9 Struggles You’ll Only Understand If You've Lived With Your Parents After Having Kids
No one ever said parenting was easy, but parenting while you're living under your own parent’s roof is substantially harder. Sure, there are plenty of benefits to living with your parents while you're raising a brand new baby. Like every other aspect of parenting, you tend to take the good with the bad when you're parenting while living with your parents. Still, it's worth noting the struggles you'll only understand if you've lived with your parents after having kids because, well, if you don't talk about it, you might start to lose your mind a little bit. Just a little, though.
Like I said, it's not to say that there aren't some fantastic positives to living with your parents when you have a new baby to care for. Free childcare is, of course, one of the biggest. That is, of course, if you're parents are willing to watch your little one (which isn’t the case for all grandparents). Having a more experienced adult around so you can ask questions and receive some (actually helpful) advice on childrearing is certainly another plus. Then, of course, there’s all the money you’re (probably) saving on rent. Of course it's also undeniably sweet to be able to share your babe's first years with your parents (they won’t be around forever you know, as they’ve surely reminded you over and over and over again).
Still, those wonderful positives don't make the many challenges that come with parenting under the constant scrutiny of your own parents (or parent-in-laws) magically disappear. If you know the struggle, I have a feeling the following pains will sound more than familiar:
Being Constantly Undermined
It can be exceptionally difficult to set rules in your household if you’re not at “the head” of it. Many of our parents (being of an older generation) don’t seem to understand that while they ruled the roost in their immediate family, we are now the ones in charge of our new, immediate family. Or at least, we should be the ones in charge.
Unfortunately, when you tell your kid no television before bed and it’s the grandparents who are watching them before bed, they might end up watching television anyway. Even if you tell grandma and grandpa that the screens need to be turned off, they will often shrug you off and keep them on anyway. It’s not that they don’t respect or love you, it’s just that they’re so used to doing things their way, so your wishes go in one ear and out the other.
Having Your Methods Questioned
When your folks do finally see fit to not completely undermine your authority, the next thing they’ll probably do is question it. Maybe it’s their way of getting back at you for questioning them during your teen years. Maybe they really just don’t understand why most people recommend car seats to remain rear-facing until age 2, since there were moments when they drove you around in their laps. It’s annoying as all hell, yes, but at least they’re asking, right? Maybe, just maybe, some of it will actually sink in. Then again, maybe not.
They Will Spoil The Hell Out Of Your Kids
Spoiling grandkids is, arguably, what grandparents do best. That's totally perfect and fine and wonderful, especially when they only see said grandparents on holidays and special events.
However, when those grandparents are continuously showering your kids with praise and gifts and giving in to their every desire, all day every day for the foreseeable future? Yeah, it gets old. Fast. Really, how the hell do you tell your parents, “Please stop giving my daughter endless hugs and kisses and baking them cookies every week?” I mean, really. If you do somehow convince them to pull back, you know you’ll always end up being "the bad guy."
Differences In Cleanliness
My mother is a bit of a clean freak. There can be absolutely no dishes left in the sink overnight. Crumbs on the table must be picked up after every meal. Scattered toys should always be gathered and put in their proper areas. She’s not fond of finding, say, a toothbrush in the downstairs bathroom sink because that should go in our bathroom upstairs. Valiant efforts, to be sure, but sometimes they're not conceivable, especially when there's a baby or toddler in the mix.
So, yeah, my mother's cleaning standards made life a tad more challenging. Not only was I worrying about normal "new mom" worry stuff, but I was also worrying if my mother would discover the mess I left behind. Conversely, I know one mom who tells me she is constantly criticized by her mother for washing her daughter’s hands every time they come into the house, and that she is always having to brush pet hair off her and her daughter due to the grandmother’s three indoor dogs. Unless you see eye-to-eye on how clean a household should be, you’ll clash heads.
A Source Of Strife Between You And Your Partner (If You Have One)
You might have the strongest relationship of all time, but move in with your (or your partner's) parents, and you’ll quickly find something to fight over.
Frequently, these fights will actually be instigated by the grandparents (who will find something negative to say about your partner). Inevitably, this will leave you feeling frustrated so you'll repeat the negative comment to your partner (especially if you got flack for something they did) and suddenly, you and your partner are in an argument. Then, of course, a day will come when your partner will inevitably complain about how unreasonable, or loud, or meddling, your mother is, and all hell will break loose.
Absolutely No Privacy...
A house can become quite small when there’s more than one family living in it. If you're lucky, you will have a private room in the household for just you and your immediately family. That, however, is not always the case for some (if this is you, consider buying some partitions for whatever area of the house you live in).
Regardless, when you live with your parents, your privacy will always get violated some way, some how. Oh, and you can forget about having sex in anything above a whisper in the middle of the night. As if having a sex life wasn’t hard enough with kids around.
...And Absolutely No Space
Wishing you could stock your fridge full of organic kale and seitan from Whole Foods? Forget about it. Your dad has already filled it with his processed meat slices and turkey kielbasa, not to mention your mom’s gallon of almond milk.
Want to go and build a fort in the downstairs living room with your kid? Not gonna happen when their grandma is watching her stories. That breakfast in bed your husband promised you this weekend? His in-laws have taken over the kitchen to cook their own brunch, so it’s off to Denny’s you go.
While you may have pictured your new family living in some cute apartment or house, with your child’s art on the walls, your cozy couch from college in the living room, that battered table in your living room, and being able to walk around in any state of undress you desire at any time of day; this will not be your reality when you live with your parents.
Instead, you’ll worry that your son will eventually fling mashed potatoes at that fancy painting your mother has in the living room. You’ll invest in robes for everyone to wear even in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom. You’ll feel like you’re 25 going on 15 and it will suck. Just remember, this is only temporary. This too shall pass.
You Feel Like A Burden
The worst thing about living with your parents after having kids is, by far, the guilt.
Let’s face it, most of us wouldn't choose to live with our parents if we had stellar finances that allowed us to move back out. You might choose to have them move in with you into a larger space, but moving back in to your old childhood bedroom "just because," isn’t common. What can potentially make matters worse, is the fact that being back at home tends to bring back old bad habits, like not always washing your dishes or letting your laundry pile up to the point that your parents begin to question how you ever survived on the outside in the first place. They tend not to realize that it’s more a symptom of feeling like an overgrown kid again, than a lack of life skills.
In the end, I think it's best to view the situation this way: you’re a parent now. If your grown up child came back to live with you and brought an adorable, squishy baby along, would you really feel that awful?