The multigenerational household
My parents live in my house, down the hall, and did I ever imagine that this is how my life would be as an adult with a husband and a couple of kids? No. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. Would I change it? No. What most would call a “burden” has actually been a beautiful new beginning for my parents and I.
I moved out after I graduated from college, but it wasn’t because I found my own apartment and was ready to take on the world as an independent single professional. I left, because my house burned down. It was a cigarette left in the bedroom by my brother’s then crackhead girlfriend. And I’m not being mean, this is literal. She was a crackhead. My parents let her stay and supported her even after she burned down our house and so I never went back home. From the ashes of this tragedy I made my own sense of home, created my own family, and honestly it was a necessary and poetic rebirth for me as a young adult. My relationship with my parents already is distress though became pretty much non-existent. Through the years, we have slowly reconciled our relationship, but there was never a comfortable relationship to begin with so...
So why did my parents end up in my house? Well, because that is what family does. Regardless of the circumstances, family helps each other out.
And boy have my parents have helped me out. Their presence in my home has allowed me the freedom to work and to date my husband. I have built in babysitting for goodness sake! This is absolutely priceless. My parents are great playmates. They allow me to take a mom break if I need to shower, or just breathe for a second. The grandparent grandchild relationship is beautiful. I did not experience it first-hand but I am so thankful that my kids get to.
Is it hard to have my parents around all the time? Of course! No one wants to live with the judging eyes of their old school Latino parents. It’s getting easier. At first I felt like I was teenager again, rebelling and rolling my eyes every time my mom said something, especially regarding parenting. In my head I was always like “like how would you know! You were never there!” So yes, I have definitely had some issues to work through.
Not to mention that by having my parents in my home, I am the epitome of the sandwich generation. I take care of them and my kids and I’m sandwiched in between. It ends up feeling like I have four kids.
In Like Water for Chocolate- Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, the main character is the youngest daughter and they talk about how it is her duty as the youngest to never marry and devote her life to taking care of her mother. I’m the youngest. I’m taking care of my mother. I’m totally fulfilling an outdated stereotype that should have never existed because, how horrible is it that you are born just to fulfill this duty? But I’m using it to my advantage.
My big generalization is that since the pandemic, more people are going to adopt this very traditional family structure and like it.
Would you ever create a multi-generational home on purpose?
Do you live in one?
What is your experience?
Would you recommend it?
Are you expected to take care of your parents because you’re the youngest daughter?
Would love to hear from you!
Wendy writes blog posts that turn into conversations for the Mamá Cita Podcast.