When one hears the phrase “in-laws,” the initial reaction may be gut wrenching. The simple thought of the in-laws visiting may cause one to break out in hives, vomit, or have uncontrollable diarrhea. Now imagine your in-laws moving in with you — indefinitely!
This is where I am. We’ve tried this before. About a year after we were married, my husband’s parents were invited to move in with us. Yes, invited. They were living in Florida, Hubby’s dad was laid off and their house was being foreclosed on. So, as the loving and supportive wife, we offered our home to them. Besides, we were already close to my side of the family, wouldn’t it be great if we had children and both sets of grandparents were nearby? In short, this did NOT work out.
Let me give you some background: They moved to the United States in 1990 from Europe — a communist country in Europe. Their first choice was Australia, then Canada, and when that did not pan out, they landed in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. Ever since, the Father-in-Law (FIL) has hated it here. Not sure why. People take advantage of him? Could be a little bit of paranoia, too. So Hubby spent his childhood learning English and interpreting for his parents when needed…which happened to be always. So 24 years in the U.S. and they do not speak English fluently. But beware, they understand more than they let on. They are also very set in their ways and have unusual theories for most anything. Needless to say, a little different from myself. However, knowing them does make understanding Hubby a little easier!
Now we’re back. This time three kids later. Did I mention one was a newborn? Trying to adjust to our new addition, and then we get two more additions. But instead of mature, responsible parents, we wind up with two teenagers. They sleep late and make poor decisions. However, they do pitch in. This is where it gets good.
Having three children ages three and under can be a little overwhelming at times, to say the least. But now I have four extra hands! Laundry is washed, dried, and folded — often. Maybe too often. Floors are swept and mopped regularly. Although we did have to tell FIL to please use clean water each time. I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner every night because Mother-in-Law (MIL) is making it. Although it’s not American and it may not be my favorite, it’s one less thing to think about and execute while one child wants to be fed, one is climbing on chairs, and one is running with scissors. I actually have to ask them NOT to clean up after the kids so I can teach them to pick up after themselves! I can take a shower ALONE, while MIL holds the baby and the other two are playing. They have learned how to change diapers and give bottles. And although there are quite a few quirks, all in all, things are going pretty good. Who wouldn’t want this? It’s only been six weeks, but hopefully it will last. I will keep you posted!
If you are not experiencing a great relationship with your in-laws, you can read here on ways to get along with your in-laws and surviving the holidays.