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Advice on combining households?

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seashanty

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since we/you (the collective group here) seem to be masters of unusual living arrangments, combining home with work with guests in the house, compromise, and working out having private living spaces in tight quarters with lots of folks around ... i thought you might have some serious advice about combining a household.
long story short, i will be moving into a house with my son and his soon to be wife. the house belongs to me, but i've been renting it to him. never thought i'd be living in it again ... i left to be with my new husband who passed away and now it's come down to a matter of financial survival. i have been living with a sister and her husband but now THEY are going to combine households with one of their sons and his 2 sons ... four more people, plus 2 girlfriends who are here more often than not, five (!!) cats and two dogs.
not looking forward to moving but if we do this right, it will be better for me living with three dogs and two 20 somethings than how it is now. we talked about renovating the basement into a separate space for me but that's not feasible. so ... i'm taking over two rooms on the 2nd floor (a garrison) one for a bedroom, one for a sitting room/living room. will share the kitchen, the yard and the 1 1/2 baths (that's what is here and it's a challenge)
if anyone has any suggestions, warnings, reminders, please share them.
thank you so much.
 

Alibi Ike

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Decide if you want to share meals or not. Who's going to buy what for food. Do you keep things separate or share? Sit down and talk it out. Don't rely on telepathy. Or previous information. Your son may think he's living with 'mom' again and expect more from you than what is right. You may think you need to 'be in charge' again, which will be resented.
Pretend you're roomies who don't know each other and nail down the particulars.
  1. Who pays for what?
  2. Schedule for using the washer/dryer.
  3. Morning schedule for the one bathroom.
  4. Picking up after yourself (they may be used to running around naked and leaving their stuff everywhere)
  5. Entertaining rules (parties, guests over, etc)
  6. Is yours mine and mine yours or never the twain shall meet?
  7. Are you sharing meals? Who cooks?
  8. Who cleans?
  9. Who is responsible for maintenance? Lawn care? Snowplowing?
The more you lay out now the easier it will be to avoid the common pitfalls of 'I thought you would...'
 

EmptyNest

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Sounds like what more and more families are doing these days. there was an article about "living arrangements" for boomers in the AARP magazine.
Just make sure you work out all the fine details ahead so there are no surprises. It would be nice if you could set up your own basement apt...maybe down the road. But you are definitely right that you must have your own PRIVATE area. Joining together for meals with shared duties is a good way to go. Do not become their maid. Share and share alike. Best of luck!
 

Joey Camb

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I wrote a really good answer but then my computer froze and ate it so i will do my best. What you think is reasonable is not necessarily what they think is reasonable so make sure everyone is clear what that is and when you do it something you think is unreaonable say so don't bottle it up till it makes you insane when they probably wouldn't care either way. If you are now retired be aware their work stuff may need to take priority in the washer and dryer. How are bills split? Also don't fall into the trap of when you arrive run about cleaning everything as you try and show your appreciation as they will assume you like doing it and that you will carry on and the resentment will build. Never assume anyone has a clue what anyone else is thinking and plan accordingly. Be aware that you will probably be up earlier on a weekend than them. Ask them to brief you on any weird things the house may do for example if you have a shower early is the running water going to wake them as this wears thin I can tell you if you are woken on a regular basis. Also let each other know if you are going to have more than 2 friends round at a time so you can make appropriate arrangements and not clash.
 

Country Girl

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First, I am sorry for the loss of your husband. That must be very difficult for you.
If your relationship with you son and his girlfriend is strong you all could really benefit in so many ways while living together. I agree with all the above about setting boundaries and figuring out who does what and maintaining privacy for all of you. However I think flexibility is key. You are not strangers. You know each other's strengths and weaknesses. With a good sense of humor and ongoing open and honest dialog I think it could be great. The important thing is for his girlfriend to feel comfortable and included in all decision making. Good luck.
 

One Day

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I have recently gone through this same scenario.....for me it was a nightmare....the worst possible circumstances and arrangement one could ever experience.
Work out the details ahead of time
You and 2 other adults.....won't be that difficult.....and from what I have gleamed of your relationship with your son......I can't possibly forsee much or any hassles
 

birdwatcher

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I agree with everyone here-put all the cards on the table and maybe even have a lease just so everything is in writing. My husband and I lived with my daughter, her son and her boyfriend-it was not pretty with the boyfriend thing because of the dynamics of the boyfriend not having a job and not helping with the bills it got resentful and ugly since we my husband, myself and my daughter were working and we just bearly made the bills.
So-as everyone points out put it on the table and write it down BEFORE you move in-family is family and sometimes its a touchy feely thing and living together for the better of everyone is good and better to be honest and straighforward from all concerned.
Good luck, it seems as catlady says-when economic times get rough the best thing to do is to brace the storm together and thats okay.
 

gillumhouse

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Ike covered a lot of it.
Who is a morning person and who is not
Who likes to read the paper when (it may be worth 2 subscriptions if both like crosswords/sudoko)
Who has to be out for work first - schedule who gets bathroom when (is someone a night shower and someone morning? that will help) - we had 6 people in a one bathroom house and 2 were teen girls. One twin got up at 5 am so she could have the bathroom in the morning without interruption, her idea.
Have separate phone lines unless you already operate on cells only.
Who brings in the mail? Get a P O Box that way you will NOT be going thru their mail to find yours & vice versa - prying accusation
Make it understood from beginning neither is expected nor required to be invited when going out to dinner/event or any other activity and if an invitation IS extended, acceptance is optional
Spit & scratch is a good thing once in a while to clear air - let if happen instead of biting tongue RULE IS no hitting below the belt (meaning do not use the crushing words - told that to a bride & groom once and the bride told me years later it was the best advice she got)
Each person is REQUIRED to clean bathroom (at least the shower) after each use
Set schedules by the week as to who does towel laundry and who does dishes - unless someone actulally does not mind doing dishes like DH and prefers doing that to cooking - no matter what the cooking mess is.
Hold a "council" after a month or two to review the RULES LIST - time may have revealed a "splinter" or rethink
 

seashanty

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thank you for all your suggestions. i appreciate them!
just to confuse you , i have two sons. both engaged to be married this year ... one in june, one in september. and my special needs stepson. also one daughter (my eldest)
if this was a move with my elder son i'd feel more confident. he is the carpenter, the one who helped me run the inn. we have lived together before. but it's my younger son and very different. all my kids are so different. funny!
:)
 

gillumhouse

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thank you for all your suggestions. i appreciate them!
just to confuse you , i have two sons. both engaged to be married this year ... one in june, one in september. and my special needs stepson. also one daughter (my eldest)
if this was a move with my elder son i'd feel more confident. he is the carpenter, the one who helped me run the inn. we have lived together before. but it's my younger son and very different. all my kids are so different. funny!
:).
We have 6 and NONE of them - even the twins - are alike. One twin was always a jock and one was a wuss. If all go in with eyes wide open to the "air it out and not fester", respect each other and the rights to privacy for each and all, and have the fiances spelled out in advance, it will be like a marriage. You do not know what it is REALLY going to be until after the honeymoon.
 

Alibi Ike

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thank you for all your suggestions. i appreciate them!
just to confuse you , i have two sons. both engaged to be married this year ... one in june, one in september. and my special needs stepson. also one daughter (my eldest)
if this was a move with my elder son i'd feel more confident. he is the carpenter, the one who helped me run the inn. we have lived together before. but it's my younger son and very different. all my kids are so different. funny!
:).
I had 2 daughters marry in the same year. Both went to the same island for their honeymoon. One had a big-ish wedding and the other eloped. (We had to travel for both of them.)
 
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