On this Mother’s Day, let me tell you about the journey of moving my mom in with me.
When my son was born, my mom lived about seven hours away by car. She came for his birth and stayed for a couple of weeks. Over the next few years, she would drive to her home, stay there for a about a month or so, then come back and stay in my home with my family for several weeks at a time.
I so appreciated her coming to see us and helping me with my kid. But I worried about her driving that long distance by herself. I also began to worry about her, a senior citizen, living alone. She was retired and had a small group of friends, but no family nearby. After long conversations with my husband, he was totally on board with moving my mom in with us.
I began talking to my mom about it. She was open to the idea but wanted to take things slow. She began staying with us for longer periods of time. She is comfortable being alone, and she wanted to make sure we were ok with her being around all the time. I wanted to make sure she was ok being around us and the noise and the mess and the chaos that a small child can bring. And I didn’t want her to feel like she was losing her independence.
When COVID quarantine arrived in March 2020, she was at my home on a long visit. I asked her to stay until more was known about the virus. As the months went on, we were getting along well. We – mom, my husband and I – discussed the pros and cons of her buying her own place, renting a place or moving into our home. Soon, she decided it was time to move in with me permanently.
My wonderful husband drove a U-Haul truck to her house, and helped get my mom packed up. She was able to sell her house quickly. She donated a lot of items she wasn’t going to need anymore. She downsized from a three bedroom, two bath house to a room in my home and a small storage unit for some of her things.
Her presence in our home is amazing. She helps me with my son, helps me with the chores, helps me stay sane. She is a comfort to my husband when he needs it, as both of his parents have passed. She respects our privacy and we respect hers. I am happy to help her with doctor visits and beauty appointments, and she is happy to go shopping with me.
Tips for moving a parent into your home:
- Talk, talk and more talk. Discuss scenarios for privacy, any financial contribution to the household, chores, etc. The conversations need to be comfortable and honest.
- Accept that parents age, and they may sometimes need more attention than your children.
- Be honest with yourself – will bringing your parent into your home create drama, friction or resentment? Of course you love your mom or dad, but the parent/child dynamic that may have driven you both crazy in your younger years could rear its head.
My mom and I have a good arrangement. Down the road, we may need to change it. But we will cross that bridge when it’s time. For now, I know she is safe. She is not lonely. And i get to enjoy watching her be a grandmother to my son and being a friend (and mom) to me.