Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hidden Expenses in Two Family Households--How to Live Peacefully When You Move in with Parents/Inlaws

I have been thinking lately about the economic downturn and how it affects everyone. Many of the people I know have had hours reduced or were laid off. My doctor told me last week that 1 in 3 of his patients mentioned their grown children (and their families) were moving back in due to inability to pay rent caused by loss of jobs, etc.

Many of us are in that position. Having grown children in the home is difficult at best. After all, they are no longer children, but at the same time are turning your life upside-down with their very presence. That said, there are ways to get along better.

First, sit down (before they move in, if possible--shortly after, if not) and decide who is responsible for which household chores. This will help alleviate resentment over one person having to pick up too much slack from others.

Second, if the family that moved in has any income at all, determine what monthly bills they will pay, or possibly a pre-arranged rent amount to offset some of the added expense of having more people in the home.

So, what expenses can you expect to increase. Well, grocery is the biggest expense increase, followed by water consumption (more dishes and clothes to wash, more people bathing and flushing toilets), electric bill increase due to more lights, TVs, computers, etc., in use, and more paper products--toilet paper and paper towels, primarily. While none of these expenses, except perhaps groceries, will increase an exorbitant amount, there will be enough that it can financially undermine the parents allowing grown children's families to move into their home.

With the details worked out up front, there will be more peace in the home.

If possible, the family that moves in should have private family time without the parent/inlaws. At the same time, they are providing you with a home--don't ignore them or make them out to be the bad guys in times of stress. Work together, be a family, and enjoy each other as much as possible. Take turns with cooking and cleaning. Your mom won't be happy if she winds up cooking all meals for four or more people, especially if she has to do all the cleaning up afterwards, too. And if she works, it is even more important to spread the chores around.

It has been said, a man's home is his castle. Remember that you are sharing space in your dad's castle. If you want to make changes of any kind, you should ask and discuss it with him first--and get his approval. Don't borrow tools without asking, unless you have been given previous permission. It would be a good idea to ask even then, just to prevent hard feelings. If you use a hammer, make sure you put it back where you got it. The fastest way to make your dad regret allowing you to move in is to loose things he owns.

If you have children, please, please, sit them down and explain the rules that your parents/inlaws expect to be obeyed. Rules such as no running in the house, no slamming doors, no yelling inside, etc., will go a long, long way toward peaceful co-existance. If you do not want your parents correcting your children, be sure that you do it yourself. If they do, do not confront them in front of the children. Talk with them later, explaining what you prefer. Just understand that as long as you are in their home, they may feel they have the right to correct your children, especially if you do not.

Peaceful co-existance is not always easy when living with parents/inlaws, but it can be accomplished through patience, respect, and honoring each others needs.

1 comment:

  1. just found your blog and love it. I've left a link to it on a post I'll be putting up on my blog later this week. My blog is about parenting adult children. Hope you'll check it out at