For the last three years, I have been working full-time and going to law school full-time. This May, I walked across that stage and obtained my J.D. I may have been the one who walked across the stage, but so many others deserve credit for helping me get here. Now, I am entrenched in studying for the Bar exam and still trying to balance a work/family life, but again, not alone. I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband, my mom, and my son, Quinn. We have a multi-generational household, with my mom taking a lot of the duties off of me and my husband so that we may pursue our careers and education.
My mom helps us run a household and shuttle Quinn wherever he needs to go. She makes sure that our laundry is done, that there is a dinner cooked or a lunch packed. And she ensures that Quinn makes it to dance class when one of us is running late from work or out of town.
How Do You Do It?
“I could NEVER live with my mother again,” or “How do y’all not argue all the time- especially with you both having very different political views?” or “What does your husband think about that?” are some of the questions I get all the time. However, the questions seem odd to me because we have lived like this for a few years now. It just works for our little family. Mom and I don’t discuss politics (November 2016 involved a lot of bedroom TV watching and passive aggressive around the house t-shirt wearing). She has a room on one side of the house and we share common areas. And we often watch TV together as a family, go on trips as a family, but also do stuff on our own. My husband is grateful not only for the familial help, but for the bond that Quinn has with my mom.
Benefits of a Multi-Generational Home
I grew up in a multi-generational family, having grown up in a 1,000-square-foot home with my mom and grandparents. I became so close to my grandparents that they were like a second set of parents. Living with them allowed my mom to stay at home with me during my infant and toddler years. It allowed me to learn from my grandparents, and it gave both them and me the priceless relationship that I am now able to give my mom and Quinn.
I have thought and thought about presenting “downsides” to having a multi-generational household, but I can’t think of any that aren’t normal household issues: what to watch on TV, family budgeting, differences in parenting styles. All of those things are issues, but not any different than a more traditional household. Additionally, it allows all of us to support each other, comfort each other, and give one another a break when we need it.
Being able to watch my mom and Quinn enjoy each other’s company daily is not only priceless to them, but it’s priceless to my husband and me.
Quinn won’t know what it’s like to “spend the summer at Grandmas” or to have multiple Thanksgiving dinners, but he does know what it’s like to have his “Idgie” pick him up from school every day and kiss him goodnight every night. She will forever have an impact on his life and memories, and as someone who also has those memories of my grandparents and their daily involvement in my life, I am forever grateful that this works for our family.