Saturday, March 18, 2006

Having your in-laws live with you

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I’ve actually had to deal with this question myself.

Instinctively I’d like to be able to take in any relative that needed a place to stay. Pragmatically, it doesn’t always work that way. Some relatives just don’t get along. This may not be much of an issue for short stays but can be for longer ones.

Currently my in-laws live with me and take care of my children.I cover all of their expenses, health, food, etc….They have their own income and neither want nor need money or pay from me. They view it as a pleasure to spend time with their grandchildren and feel their help is their family contribution.

In general, things like vacations can be more expensive, but if you get along, it’s a great experience. We usually take family vacations (in-laws included) and “just us” vacations to balance things out. So far my in-laws are OK with the set-up.

My biggest concern is making sure they don’t work too hard. To this extent I send my children to day care half days (our pediatrician recommended it so they learn how to socialize).

In terms of dollars and sense, I really don’t think in-laws living with you will save money, but it does do a few important things:
  • allows both parents to work rather than stay home - if you must or want to do so
  • creates a broader sense of family for your children
  • helps keep retired parents / in-laws busy, if they need stimulation or something to do
  • allows you to keep a closer eye on your parents or in-laws - especially helpful if they have health issues
  • eliminates trust / security issues regarding who’s caring for your child
  • ensures control over the ethis and values your children are tought (assuming you and your inlaws agree)

The challenges are:
  1. potential increased costs - depending upon your arrangements with your in-laws or parents
  2. increased responsibility - they’re living under your roof
  3. decreased privacy - you may want to think about where their bedroom is in relation to your own
  4. need for a bigger house - bathrooms, bedrooms and private space

Actually, the biggest challenges usually fall into 3 and 4. 1 and 2 can usually be worked through.

making our way

PS I really enjoy reading nyc money's blog. She has a very fresh perspective and is not afraid to ask unusual, often challenging questions.

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