Nov 10, 2009

A new addition to the family

Life as I have known it is about to change.

This has been brewing for about a month, but for the most part it seemed that it wasn't going to happen. Well, as of last night IT IS going to happen.

What is IT? No, it's not a baby. Quite the opposite.

My 72yo mother-in-law is coming to live with us. We'll be heading to Georgia in two days and we'll pack her up and bring her back.

I am excited and apprehensive at the same time. I'm excited because I love her and she has always been wonderful to me (more about that later). I'm excited because now she can know her only grandchild and he can have a grandparent. I'm excited because it's an opportunity to minister in an ongoing way.

I'm apprehensive because I, like most of the rest of our society, have never lived multi-generationally. I've pondered about the many changes that will be occurring and how many chances I know I will have to root out selfishness in myself.

So, I have spent ALL day (and I mean from 8am until just now when I sat down to type this) rearranging rooms, hauling stuff up and down stairs attempting to make room for her.

I'm determined to follow through on my commitment to blog each day in November. Well, I'll be blogging from all up and down the east coast, evidently!

Has anyone else been in this position? I would much appreciate gleaning from your experience!


Packrat said...

After all your careful arranging of your house... Oh, well, sometimes God has other plans for us and our houses.

I have not had a parent live with me, however, my paternal grandmother lived with us up until I was 14 years old. And, I have lived with my maternal grandparents at various times (I've blogged about part of this), and of course, stayed with Mom while she was sick.

I'm sorry if I come across too bluntly, but here is my advice:

This move will probably be hardest on your mother-in-law. She is leaving her home and familiar surroundings. Take time to introduce her to the area, your friends, etc.

Your schedule will probably be haywire for a while. Try to keep your routine, but if you have to change it, you do.

The adult in charge or present at the moment is the authority even if it contradicts an earlier decision - even if the child resents it. There shouldn't be any whining or "crying" or running from Grandma, to Mom, to Dad, back to Grandma trying to get "your" (your son's) own way. I'm not saying that your son can't politely say, "please, talk to Mom/Grandma. She said differently." I'm not saying your son would do that, but it has been know to happen...

If you are going to be gone, be sure to write down which friends are allowed to visit, places your son may go with or without an adult, and the answers you gave to questions such as what snack is okay to eat, what TV shows/movies are allowed, what time school is out, etc. Of course, you can't cover every little thing that will pop up.

Grandma could either want to spoil your son rotten - say yes to everything - or insist on stricter discipline. You'll have to work that out.

Around the house, your mother-in-law will do things differently than you do. Try her way. You might find you like it. If she is physically and mentally capable, have her help around the house.

Again, if your MIL is able have her tell your son stories and read with him. Have her help with home schooling - especially history and geography lessons.

There is more, but mostly my advice is to talk things over and be prepared to compromise.

Have a safe journey there and back. HUGS

Roxanne said...

Packrat--AWESOME advice. Thank you, thank you.

I'll fill in more details soon, but God definitely had me moving things around and decluttering, etc. in preparation for this.

The hardest part is the fact that I'm the age I am with a child and an ailing grandparent. Normally someone my age would have adult children by now.

When I get an opportunity, I'm going to search through your posts about your experiences with living with the grandparents.

I'm always open to good advice!

Packrat said...

This is a difficult time. Our society doesn't really help us at all except that there are many people who do take in older relatives to care for. (improper sentence structure)

My MIL took care of both her father, her mother, and her MIL. That wasn't good at all, because the youngest child (Mom was 42 when he was born) kind of got ignored - or at least he perceived it that way.

So my other advice that I didn't think of earlier is to always set aside some alone time with your son - even if it means someone coming and staying with your MIL.

Another thing, please don't "force/make" your son to do things for Grandma. Hopefully, he'll just want to help, but if it becomes an issue have your son do chores for you and his dad instead.

Remember, you aren't Super Woman. You do what you can, but do not over do. If something some housework has to slide, it does.

I hope some of this helps. Each person's situation is different because of the personalities involved.

I will be thinking of and praying for all of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Roxanne,

Sorry, I've got no personal living multi generationally advice for you.
(Although I did grow up in a rural setting where most families lived that way -- if not in the same house, right next door). It's usually really, really bad or really, really good -- it all hinges on respect and allowing as much autonomy for all family members as possible.

If you and your husband know this is the best for your family, somehow God will see all of you through it -- even those times that are a little more challenging and you feel more "stretched" than you want to : )



Roxanne said...

Packrat--I'm taking all of your advice to heart. Right now (Monday 11/16) it's interesting as we try to deal with the situation and extract her from a harmful environment.

I'm sitting at Chic-Fil-A with a play place for my son (Oh yes!!) while my husband is dealing with things back at the house.

I appreciate all prayers!

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