In the early 1900’s more than 50 percent of homes were multigenerational. This type of living arrangement is defined by two or more adult generations with adult children over 25 and/or grandparents and grandchildren under age 24 living in the same home. That number lessened significantly in the 1950’s and continued to be the odd situation until after our Great Recession in 2016. We now have over 64 million or 20% of the population living together again. In the next three blogs, I’m going to share some of the Pro’s and Cons, Rules of Engagement and Homes and Living arrangements that work well.
Right now, I’ll share my personal story and the lessons I learned mostly the hard way. In late 1993 we got a call from my husband’s grandmother. She had had a TIA, was scared and living here by herself in Florida. We were living in Oklahoma at the time and made the decision to move to Tampa. We decided she needed family close and wanted to make sure that she was taken care of. So, we sold our 1908 Craftsman bungalow and took off with our two pre-school age boys. We moved in together immediately in March of 1994 and tried desperately to make a small ranch home work. There was so much we didn’t know or understand.
After moving here, no job, no home (WOOT! Yep, that was stressful!), we settled into a 3/2 ranch home in Temple Terrace. Grandmother had found a place we could all call home temporarily. She took the master suite and formal living room for her space and we took over the rest of the house. I was 29 at the time and CLUELESS. I can honestly say, we all did our best. I tried to cook for everyone, but I now had a diabetic in the house and had no idea how to change our diet which had been full fat and high carbs and incorporate her needs. Remember, Google had not been invented yet and we were still learning our new GUI Windows computer. My second obstacle was family time. We were accustomed to taking off on the weekends to parks, flea markets, malls, the beach, etc., to keep the boys entertained. All things that Grandmother could do for short times but not at the pace of us young adults and 5 and 6 year-old boys. Needless to say feelings got hurt and the living arrangement made us all a little nutso. After about 8 months of multigenerational living, Grandmother made a deposit on an assisted living condo. I look back now and know that she had recovered from her TIA and because she didn’t have a separate space to enjoy friends, the constant activity in the house was exhausting for her. Having her a few minutes away removed the frustration and allowed us to maintain a much better relationship. If only we had known about homes with MIL apartments.
My second attempt to have two generations of adults in the house involves those same little boys who grew up and became adults or Boomerangers. Over the last 10 years, we have had both the boys move in, move out, move back in with girlfriends and GET moved back out. Bear with me, there is some humor in all this. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. The most important thing I can stress, is there must be some guidelines. RULES!!! Oh Em Gee! Bringing a testosterone filled male back into the house without an understanding of expected courtesies and responsibilities will make your nights sleepless and your days a nightmare. Now, I realize that there might those perfect adult children out there somewhere on another planet that automatically offer to help with chores, pay a bill or let you know when they are going to be home. I, unfortunately did not birth one of those. Being the good parents we are, we attempted to help our boys find their place in this world by adjusting our living arrangements when the need arose. Not setting boundaries and expectations was a huge mistake and one that caused unbelievable stress and almost the end of our marriage multiple times.
When you decide to have other adults whether older or younger in your home after weighing the Pros and Cons, the first thing you MUST do is set your Rules of Engagement and determine if your current Home and Living arrangement will work. Helping you determine your Home and Living arrangement is something that #TheMHTTeam specializes in. Visit www.MyHistoricTampa.com/boyl, we can help you create a plan to rebuild, renovate or sell and buy new.
The MHT Team Leader
Florida Executive Realty