Multi-generational Living Upside-Down

It has now been approximately six weeks since we have started our new multi-generational living arrangement when we moved in with our son and daughter-in-law.

Whew – what a ride these seven weeks have been!

Our “go to” personality styles while under stress are beginning to emerge. It is kind of like dating… initially everyone is on their best behaviors and then as time goes on, our guards are brought down and the real”ness” begins to show through.

Three generations of women and two generations of guys make for interesting dynamics in one home. My husband freely admits that it is not easy to go from being the king of his castle where he could call the shots, to stepping back and not being “in control” of the home.

The concept that sons “marry their mothers” is showing up around here too. My daughter-in-law has many similarities to me – she is strong-willed and very definite in her views. Yep, we are very much alike, which can be an amazingly great thing because we get things done and we are quick decision makers with absolute “can do” attitudes. However, our strong personality styles can also be at odds once in a while because we are from different generations, giving us different perspectives and views of how life should be lived. Like my husband, stepping down as the reigning queen in my home has been a bit challenging at times.

We also have combined four canine personalities together. Our standard sized Labradoodles, Gus and Graces, are pretty low-key for the most part, but getting adjusted to a smaller environment did create some initial stress for them. Fortunately, dogs are like children – very adaptable as long as they are treated with love and understanding.

The little Yorkshire terriers are adapting slowly. Ella is the curious and playful one so she comes to visit everyone throughout the day. Little Pixie is still a bit freaked out by all of this commotion that comes from six adults and four dogs living in one home. We have learned that just picking her up and holding her quietly calms her down quickly and effectively. Again, it is all about being treated with love and understanding…

Ninety-two year old Grandma Ruth has actually adapted the best out of all of us. She now has a sweet suite! Her mother-in-law suite has given her a new sense of independence and privacy. She can sit in her little living room and watch TV, or she can go lay down on her bed and rest without being in the midst of the conversation that occurs in the main part of the home. She also has interactions with more people who has given her a little more spark in her conversations. She is getting much more attention and being catered to in a way that is totally different from our previous living arrangement.

Our first six weeks culminated in bringing together both sides of the new family together for the Feast of Thanksgiving. As each of us said one thing we were thankful for, the common theme was FAMILY. We are all thankful that we are able to be a family. A family made up of various personalities, beliefs, and values. A family where sometimes it will be picture perfect like Norman Rockwell, and other times where it will be messy and emotional.

I am truly thankful to have a home that my husband and I are not totally responsible for. I am truly thankful for my mom to be loved and cared for by more family members. I am truly thankful that I have a beautiful family who fill my heart with love…

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