Kevin’s parents, Jim and Katie, have been here for a few months now, so I thought I’d share a post about how multigenerational living is going (from my perspective) so far.
If you’re new around here, I should probably explain that we each have our own separate kitchen, living, dining, bedroom and bathroom spaces, but we do all enter the house through the same back door/entryway. Which also happens to be Jim and Katie’s dining area:
PS- they have shutters and shades on those windows for privacy and light/heat control now! 🙂
Many of you have been asking for a tour of the Bungalow Barn that they live in, but Jim and Katie still have lots of boxes to unpack, and there are still many paint projects that need to be finished, so I’ll wait until those things are done and we’ve had a chance to decorate before I snap and share any photos.
As for the transition, I’m happy to report that going from a family of three to a family of five went much smoother than I expected. I’m not saying it was seamless, but I was surprised how well we seemed to do life together right from the start. If I’m honest, right before they made the move, the anticipation of another a huge life-change started to feel really overwhelming. To all of us, I’m sure. Seems like that’s the way it works with anticipation though, ya know? The build-up to the thing that we feel intimidated or overwhelmed by is usually the most stressful part.
And when it comes to keeping things harmonious from day to day, a lot of that boils down to being intentional about honest conversation. Just like with any close relationship, we went into this arrangement knowing that challenges were bound to arise, but we made a conscious decision to always openly communicate our concerns so that we could (quickly) work toward solutions and move away from resentment or misunderstandings.
We pretty much stick to our own sides of the house throughout the day (especially now that Jim and Katie have running water in their kitchen), but it seems like we’re all comfortable with “having each other over” whenever we want to chat, share a meal, or need some help or a hug. 🙂
The sweetest part of our new dynamic is how much Steevenson has enjoyed having his Granpè and Granmè here, and seeing how much Jim and Katie bless and are blessed by him too.
Steevenson has his own set of colored pencils on Jim’s art desk (he’s a retired cartoonist) and the two of them work side by side on their drawings some days. And Katie is always quick to offer to make him scrambled eggs for breakfast (his favorite!) and she always jumps up from her chair when Steevenson gets home from school. He is always so proud and excited to show her what he brought home in his backpack that day and she is always so encouraging as he reveals each piece. 🙂
I look forward to sharing another update a little further down the line, but in the meantime, feel free to ask questions about anything you might be curious about when it comes to multigenerational living. I’m always happy to answer!
Have a great weekend!
PS- Jim and Katie celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary yesterday!
Although we are building my mom a little mother-in-law cottage a short walk away from our home and she will be separate, we will also be sharing the property and pool area and I am looking forward to doing life with her this close. That said, I worry about navigating many small things as well as respecting and honoring her while taking care of her. I really appreciate this post and look forward to any advice or tips you can share as you move forward. It is such a privilege to honor our parents and my heart’s desire is to do it well for the glory of God.
That sounds like an ideal arrangement, Denice and although their may be challenges, it will be so good overall!
Taste of France
This is how families used to be as a matter of course. It is likely to be very rewarding for all of you.
A couple of years ago, some New York Times foreign correspondents moved back to the U.S. with their kids and into the wife’s (I think) childhood home–they bought it from her parents and fixed up an apartment for them in the house so they all lived together. I tried to find it just now but failed. I think they wrote a book….
Would you mind telling where the chandelier over the table is from? I’ve been looking for something similar and love it! -Can’t wait to see pictures of the whole place down the road…. It’s so lovely!
It was from Ballard Designs but I painted it it’s current color! 🙂
Sounds like a very nice arrangement. My husband and I raised our family next door to my husbands parents on the farm. I am now looking forward to my son raising his family next door to us as he moved into his grandparents home. I suppose some people would have trouble with it but it worked for us. I am sure your husbands parents are enjoying having an ongoing purpose in their life.
This is as it should be. The younger generation taking care of the older. Yes, there are stressful times as in any relationship. But what a blessing, for them and for you and especially for your son. What wonderful memories you all are making!
Hats off to you all and Happy Anniversary to Jim and Katie! We will also celebrate our 49th anniversary next month. I’m glad you all have an positive attitude. I personally think Steevenson is a great big piece of glue that will keep the arrangement going smoothly!
My father-in-law lived with us for four years until he passed – about 4 years ago. It was a little stressful at times because we did not have separate quarters. That being said, we miss him every day! He was a true prayer warrior, generous to a fault, and loved our family with all his big heart. He was quick to smile, had a bangin’ sense of humor, and was a wonderful encourager. Enjoy your time with Kevin’s parents. The time goes way too fast. God bless!
This post made me feel SO happy. We are kind of, but not really, in a similar situation. We live with, but also care for, my elderly dad. He has dementia and is wheelchair bound, requiring 24 hour care. My mom passed away 7 years ago and she made me promise to take care of him. It is a huge blessing but the hardest thing I’ve ever done (including raising 4 kids as a single mom).
We won’t have our parents forever, even though sometimes we think we will. I am so happy that you have this blessing. Even when it gets a little hard, you will never regret it.
God bless you for caring for your Dad!! You must have some very difficult days.
Agreed. My dad had dementia and he and mom lived in their home till he had a brain bleed and had to go into hospice care. I don’t think anyone realizes the extent of the challenge of caring for someone with dementia until they have gone through it. None of us kids lived close by, so we all spent a lot of time on the road between our houses and theirs. Prayers going out to you, Linda. Also, I just want to say, while I agree that caring for an elderly parent is a beautiful thing, there are circumstances in which professional care may be best for all involved, and adult children should never feel guilty if that is the path they need to take (I’m a health care professional and have seen countless cases similar to this).
Thank you for that, Kris. I am not of the mind-set that I will do this to the end no matter what. The day may come, but we aren’t there yet. I just pray for a peaceful passing in his sleep.
It’s a horrible disease.
Wow, Linda! I know you’ve got your hands full over there. I’m sure you’re heart is also very full because of your family though too. God Bless you for serving them the way you do. You are an inspiration!
I lived with my sister and brother in law for almost 10 years! When I first moved in, it was going to be short term (my roommate went to Africa for a year). They had a new born and I had the whole downstairs (with a private bathroom). I just lived with them and was part of the family. When I left, there were 6 children and I had a portion of downstairs (my room was separated from the playroom by a bookcase). I loved being part of the family and I do have a very special relationship with those kids. I left because there just wasn’t room to stay. The kids still ask when I’m going to bring my bed back or suggest that I can stay in their rooms with them. My sister and I were very open about everything and shared in the chores (though because I worked, she would cook and I would do all the bathing/showers & laundry). In the evenings when my brother in law was home, I would spend my evening downstairs (so they could have family time) and we holidayed separately. It worked really well for us. I have another sister who I just stayed with for 1 week and I was ready to pull out my hair! Another sister just called me this morning ((I have 5 younger sisters) and they are looking to buy a house and wanted to know if I wanted to live with them (I would have my own bedroom/bathroom and sitting room). We get along well (and with my brother in law) so I am considering it. I love the thought of spending more time with the whole family and it is nice to have someone close by (I have chronic migraines and especially when they last 5-7 weeks it is good to have the distraction of kids around). Open communication is the best thing. Glad it is going well so far for you!
We live on my husband’s family ranch, his mother lives next door. At one time we had four generations living side by side. It was great! I hope I’m teaching my kids to take care of me when I get old.
I love that you are writing about this! My husband and I added on to our house and part of the addition was a mother-in-law apartment for my mom (she has her own entrance, kitchen, living, bedroom & bath). I too thought it would be difficult living so close to my mom but the positives outweighed any negatives we could come up with & we have found so much joy & my boys love having her so close.
My father passed away when I was 16 and I am an only child, so I always knew I would be my mom’s sole provider one day, having her just downstairs will make that transition so much easier when the days come that she will need a little extra help.
We lived next door to my paternal grandmother and maiden aunt up until I was almost graduated from high school – a source of so many lovely childhood memories. I wanted my Mom to live with us (as her Mom lived with her for several years) but she refused and has now passed on. I hope to be able to buy a home in the same neighborhood as my grands in a few years – if so, I will be in Heaven!
Thanks! This will soon be our life too…. Or son who lives in NY has purchase the home his dad designed and built for us 40 years ago (in Oregon) and they are building us an adjoining cottage that his dad has designed to blend in with “snow white” cottage he built for me…. We are so excited to be close to the new grands… 1 & 3 years old and have him back close. They want to raise the kids on Oregon and we are so pleased. We will move in this summer, but their move to Oregon will not happen until next August…which gives us lots of time to make the changes to the Family home to become their dream home. God is so good! And of the 4 kids….he is the right one to tolerate and be patient with us as we age. He is a good man and we LOVE his wife to pieces. I am loving this part of your blog and the fun Stevenson is going to have with his grands. Thanks for sharing your family with all of us.
I was very curious why they moved in, when the home wasn’t really finished enough. Why did they choose to move in without any running water?
The build process took MUCH longer than expected (2 years), and Jim and Katie *really* needed to get their previous home on the market so that that can pay off the loans they took out to build this place. They moved in and we shared a kitchen for a couple of months, but now everything is all hooked up. I should also mention that they did have running water in their bathroom when they moved in.
This is sweet! I liked reading about how you are working this out (and all of the commenters, too!). My mom moved in with us last August after 2 major surgeries in only 4 months. She is relatively young (68) but in poor health. So we, too, are now a 3 generation family (our youngest child- a high school senior- is still at home). Communication is definitely the keystone to making the household run smoothly! I hadn’t lived with my mom since I was in early elementary school due to a messy divorce and custody arrangement and I’m now 46 so it has been quite a change! We do share a kitchen and that has been the biggest challenge since our idea of “clean” is not at all the same lol! She has lived alone for most of her adult life so I do think her adjustment has been harder than my husband, me, or my son’s!
Nan, Odessa, DE
I grew up on a farm with 4 generations in one home – all space was shared. HA! HA! Being a married woman I have shared the same home with my divorced in-laws. Everyone has a stand alone space. The winner, my son! You can do what is necessary with a loving heart and a healthy attitude! Please keep sharing with us.
Hi Layla, How did the conversation start with them moving in? We have our grandparents we are very close with and I think this would be ideal. I just don’t know how to bring it up.
Many years ago, families shared spaces and homes because of necessity – but family lives changed over the years with bread winners being transferred, and families were then disconnected.
Some of my fondants memories were living above my grandparents, so you’re giving your son traditions and are making memories.
It will all work out for you all.
We thankfully moved to a new house that had an in-law suite, which we were planning to reintegrate into the over all living space of our family, just weeks before my father in law had a health scare that had us end up moving him into the space in the end. He had originally thought he might do it eventually, but it was a much more speedy timeline. It’s been a rough transition, and we are 4 years in now. I was initially very hopeful for the advantages of having him near.
He had lived alone for 25 years before this move and he’s still having trouble understanding why we ask him to call when he travels somewhere, we ask the same of everyone in our family, and my parents who don’t even live with us do us the same courtesy. He sees it as intrusive instead of caring. He even gets mad when we go to his door to check when we hear a smoke alarm in his kitchen – he is under the same roof, so we worry when it sounds for some time that there is a fire or something has happened.
I keep having to remind myself it’s the right thing to do, and keep hoping that the dream I had of how wonderful it could be will come true.