Different But Worth It
I was reading this article on CNN Money this morning about multi-generational households. It’s not something I talk about much here, but my mom has been living with us for about a year and a half now. She moved in when she left a bad marriage – she lost pretty much everything financially speaking and left behind even most of her clothes. She did get to keep and bring her two cute pomeranians though! We definitely fit the multi-generational household profile. She works, my husband works, I work at home; so 3 adults who work, plus 3 kids and 2 dogs. Busy and noisy!
I was really glad to have my mom move in with us. I was glad her situation was better (maybe not monetarily, but trust me, better!) and I was glad to have company more often. My husband works away a lot. And thankfully even when he’s here he gets along really well with my mom. We’re not without our challenges, but the situation works pretty well. And when I think about why it works, I can tell you the MOST important things are communication and respect. We try not to make assumptions. For example, I never assume she’ll watch the boys for me and I try very hard to ask her to babysit only as often as I might if she lived nearby but not with us. Last summer she did keep an ear out for them once or twice a week when I went running at night, but I don’t even like to make a big habit of that. I run on the treadmill still when needed, or I go to nearby tracks with parks and take the kiddos with me.
You know, I think at first I thought this would be a temporary situation. I thought she’d probably meet a nice guy and move on at some point. But now I realize that while it might not be a typical situation here in Alberta to live multi-generation, it is a really, really good solution for us, and probably for a lot of people if they’d just give it a chance. There is something about having to make it work, about having to get along and find compromises that work for everyone that is a great lesson for my kids. Plus they get to have a real and deep relationship with her, something they would likely never have had where she lived before.
It’s easy sometimes to get caught up in the not so pretty parts in a situation – whether it’s an extended family learning to live together, or whatever other challenge you are currently facing. I think it’s good to step back sometimes and appreciate the good that can come out of a situation that you might never have expected to find yourself in.