Posts Tagged ‘multigenerational household’

Blue Bloods – a multigenerational show to watch


Tom Selleck and me, circa 2003


Television is not a huge priority in our house – we only have one.  I do not watch a lot shows; Mad Men and Parenthood are at the top of my list and of course, my alma mater’s football games.  I am NOT a fan of most reality TV shows.  I would rather be subjected to bodily injury than watch any of the Real Housewives series.  But, one new Fall show got my attention for two reasons: it is a show about a multigenerational family and it stars Tom Selleck.   

Many of my friends will recall my flat-out obsession with Tom Selleck when he starred in Magnum, P.I.  (Perhaps this is a better memory for me than them?  I can almost make out the eye-rolling as I write this.)  And later, when I was in college (as luck would have it, it was the same university from which he graduated) I met him several times when he attended alumni events – moments I will never forget.  And no – my dear college friends – no need to re-live my insanity at the alumni volleyball game that occurred the same day of  his birthday – a fact that no one knew but me… 

So when I heard about Blue Bloods – well, you can imagine that there was no way I was going to miss it.  I liked it – but not for the reason that you might think.   

It was an interesting storyline – family of police officers, with Tom Selleck the Chief of Police in NY.  He has four adult children, one son having recently been killed in the line of duty.  His only daughter is a district attorney.   Two other sons are on the police force. 

But it was the family-themed, (do not read this as poltically conversative please…) many generations close together every day, that got me.  And in particular, the family dinner with 4, count them 4, generations sitting down to a meal on a Sunday night that was eerily familiar.  

Does this sound like any dinner you have had with family before?…Lots of people in the kitchen, differing opinions among the adult kids and some snipping among parents, children and even grandchildren.  People up and down from the table, one person leaving early, and at some point, alcohol was located and consumed to provide some relief. 

Sounds about right….  Families are complex and people disagree and things can get a bit, shall we say, testy.  But family is non-negotiable in my book and for them it seems, too.  

Blue Bloods has been added to my TV list – and apparently, I am not the only one who liked the show – it reeled in the viewers on Friday night.  Tom Selleck is a big draw for me but it was really fun to watch the family dynamics and see how often I said, “I get that….”


Raising Hope = multigenerational dysfunction

by Kanesha

The fall 2010 TV line-up is underway and our DVR is being put to work.

I was so excited for all the new shows and returning favorites that I made a viewing matrix for this week. (I know, judge me!)

We do not watch a huge amount of television (no, I’m not going to define huge), but we do like to watch some shows as an entire multigenerational family (e.g. Dancing With the Stars).

Tonight, my nuclear family and I decided to watch Raising Hope (FOX). I’m a fan of Greg Garcia and I enjoyed his work with My Name is Earl.


I was not at all prepared for what I saw. When I was wishing for more multigenerational themed TV shows, I wasn’t exactly talking about this.

The Chance family is a multigenerational family with a whole lot of crazy going on. (See show’s summary.)

As I watched the zany, jaw dropping, and wacky interactions of this family unfold, I laughed hysterically. Yes, I was totally into the potty humor and tasteless jokes of this sitcom.


I guess you must have a good and sometimes obtuse sense of humor when you live in a multigenerational household.

As Jimmy’s grandmother, “Maw Maw” (Cloris Leachman), walks around in her bra, smoking a cigarette, yelling at her dead husband, and going in and out of lucidity, I inserted myself into this lunacy and imagined Maw Maw being my mother-in-law. What in the world would I do with my real mother-in-law if she was, in reality, that nutty?


Then there is the grandmother to Hope (Jimmy’s mother), Virginia Chance (Martha Plimpton).


Her smoking, trash talking, and tossing baby Hope around in the backseat would have me loosing my mind. I’m not sure if I would prefer Virginia or Maw Maw being my mother-in-law. Either way, I would have to drink heavily all day, install a nanny cam, and perhaps consider a divorce.

My multigenerational reality vs. Multigenerational chaos with the Chance family

When I went back to work after being on family leave, my little guy refused to take the bottle. Here my mother-in-law was living with us for only a month, still in transitional mode, and her three-month-old grandson would not take the bottle. I wonder if Jimmy Chance’s rubber glove method would have worked better than the cry your head off hysterically until you finally yield to taking expressed milk in a bottle.


Then there was the time when my mother-in-law took my son to infant swim class. She received the “polite” stares and eyes that were secretly asking, “What’s this white lady doing with this little brown baby?” Someone even asked my mother-in-law from what country had her son (my hubby) gotten this baby. I’m glad my mother-in-law ignored those people, focused on singing Wheels on the Bus with her grandson, and didn’t have to explain anything about being in the penitentiary and not knowing the song’s words.

I’m especially glad my mother-in-law has never puked on my son due to a toxic and poopy diaper. There my mother-in-law was yesterday, at the recreation center, meeting her trainer for the first time. My son was in childcare and just as the training session was to begin, the childcare folks informed my mother-in-law that her grandson pooped in his pants, and yet, she did not puke. My mother-in-law handled the situation like a pro. She cleaned him up, sent him back to play time (albeit commando) and finished up her workout with the trainer.


I’m not sure how long we will stick with this show. I suppose we’ll watch until it’s just too ridiculous to maintain our TV watching dignity. I definitely don’t have any plans to encourage my mother-in-law to watch it. She would be overly irritated on so many levels (the top issue being the portrayal of Cloris Leachman as a mature woman).

What’s on your must see list for the fall TV lineup?

a multigenerational business – I love it!

Who among the female readers of this blog do not love purses?  I sure the heck do and in Superior, CO, where I live, there is a local mom who gets my business.  Beth Shogrin is owner of Biscuit Bags.  She has an amazing eye for mixing patterns and colors and I love her creations – different sizes, styles, fabrics – her work is fabulous!

For mother’s day this year, I got my mom one of her waterproof bags – perfect for aquatics workouts and lazy days at the pool.  And I have given friends a variety of different bags – totes to evening bags.  And while talking with Beth one day, I learned that her Mom is a part of her business!  Viola – a multigenerational business!

To honor another aspect of multigenerational lifestyles, Beth has graciously offered a reader of our blog a $50 credit towards one of her bags.  And dare I say what you are probably already thinking – the holidays are around the corner and it is never too early to think about gifts for the fashionable (or not so fashionable) women in your life! 

To enter the drawing, leave a comment below and share the following:
“What is the oddest thing that you carry in your purse?”

The drawing will be held on September 25.  Good luck!

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Snail mail in the multigenerational household

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” (Herodotus) / USPS

Do you know what time your “snail mail” arrives on Monday – Saturday? Do you know the name of your letter carrier?

No, neither do we.

Delivery of the postal mail is not at all high on our “things to manage and pay attention to” list. But, if you are living in a multigenerational household, you may need to stop, drop, and pay attention to the postal service.

Margot and Kanesha discuss the important role of postal mail in their multigenerational households.

(We don’t get it!)

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After our discussion, we were pleased to learn the U.S. Postal Service recently issued the Mother Teresa stamp – super cool!

We’re actually going to venture into a real post office (and not the local grocery store) to buy these stamps, well…maybe we’ll just order the stamps online (or stop at the ATM).

If nothing else, we will at least learn the names of our letter carriers so we can honor him/her on National Postal Worker Day (July 1). Hey, we’re trying!

Other fun facts of about the USPS:

  • 584 million — average number of mail pieces processed each day
  • 24 million — average number of mail pieces processed each hour
  • 1.25 billion — number of miles driven each year by our letter carriers and truck drivers
  • 10,000 — number of letter carriers who deliver mail entirely on foot
  • Each year, postal employees around the country risk their own safety to save the lives of the customers they serve. In 2009, the Postal Service recognized 202 employee heroes.
  • Most Unusual Delivery Method — mule trains in Arizona. Each mule carries about 130 pounds of mail, food, supplies and furniture down the 8-mile trail to the Havasupai Indians, averaging 41,000 pounds per week.

My neighbor Michele – also living in a full nest..

Have you ever noticed that when something changes in your life, you invariably start running into people who have had a similar experience or someone knows someone who has had the same thing happened, etc?  Like attracts Like?  Now, I don’t want to sound new-agey or like a devotee of The Secret, but I have to admit, this is happening to me more and more when I tell people that my parents live with me and my family.  

Case in point, I only found out within the last year that a neighbor down the street, whom I have known for about three years, shares her home with her husband, kids and mom.  See? 

So, in a continuation in our series of conversations with people who live in a multigenerational home, let me share some of the insights on multigenerational living from my friend Michele. 

MICHELE’S NEST: married, two kids, and one husband.  Sounds typical, but she also shares her home with her mom and has been for six years.  This is actually, for her family, also quite typical. 

Michele’s family is of Polish decent and she says that generations living in the same home is the norm.  And in particular, it is the women who take care of the women.  Michele’s mom even said to her not long after Michele had her daughter, “A daughter is your daughter for the rest of your life, a son is your son till he takes a wife.”

HISTORY:  Turns out that Michele’s grandmother moved into her childhood home not long after losing her husband and she recalls with clarity her grandmother cooking and being an part of her adolescence.  

So when Michele and her husband decided to move west, she naturally asked her mom to join them – good thing her husband is a fan of his mother in law.  Her mom, single, was close to retirement age and it “just made sense.” 

UPSIDE:  Michele loves that her kids get more time with their grandmother, but she also appreciates that her kids have learned tolerance for people who are “older.”  They have a meal together about once a week – Michele’s mom still works part-time in the evening and is quite active so she does not feel like her mom is dependent on her. 

Living together is a safety net – Michele knows that in a pinch, her mom will help out with her kids and her mom loves doing it.  This is a recurring comment among the people I know who live in multigenerational homes. 

OCCASIONAL DOWNSIDE – she and her husband cannot really get into arguments – and this can be hard, she says.  She does not feel the freedom to yell and holler – not that she thinks that is a good thing, but she does not want her mom to hear marital disagreements.  (I totally know how she feels!)  

ADVICE:  Be ready to hold your tongue – and realize people do not change.  This is a concept that you might have to explain, and often, to children or your spouse.  If it is your parent, like in both of our cases, we know our parents subtle ways of communication, when they are angry or frustrated, etc.  Kids and our spouses do not have the benefit of years and years of living with our parents and being able to read these signs.  Patience is the key.  

And finally, you must be respectful of your parents’ needs and the choices they make.  Living together does not give either the adult child or the parent the right to interfere with the way in which either chooses to live.

WRAP UP:  After about 40 minutes of talking, it was obvious that there are many similarities between Michele and me – we could have talked for hours about the unique challenges we both face in our homes.  But again and again, both of us returned to the fact that despite these challenges, neither of us would change the fact that we share our home with our parents.

Multigenerational carpooling- what a blessing!

There are times, as I am sure you could imagine, that living with my parents is a blessing.  And as I am sure you can imagine, there are times when it makes me, well, a little bonkers.    

At school pick up time, especially the beginning of the year – it is always a blessing.   

The assessment days, back to school nights, parent conferences, meetings, school supply shopping, clothes shopping – could the start of the school year get any more time consuming?  There is one thing I never worry about, though, and that is how my kids get home from school.   

The most punctual man on the planet, my father, is in charge of picking up our two kids at the end of the school day.  And come hell or high water or snow storms – he is always there to bring them home.    

I know this because I hear from many of our friends that my dad is consistently the first in the pick-up line – they all know his red SUV and my kids’ teachers tell me he is in the same place, every day, eager for them to come out of class.     

XM Satellite Radio logo, used from 2001-2005

Image via Wikipedia


Here is his M.O. – he gets to school at least 20 minutes ahead of time because he detests waiting in line.  He listens to ESPN radio on XM while he waits, and on occasion, gets a couple of minutes of shut-eye.  (No, talking to him about the fact that he is still waiting in line – just at the front of the line, is meaningless.)      

My husband and I have asked repeatedly if my parents would prefer to set up a carpool for pick up, like the morning drop-off.  The resounding answer is “no.”     

Here is why – my dad LOVES picking up my kids from school.  He enjoys knowing that he is helping out is a very big way but he also gets to hear about their day, and has them all to himself for at least the ride home.  Because as soon as they are home, they play with neighbors, climb trees in the yard, and ride their bikes.  And occasionally, he breaks the rules and takes them for a doughnut.  ARGH!    

On the first day of school, my husband and I were there for drop-off and pick-up.  But from day two on, it has been my dad.  When I asked my dad how the pick-up went for my son on day 2, who had just started Kindergarten, a big smile came over his face.  Here is what he said: “I was waiting right by the kindergarten door and he came out and saw me – and gave me a huge smile!  And you know how I love seeing him smile.  It was just awesome.”    

I would say that it would be a cold day in hell before anyone else gets to pick up my kids from school…  What a blessing!   

Emmy Awards 2010 – all primetime multigenerational families should win

The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.

by Kanesha

It’s Sunday – my favorite day of the week.

Sundays are for family fun and girls’ night out. The bonus for this Sunday is that the primetime Emmy awards will be on. I have to confess, I love awards shows, and yes, I like to watch the ENTIRE thing.

I print out the ballot, mark the potential winners, and then keep score while I watch the show.

While I was going through the complete 2010 nomination list, I was picking out shows and series that had multigenerational themes.

I selected these five shows:

Mad Men (I'm hoping Sal will be back this season)

Julianna Margulies is amazing

Modern Family (Phil is my favorite. Their multigenerational family trip to Hawaii reminded me of our multigenerational trip to Paris. Awesome chaos!)

Big Love (I'm overly fascinated by this family)

I don't watch this one - but they are for sure multigenerational

If anyone else is paying attention to this year’s Emmys, did I miss any other

“mutigenerational-esque” shows on that huge nomination list?

And I as continued to think about multigenerational families being portrayed on television, I came up with these shows – which I loved or just shook my head at:

All in the Family


Judging Amy

Who's The Boss?

King of Queens

The Waltons

The Golden Girls

Who is your favorite multigenerational family in hollywood land (past or present)?