Becoming a member of a thriving multigenerational household lends itself to many growth opportunities.
Everyone in the household, no matter the age, has a level of expertise that can be shared and will help other family members grow. Generational differences present a rich landscape for re-potting views, ideology, and perspectives. Keep yourself open to this type of growth.
Growing and learning can be a fun and exhaustive process. There will be some bumps during this journey, but stay focused on the opportunities the bumps present.
Your multigenerational household can keep a Growth Journal to record all the learning moments that happen daily.
I have been doing a lot of decluttering and purging this spring and summer. It feels good and so necessary.
Sometimes I wonder if other people have been dumping their stuff over here. Where did it all come from?
Plus, we may move to another state or opt to move into a different house in Colorado. I want to be ready as possible fir that transition.
During my decluttering mission – I decided to organize some pictures and I found this gem of my mother-in-law and me.
Aren’t we both so cute and coordinated in our orange? (Totally not planned.)
The picture is from April 2005 during a spring break visit. My mother-in-law was still living in Minnesota, my daughter was 5 ( turning 6 the next month), and my husband and I thought we would parent one child.
I remember this being a fun trip because my mother-in-law’s brother, and his family (wife and 3 kids) had traveled to Colorado, too.
I also remember feeling down in the dumps because I was very unhappy with my work situation and I was missing Chicago – and my life there – tremendously.
In looking back and seeing how things are now – I wish I could have eased into my fear of change and not used so much energy raging against it. I also wish I had given myself more room and space to dream big – so I could have gotten on with things, like having my second child, sooner.
Here’s a message to my younger self:
This transition to Colorado has been a real bitch. Just admit it and stop keeping a stone face. Heck, shout it out loud when you go on your next hike.
The career situation is an F’n mess! You can’t find your fit in what you’re trying to do – and that’s OK, too. Work and learn and then you’ll be prepared to run your own show. You can’t see it now but your life is going to be so fun and amazing when you branch out on your own. You’ll see.
Don’t worry about doing the right thing or having the perfect plan. Whatever you commit to will be great and just right for you. It’s OK to change your mind and change it often if you want. Do what feels good.
Stop telling yourself that you’re having one child. You want two, but three might be pushing it. You’ll figure out how to keep the train on the right track for you. You’ll figure out how to support your husband’s growing career, his travel schedule, and raise happy children without loosing your mind. Tap into your unconventional creativity – the answers are there.
You and your mother-in-law are going to change the world and start a movement. You two will have people thinking about opting into a multigenerational lifestyle so they can co-create the life they want and need. That’s what smart women do.
You will help people understand the importance of healthy in-law dynamics and maybe even become the mother-in-law whisperer – or something cool like that.
Enjoy the ride and stay in the moment. You are going to shake things up and have a blast doing it. And…when the second baby comes, you will loose the baby weight.
What message would you relay to your younger self?
Are you sick of people talking about the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy?
I’m not – and not just because of all the “mommy porn” talk.
I thought it was fun to read the trilogy, smirk at the horrible writing, Google some of the “tools” mentioned, and then loan the books to my mother-in-law.
Yes, I did loan the books to my mother-in-law and she read them all – quickly.
My mother-in-law and I rarely read the same books. She reads a lot of novels and DIY books. I read a lot of research articles and nonfiction books. Our multigenerational nest is very much into reading – so how fun was it for my mother-in-law and I to go down the 50 Shades rabbit hole together.
It brought up a lot of funny discussions.
The discussion topics that made me howl, laugh from my gut, give my mother-in-law the “uhm hmm” side nod, and had my husband quickly exiting the room were:
Quick and spicy read – perfect with an adult libation and summer lounging.
I requested a full trilogy book report from my mother-in-law. (Still waiting…)
Why didn’t E.L. James make Christian Grey’s character older? George Clooney would be brilliant in that movie role.
Does E.L. James own a thesaurus, and does she know how to use it?
How does one discreetly list the trilogy on the summer reading log – for the local library?
Maybe now is the time to invest in a Kindle, iPad, or Nook while reading these books out and about – or go old school, and make paper bag book covers – for the books.
Hubby is ecstatic I read the trilogy – and read some passages out loud to him. How horrified is my hubby knowing his mother has read these books?
Why is my own mother taking so long to start reading? Tick tock, mom!
My mother-in-law wanted to know who is next in line – to borrow the trilogy. (She wants a full trilogy report from them!)
What other saucy books am I hiding in my personal library – and when will I be loaning them to my mother-in-law?
So what has the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy done for our multigenerational nest?
Made us laugh. Offered my mother-in-law and me a girlfriend dish fest. Taught the grown folks some new vocabulary. Put a spark in our summer.
I was thrilled to be featured on Life By Me, last week. I really love talking about multigenerational living as a way to create the life you want. The life what that will live up to your personal expectations, allow you to thrive, and provides room for you do life the way that fulfills you.
The feedback and responses were positive and supportive, and then there were some comments that fit in the “other” category. Why “other”? Because I don’t know exactly how to classify these types of comments and inquiries.
Here are the top five from the “other” category:
It’s great that you have that help. Do you feel like you are giving up a lot as a mom?
Your family sounds wonderful, but I think I would feel like I was slacking as a mom, if I had that set-up.
Do you feel exposed and judged to have that other set of eyes in your home?
I think I would be admitting failure if I needed a live-in grandmother.
How do you give up so much control?
I sat with this feedback for a while. I didn’t spend time analyzing my life based on it, but I did wonder why these female commenters were in a space I would describe as self-judging?
Where is it written in stone that a mother has to do everything in her household to be enough? Where is it stated that asking for help means you are lacking? Where is it posted that having an extra set of hands means you are failing as a good mother or wife?
[If anyone can point me to these rule sources – I would appreciate it.]
I shared this feedback with my mother-in-law to get her take on it. She said she was a bit surprised that “modern women” would feel this way since there are so many more options for women, now, than my mother-in-law felt were available to her. She flipped her hand up, dismissively, and said, “Seems like they are the ones with the issues.” She also said she was pretty impressed with me for being so empowered to figure out how I wanted to run my family and go for it.
I have never heard her say anything like that before. Her comment made me feel smart; smart in that I am empowered and I get to decide how I want my life and family to run. I get to decide how I want to enjoy parenting. I get a say in whether I want to be a duty-driven mom or a mom who has time and freedom to play with my kids – and not just get stuff done. I get have my kids grow up with their grandmother so they can appreciate her and spend lots of time with her. I get to support my husband by having his mother with us – so he doesn’t have to wonder if she’s being well cared for. I get be a relaxed wife, which benefits my husband, because I’m not frazzled and stretched too thin. I get to create a multigenerational home, write about, grow from it, work through whatever sh*t that comes up, and empower other people who are considering a “new”clear family lifestyle.
Whether women and/or moms opt to have a multigenerational household or not – that’s totally up to them. I encourage them to let go of the superwoman cape and to take up the sane living badge – and to ask for help in whatever areas they need. Each of us can create our ideal life and it doesn’t matter what “other” comments are thrown at us – we can choose.
What are you self-judging yourself about, as a woman? How does this serve you?
This morning, I was hosing my five-year-old off in the shower – you know that technique, right? Put liquid bath soap on your kid – then stand him/her in the shower – and use the movable shower to hose said kid off.
Anyway – I was in the process of doing that, yelling for my 13-year-old to get up and moving because we had to get the the orthodontists, and I was checking in onRobin Roberts’ interviewwith Denise Richards.
This was all before I had any coffee or my green smoothie.
I loved what Denise had to say about:
positively co-parenting with Charlie Sheen,
focusing on the needs of her children,
wanting a big family,
and balancing her role as a mom and working single parent – with the help of her live-in dad.
Yes, Denise Richards knows and understands the importance of asking for help and getting it. She has opted to have amultigenerational household.
Denise talked about her father being an amazing support for her and her daughters when she has totravel for work. She mentioned her father being a great grandfather to his granddaughters and making their family work.
Denise alluded to the challenges that come with being a single mother, and she also made it clear that she is living her life and parenting in a way that worked for her.
As I have mentioned before, multigenerational living is not for everyone. But for those of us who seek it out and opt in, we are basking in the joys of creating our own balanced life.
What support or help do you seek out to balance your life as a parent?
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