Tag Archives: multigenerational living

50 Shades of Grey – in the multigenerational home

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:

  1. Quick and spicy read – perfect with an adult libation and summer lounging.
  2. I requested a full trilogy book report from my mother-in-law. (Still waiting…)
  3. Why didn’t E.L. James make Christian Grey’s character older? George Clooney would be brilliant in that movie role.
  4. Does E.L. James own a thesaurus, and does she know how to use it?
  5. How does one discreetly list the trilogy on the summer reading log – for the local library?
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. Why is my own mother taking so long to start reading? Tick tock, mom!
  9. My mother-in-law wanted to know who is next in line – to borrow the trilogy. (She wants a full trilogy report from them!)
  10. 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.

And how timely is this funny video I came across right after reading this article, Tough Topics: Sex in Senior Living.


Update: 7.11.12

My mother-in-law loved this post and wanted me to add to the list…

  • What was the point of E.L. James making Anastasia a virgin? How realistic is that for a 22 year-old?
  • The whole story could have been told in 300 pages – not 1600+.
  • My mother-in-law was meeting with our neighbor’s mom – and they discussed the saucy trilogy – and then giggled when thinking how their own parents would react.

Never a dull moment around here.

Did you read the trilogy?

Why do you think there is all this buzz?

Would you loan your copies of the trilogy to your mother or mother-in-law?


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?




Family Traditions

When you live in a multigenerational household, it’s important to start and establish your own traditions. Yes, there are they family traditions that are passed down from generation to generation – and that usually spring from the two maternal and two paternal sides (and further on down the family tree) – when families merge.

But when you opt in or find yourself in a multigenerational household, the need for these newer traditions to find a seat at the traditions table is just as critical. If an adult parent or adult child is moving into (back into) an “established home” – they may feel like an outsider to traditions already in progress. They may not see how they fit or refit into these activities or events.

Belonging is so important in situations like this and people love to look back and draw on fun and endearing moments brought on by traditions. Knowing you’re an active contributor, fun creator, and traditions innovator is also another step in building a strong foundation for a multigenerational household to thrive and flourish.

Why am I talking about this?

Today is Pi Day and my multigenerational nest LOVES to celebrate. When my mother-in-law moved in and I was saying we needed to celebrate some non-traditional holidays, she looked at me like, “Really, Kanesha, Really?!

Now that we are living the multigenerational dream, she’s always checking our calendar and looking at the previous year’s calendar to make herself ready for our tradition of celebrating non-traditional holidays.

All week, we’ve been discussing what types of pie we would be eating on Pi Day. My mother-in-law was going through cookbooks, I was making t-shirts, and the kids were trying to think of clever Pi related terms I could put on the t-shirts. (Where’s hubby? On work travel.)

Here are some initial pictures of our Pi Day celebration.

What traditions have you created for your multigenerational family or with your in-laws?


Multigenerational this and that…

Hey IAFN readers,

I’m back.

I went on a bit of a creative hiatus and it’s been WONDERFUL. I decided to write an eBook called Nurturing the Change Cycle: 10 Ways to Build Positive In-law Relationships. Yup, I’ve been busy writing and creating. I really didn’t plan to start 2012 off writing a book because I wanted to de-clutter my house, get my home office organized, drink green smoothies…and a host of other productive things.

The book idea came about because a bunch of friends and family members leaned on me (positively) and said, “What are you waiting for?” I did not have a good or viable response as to why I should NOT write the book…so I got busy.

The plan is for the book to be finished and ready for eager eyes and minds – by mid-February (fingers crossed). I’m excited, nervous, and getting my act together.

And…before I plow ahead in talking about 2012 – I did want to say a bit more to wrap up 2011 and how it was for me and our multigenerational family.


We were all happier and busier in 2011. Everyone become a year older and possibly about 5 years wiser. Our grooves were more in-tune and when they weren’t – we stepped aside and gave the family member the time and space they needed…without bitching about it.

More people are checking out IAFN and we’ve gotten a wonderful response. (Thank you!) We love connecting with other multigenerational families. Hubby and my mother-in-law contributed some posts to IAFN and that made me ecstatic…they don’t always want to do it. I don’t force them (that much) – and I really think their perspective and experience paint a wholistic picture of who we are and how we operate as a multigenerational family.

Lessons Learned

Here are my top five:

  • I will never have a deep relationship with my father-in-law – like I do with my mother-in-law…and that’s OK.
  • Other people will always ask me, “Do you like her?” in reference to my mother-in-law. I have finally learned to say, “Ask a better and less loaded question.
  • Me mentioning “senior” events to my mother-in-law gets on her nerves. Done doing that.
  • Even though my mother-in-law is an amazing artist, she has no interest in setting up an Etsy shop – and I cannot be annoyed with her about this. Done doing that, too.
  • Playing Jeopardy with my multigenerational family will always be a challenge (answer in the form of a question, people!) – and I should get over it – and just enjoy the moment.


Even though our house can seem tight and cramped, I am grateful that we are all together. I’m grateful my kids enjoy spending time with their grandmother. I’m grateful that one of us will mention a project and we all jump in to do it. I’m grateful my son’s food allergies are getting better and that is highly influenced by my mother-in-law supporting his avoidance diet. I am grateful that I’m not expected to wear a super mom cape around – all the time – because I have quality help and loving support – in my multigenerational home.

What’s Next for 2012

Well, I already mentioned the book…

We will celebrate our 5th anniversary as a multigenerational family.

My mother-in-law and I will hold each other up and try not to fall apart, too much, when my youngest child (her youngest grandchild) starts kindergarten in August.

I’m sure I’ll be writing about another sex education incident – since my oldest child is taking health this semester (I told my mother-in-law to be ready!).

We will celebrate the marriage of hubby’s cousin (my mother-in-law’s niece). She was our flower girl – and now our son will be her ring bearer.

Hubby and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary – which means I’ll be toasting the anniversary of my mother-in-law becoming my mother-in-law.

What next for you  - in 2012?


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



Playlist {inspired by in-laws}

Music can say a lot about people and music make people feel all sorts of ways.

I’m pretty much the DJ in our multigenerational home and the family members can tell what type of day I’ve had at work or what kind of mood I’m in – based on the music I play during dinner.

Abridged list

Artists for a happy/great day

  • Alejandro Fernandez
  • Adele
  • Earth, Wind & Fire

Artists for a pensive day

  • Tori Amos
  • Jay Z
  • India.Arie

Artists for relaxation

  • Al Green
  • Sade
  • Robin Thicke

Artists for fun, singing and dancing

  • Beyonce
  • Mamma Mia Soundtrack
  • Rihanna
  • Michael Jackson

Artists for any mood

  • Prince
  • Maxwell
  • Isley Brothers
  • Bob Dillon Dylan (thanks for catching that, mother-in-law)

Artists the kids LOVE (and the rest of us tolerate)

  • Selena Gomez
  • Demi Lovato
  • Justin Roberts

I started to think about what songs I would select to describe each member of my multigenerational family (yes, I had drank a glass of wine).

  • Mother-in-law:  Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf)
  • Hubby:  Break My Stride (Matthew Wilder)
  • Daughter: Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield)
  • Son:  Meltdown (Justin Roberts)
  • Kanesha:  Bravo (Ledisi)

Then I was curious about what songs others would select to describe their mother-in-law or father-in-law – and why? What better way to capture this information than to post it on Facebook. Here are the results:

My mother-in-law is an inspiration. She’s overcome unique challenges with grace, optimism and consistency . . . all while encouraging me to do the same.

[My mother-in-law and father-in-law] truly believe in love but know that love is never easy.

  • Rhonda Hart-Watt

Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin) – for my mother-in-law / She never seemed to let “anything” bother her, no matter the situation.

Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone (The Temptations) – for my father-in-law / Kinda self-explanatory…did exactly what he felt like doing at any given moment.

[For my] father-in-law, [the song] would definitely be the AF song “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder” (even though he was a Navy man in his younger years). He was a private pilot, flying in the old time open cockpit planes, loving every minute. He even built an airplane above their family bakery, which became the talk of their small rural town when they had to get it down from the second floor.

I never knew my mother-in-law.

  • Jeanette Soloma Hale / Always and Forever (Heat Wave) / In Between the Sheets (The Isley Brothers)

The reason these songs are fitting [for my mother-in-law and father-in-law] is because they’ve been married for 47 years and have been through a lot of financial and health storms….YET STILL complete love birds! They’re filled with cuddles & kisses…of course between little pokey remarks.

  • J.A.

I have been trying to come up with the perfect songs about my MIL and FIL (divorced), but it is a hard project. And I don’t know any country songs, because I’m sure that would fit the father part – drunk, idiot, removed, and boring.

  • Leslie LaPlante / Hot Rod Lincoln (Johnny Cash)

I can’t come up with a good one for my MIL, but “Hot Rod Lincoln” always makes me think of Les, my FIL. A million people have recorded it, but I know the Johnny Cash version. Les died 5 or 6 years ago, and I really miss him. He was kind of a wild man, and I have always thought this line from the song probably captures what he was like as a young man: “Son, you’re going to drive me to drinkin’, If you don’t stop driving that Hot Rod Lincoln”.

  • L.B.H.

As for songs of FIL/Step MIL, I use the saying, if you don’t have anything nice to say…

“Pretty Little Angel Eyes”, an oldie but a goodie, music my dad loved, and thinking about him as he passed away 5 years ago.

…or “Conga” by Gloria Estefan because we are celebrating a full week of B.H. using the potty and we do a Conga line after she uses the bathroom, yep, a lot of dancing in my house this week! It’s a hard day for me, but lots of joy in the house, too.

  • Karen Xavier Dunbar

I would have to say “Twist and Shout” for my in-laws who love to dance!

  • D.L.D. / Tears In Heaven (Eric Clapton)

Both my mother & father-in-law beat me to heaven. They both died from cancer just before I met my husband.  Shirley & Will both died within two years of each other and it may sound bad but I feel cheated…to love their son & raise their grandchildren without them being physically here is heartbreaking.  

We have had numerous “angel watching over me” moments where something odd happens and we wonder if it’s Shirley & Will watching over us.  Our first son was born four weeks prematurely and miraculously went home two days later.  Did I mention I had lost Shirley’s diamond out of my wedding ring two days earlier but [hubby] found it hours after our son was born?  It was in the basement (where I would never go!) in a corner lying in a pile of shag rug remnants!  It flashed like a flashlight at my husband while he was down there.  Keep in mind that I didn’t go into the basement and I was still in the hospital. We took it as a sign that the new Grandma & Grandpa up in heaven were watching over that little preemie in the hospital!  Our son is now a healthy, college graduate and a Geologist.

My in-laws’ love is strong and I teach my children everything I can find out about their grandparents in heaven…someday we’ll all meet.

Enjoy this in-law playlist.