Would you like to share your home with the in laws/mother/father?

What are your thoughts on this kind of family communal living?

I thought that this topic would be fairly relevant to young mothers today in view of the financial situation the world has experienced since the GFC and the strains it has put on young families.

Hey, didn’t see this until now. It is interesting. I have to say, over my dead body! I would not want to live in a house with my boyfriend’s parents, especially when I’m pregnant and definitely not after [name]Baby[/name] is born. Already they’ve been complaining about paint brushes and dust and me not eating healthy enough (last time we saw them I had chocolate cake and a glass of champagne and that was terrible!). Not with my parents either, but rather them than his (and he would agree with me!). There would be too many different personalities on too little space. If we come to some economic tightening thing, I’d rather move out of the city.

I live alone, but my best friend just moved in with my parents XD I can afford it, she can’t. She also works with my mother so she knows the family really well, but it’s probably a very unique situation :slight_smile:
I’m considering moving in with my grandmother, she lives in a beautiful, grand old house that none of her children are interested in, so for now I’ve said I’d be very interested in living there if they’ll let me (which they probably will, but I’m not really at that point in my life just yet). When I mentioned wanting to live there to my grandmother, she said she hoped it would be while she was still alive, I think she really loved the idea ^^
My parents are very adament about having an ‘open home’ which means that anyone is welcome for whatever they need whenever they need it, which is why my frind has now moved in. I once stole a key to be able to lock my room (I was 14) and when my dad found out he was really upset because locking your room goes against everything he and my mum wants for their home. I gave the key back and never felt need to aquire another. They have 9 extra sleeping places not counting mattresses on the floor, and I really admire them for their view on ‘home’. I hope I can someday have a similar situation :slight_smile:

To more directly answer your question, I wouldn’t mind moving in with my parents if I found myself in a situation where that could be necessary, but I would probably move in with my grandmother first, unless for some reason that was impossible. My parents can really irritate me over long periods, but my grandmother is my hero. And her house is less crowded which is something I can have a hard time dealing with if I don’t choose it myself.

I don’t know. I’m really close with my mom and while I wouldn’t want her around 100% of the time I do wish there would be the possibility for her to have a mother-in-law suite/apartment off of my future house. So my kids can hang out with her all the time and get to know her. Of course I’ll all about being fair and that would mean my SO father would need the same option - at which point it turns into a pretty big house with a minimum two one bedroom apartments attached. lol.

I don’t think i’d be okay with either actually living in the same house but it would be great if they could just live right next door (or in the same building since we are all city dwellers). But I grew up in a culture where putting your parents in a home isn’t as common as in the US and one parents being a stay home parent is much more common.

Two words: No [name]Way[/name]!

My boyfriend and I spent a summer living at his mum’s place 4 or 5 years ago and we ALL became so fed up with one another, it really did damage to all of our relationships. It was a stressful living situation, and one that I really would not like to repeat.

[name]Hi[/name] and thanks for your comments. I think lack of private space could be daunting for all family members. I think I would advocate for each family to have some private space ie a bedroom and a sitting room each.

And each person in the mix needs to be diplomatic (at least most of the time).

[name]Hi[/name] your parents sound like really hospitable people and their open door policy and friendliness means that lots of people love to come and stay, so I can see why in your case living at grandma’s place has more appeal if you want your own private space and when you have a baby it would give you a quieter environment to look after a baby with the added bonus of having grandmother there to give baby lots of extra TLC. A win/win situation for you both.


I hear your pain; so a communal living situation ideally needs to be between family members who can co exist easily, you don’t need more stress, but maybe if you had to set up home together you would need to have a round table conference to set out guidelines for everyone to follow?


Living next door sounds like an ideal situation because that way each family has their own private space but if you are cash strapped you may have to work out a way for it to work so that all the family can live together till you can afford to get your own accommodation.

I love my Mom (my father passed away in 2007) but she is a hard woman to live with… I moved out 6 days after I turned 18 and have never wanted to go back. We had to stay with her for about 7 months once when we hit a rough financial patch back in 2008, and honestly it was BRUTAL. Never again. I might let her stay with me when she’s elderly, but I really don’t think she would ever agree with it. She is tough as nails… still pick axes in her garden and moves cinder blocks at 62 years old. She’s very independent. Visiting once a week or so is more than enough for me.

Your mother sounds like a strong, independent woman like mine and I think they like their own space even when 90 y.o. and they have strong opinions on everything which can be exhausting. Good on you for seeing her regularly.

DH and I have discussed this quite a bit. The house we own now has an “in-law suite” in the basement which our regular babysitter is currently using, and several friends have used in the past when they were out of work or had other crises. When we were purchasing a home it was really important to us that we have a space like that for our parents, just in case one of them should need it. However, the big issue for us is that our parents don’t live anywhere near us, so if the time came that they’d need to move in with us we’re worried it would be traumatic for them–they have lived in their current locations all of their adult lives and we’re not sure they’d want to start over in a new location. (We are a four-hour plane flight to the closest set of parents, six hours by plane to the other set.) It would also be hard on us to be their only community/social life, not sure how long it would take for them to make new friends, plus new friends are never like old friends. This is why my husband frequently applies for jobs nearer to where my parents live…no luck so far, though. Part of the down economy.

Re your parents I think adjusting to a new environment is a state of mind. I do think that it may be harder to adjust after 60 years of age especially if you are shy. I do not have any problems about moving house and I am retired as long as it is in an equally beautiful part of the world to where I am now. I am not tied to an area but I absolutely love water views and the beach. When you come to a new area it is imperative that you join an activity that you like eg a bridge club, rotary club, church, swimming/walking clubs and so on and this will kick start your new life. If you don’t want to make the effort your world will be very small and for you it may be more demanding if you are the only form of social contact for the parents.

New friends can be absolutely wonderful I have made some wonderful friends in the last ten years and would expect them to be life long friends.

I would ask them their views on moving, there are so many grey nomads these days that it is normal to see oldies travelling around having the time of their lives. We plan on travelling around Australia in 2013 having seen the rest of the world already, although I would still love to travel overseas.

All the best with the job hunt for DH.


I would definitely do so! In fact, that was how I was raised. My parents originally did have a house of their own, across the street from my widowed grandmother, but it burnt down when I was about two or three, so we moved in with her. Granted, it was only a two-bedroom house, so it wasn’t exactly the most ideal living situation – my sister and I slept in the living room on the sleep-away couch for a few years until they built a third bedroom – but we never really minded. I loved having my grandmother around, and she looked after us while my parents worked, so that was really helpful financially. She died when I was ten, and my parents to this day continue to live in that house, although if they ever wanted to move in with us, we would welcome them with open arms. I think it would be great to have them around.

No, Never, Couldn’t pay me enough. I see the benefits of it (the possible financial gains as well), but I can only see more problems than it’s worth. I think it puts you and your family (IE: husband and kids) in an awkward position…your kids have numerous people in the same house parenting them, you and your husband would find it hard to have time to yourselves without others present, and so on.

You have a wonderful family. [name]How[/name] awesome to have such a sweet grandmother to look after you. I am sure that she just loved being so loved and part of the family.

It was interesting to hear that despite all living in a small home together that everyone got along like a house on fire.

All the best,


We are very close to my husband’s parents. My DH has 3 siblings. He is the oldest and coupled with the fact that we had children very early in life (I was 19, he was 21 when #1 was born), they were the only grandkids on his side for years…well until this year to be exact. We would always definitely include the other siblings, but sometimes things did swing a bit towards “favoritism” as our children provided that excitement of “grandbabies” for their [name]Nana[/name] and Papa. We often talked about moving in together. We definitely could have made it work. However, seeing that all 4 of their children now have children, it seems a little odd that they would only live with one of them. You know what I mean? Like why do they live with their oldest son and family and help them (even though they do have 4, going on 6 kids when the others have 1 each!)?

We do respect his parents and they would always have a place in our home if they needed care or came into a situation where they needed a place to stay. As the oldest of their children, I think we do feel a little more responsible for them than his other siblings. So I think some of that comes into play when you decide to move into a multi-generation home. His parents are still pretty young now and in great health, but as I mentioned, we started young. If we would have waited until our late 30’s to have children, his parents would have been older and perhaps dealing with some health concerns. Then having them move in with us might not be for the same reasons.

Anyway, I’m not sure if any of that answered the question or added to the discussion at all. I just wanted you to know that I think it’s a great idea and quite practical for families to help each other (with aging parent issues, 2 parent working families, financial, etc.) My daughters love learning things from their grandparents.

You mention a good word - ie parenting. I believe that this is an area that must be brought up for discussion. For example I would not yell at the children or smack them but I would expect them to abide by my rules of how to behave and I would discipline them if their parents were not around at the time but the parents must be the ones who indicate how they want their children disciplined so that there are no grey areas that may cause a problem.

Private time with husband - another important area and that is why I think optimally it would be good to have one’s own lounge room or a bedroom with a parents retreat that is specially theirs. Of course not everyone would have this luxury and in that case everyone would have to respect one another’s privacy (for example do not walk into parent’s room unless invited).

If the grandparents can mind the children while mother and dad go out for a few hours then that may be enough to make the parents happy with the reduced amount of privacy in a small house.

It could be awkward if grandmother and mother both feel that the house is their turf and want control over it. However, if everyone feels happy to be together I am sure that the problems can be worked out, but if tempers flare then it is time to cool down and work out happy solutions for all.

Grandparents just love to teach their grandchildren things and to have the children sit on their knees and cuddle them and read them stories and you sound like a very thoughtful daughter who takes being a family and including the grandparents very seriously and without a doubt living with grandparents would have been special and doable for you.

They call us the sandwich generation caught between caring for our families and caring for our parents as they age, it is a big job but one that many,many people take on wholeheartedly.

If there are married siblings with children then most commonly I expect that the grandparents would live with the sibling that has the most space or granny flat or time or inclination. The grandparents though need to spread themselves around the family in regard to giving attention to all the grandchildren, no favouritism although that is hard when one group of grandchildren see the grandparents daily and the rest monthly, yearly etc.