Living with the Inlaws

Updated on August 26, 2008
E.E. asks from Grand Rapids, MI
7 answers

ok ladies,well does anyone have advice on to handle living "with the inlaws",because of job cuts and everything my hubby and i and kids are have to live with his mom and dad...things have not always been good between all of us,{they didnt like the fact i was married before and had kids and now cant have anymore}well now after 3 yrs now they have accepted the all this love my kids..but how do u handle the everyday with them...the DH has lived with his mom and dad till he was 26 that is when he married me,ive been on my own more and less out of my mom and dad's since i was 17..then the kids how do keep the peace with all this HELP PLEASE THANK YOU

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for all the advice and prays...things are going great here..iam a clean freak so my mil is loving that her house is cleanner then normal and that dinner is made for everyone at a decent time like 6:30 instead when they ate about 8 pm at nite,plus the dh is still finishing thier kichen he has been redoing for over a month and we both have been working on redoing the basement where we will be...good thing the dh is good at total kichen and home remoldeing..cuz he tore this kichen out down to the studs...but all is good so far..everynite about 8:30 is our time togather and we let them have thier time alone also..both of work early in the morning til about 4:30 and i work 5am till when ever but i do daycare and the weekend i work doing adult foster care..please pray the dh finds a job soon so we can get out of here faster and get our own place again..thanks again iam just running off with my typing now keep in touch all of u

More Answers



answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi E., I lived with my inlaws for 1 yr and that just ended in July!!! It was a long and grueling year. It was not easy but in the end it turned out fine. I have a few suggestions for you and you can take them or leave them as you wish. All of our stuff was in storage so as not to invade too much into there space. They gave us 2 bedrooms, one for my husband and myself (right across the hall from their bedroom!!! ) and one for my son who was only 4 months when we moved in. It was sooo difficult to keep everything in a bedroom (it's like living in a dorm from college all over again) but it could be done. I wasn't very organized in the room (it was small) but I could have done a better job. I would have a filing system for all of your bills and statements. Organization is key!!!
Having seperate spaces if possible is nice. If they have a finished basement, make that "your families hang out space".
Always keep your laundry seperate and do your own. Be aware of when they need to do laundry and try not to use the washing machine and dryer at that time.
I tried to cook one day a week but it's hard in someone elses kitchen so I usually took on the task of dishes and trying to stay on top of loading and unloading the dishwasher.
Make sure to give them time and space in their own home. On Saturday's or Sunday's find something that you can do with the family so that they can relax in their own space.
We also paid them while we lived there. They weren't trying to make money off of us just trying to cover the expense of extra water, electricity, gas, food, etc. while we were there. That amount was set up before we moved in and that seemed to work well. She did all the grocery shopping (execpt for what we needed for the baby). That was nice and it would be too hard to seperate 2 families food anyways. I liked that we paid them so then I didn't feel guilty about anything that we were using. We didn't pay them all that much just enough to cover some expenses.

It's a hard situation to be in and there probably will be some disagreements as you would expect when 2 grown women live together and have different ideas. Respect each other, give each other their space and also never say anything that you can't take back. You will have to bite your tongue sooo many times but once you leave you'll be glad you did so you don't have those disagreements hanging over your head. I had to bite my tongue so many times when my MIL would say something about how my husband and I were raising our son (they always have opinions especially with infants and luckily your sons are older so maybe this won't happen so much with you).
I wish you the best and good luck. I hope this situation is not long term. I know that things were best with us in the beginning and also in the end once the end was in sight!! While I was there in the middle I would say all the time that I'm never coming back here once we move out (and that was only to my husband) but now that it's been almost 2 months since we've moved out I'm willing to go over there. I've even had them over for dinner in our house.



answers from Detroit on

Oh Boy.

Ok, I've not lived with my in-laws other than extended vacations with them. However, when I was growing up (from about 12 until college) my grandparents lived with us. Our situation was a more permanent one due to my grandfathers health ... and so that was taken into consideration when the arrangements were first made. We basically had 2 seperate living spaces but some things were shared ... like yard and laundry and garage. However, I think I picked up on some things that might help here.

First, you and hubby need to sit down and talk about how you see your family functioning in this new environment. What household rules still apply to your kids, how do you see daily activities, etc... Will you be eating ALL meals with the grandparents, etc.. You DO NEED to discuss ALONE family time. You WILL need it. You need it as a couple and you need it as a family. You can NOT expect to maintain peace and sanity if you are expected to be around your in-laws 24/7. THey need their alone time. You need yours.

So, discuss this with hubby. Get your bearings. Then sit down together and discuss with the in-laws. Get their perspective. How do THEY see this going. What are their expectations. You need to talk about all of these things up front. If you don't, then there WILL BE problems. Everyone is going into this with expectations. Whether they are spoken or not. If you do not get them out in the open, then when those expectations are not met there will be hurt feelings and anger. Because how can you expects to have expectations met if they are not discussed. Just doesn't happen.

Also, I would have the 4 of you agree that periodically you all sit down and discuss how it is going. What is working. What is not working. How can we move to fix it. Agree on this up front. Then when it is time for the discussion everyone knows it is coming and there is not idea that this is going to be a complaining session. Just adults sitting and discussing the situation and if particular things need to be changed.

Yes, it is their house. But you need to feel as if it is your house too. Otherwise you will constantly feel like a guest visiting ... and frankly, that is EXAUHSTING! So, make sure you discuss things like what days of the week you will do your family's laundry and what days of the week they will do theirs. Will you eat all meals together, or will there be some days you and your family have a meal on their own. I would suggest at least once a week a meal on your own just to check in with eachother and see how everyone is handling the transition and new situation.

I would NOT have your MIL do your family laundry. You need to maintain as much of your own independence and authority with YOUR family. People have a tendency if they are doing things like your laundry consistently then they feel they have a right to 'butt in' more. And there will be some nose poking I'm sure. You're living in their house. But you need to maintain your own routines as much as possible. This will keep you and your husband as the primary 'parents' and provide your boys with some stability during this transitional time.

Coming to the kids. You need to state UP FRONT with your in laws what is OK and what is not ok. It's one thing visiting grandma and grandpa.... it's another to live with them. What are the rules as far as foods, treats, discipline, etc...

Basically, try to think through your daily and weekly lifeHow do weekends look, how do the evenings look. Do you have a regular exercise class, craft class, or something like that you attend every week? Does your husband or kids? Just get everything out in the open. How is it now... and how do you see it after the change. Obviously you can't keep everything exactly the same. There will be some changes...but if you discuss it up front, and everyone knows the expectations up front ... it will be easier. If someone does something they are supposed to do ... then it is easy to say 'we talked about this and all agreed not to do that'. Instead of being really confrontational and saying 'I don't like it when you do such and such'

This is going to be tough no matter what way you look at it. But, if you go into it eyes wide open and discuss things up front I think you can eliviate many of the pitfalls. Keep everything on an adult conversation level it will help keep the peace. Lots of prayer helps too!

Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

I lived with my MIL for 3 years while my husband finished school. We had an infant when we moved in and had a 2nd child while we were living there.
One of the best things that we did was sit down and talk with my MIL about our expectations and asked her what her expectations were.
I would also recommend that you have a you are going to make it possible to move out and when.
Many Blessings, K.



answers from Saginaw on

Hello E., Without knowing the situations I can only give you general advice. Bounderies and respect are important. Knocking on doors before entering, asking before touching others things, etc. Stay on a time frame throughout the day, so that others know what to excpect during the day. Night time rituals let everyone know that it's time to wind down at the end of the day. Most important, when there is conflict, it should be your husband who addresses the issue with his parents. Otherwise you will be caught in the middle of your husband and HIS family. If he is not on your side then the trouble is the marriage, not the in-laws. This tip can save marriages. Good luck.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Just try to help out as much as you can. Pick up after yourself and the kids diligently. Sometimes when you are with someone so much little things can get on your nerves, that goes both ways you know, they can get on your nerves but you also will get on theirs too. Try to give them as much space as possible. Remember that you are moving into their space and they are doing you a favor by letting you stay, try and remind yourself of that, and also verbally let them know how much its appreciated, sometimes that can go a long way to ease tensions.
Just remember to contribute as much as you can, you don't want them to feel taken advantage of. By this I mean help out around the house with housework or yardwork, things that normally you would't be expected to help with, offer to do things or just do them! And if its at all possible try to help out with some money, remember its costing them extra for you to be there, electric, water, laundry, food, etc. Your inlaws will have more respect for you both if you do this, and it will keep tensions and hard feelings to a minimum. I hope this helps. God Bless you.



answers from Kalamazoo on

That is certainly difficult. Honestly living with my inlaws would be easier than with my parents! I had to do that for 4 months this spring and it was HARD.

The thing that would make living with the inlaws easier than my folks was the openness of discussing stuff. Also being willing/able to have a division of labor. They are very good about being up front about who does what and who's space is who's. My parents didn't grasp that concept. My mom would never divide up the household chores but instead wanted me to just follow her around everywhere and "help her". Well that wastes a lot of time and I'd like to just focus on the chores and get them done so I have time to myself. That (time to myself) was considered rude and isolating. My mom wanted a companion.

I knew we had a set period of time to stay with them, so it wasn't the end of the world, but if it was for a more indefinite period I would've had to sit down and have the talk about how I need some space/routine and time to myself to keep my sanity. I'm willing to help out with chores so lets figure out who wants to do what each week. Also let me do my chores on my own timetable and without nagging, and trust that I"m capable to do them myself (I'm 30...).

It was hard, since my mom babysat my 18month old while I worked 4 hrs per day, there was a little of this guilt of, I helped you this morning so you help me tonight...

Best wishes, hope you can discuss whatever the contentious issues are and get some sanity. I know its HARD as an adult to live with another family period, much less inlaws.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Lots of prayer, if you pray that is! God is wonderful to lean on! I lived on my own for almost 2 years, then moved in with my boyfriend (now my husband) because I was pg. and had no job, and he was paying my rent and all utilities, which wasn't much, rent was like $89. But it was a waste of money. I had gotten along with his parents before that fine, and got along great with his mom. But his dad and I butt heads (Thank the Lord we get along great now!) See, my mom was a neat freak, and they were way more layed back, not slobs, just not um, well, putting a clean house above all else like my mother did. While I am not a neatfreak, it annoyed me to have my DFIL wear his barn boots in the house, down the basement stairs (carpeted) through the basement, which went right past where my kids played, had to vacuum it 2x a day, cuz he worked split shifts. Plus, just the little things. It annoyed me. We got so bad we didn't talk.
Shoot, I am scarying you. It is really tough to go from independant to dependant in someone else's home. Try to bear with it. Help out as much as you can, and they should appreciate it, and if not, keep doing it, who knows when you move back out they'll miss it! Try to be positive, you can get though this. I somehow did and have a great relationship with my in-laws. It is hard, but at least their is a roof over your head, electricity, heat, running water. You have it good. And who knows, you may be out of there soon. Hope all goes well for you. Sorry about my story, but it is what happened, I should have had more patience but you live and learn.

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