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Mom in the House
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She moved in.

People think we are crazy. You are supposed to live at home with your parents until you are 18 and then you shouldn’t be under the same roof again until they are in their last years. Or so they say.

But my mom moved in with us six months ago. And we haven’t killed each other. Yet.

As we’ve walked this journey together, I’ve found it’s a lot more common than I had before realized to have a parent living with you, or be an adult child who has moved home. There are a million reasons why this might happen, but regardless, effort must be made to have it go smoothly.

Here are the things I’ve learned so far:

1. Plan ahead: We talked many times before she arrived. We discussed things that were important to us. We talked about how things might go. We agreed to come to each other sooner than later when something is bugging us.

2. Take advantage of each other’s strengths: Having lived alone for many years, my mom hasn’t cooked much lately. She’s eaten a lot of packaged food and eaten out even more. I have a thing about eating healthfully and preparing most of our meals at home. She gets to benefit from my strength in that area. On the other hand, I’m not a great housekeeper. One of the things we discussed before she moved in was my need for some help in this area. She’s good at organizing and keeping my kids in line with their overflow of stuff.

3. Respect each other’s weaknesses: My mom isn’t a huge people-person and so I’ve learned to invite her to various get-togethers, but not to have my feelings hurt if she chooses not to come. She knows that I have trouble being on time. It drives her crazy, but she’ll sometimes just go ahead to church or whatever we are doing and offer to save us a seat.

4. Space: No matter how well you get a long with your new roommate, space is always a good thing. Mom has chosen a day on the weekend to leave and just sort of do her own thing, and she has a TV in her room so that she and I don’t have to agree on shows to watch!

5. Enjoy the perks: Before my mom moved in I was paying a babysitter $75 each Sunday so that I could go to work. Mom volunteered to have that be her day with the kids. They go to museums or to the pool or to a movie and they are making great memories with her on Sundays—and I’m saving money! Also, because we lived overseas for many years, we didn’t have the chance for our kids to really know their grandparents. It is so fun to have Mom get to know the intricacies of my kids’ personalities and to learn to love them even more.

I should probably plan to write an addendum to this post in six more months, because I’m sure more lessons will be learned, but I have learned that LOVE covers a multitude of sins. When I look at the big picture—spending time with my mother and having her know my children well—I know any issues are solvable with love.

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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