that I go up the stairs and sit in a chair near the stairs.  I would not be offended if any of them comes down to my living room at any time.  I will tell them that.

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5 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

It really sounds as though this wasn't a nefarious plot on the part of your ds/DIL, but unspoken, grossly mismatched expectations.

I'm sure it wasn't a conscious plot.  But I think it was unconscious manipulation.  The difference in their behavior before move-in and after move-in is stunning.  Much less time with the grandkids, and no more hugs from them, for example.

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4 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

Maybe provide a desert for your once a week shared meal. 

I provide drinks for all shared meals.

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4 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

I also question the 'prisoner in my own home' perspective.

Going up the long, outside stairs to shop or do yard work seems like starting a prison leave of absence.  Not that I have ever experienced a real jail.  But after spending a day, or even several hours, in the silent and cold basement with a concrete floor, it seems like a kind of prison to me.

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58 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

Start a garden in the backyard if there is room...the GC may gravitate toward it out of curiosity. My #1 GS started out by helping me with mine (I had him up on a ladder picking cherries and let him climb along a wide fence rail to pick cherry tomatoes from a hanging basket, both things I didn't want to do, he was 5) then he was hooked. He badgered his parents into a space in their yard so he could patrol his own "acres". He loves it and will still help me (now age 13).

I love this story.  But my youngest GC is 12 and already getting set in his ways.  I may have a better chance at getting his 13 year old sister interested in the garden.  She likes the outdoors and is in charge of watering the flowers around the house.

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7 hours ago, SueSTx said:

I understand wanting to know and be prepared for a guest.  You do not actually live IN their home, but have your own apartment. 

Well, we're into semantics now.  They live in my house, but I don't live in their home.  Hmm....

Maybe I have seen too many TV shows, like the Bunkers and the McCoys, where all generations pop freely in and out of each other's spaces.

Edited by GrampsX9

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GrampsX9, according to the before and after behavior fluctuation you described I dont need to tell you that you've been "had" because it appears to me that you realize that- They got what they wanted now want little to nothing to do with you- And that's harsh- My heart goes out to you- But what's done is done- 

Are you afraid of being alone? Afraid of talking to your son about sensitive issues? Do you think fear factored into your decision making regarding your current situation? Do you think wanting next to nothing to do with someone (anyone) who provided you (general) with an awesome opportunity is the definition of appreciation or healthy boundaries and personal space? 

Seems to me you're up to your neck in the unexpected- If all your efforts going forward get thwarted it might be wise to rethink the current living situation- 

It sounds like you got into this situation because you needed a ride after surgery, if you needed surgery? Yes? And if so, that might be all you get, if thats all you asked for before signing on the dotted line- Im so sorry thats all you asked for in advance while remaining quiet regarding your expectations-

No sense starting a war over it though- It is what it is- 

 

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2 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Isn't there a middle ground between visitor and family member?  Such as: Grandparent?  It's hard for me to forget that my son and I are members of the same nuclear family.

Generally speaking, grandparents are guests. Part of the issue so many inlaws seem to have is not recognizing that the son/daughter has begun a new family, and parents are now extended family.

2 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

I am not proposing that I pop up to the third floor, where their bedrooms are.  I'm simply proposing that I go up the stairs and sit in a chair near the stairs.  I would not be offended if any of them comes down to my living room at any time.  I will tell them that.

It's still 'their' space. It still means that they won't have privacy. You get to choose, for your space, what privacy, or lack thereof, you're comfortable with. They get to do the same. Just b/c you don't mind someone popping up in your home doesn't mean others feel the same way. Neither is wrong, just different.

2 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

I'm sure it wasn't a conscious plot.  But I think it was unconscious manipulation.  The difference in their behavior before move-in and after move-in is stunning.  Much less time with the grandkids, and no more hugs from them, for example.

1. Your grandchildren are 12 and 13. School has started. I'm guessing that their schedules are now busier than they were during the summer. I also wonder if that factors in to the difference in behaviour. Summer is often a less stressful time, be it for school or work. Sept hits, and along comes school, after school activities, sports, extra lessons, etc. It may genuinely have to do with their schedules, not you.

2. Hugs from who? The children, or your son/DIL? If it's the gc, well, they get to choose who to hug. Physical affection is never 'owed'.

3. You didn't say how often you saw them before. Is it possible that having you so close has simply removed some of the 'excitement' for the gc? My kids go through the roof when my husband comes home, b/c he's at work all day. Me? Meh, I'm furniture. And, my 12 yo is hitting the, 'not as physically affectionate' stage of life. A lot of 12 and ups are like that. My now 18 yo had a 'DON'T TOUCH ME!' phase that was a few years long. Now, she's glomming on to me for no apparent reason, out of nowhere. Respecting her space, and bodily autonomy enabled her to choose if and when she wanted a hug from Mom.

2 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Going up the long, outside stairs to shop or do yard work seems like starting a prison leave of absence.  Not that I have ever experienced a real jail.  But after spending a day, or even several hours, in the silent and cold basement with a concrete floor, it seems like a kind of prison to me.

Are there any hobbies you have? Interests? Perhaps having something in your life other than your ds and his family would help?

I have no clue if your ds manipulated you, consciously or not. Again, I ask, was there any discussion of boundaries before you bought the house? Or were there just unspoken expectations? 

Would it help the living arrangement issue to look at it like landlord/tenant? You wouldn't expect your tenants to have a chair for you, for whenever you wanted to drop in. Nor would they have you to dinner twice a week. Can you separate the, "It's my house." issue from "family" issue?

If you feel like you're being used, I'd suggest renegotiating the 'who pays what' situation, so you feel the financial aspect is more balanced. Perhaps that way, you wouldn't feel like you're doing more than you're getting in return.

A few other questions for you:

1. How often would be 'often enough' for visits? What would be your ultimate goal, and what would you be happy with?

2. You mentioned being involved. What does that mean/look like for you?

3. What do you *need* vs what do you *want*?

5. Have you moved to a completely new area? I'm wondering about your own social structure, outside of your ds and his family. Friends, hobbies, interests?

6. What was your relationship like before the move came up? 

7. Who suggested the move, you or them?

8. What discussions, if any, did you have about visiting, etc?

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3 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Isn't there a middle ground between visitor and family member?  Such as: Grandparent?  It's hard for me to forget that my son and I are members of the same nuclear family.

This^^^ is a good question, IMO. And, if it's any comfort, it raises an issue that others have brought up on these boards before. Apparently, while a GP often still sees their married DS or DD as part of the same "nuclear family," just as often the married DS/DD sees themselves as part of a new nuclear family - one that includes only their spouse their kids and themselves. In that case, they view GPs as "extended family," along w/ aunts, uncles, etc. Not saying all young couples have this perspective, but many do, and your DS & DIL may be among them.*

3 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Well, we're into semantics now.  They live in my house, but I don't live in their home.  Hmm....

Maybe I have seen too many TV shows, like the Bunkers and the McCoys, where all three generations pop freely in and out of each other's spaces.

Maybe. ;)

But this is another reason why I agree they should be paying at least part of the mortgage if they can. Then it would, hopefully, feel more as if it were their house, as well as yours.

Still, while you may see it as mere "semantics," IMO, there's a difference between a "house" and a "home" (just as the old song says). The house is yours, yes, and you all live in it. But there are 2 homes inside of it - theirs and yours. No, you "don't live in their home," but they "don't live" in yours either. That part seems fair enough, even though I get that you're disappointed w/ how things are working out.

 

* But, no doubt, the issue of "immediate v. extended family." is a whole separate topic. And I don't want to sidetrack Gramps' thread w/ it. So I've opened a thread on that in MIL Anonymous:

 

 

Edited by RoseRed135
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It honestly really sounds like terribly mis-matched expectations.

Grampsx9 thought he was going to be living with his son and family, as a group situation. Sure, he had his own place in the basement, but most of his time would be spent w/his son and son's family.

Ds and family thought they'd be on hand when Dad needed something, see him a cpl of times a week for dinner, but continue on with their lives as normal.

I don't think either party had malicious intent, just very, very mismatched ideas of how the reality of this was going to shake out. 

I really hope there's a way to work this out. 

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