Tag Archives: i live with my mother-in-law

Wedding Anniversary

Happy anniversary to hubby – and to my mother-in-law – because this is the day she assumed this role with me.

Traditionally  the 14th wedding anniversary gift is ivory.

I love the significance of ivory, and I think it says a lot about:

  • a thriving marriage,
  • an open-heart multigenerational household,
  • an authentic mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship,
  • and co-creating a lifestyle that nurtures you.

I created this video to express a little about the joy and accomplishment I’m feeling today. Enjoy!

Wedding day – guest book. Made by hubby.

Wedding dress – made by my mother-in-law.

Fun, hot, and humid wedding ceremony.

Mrs. and  Mr. strolling down the aisle. Check out my mother-in-law, to back left, in the beautiful dress she made for herself.

My mother-in-law’s father said something super funny to me. Now I wish I could remember what is was.



Message to my younger self

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:

Hey girl!

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?



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?


Mom Enough

I was talking with hubby and some friends about the May 21 Time Magazine cover.

When I initially saw it, I knew people would go nuts.


Breasts are oversexualized.

Breastfeeding, surprisingly to me, is still controversial.

People don’t want to feel uncomfortable.

Parenting styles are always up for debate and scrutiny.

People are thrilled to point out what’s wrong with others – and fail to take care of their own stuff.

We all have opinions – just like everyone has an a……


I giggled at the parodied magazine covers that were funny and shook my head at the ones that were questionable.

I was inspired to create my own magazine covers from my multigenerational/daughter-in-law lens because, hey, it was fun!

I applaud Jamie Lynne because she wanted to send a specific message and she did.

All the rest that’s going on with this – well, I’ll continue to wait and see.

What do you think about all this?




Confessions: When my husband and I have over lapping work travel, I feel…

Disjointed:  No hubby to tag team with…

Sad:  Gaps between spending time as a couple – and spending time as a family.

Anxious:  Shit! Am I forgetting to make allowances for something?

Busy: Juggle juggle. Hustle hustle.

The need to overcompensate: Kids will be without both parents at the same time– are they being scarred? (Erm…isn’t this why you chose a multigenerational household?)

Tyrannical:  Making sure everything is intact before I go – whatever that means. Lists lists lists! (Oh stop it already!)

Stressed:  Just so many details – mostly self-imposed. (Stop making rules for the sake of making rules!)

Tired: I sleep horribly when hubby is away….still, after 13+ years. (But I sleep great in a hotel by myself.)

Brought back to sanity:  I have my mother-in-law who  is a conscientious listener when there is overlapping work travel.

Grateful: That I have help and support. I can shake off the madness and focus on what I need…and the multigenerational family continues to function properly…based on what WE decide we need.

Silly: We’ve got this system down to a science…and have been working out the kinds since 2007. Why go there?

Understood:  Before Hubby and  I go and when we return from work travel – the kids are just fine. They look at us casually as if to say, “Oh, you’re back from work? Great! Grab a Wii remote! And…Grandma handled things without a hitch.”

FortunateHelping others avoid this unnecessary “here we go again” thought process.

As we were…


18 quotes that capture the ups and downs of multigenerational living

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. -Alex Haley

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation. -Margaret Mead

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening. -Emma Thompson

The family is one of nature’s masterpieces. -George Santayana

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. -Leo Tolstoy

Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements. -Elizabeth II

Family life is full of major and minor crises — the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce — and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It’s difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul. -Thomas Moore

You hear a lot of dialogue on the death of the American family. Families aren’t dying. They’re merging into big conglomerates. -Erma Bombeck

Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained: each generation repeats the mistakes the previous one made. -Bill Cosby

To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. -Confucius

The attempt to redefine the family as a purely voluntary arrangement grows out of the modern delusion that people can keep all their options open all the time. -Christopher Lasch

I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up. -Pearl S. Buck

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. -Gilbert K. Chesterton

Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them. -Evelyn Waugh

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. -Jane Howard

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. -Henry David Thoreau

Love your multigenerational family members for who they are, not who you want them to be. –Kanesha Baynard