Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Three's Complicated....

This summer, we will have been living with my Husband's parents for 3 years.

That's shocking to me. Even though it shouldn't be.  

In the least.

When we arrived on their doorstep in August of 2008, we were confident that it was just going to be a 3 month transitional period.

3 months became 6.
6 months became a YEAR. 
I got pregnant.

The plan was to be out after O was born and I was healed.

Because we would so be financially flush after having a child.
We're thinkers, we are!

We would be out by O's 1st birthday.

He's just about 6 months away from turning 2, we can all see how well that went...

At the turn of this year, I found myself angry and desperate.

Overwhelmingly so.

For all of the reasons and more that I have blogged about in the past...

It is not easy living with another couple.
Particularly when that couple happens to be your Parents (in-law).

Not only are there the usual expectations that you would face while learning to coexist with roommates, but the the additional expectations that all children feel the need to meet (and exceed) in order to please their parents.

The most crushing element in this equation is the societal pressure.

Americans are a nation of  islands.
If we find ourselves in a position where we must rely on another (especially in any financial sense), we have failed.

Every nuclear family for themselves!

Even with the changing tides of the economy forcing people to move in with Ma and Pa and for households to become multi-generational, there is still the general sense of embarrassment and the pungent smell of perceived failure hanging around the topic of  "going back home."

My husband and I wrestle with it probably more than anything else in  our marriage.....


Why do we allow ourselves to be labeled as failures?
Why do we berate ourselves for things beyond our control?

Why can't we look at the marriages we've built and the beautiful son we're raising despite the chaos in the world as TRUE signs of success?

We're trying.
I'm trying....

In the last couple of months, as I've stopped to take in certain moments of the day, I realized that while this situation is not ideal, it is actually quite the gift.

It goes deeper that a financial woes and cheap rent.

In our time here, I've gotten to be extremely close with my MIL, and love my FIL as if he were a father, which is big for me.

They gotten to know me better, but more importantly, they've started to get to know their son better.
Not just as their child, but as a man.
As a husband.
As a father.

He is no longer the irresponsible teenager they tended to remember.

He's gotten to know them beyond their title of Mom and Dad.
He's gotten to see them with new perspective, as he is now a fellow parent joining the ranks...

Creating bonds I don't think they had before.

The best by far, though?
Being a team of 4, raising my son as a family.

This little is flooded with love.
He gets to truly grow up with his grandparents.

His grandparents (who in the beginning, were definitely reticent about the idea of us having a child under their roof) have been blessed to be present for every single step of this child's life, from the first movements in my belly to the flying like a diapered-dervish through the house on his own two feet...

And are as utterly in love with their grandson as he is with them.

He likes them better than Mommy and Daddy. Not that Mommy and Daddy are bitter, or anything....ahem.

I don't know how I would've gotten through my pregnancy without the support of my ILs.
I don't know how the Hubs and I would've survived the first couple of months when we brought the baby home...

Frankly, I don't think O would have been born at ALL, had we not been living with them. No exaggeration.

That ALONE makes bunking with the 'rents, totally worth it.

Someday, we will be in our own place.
Someday, we will be separate.

For now, we're at home. 
In all the ways a family can be.

[Peeps? When you get a chance, head over and visit the lovely Jaime over at The Story of Us.
Today's beautiful post helped me really gather my thoughts for this post. AND? Her children are just delicious!]


Daydreaming Fool said...

What a beautiful post with so much emotion...I'm glad that even though it's hard - you can see the good things. Sometimes I really do wonder why our society is so obsessed with being an 'island' - when working together, helping each other and BEING THERE - for the good, the bad and everything inbetween - it can be so nice and wonderful...and can do SO MUCH GOOD.

Sure, it can be stressful at times..but as you've clearly pointed out..it can also come with so many good things.

While I can see how you would love your freedom and independence...It's really good that you're able to enjoy this special time with your inlaws that not a lot of people get :)

Cave Momma said...

It's amazing what a change of perspective can do. Some people even CHOOSE to live with the 'rents and people still look at them like they are crazy. Glad things are looking ok for y'all over there. But I still wish you lived closer. ;)

Kat said...

The old addage "It takes a village to raise a child" is so true. And O is blessed with an amazing village, one in which every member loves him all the time. What a blessing. I was not really close to my grandparents, but my kids are the opposite. They BEG to go there, and then BEG me to leave, like as soon as I drop them off. They just want Grandma and Pappa all to themselves. O will always be close to his grandparents because of this time. Though it has it's downsides, living with them has huge upsides too! Way to go for finding the positive to focus on!!!

Haven said...

I can relate to this.

After we got married my husband and I lived with my mother in law and my husband's two younger teenage brothers.

We just moved out on our own in January after living there for about a year and a half.

I didn't want to leave. I did it because my husband wanted to and because she started dating someone (now they're engaged and getting married in 3 short weeks!) and because, like you mentioned, the social pressure.

I am SO HAPPY we stayed there though. I have a great relationship with my mother in law now, much better than I ever could have hoped to have otherwise. I also got to know my husband's two younger brothers well and now they call me their sister and love visiting us.

Also, selfishly, I hate being alone. My husband works evenings a lot so I am often left on my own. Thankfully we moved REALLY close to my parents so I spend half my time there. We also just sleep over there at least 2 times a week.

I need buzz and people around me to be happy. I'd go crazy if we ever moved away from everyone, just the 2 of us.

Long-winded comment. But yeah. I get this.

Morgan said...

Thank you so much for the (unintentional)encouragement. It will be 3 years for us, too, this summer, and sometimes the craziness gets to me, and I catch myself calculating the cost of living on our own. But then I hear her giggling at something my FIL did, and I am grateful that she has loving grandparents to help her grow!

Margaret said...

Well, in a few hundred years, your genealogist descendants will thank you. I LOVE MULTI GENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLDS. So much easier to find on the census. :-D

livingsj77 said...

Aww, thanks for the shout out Jayne! And you have definitely spoken to me with this post on a very bad day. Just this morning I was very near tears about our living situation, but you're right...there is good in it. Thank you friend!

he calls me wifey said...

Can I just say that I loved EVERY WORD of this post. I hate that even now in our economy, we still find so many reasons to call ourselves failures, but I am so happy and so proud that you have seen the much brighter side of living with your in-laws. To think that you wouldn't have all that you have had you been financially secure enough to live on your own...

well, that's just incredible. I LOVE IT! I LOVE YOU!!

@yaelsaar said...

wow! this post made me cry good tears. LOVE how you think about this. what amazing gifts.
two thoughts:
You are moving away from trying to meet expectations and into the mode of aiming to meeting needs, is going to set you free. This is something I've been trying to teach mothers in my #ppd support groups. you GOT it on your own. yay!

2. Sounds like they are not just In Laws, they are In Loves! good for you! good for all of you. so empowering.