Living with the Moms


My husband and I are part of the sandwich generation – which Wikipedia describes as “a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.” Fortunately for us, ours is an open faced sandwich, with only one slice of bread. Our children, ages 31 and 34 are both self-sufficient, and have been for years.

But, we do have both mothers living with us – my mother-in-law and my mom. The ladies will be 86 this year.

Mother’s quarters are on the opposite side of the house from our bedroom, and includes a bedroom, bath and large sitting area. A couple years ago we built a guest house on our property for my mother-in-law. It’s 600 square feet and includes a living room/kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet and laundry room.

So far both women are in extremely good health. They take care of all their own personal needs, which include doing their own laundry and housework. Yet, they do rely on us for transportation – taking them to the store, doctors’ office and other outings.

Both ladies have given up their driver’s licenses. Mom relinquished hers when she was eighty, due to failing eye sight – while my mother-in-law gave up hers after breaking her femur this past spring.

People often ask us questions about living with our moms – the first being, Isn’t it difficult? Sure, it can be. But it isn’t just hard on us, it isn’t easy for them. For my mother-in-law, I don’t suppose she likes having to rely on us for transportation. When she was still driving, her daily routine included going to the grocery store and running other errands. While I detest running errands, it was something she enjoyed. For my mother, I think the hard part is sharing a home where she is no longer in charge.

Another question asked, Do you eat all your meals together? My mother-in-law prepares all her own breakfasts and lunches, and has dinner with us maybe 60 percent of the time – or more. My mother generally prepares her own breakfast and lunch, yet we sometimes take breakfast together – and sometimes she cooks it. As for dinner, mom usually takes that meal with us, unless Don and I are going out for the evening, or I simply don’t feel like cooking that night. Mom helps with the dishes, and regularly cleans the kitchen.

There are special perks for having the moms here – like when our grandchildren visit. Over New Years our daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and grandson visited us from Alaska. Our granddaughter, who will be four May first, loved visiting the GGs (as she calls them) – and would go out to the guest house and knock on the door of my mother-in-law’s, or visit with Mom in her sitting room.

We also had regular tea parties on the patio. That photo is of our granddaughter and my mother. Mom looks pretty good for 85, doesn’t she?