Summer vacation is going great!
We’re sightseeing, eating too much, spending time together, and watching silly TV.
Last night when the kids were snoozing, hubby and I were snuggling and watching a super old syndicated episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. It definitely made the oldie but goodie list.
This episode was the one where the five adults are playing “Scruples” and Marie, in her overbearing and “who me?” manner asks if Ray would TAKE HER IN when she’s elderly. The squeamish, passive aggressive, and “five-year-old” Ray says YES.
Of course Debra is horrified and immediately follows Ray into the kitchen to ask him what his problem is.
“Shouldn’t this be a decision that should be discussed?… Marie might be taking you seriously.”
Click —> full episode synopsis
Hubby and I immediately looked at each other and laughed so hard our stomach muscles ached. Yes – it seemed innocent. Yes – it was just a game. BUT – Debra was right – Marie was serious when asking Ray. (And let me point out how manipulative Marie was being in making up the question in the first place. Boo, Marie, boo!!)
Debra from a separate episode:
“When I got married, I didn’t just get a husband; I got a whole freak show that set up their tent right across the street! And that would be fine–if they stayed there! But every day–every day–they dump a truckload of their insane family dreck into my lap!“
When we originally discussed my mom moving into our house, Kanesha was pregnant and we were looking at childcare. We don’t remember who first mentioned the option nor if we were serious when it was first discussed.
I totally remember who suggested it. You’re mother! She said something like, “Well, maybe I should sell my house and move in to help you all with the baby since I didn’t know I could still get grandchildren.” We didn’t know how serious this was at first…
While I watched Debra imagine her future with Marie living with her (and not just across the street from her), I felt myself saying:
1. How dare he make this decision without consulting you! I would shake him!
2. Debra, does Ray even realize the dynamic of your relationship with Marie? Is is really a blind fool? (I’ve watched the show enough; YES he is!)
3. This development (the “invitation” to Marie) calls for drastic measures. Debra, you may have to go on whoopie strike or find a referral for a good divorce attorney.
3. Put your foot down and tell Ray that all of you need to go to family counseling before you will even CONSIDER this multigenerational set-up.
4. Start drinking heavily, but no driving.
5. Continue the whoopie strike!
Had my mother-in-law been like Marie, conniving, controlling, and overbearing, there is absolutely no way I would have considered having her live with us. Before our multigenerational household was realized, my relationship with my mother-in-law was already one of friendship, camaraderie, discovery and proper boundaries. She is NO Marie!
Here are some quick and dirty tips, from me, if you are considering setting up a multigenerational household:
1. Don’t consider multigenerational living if you recoil in horror just thinking about it. It’s not for everyone.
2. Be honest throughout all discussions about living with parents/in-laws (or other family members). You’re not going to become a saint for saying YES, when you really want to say NO!
3. If you have a hard time being honest and articulating your ideas during verbal discussions, write your thoughts down and create talking points. This is not the time to be a martyr.
4. Seek out a mediator (e.g. counselor, life coach, clergy member, psychologist, etc.) to talk things through as a group. This may make any challenging discussions safer.
5. If finances are the catalyst for you considering multigenerational living, be sure to look at all possible solutions so that you are not being backed into any corners.
Multigenerational living is pretty comical and there are lots of stories that could be scripted for a sitcom. Do you have any stories that you can share with us that are worth of a sitcom?