The best part of multi-generational living is unlimited FREE babysitting. Sure, you have to give up things like personal space and privacy, but sharing a home with an extra two adults (who love my daughter as much as me and my husband) is priceless.
For the past six months, I have been cohabiting with my husband, baby, and parents. It’s like a follow up episode of 16 and Pregnant on MTV, except I am 35 and the father of my child is officially my husband and gainfully employed. Last spring when our lease was up in Brooklyn, we decided the time had come to say goodbye to the east coast and move to Seattle. Without definite job security, we took a leap of faith and moved in with my parents to their 2 bed 1.5 bath condo. More and more I know friends who are moving back in with their parents, even after getting married and having a baby, to save money and for the mutual support. Of course this is how much of the world already operates. If you have a good relationship with your parents, it can be a win-win situation in many ways.
Pros of living with your parents as a parent:
1. Four adults and one baby. This is an amazing caregiver to child ratio. Charlotte’s Zayde reads her stories while I cook dinner. Charlotte’s Bubbie helps give her a bath and puts her to bed MOST nights. After we do a little nursing (me and Charlotte), Bubbie tells her stories and sings her songs while I check my email and write cover letters. My husband feeds her breakfast so I can go to the gym and read Kveller.com on the StairMaster. I still spend an average of 10-12 waking hours with my little lady most days of the week, but having all the additional support helps me maintain my sanity (usually).
2. Reduced/free rent. We pay for groceries and my parents generously waive any rent. I told my dad, who tells me daily how much they love having us, that they should pay us rent. In all seriousness, it’s been incredibly helpful to be able to save more money towards a down payment for a house and now that I am unemployed, it makes us feel much more financially stable.
3. It’s really nice. Living with an adorable 17-month-old who does magic tricks (she hides her pacifier under her tush and says “Where da go?” with her hands raised in oy vey position) puts everyone in a good mood. My parents did a pretty great job raising my sister and me. My husband’s and my approach to parenting is a lot like theirs. We’re supportive and loving and try to laugh a lot. Family time has always been a priority and I am happy we are back in the groove of getting a challah on Friday afternoons and sitting down to light candles to have Shabbat dinner all together, like when I was growing up.
Of course there are also obviously frustrating things about living all together and it certainly isn’t for everyone. We sometimes joke that we put the “fun” in dysfunctional family dynamics. We have our fair share of yelling, crying, and general angst as a family. People are overly sensitive, especially me, and we aren’t always as nice as we could be to each other.
Cons of living with your parents as a parent:
1. Space. We sleep on a Murphy bed in the room that serves as an office by day, bedroom by night. Our daughter has been sleeping half the night in a pack n’ play and half the night between us since July. Sleep training in a shared room is extra challenging. We are very much living in my parents’ house. It will be nice to move into our own home where we can put our art on the walls and forgo the sign-up sheet to schedule showers.
2. TV. My parents don’t think Portlandia is funny and we missed the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. My dad is a major backseat driver when it comes to the remote. We do enjoy watching Jeopardy each night together and eat popcorn while we shout out the answers and offer commentary on how smug Alex Trebek has become.
3. Privacy. It’s hard to have a good fight or a good “adult hug” when you live with your parents. Thankfully, the best part of unlimited free babysitting means my husband and I can go out at least once a week for long dinner dates, movie dates, and house hunting dates where we can do any necessary fighting and/or making out in the car.
Multi-generational living makes a lot of sense for us. Right now my parents are able to help out a lot with our baby, and as they get older, we will be able to help them out. This is one of the reasons we moved back to the west coast. I feel blessed to have such a great relationship with my parents that it works for us to live all together as adults. I am doubly blessed that my husband is down with it too; he is the best. Maybe we’ll go make out in the car later.