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Considering living with in-laws - financial sense or emotional nightmare?

(36 Posts)
lazyhen Fri 27-Jun-08 20:09:38

I'd be really interested to hear your points of view on this (and anyone who has done it).

DH and I have been married for a year, got pregnant on honeymoon so now have a 5 month old DD. She's fabulous - My DH works shifts, and I have returned to work part time.

I've done my first month and it's a bit depressing how much I get paid after nursery fees. We should be able to claim tax credits which will help but we stumbled across the idea of living with DH's parents to ease the burden.

They're 'young' sixties with DH's younger sister and boyfriend living there. They have a MASSIVE house (and swimming pool). They love DD (and our dog) and I think they kinda like us too wink. I know they'd have us living there as they've said yes when we've considered it before, but what else is there to consider?

It's all for financial reasons that would allow us to sell our house, use equity to pay off loans, then save like mad to afford a mortgage and a bigger house in the long run. It feels like DD would really benefit from the environment in the short term and then the financial rewards for us in the long term.

Sorry this is a bit long but my thoughts keep drifting back to the idea and I'd be really interested to hear other people's points of view.

SirDigbyChickenCaesar Fri 27-Jun-08 20:12:44


i lived with my MIL for a year and though we do get on it still wasn't good. it was her house and it just wasn't comfortable.
that my experience anyway.

Elmosgirl Fri 27-Jun-08 20:15:28

Well I have just moved back in with my parents. We have re-located due to my parters job move to near where they live. The prices of houses are much more expensive here than where we were before and we could do with a few months grace of paying loads of bills / rent to get our finances sorted out.

There is me and my 2 children (both under 2 years old) my partner, my younger sister and my 2 parents.

Things are going ok so far...I would take some time before you move in to decide some things, i.e. what do they want paying and when, who will do what around the house, will you be responsiblefor your own cooking cleaning etc. Is much easier to get things like that sorted first.

My parents have a slightly larger than normal 3 bedroomed house which means we can have our own living room which makes it a million times better as we can all re-treat to our own space, watch what we want on tv etc. The four of us do have to share one bedroom though.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

lazyhen Fri 27-Jun-08 20:18:22


SirDigby... What was it that was uncomfortable? Did you argue?

If there's a time limit on it - does it feel easier?

littlewoman Fri 27-Jun-08 21:21:40

Omg not in a bezillion years. It was awful enough living with my mum, and she is a lovely lady. No room for two women in one house, imho.

eleanorsmum Fri 27-Jun-08 21:24:53

we did it. it can work. it did for us. best thing we ever did infact! remember to make sure you have your own sapce, we had sofa in our room. and who does the cooking (i did mon-fri as was at home, mum did w/end!) don't assume anything set some ground rules and it'll be great.

ps and i bet dd will thank you in the future for building fab relationship with swimming pool owning grandparents!

giraffeski Fri 27-Jun-08 21:26:32

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giraffeski Fri 27-Jun-08 21:27:04

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littlewoman Fri 27-Jun-08 21:31:03

I have to add that I am comfortably saying that from the position where I don't even have to consider it. You can make anything work if it's necessary.

cornsilk Fri 27-Jun-08 21:33:14


confusedmamma Fri 27-Jun-08 21:51:41

No No and NO again. I've done it and my mother's done it and it was a disaster. Two adult women will inevitably compete about who's the best cook/wife/ cleaner/ mother. None of this will be overt but it will be there all the same. I would rent the cheapest, smallest one bed flat near them instead.Help with child care, drop offs and pick ups, DD can have loads of sleepovers and you have a normal married life.

lazyhen Sat 28-Jun-08 09:48:46

Mmmm - I've been mulling it over and over and it seems for short term sacrafice we'd get a longer term gain. BUT worse case scenario it could all go wrong and sour relationships forever.

ARGH! Why are houses so expensive? We've talked about emigrating but I don't want to be away from friends and family.

Really appreciate the input!

Dalrymps Sat 28-Jun-08 10:15:53

I think it depends on how well you get on with them. We get on really well with pils. We lived with them in between houses for about 4 or 5 months, we were working away for 3 days every 3 days so wasn't technically full time. I'd say even though we get on really well we (and them) were glad to have our own space again once we moved out. If you're going to do it just make sure you make time for yourselves away from them and set some rules regarding food/bills/household jobs, I was pregnant at the time and my mil just about cooked every meal for us whilst we were there but she is an absolute angel. We kind of repayed her in other ways like taking her out shopping to big shopping centres and helping with the gardening, even then though pils did far more than they had to whilst we were there.
We didn't fall out but towards the end the litle things started to get to us like not having all our own stuff around us (most was in storage) and not having the kind of snacks in the cupboard we would usually buy (we just gave money towards food shopping so we didn't double up on things and take up too much room in their cupboards) or having to go upstairs to watch a program on tv if they were watching something else and sit on the bed. We just ended up feeling a little bit like teenagers grin.
So after all that babbling what i'm trying to say is, if you have a good relationship it can work but best to have a time limit on it and set some rules smile

Pheebe Sat 28-Jun-08 10:50:57

Two alpha females in one house could be a recipie for disaster BUT it will only sour your relationship if you let it. Talk talk and more talk and honesty is the key.

Will you have your own space beyond a bedroom - a living room at least for your little brood. Somewhere you could have a kettle and a fridge to give you all a little privacy.

In other countries this kind of arrangement is the norm. TBH its all about respecting each others privacy but also making the effort to enjoy (and not resent) the closeness.

I had ILs living with us for the last 5 months of my first pregnancy. our house used to be two so we had plenty of private space and it was lovely to have the company around when DH was at work. Worked well for us but I was glad to have the WHOLE house back when they moved to their new place so we could get on with renovating.

The swimming pool would be the clincher for me...I'd do anythng for a swimming pool grin

Greyriverside Sat 28-Jun-08 11:18:54

If it's a really massive house you might get away with it and if you really get on to start with and are all easy going.

Expect some conflict anyway - stony silences and hurt looks for days at a time. There is no way to share a house without straining friendship.

Have you considered that DH might get too comfortable there? He probably won't notice the tension. Without the pressure the saving up to move could drift off into the future. "we're never going to afford a place as good as this"

"we'll just buy this holiday/car/furniture and then we'll really start saving up properly"

MrsTittleMouse Sat 28-Jun-08 13:06:56

We have lived with my Dad, just temporarily while we were getting on our feet. It did work out, I think mostly because my Dad is very laid back and isn't the kind of person to offer advice or pry into our affairs (even in a nice way). I know that DH felt the loss of our own place more keenly, as he of course had never lived there before. It was much more familiar for me.
The only real problem that we had is that my Dad hated the way that DH loaded the dishwasher. So he would tell me. And then I would have to tell DH, who would say that if my Dad wanted it done a certain way then he should do it himself. Sounds very trivial, but it did grate at the time! I think that it would have been better in retrospect to have a date for leaving fixed before we even moved in. It would have made things emotionally easier for us. We still get on well with my Dad though, and it worked out very well all things considered.
Will your ILs be the kind of people to just let you get on with it though, or will they offer advice all the time? How will things work financially - how much rent and utilities will you pay? Who will cook or organise food shopping? Do you need some time and space to yourselves sometimes, and is there any way that you can get it?

Carmenere Sat 28-Jun-08 13:18:03

I would say no and for these reasons, introducing a baby into a house sharing situation that is perfectly functioning with four adults will change the dynamic totally and they may not like that. It may result in you feeling bad about things that you can't change, ie not about your behaviour but about the normal things a baby needs like peace and quiet and like making noise.

Also I think that your concept of saving money might be a bit dodgy unless you have enough equity in your house to put by the full deposit required for a new house. It may well take a long time to save up for a bigger house. I think that you might be better off where you are instead of selling at what might well be the bottom of the market.

lazyhen Sat 28-Jun-08 17:25:35

Interesting stuff here...

My MIL is a bit of a sticky beak but it's all in a bit of a non-offensive way. She's been much better since DH and I have been married and had DD. It's difficult to explain that financially it would make an ENORMOUS difference because we have a shared ownership propery and once this is sold, the equity would pay off our loans. Then having the time to save up for a deposit would be much easier becuase we could save so much more (than if we just rented somewhere). Rental prices are really high around here so it's not the mortgage/rent thing - it's the clearing of loans then starting saving.

I think the end date is a good idea as it would keep focus about saving.

I think my MIL is of the generation that really likes to cluck around the family making dinners etc and they're all a bit non-dominating and non-argumentative. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I just keep thinking that for DD's sake it'll improve things enormously in the long run. (Space, 2nd sibling, money worries....) I feel that this is an idela opportunity that alot of people would kill for.

noddyholder Sat 28-Jun-08 17:46:20

Well you wouldn't have to wait long the way house prices are going so i would do it.Agree with whoever said to set some ground rules first so you all know whats expectd.

lazyhen Sun 29-Jun-08 18:40:52

Well we spoke to MIL today as she was having DD for a couple of hours. When asked what she'd think of us moving in, she instantly said 'I'd love it'. She said the house is made to have lots of people in... she'd love to have DD around more... (they even have an area of woodland where we can walk the dog and escape). I left DD with her for a few hours and when I collected her she's had a chance to speak to FIL who also thought it would be a good idea...

So now I'm seriously thinking it could work. We'd always have to sell this small house anyway so it's not like we're giving something up that we might regret.

I said we'll give it 6 weeks to really think about it (and by then I'll have had my 30th birthday - gulp) to make a decision and really know that it's the best for everyone.

Dalrymps Sun 29-Jun-08 22:51:31

Lazyhen - glad you've had a chat and they seem up for it. Hope you manage to decide what you want to do and that it all works out for the best smile

lazyhen Tue 29-Jul-08 23:10:56

So - not sure if anyone's still interested but just chewing some thoughts over and thought might as well do it here as anywhere!

Selling process has begun, solicitor instructed etc... Today in-laws have said that they don't really want our dog coming with us for starters. I understand this but did raise it initially and was told it wouldn't be a problem. I won't rehome him (he's a rescue anyway and is like a member of the family). There was talk about MIL 'training' him to be nice to their cats but frankly I couldn't live each day worrying about it. BTW when it was initially raised (by me) I was told that the cats go upstairs where the dog won't be allowed so it won't be an issue. Now apparently it is.

Now here's the bummer - DH and I have just started to consider trying a new life in Canada once the house is sold. Very tentative first steps but In-Laws have now pissed all over the idea. They have said they'll give us money for a deposit for a house in the UK but if we take it then it's not to go outside the UK. I'm a bit gobsmacked really. Not only do we now have to find rented accommodation once we sell (as we can't now live with them) but to be bribed like this I feel is really out of order. DH and I have decided we won't accept the money as we'd be selling our dreams. They'd also want a say in what house, location etc and I just feel that the price is too high!

DH is really depressed as it's all about our DD and not the fact that we potentially might be living here for 50 years being miserable just to keep them happy. They were so ridiculous citing the most stupid of reasons as to why we shouldn't move (and I do mean ridiculous "lots of chinese people in Vancouver... " WTF????)

ARGH I'm upset for him that his parents have done such a sh1tty thing. If I wanted to help my daughter in future years you can't attach strings - let your children be free with their lives and go and live. Don't manipulate them into doing something that meets your needs!

And if anyone says what a generous offer, please consider that it is to keep us in the country. The offer was never there to help us out beforehand. Right now tear me apart for being ungrateful!

lilacclaire Wed 30-Jul-08 02:30:47

Just as well you didn't move in with them, it looks like it would have been a nightmare.

If your still set on selling your house, then follow your dreams on moving to Canada.

I can't believe the comment about Chinese shock, you live and learn.

ninedragons Wed 30-Jul-08 05:39:09

Better that things went pear-shaped before you even got around to moving in with them. Would have been awful to try to extricate yourselves (or worse, grin and bear it) if they had shown this side after you had moved in.

Of course they do not want you to move to Canada, but it is entirely your decision. I know a few people considering it solely because of the relatively sane house prices, even in Toronto and Vancouver.

If I were you, I would not want to be beholden to them. My ILs helped my SIL with a deposit but not us, as is entirely their right; I think it was because she lives in the town they have always lived in and we live on the other side of the world. Personally I prefer the freedom of not being financially obliged to them. It also means we can (and do) put them in a hotel when they come to visit - FIL is hard work and healthy distance is essential for the preservation of general sanity.

DMCT Wed 30-Jul-08 05:55:43


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