Author Topic: Any experience combining households with family members?  (Read 2162 times)

Omy

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Any experience combining households with family members?
« on: February 17, 2019, 11:54:28 AM »
Have any of you combined households with other family members? It seems like this might be a mustachian move, but I'm trying to think through the pitfalls before moving forward. DH and I live in a big paid off house that's more than the two of us need. My sister and her two kids need to move and our house is not set up to accommodate them, so we are considering buying a place that will accommodate all 5 of us. Both families will be able to drop housing and utility costs by at least 30% with this move (and probably drop grocery bills a bit as well.) We all get along great (and want to keep it that way), so any thoughts you have to make this work would be appreciated.

Catbert

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2019, 12:13:12 PM »
One thing you need to decide is the exit plan.  Sort of a pre-nup for housing.  Over the years your collective situations will change...kids will grow up, people will die, there could be divorce and more marriages, optional and required moves, etc.  Think about these things and decide who to handle them now when all is calm.

One solution is for one couple to own the home and the other to pay rent.  Of course, that has another set of problems.




lilactree

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 01:32:03 PM »
I guess one question is how compatible do you think you are in cleaning, laundry, cooking habits, tidiness, entertaining, and how everyone might feel about others' noise. Like does someone get up really early for work, and like to have a solid breakfast at home before they go? If so, this might be a consideration for layout of kitchen(s) and bedrooms, and/or materials that muffle sound. Or for example, maybe when you buy appliances, you would prioritize lower decibel levels.

GizmoTX

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2019, 01:41:38 PM »
Besides the exit plan, you need a clear written understanding of what happens if your family member fails to pay their full share or on time. Too often this happens.

The only way I'd consider joint ownership is if the property is wholly owned by a legal partnership, with full documentation.

We are currently in such a partnership of 9 families that equally own a country vacation place. Some are related to each other, most met as friends. Two just sold their shares (equity) to outsiders. Granted, this is a part time situation -- only on certain holidays is everyone there at the same time -- and each family has its own large bedroom & bathroom, with all sharing a large great room for cooking, eating, & group relaxing. There are a couple extra rooms for guests or older children. For full time, I'd consider a duplex or something similar.


LadyMaWhiskers

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2019, 03:55:17 PM »
Have any of you combined households with other family members? It seems like this might be a mustachian move, but I'm trying to think through the pitfalls before moving forward. DH and I live in a big paid off house that's more than the two of us need. My sister and her two kids need to move and our house is not set up to accommodate them, so we are considering buying a place that will accommodate all 5 of us. Both families will be able to drop housing and utility costs by at least 30% with this move (and probably drop grocery bills a bit as well.) We all get along great (and want to keep it that way), so any thoughts you have to make this work would be appreciated.

Depends, depends, on so many things of course. But my gut reaction about this is that your sister will never feel she has equal footing, with the other adults being a married couple. Who is the older sister, and what's the dominance profile in your relationship?

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 04:28:31 PM »
Interesting thoughts and observations...thanks!

Exit strategy is one of my biggest concerns. I had used the term prenup with my sister, but I hadn't considered her remarrying or me getting divorced. There are so many ways this could go wrong, but it could also be great. My sister and I are close and communicate well. My husband is an awesome uncle and would be a great influence on the kids. The kids are awesome and it would be fun to have a little noise and activity (I think). My sister could use the help since she's recently divorced and DH and I will have more time on our hands since we plan to retire soon.

I think we are compatible in most areas, but who knows until you live with somebody. I lived with her as an adult before she had kids. She's easy to get along with and is a really good person. I'm the oldest, she's the youngest, and we always got along as kids. Her biggest concern is that extra adults might affect her kids in unexpected ways (not feeling like they can vent, or kick a ball in the house, or getting direction from too many people in a way that conflicts with her parenting style). I never wanted to have kids, so I think I can continue my "fun" aunt role without getting over-involved.

Any other thoughts much appreciated!



Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2019, 04:55:40 PM »
Very cool article...clever plan that gives everybody plenty of privacy.

Freedomin5

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2019, 01:00:29 AM »
DHs family is like that. Parents bought a triplex. His sister lives in one unit, parents live in another, and they rent out the third. The units where the family live are connected by a staircase, so its like a two story house with one family in the top floor and one on the main floor. The doors are never locked. They have a shared laundry room and a shared backyard.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2019, 02:06:38 AM »
If you buy the bigger house, then make a plan B for renting out that part of the house to someone else if Sis ever wants to move out. If you own the house and Sis rents, then Sis should either pay a normal rent, or her fair share of the housing costs.

If Sis is going to pay her fair share of the housing costs, make sure she only pays for her share of the mortgage interest. You should pay for the mortgage paydown-part, as you are the homeowner. You will get the profit when the house is sold. If you own the house without a mortgage, than I think Sis should pay a rent, comparable to profit you could get for that extra money on the stock market.

You mention that your sister's children might be running around in the house and playing ball inside. And you are not used to children. I would make sure that you keep some rooms where the children are not allowed to enter, like your bedroom and maybe even a private living room, so that you can pull back if the children become a bit overwhelming. I would also make somes rules for them about not playing ball inside.  Maybe you could have a playroom for them where they can have their toys most of the time? Children tend to leave toys all over the place if they get the chance.

jojoguy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2019, 05:14:37 AM »
My parents live with us. They wouldn`t be able to afford to live on their own after they retired. They pay a few of our bills. Gas, water, and electricity. They have been a shining example of the type of retirement that I do not want. They wasted what little money they had in their youth. I have learned a lot from them through watching their experiences. Honestly, I am somewhat bitter about it. We were dirt poor growing up because of how careless they were. I did not realize how careless they were until I grew up, and they are still very careless and stupid. For example: they just paid almost $300 this month for their phone bills, even though they are on a fixed income. They never take my advice and they hide stuff like this bill from me because they think that I am just being critical. When in actuality, I am trying to help them.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 05:17:21 AM by jojoguy »

Malkynn

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2019, 05:21:51 AM »
The biggest red flag I see is your sister getting remarried and you ending up having bought an even bigger house that you don't need.

Many divorced women I've  known have remarried much sooner than they thought they ever would. It's unlikely that the new husband is going to want to live with his in laws. Then you've incurred all of the costs of selling, buying and moving, only to have her move out potentially within a few years.

If they could fit in your current home, it would be different, but going through the expense and energy to buy a new place to accommodate a situation that is highly likely to end in not too long???

If it were two established couples, maybe, but I just don't think it's all that common for people to stay single for the amount of time you would want to hold onto the new house before selling again.

The second red flag I see is teenagers. It's not absolutely clear that you don't have kids, but it sounds like you've never lived as adults with teens before, but that shit can take years off of your life.
The hormones are real my friend.

I've seen enough brutal conflicts between step parents of teens, which is not a dissimilar dynamic, where the fights between the bio parent and the non bio parent have been absolutely vicious.

Do not underestimate the capacity of a teen to drive people insane and do not underestimate the power of a mother to protect them. How will you handle a teen bringing drugs (or even drug dealers) into your home? It's hard for 3 adults to all be on the same page about things like that. Hell, it's hard enough for two bio parents to be on the same page...

If she's already concerned about her kids not being able to "let loose", and you think that having her kids live with you that you can maintain the "fun aunt" role???
Yeah...to me, that sounds like neither of you are perceiving the magnitude of the potential conflicts or even where they might arise.

Living with your sister is completely different than living with your sister as a single mother.

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2019, 06:14:52 AM »
DH and I don't have kids, so we have no idea how that will play out. Her kids are well behaved young teens, but I know that can change quickly. Hadn't thought about drugs being brought into the house. And I hadn't considered my sister in a relationship because she is so focused on the kids and can't see it in her future. But that could change quickly as well. And we really don't want to end up in a huge house by ourselves or renting to strangers (though the basement of the house we're looking at would be an amazing airbnb apartment, if HOA allows).

We were planning to buy together. We would put 50% down and she would pay the mortgage but that brings complications as well. We would need to reimburse her for our share of taxes/insurance, doing taxes gets more complicated, and probably lots of other things we haven't considered.

Malkynn

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2019, 07:02:04 AM »
DH and I don't have kids, so we have no idea how that will play out. Her kids are well behaved young teens, but I know that can change quickly. Hadn't thought about drugs being brought into the house. And I hadn't considered my sister in a relationship because she is so focused on the kids and can't see it in her future. But that could change quickly as well. And we really don't want to end up in a huge house by ourselves or renting to strangers (though the basement of the house we're looking at would be an amazing airbnb apartment, if HOA allows).

We were planning to buy together. We would put 50% down and she would pay the mortgage but that brings complications as well. We would need to reimburse her for our share of taxes/insurance, doing taxes gets more complicated, and probably lots of other things we haven't considered.

With these added details, I'm in the 100% absolute no camp.

People fall in love unexpectedly all the time, especially when they aren't looking to. There are so many divorced people our there now that her options are nearly unlimited, and focusing on kids often means interacting with a lot of other parents...including single dads.

I've known TONS of newly divorced people who swore up and down that they planned on being single for years, who ended up remarried within just a few years of divorcing.

It happens all the time.

And yes, having a teenager living with you absolutely means being prepared for things like drugs, friends who are drug dealers, drinking, possible drinking and driving, smoking, and sex.

Not to mention mood swings, disrespect, weird sleeping patterns, a seemingly aggressive level of disregard for shared spaces, some terrifyingly dirty bedrooms, eye rolling, door slamming, personal hygiene problems, etc, etc.

Teens are a wild ride, and few people are prepared for it because they think they know the kids beforehand.
I find it funny every single time I see it.

FTR, I'm the friend that people send their teens to when they need a break and are close to killing them, so I've heard every kind of horror story there is.

Sometimes it's just something unbearably irrational and stupid, like the friend who couldn't figure out where all of the glasses were only to find that her 14 year old was shoving mostly empty glasses of milk under the basement sofa while he played video games. The mould ended up so bad they had to throw out the sofa.
He was one of those really good kids too. Lol. Still, his mom was on the phone with me shrieking "I JUST FUCKING CAN'T WITH HIM!!!"

Never underestimate teenagers. Never.
Theirs is guerilla warfare, and they'll strike you exactly where you don't expect it, hahaha.

Personally, I love teens. Their raw emotional drama and ridiculousness entertains me to no end. I would never live with one (or two!!) AND their parent(s) though. Too complicated. All landmines all the time.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2019, 07:07:35 AM »
Divorced people remarrying often means having a double set of children in the home, half the time.

lizzzi

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2019, 07:20:33 AM »
Get a duplex. You can own it, and your sister pays rent to you. That way it is on a business footing, and the two families each have their own space. That is the way my family lived for 40 years--grandmother and bachelor uncle in upstairs half of house; mother, father, four kids in downstairs half of duplex. Basement, attic, garage, yard shared. Uncle was the owner and downstairs mom and dad paid him rent. When grandmother and subsequently the uncle died, one of the kids--now grown up--lived in the upstairs half and was able to assist the now-widowed mom who lived downstairs. Mom inherited the house from bachelor uncle who was her older brother. Not the Waltons, but worked pretty well over the 40 years--family watchword was "Let's be good business partners--that way we'll always be good friends."

rosarugosa

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2019, 07:31:04 AM »
This is a great thread!  We've considered doing this with my sister who is divorced, but realize the potential pitfalls are many. I agree that a duplex or two-family would be the best way to go.

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2019, 09:28:38 AM »
Darn you, logical people! Just kidding. Your comments are immensely helpful.

Malkynn

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2019, 09:47:59 AM »
Darn you, logical people! Just kidding. Your comments are immensely helpful.

Often there's a really good reason why no one seems to ever do something a certain way that looks good on the surface.

All that to say though: just because it may not be the best idea to co-house with your single mom of two teens sister, doesn't mean that co-housing is a bad option for you if you choose to change your housing situation.

If you are the kind of people who would enjoy living with others, then why not explore the options that you might have moving forward?

Even if you were to go ahead with your sister, it would make a lot more sense if you were open to other roommates in the event that she moved out. Then there would be much less risk with the plan because you wouldn't have wasted buying the bigger house.

It's not necessarily a bad plan, you just need to be aware of the worst case scenarios and decide if the possible fallout is worth the possible gains.

Honestly, the biggest risk is to your relationship with your sister.
Malkynn life wisdom: never live with or work with someone you aren't prepared to end up hating.

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2019, 10:40:13 AM »
Fortunately, I could never hate my sister or her kids. My sister is the best person I know and she is doing everything she can to raise smart, respectful, caring kids. Much of the rest of the world seems to embrace extended families living together so I know there would be positives too. Her daughter is my mini-me and her son thinks the world of my husband. They are old enough not to need us to take care of them - and they are genuinely fun to spend time with. So much to think about since we obviously want to keep the relationships strong.

Duke03

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2019, 12:28:58 PM »
No way I could ever do this.  I'm sorry but I don't even want to have a guest more than two nights in my own house.  I just can't relax and be myself if other people are around.  What happens when you and your SO have an argument?  Things just start to feel way to weird with other people constantly always around.

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2019, 06:48:09 AM »
I agree this would never work in a smaller house, but the property in question has 7000 finished square feet with lots of room to retreat. We are all pretty quiet, no loud hobbies or music, and none of us entertain much. There are separate levels to escape to and everybody would get their own bedroom, bathroom and walk in closet.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2019, 07:24:39 AM »
I agree this would never work in a smaller house, but the property in question has 7000 finished square feet with lots of room to retreat. We are all pretty quiet, no loud hobbies or music, and none of us entertain much. There are separate levels to escape to and everybody would get their own bedroom, bathroom and walk in closet.

That all sounds good. But aren't you then paying for a lot more house than you actually need on an MMM level? Like every person their own bathroom sounds to me like a lot of luxury.

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2019, 02:22:04 PM »
I currently have 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths in 3500 finished sf for just DH and I, so going to one bedroom and one full bath for us might be slightly more efficient/ mustachian. This move would drop housing costs for us by approximately 30% and improve our retirement income since we would be able to rent our current home to generate approximately $30k in rental income (net). We have another rental that nets $20k annually. This passive rental income coupled with investment income would result in fat-FIRE.

I'm the first to admit that the property in question is not mustachian. But if sharing the property results in savings for everybody involved, can I reasonably rationalize that it is a mustachian living arrangement?

elaine amj

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2019, 05:29:36 PM »
I like cosharing and am used to different family members living together. In fact, my MIL lives with me for 10 years and now my mother lives with us.

In your case, I too would suggest a duplex. Or a house that could easily be converted to a duplex if necessary.

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Road42

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2019, 05:36:26 PM »
Fortunately, I could never hate my sister or her kids. My sister is the best person I know and she is doing everything she can to raise smart, respectful, caring kids. Much of the rest of the world seems to embrace extended families living together so I know there would be positives too. Her daughter is my mini-me and her son thinks the world of my husband. They are old enough not to need us to take care of them - and they are genuinely fun to spend time with. So much to think about since we obviously want to keep the relationships strong.

I grew up like this: a giant apartment with large room or two each for my grandparents, great-grandma, my mom and dad and me, and my aunt and uncle and cousin. It was completely amazing and I loved it. My family was and stayed incredibly close and I got to know the older generations on a really profound level. But yes, not in this country. This is a weird place where we pay a lot of lip service to the idea of "family values" but then have this thread where people are advising you to move in with random strangers instead of family. You get along well, you love each other, not every teenager is a druggie, so yes definitely move in. Not everything is a business transaction first. Yeesh.

Malkynn

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2019, 06:57:04 AM »
Fortunately, I could never hate my sister or her kids. My sister is the best person I know and she is doing everything she can to raise smart, respectful, caring kids. Much of the rest of the world seems to embrace extended families living together so I know there would be positives too. Her daughter is my mini-me and her son thinks the world of my husband. They are old enough not to need us to take care of them - and they are genuinely fun to spend time with. So much to think about since we obviously want to keep the relationships strong.

I grew up like this: a giant apartment with large room or two each for my grandparents, great-grandma, my mom and dad and me, and my aunt and uncle and cousin. It was completely amazing and I loved it. My family was and stayed incredibly close and I got to know the older generations on a really profound level. But yes, not in this country. This is a weird place where we pay a lot of lip service to the idea of "family values" but then have this thread where people are advising you to move in with random strangers instead of family. You get along well, you love each other, not every teenager is a druggie, so yes definitely move in. Not everything is a business transaction first. Yeesh.

No, not every teenager is a druggie, most aren't, but it's absolutely 100% unrealistic to consider moving in with two teenagers and to not even consider the possibility that they might bring drugs into the house at some point.

It's not that co-housing is a bad idea for her, it's that it's an absolutely terrible idea for her at her current level of preparedness. She hadn't even considered the possibility of her sister getting remarried.

OP has gotten a lot of food for thought here and if she thinks it through, talks it through with her husband and sister and decides that she's really excited about the idea, then great!

She's free to reject any and every concern brought up here that doesn't apply to her, but it's worth thinking about all of them.

Also, I fully agree that this should not be primarily a financial decision, which is why her main motivation should not be the 30% housing cost savings to each family.

OP, I would actually encourage you to contemplate if you would do this if there were no financial benefit.
If you wouldn't do it if there were little to no financial benefit, then I would reflect carefully on the motivations.

Road42

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2019, 07:08:29 AM »
Fortunately, I could never hate my sister or her kids. My sister is the best person I know and she is doing everything she can to raise smart, respectful, caring kids. Much of the rest of the world seems to embrace extended families living together so I know there would be positives too. Her daughter is my mini-me and her son thinks the world of my husband. They are old enough not to need us to take care of them - and they are genuinely fun to spend time with. So much to think about since we obviously want to keep the relationships strong.

I grew up like this: a giant apartment with large room or two each for my grandparents, great-grandma, my mom and dad and me, and my aunt and uncle and cousin. It was completely amazing and I loved it. My family was and stayed incredibly close and I got to know the older generations on a really profound level. But yes, not in this country. This is a weird place where we pay a lot of lip service to the idea of "family values" but then have this thread where people are advising you to move in with random strangers instead of family. You get along well, you love each other, not every teenager is a druggie, so yes definitely move in. Not everything is a business transaction first. Yeesh.

No, not every teenager is a druggie, most aren't, but it's absolutely 100% unrealistic to consider moving in with two teenagers and to not even consider the possibility that they might bring drugs into the house at some point.

Sure, but at the same token I could say most people aren't knife-wielding psychopaths, but it's absolutely 100% unrealistic to consider moving in with roommate strangers and to not even consider the possibility that they might try to kill you with a knife at some point. Yet nowhere in this thread do I see people raising this as a possibility when offering OP the option of sharing a large house with tenants. It's just sort of crazy to me that in the face of the OP saying that she loves her sister and her kids, knows them really well, and has lived with her sister as adults in the past, the reaction is "watch out, those teenagers will ruin your life and everyone else's lives, and you and your sister will end up hating each other." That seems alarmist and catastrophizing to a degree that I find unproductive and unreasonable. OP, I'd say you're in the perfect situation to find a suitable house to share with your sister and nieces/nephews. Again, think of this as a financial and family decision rather than a purely financial one.

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2019, 11:57:48 AM »
So the house went under contract today...before we could work through all of the "what ifs". ALL five of us were disappointed. There was no sense of relief. So that tells me something.

It isn't just financial. It's also about living in an awesome house and having more family in my life. And about being helpful to my sister.

I appreciate all of your feedback. It's why I posted. I tend to analyze the heck out of everything before making a decision - and this forum is a great way to hear about everybody's thoughts and experiences.

ginjaninja

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2019, 12:20:41 PM »
Question:  there are two of you who share one room, your sister gets her own room, and each of the kids gets their own room? 

Why cant they move into your house with 4 bedrooms?  Maybe as a trial and if you need a bigger place you have already worked out alot of the kinks? 

Omy

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2019, 01:30:09 PM »
I thought about that, but it could only be a very short term plan. Her kids are in magnet programs in a neighboring county. If they move here, they lose their spots in the program.

TrMama

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Re: Any experience combining households with family members?
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2019, 02:40:27 PM »
so I think I can continue my "fun" aunt role without getting over-involved.


I think cohabitating can be a great option. We do it with MIL. However, if you live with kids, you can't be the "fun" aunt all the time. Especially as they become teens and start to experiment with pushing boundaries. They'll just start to take advantage of the situation.

My mom has tried to stay the "fun" grandma. It worked fine when they were little, but isn't working so well now that my 12yo is in full on teen mode. Plus my mom's spine seems to have turned to jelly. Which is a bit surprising since she never would've let me get away with the stunts my DD has pulled.

And it's not even drugs or sex that's the issue. It's that the teen wants to sleep alllllll the time and my mom gets offended that the teen doesn't want to hang out with her anymore, but she won't stop the kid from just camping out in the spare bedroom.

Anyway the TL;DR version is that if you live with teens, or kids, you need to enforce some boundaries. Likely whatever boundaries their parent establishes, plus whatever things the kids come up with that drive you batty.