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20 Reasons I LOVE Living with my In-Laws

There’s not a speck of sarcasm there.

I am very grateful for my current living situation.

Pulling back the curtain of one’s life to millions of Internet users (or thousands of blog readers) certainly opens a person up to different kinds of feedback than life in a normal neighborhood.

Since we moved in with my in-laws almost two months ago now (as we look for the right home to buy), I’ve mentioned our differences a number of times. I received some fairly heavy criticism and gentle correction at this post and on Facebook, much of it well-deserved as I’ve hidden many of the positive comments and thoughts on our situation in the comments and interaction with readers, which is easily missed.

I used to tell my third grade students, “You can’t just ‘I’m sorry’ away the damage done by gossip and rumors,” and the situation, I suppose, is similar here. I can’t just say, “My in-laws don’t read my blog,” when my comments about them all come across as negative.

I’ve had this post begun for weeks, but having a baby sort of threw off my schedule, in every way possible.

family sees john

Every time I thought about the draft, I thought of more to add, and it quickly grew from “10” to “20.” In fact, particularly now that Jonathan is around, I’m all the more thankful for the four adults in the house.

I’m certain God wants us here, for now, and I’m certain He has an exit strategy as well. We’ve all been learning a lot, and besides that, we would have spent way too much on the house that tempted us just as we sold ours, had we had to buy it because we had nowhere else to go.

Besides the obvious fact of my in-laws’ generosity not leaving us homeless, here are the

Top 20 Reasons I LOVE Living with my In-Laws

  1. Naps, Mine – I got them in late pregnancy and early babydom, without worrying that my son was being totally ignored.
  2. Naps, Theirs – my 3-year-old has had some naps preserved when I can leave her at home when I need to pick up her brother from something.
  3. Dishes – If you’re an old KS reader, you’ll remember how often I used to express my great dislike for doing dishes. My mother-in-law keeps getting all the dishes done before my husband and I can finish the kids’ bedtime routine, so we’ve had quite a long break from the hated task. I tell her to leave them for us, but she just won’t do it!This is truly generous, both because you know a real food kitchen generates a ton of dishes and because their household hardly had any dishes before we infiltrated them.
  4. Healthy Eating –  I had hoped before we moved in that I would be able to help both parents eat a healthier diet, but since their breakfasts and lunches remain the same, I didn’t think I was making a difference. However, I think they’ve eaten a ton more vegetables since we’ve been here (I did most of the dinner meals before Jonathan was born), even if they still use their own salad dressing.
  5. Healthy Lifestyle Sharing – It’s my prayer that I can be a real food evangelizer and share a bit of healthy eating and nourishment with my in-laws. Sometimes I succeed, like the casual conversation about Real Salt and why it’s not bad for you, and sometimes I fail, like when I get cranky about the homemade yogurt in the crock pot that suddenly wasn’t working at this house, even though my goal was to demonstrate how easy it is to eat healthy foods and cook from scratch.
  6. Time to Work – I can’t say enough how thankful I am that I can do some writing before noon instead of after midnight, and without leaving my kids to be ignored.
  7. Crafts Galore – My son loves crafts, and Grandma is a great supplier.Leah with Gizmo My kids have been busy at the kitchen table countless hours since we moved here with various crafts. PLUS my mother-in-law is seriously too cute, and she made a bangled leash for my 3-year-old’s new doggie, complete with Velcro to put it around her wrist so she can take him for “walks.”
  8. Adults to Talk to – A stay-at-home or work-at-home mom often gets a little isolated. There have been times when I just dump on my husband when he gets home because I stored up so many things to say throughout the day with two little ones. My mother-in-law and I chat all day, and it’s truly a treat to have not only another adult to talk to during the day, but someone who cares about me, too.
  9. Pool –  They have a pool. It was 90F and higher for weeks when I was 9 months pregnant. Enough said.
  10. Grandparents – I just know my two older kids will look back on this time incredibly fondly, as they have bonded with their grandparents stronger than ever and spend excellent quality time together. The free in-house babysitting makes life a ton easier for me day to day, too!!!
  11. A Peek into my Life – I don’t think my in-laws understood at all what I do here at Kitchen Stewardship® nor what day-to-day life is like for us. It’s a little crazy all the way around…and I’m glad they have new insight into all of it. It’s just good to be able to understand each other more, even if they have seen many of my flaws as well. And they still don’t quite understand KS, but they know a bit more, mostly through the crazy boxes that come in the mail containing weird foods they’ve never heard of (recently, sweeteners for the sweet, sweet summer series).
  12. Night Prayers – They don’t get included every night, but whenever my kids grab their grandparents for prayer, I’m happy to see it become a multi-generational endeavor, and I praise God that my kids are increasing their grandparents’ prayer just as I’m happy I’m increasing their intake of vegetables.
  13. Green Progress – My mother-in-law jumped right into the recycling thing, and it just warmed my heart when my father-in-law started asking, “Can these be recycled?”
  14. Making Dinner – Before John came, I did 90% of the meal planning, and it was awfully nice to have four adults around to entertain children and set the table, etc. to make dinner a smooth-running affair. Even though it’s always less efficient to work in someone else’s kitchen, cooking still became quite a pleasant affair most days.
  15. Making Dinner – Mom has been making homemade dinners for two weeks since Baby John was born, which is about five times a week more than she would if we weren’t here. The respect she showed for our choice to eat whole foods, not from boxes, really speaks to her spirit of generosity!
  16. Appreciation – Living in someone else’s house that has features different than our old home, we’ve learned about some things (like the dishwasher blocking the sink when it’s open) that we wouldn’t have known to look for as we seek out our hew home. We will have an even deeper appreciation for what we will have when the process is all over.
  17. Seamstress – When I was in the hospital with John, my mother-in-law, an awesome seamstress, fixed a maternity dress of mine that the dryer had eaten up.
  18. My Parents –  Even though their house is filled to the brim with our family, my in-laws invited my own parents to spend the night when they came down to meet Jonathan. It was really a special time to have all the family together. My mom and my brother-in-law bonded over a mutual love of peanut butter and boy, did my kiddos love that 24 hours with TWO grandmas around to pamper them with quality time! My in-laws even went out in the evening to give our family one-on-one time with my folks. Can you say, “above and beyond?”
    smile maybe
  19. Help – There’s always a willing baby holder in the house, which means I can get a shower, eat breakfast, spend some time with my older kids (whether they need naughty discipline or just a snuggle and a good book), and do all sorts of things most new moms would consider an occasional luxury. Winking smileEven more importantly, especially in this crazy time of transition, my older kids don’t feel as neglected as they would with Mommy nursing the new baby all the time. Paul does yard work with Grandpa or crafts and magic with Grandma, and Leah always has someone to help her get her babies dressed or set up coloring for her.
  20. They put up with me! Friends, I’m not all that easy to live with. I make massive messes in the kitchen, overfill the refrigerator, leave a pile of papers on my ottoman, move my laptop all around the house, and don’t fold my laundry for days. I never get through my to-do list, which sometimes means unfinished projects might get in someone else’s way.I’ve done my best to respect my in-laws’ space and their house and keep my “junk” out of their way, but I can only fight my personality so much. Believe me, they’re well on their way to sainthood simply for not going nuts or kicking us out.

Our family is definitely blessed by the generosity of my husband’s parents, and the cooking and eco-conscious differences that I talk about on the blog are just that: fodder for conversation, because I blog about real food and natural living. It’s kind of fascinating to me to realize just how different my life is from the cultural norms embodied by my in-laws.

And as much as we all drive each other crazy sometimes, I guarantee we’ll miss them when we’re gone, and vice versa.

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Category: Faith Nuggets

36 thoughts on “20 Reasons I LOVE Living with my In-Laws”

  1. Pingback: Link Love Round Up « miniMOMist

  2. Marcia Wilwerding

    It used to be normal to live this way. We are missing something very special and vital by our “rugged individualism.”

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  4. LindsayWeaver

    And good for you for appreciating your family! It’s really hard when it’s all you, all the time.

  5. LindsayWeaver

    Wow! Maybe you should buy a house with an in-law apartment! 🙂 I’m happy for you that you have help after the birth of #3. Did your MIL retire?

    1. Linds,
      Every so often, I wonder how I’ll survive w/o them, and I’ve let that thought cross my mind before!

      (MIL’s between jobs right now, which I thought would be worse than her being out of the house all day, but it’s the best part!)
      🙂 Katie

  6. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green

    THANK YOU! I live with my in-laws and I know people judge me for it so it’s great to hear someone else that does as well.

    We don’t want to buy a house right now as my husband is in college and will be teaching college sometime after he is done and we will likely be moving out of town, maybe out of state. So the point is there is no point in buying a house right now. We have a dog so we don’t want to rent.

    My in-laws have a 4 bedroom house so we have two of the bedrooms and our own bathroom. We use one bedroom for a living room so it works at well. It also has been such a huge blessing because my MIL has been disabled for a long time but a couple of years ago she had emergency surgery which ended up speeding up her disability and she needs a lot of help. I cook a lot of my in-laws food and do pretty much all of the cleaning. My husband fixes things for them, does yard work and is helping to fix up the house so it will be easier for them to sell when they move to a smaller home. It’s not always easy but overall it’s been better for both of us.

  7. Well I missed any comments about your in-laws before. I don’t do facebook or twitter. However, I just wanted to say that I know where you are coming from either way. We live with my in-laws in a sort of duplex situation but there is an inside door to connect the two sides of the house. I am totally content where we are and we plan to stay here indefinitely actually and build an addition to our half of the house. There are many pros to living with family and I believe they far out way the cons 🙂 Though sometimes I think I might go crazy (especially when I come home and find out my LO has had Kraft mac n cheese and applesauce with HFCS in it again) I am so happy with where God has placed us right now.

  8. You are truly blessed. I live on the East Coast with all my family living in California. And although my husband’s (divorced) parents live within minutes from our home, they rarely take the time to visit with their grandchildren. It’s incredibly heartbreaking to see my children grow up without caring grandparents. My parents, who are the kind who spoil and dote, aren’t in the picture because of the long distance. Reading your post both warms my heart and breaks it. I’m glad you know and appreciate the wonderful gifts you have in your in-laws. God bless.

  9. Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

    Awww…this is a super sweet post! I think you should share it with them (well, take out the links to the older post ;). I think it would be hard be really hard to live with either set of our parents for an extended time. It sounds like you and your fam will be able to look back at this time with fond memories!

  10. I had a happy cry through this entire post. Is that a mom thing? I too have in-laws that think and approach things very differently than me. And although there is often disagreement and knee-jerk criticism, that makes the love they share that much more amazing. Really, what a great example they are setting for us. But it still doesn’t mean I agree with comments like “bottle is best” while I’m nursing. : )

  11. Thumbs up, Katie!
    Of course living with any other adults can be hard and in some ways your previous posts showed your sense of humor and a need to “talk it out”.
    I did go back and read some of your responses to comments and they are lovely and humble. Many of us wouldn’t have seen them, though, so I commend you for this follow up. It’s a great Christian witness.
    Also, I think we can attribute some of your reactions on pregnancy hormones along with being in a time of transition… I know I get tense a lot faster when I’m pregnant! Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy.

  12. I am so glad to see this post! As you said, so many of the “good” comments get lost in the “comment section” of posts and fb comments and just the thought of your MIL reading your posts and being hurt had me heartbroken because I know I would never have bothered to even move on to the comments section to even see those comments if it was me as the MIL in the situation. Sure, its great fodder for KS discussions, it just seemed like there could have been a better way to bring up that fodder and it was really beginning to turn me off of your fabulous blog. I am really proud of you for taking the time to think about the good points of living with your inlaws and for taking the time to share them with everyone! It takes alot to admit when we are wrong and to correct it and you have done both admirably!
    Living in someone else’s home is always hard, no matter who they are ;D

    1. Sheree,
      I know you were one who gently corrected me and helped to inspire this post. I’m glad it served its purpose and hope the critics of my other mentions – none of which were truly spiteful, just talking it out – see this one and understand that I’m not a big mean troll! 😉 Katie

  13. Gotta say, I love living with my in-laws as well, though there are definitely times I want my family to myself. It’s been two years for us in a duplex, but it has been a huge blessing. You’ve hit on many of the plus’s. I have to say one I would add is that I know my husband so much better now knowing his parents so well.

  14. This was such a great post! I hope y’all continue to enjoy living with your in-laws, they sound like wonderful people 🙂

  15. I kept wanting to comment and tell you how lucky I thought you were, living with your in-laws with a new baby just around the corner. It can be great. We spent two days after my baby’s birth with my mother, and it was everything you said – growing appreciation of her generosity, learning to appreciate one of my sisters more, quality time happening everywhere, and between people it hadn’t happened between before. Best decision my husband has made without me (I was in hard labor at that point).

    1. Ummm…that last sentence came off totally critical of my husband. That’s not how it was intended – I think I was referencing the preference most us wives have to be included in family decision making. I wasn’t this time – and it turned out fabulous!

  16. nice post that reminded me to be grateful for the things people do in my life (and not focus on what they DON’T do). and WOW. your description in #20 is me 100%. glad to know someone else with the same issues!

  17. What a wonderful exercise in thankfulness, Katie! We just moved across the country and are now 3 minutes from my in-laws. Things can be rough when we value different things, but the benefits make it worth it. May we always keep that grateful perspective.

    =), melanie

  18. I loved this post! The love you have for your in-laws comes through so strongly! How blessed you all are. I am a grandma who doesn’t get to see her kids or grandkids as much as I would like, so this post really touched me. Congratulations on a beautiful baby, also!

  19. I think you’re great! 🙂 (you know, as far as not knowing you personally and all, haha) I think you’re great for being real, I think you’re sweet for sharing these thoughts about your in-laws, I think you’re great even when you share your frustrations about them. We’re real people with real relationships and it’s nice to read about other real people! p.s. this will sound totally creepy but move to caledonia. our neighbors are selling their house and are crunchy people and i would love to replace them with even crunchier people, haha!

    1. Jess,
      Caledonia is totally on our search list! I’m not kidding – email me the address so I can check it out on the MLS. 😉 Katie

  20. Hi,
    I just wanted to say that we’ve lived with my in-laws on the same farm, though not in the same house most of the time, and we loved it for many of the reasons you mentioned. We have our own place now but we are looking forward to having them come and live with us as they get older to give them the freedom to come and go, yet still enjoy many of the benefits of living on a self sustaining farm.
    Anyway, I didn’t read the “negative” posts alluded to, so I don’t really know what thats about, but I do know that living with others is difficult at times and you do need to get it out, express your frustrations – whether it is your children, parents, spouse, in-laws, roommates – whoever.
    We are determined that our parents not have to go into homes or assisted living or “retirement communities” just so they aren’t an “inconvenience” to anyone, and we are also determined that our children know their grandparents – and an older generation – in more than just a superficial way.
    I have great respect and love for my in-laws, but at the same time there are times when it’s tough to merge everyone’s personalities – thankfully, its a big and busy farm! 🙂

  21. I’m so glad it’s working out ok for you, I know how hard it is to live with in-laws, but when you are both grown up about it, it can also be a blessing. It’s to bad in our case DH’s sister had to act like a two year old, when she lived with us, so it didn’t end well. It’s wonderful that your kids can bond with their grandparents, I’ve always thought Grandparents should have quality time with their grandkids too, and this way they are getting a lot of quality time. :-))

  22. You might consider sharing the 20 reasons with your in-laws (verbally and intermittently might be a nice way)…maybe not the complete post since there are references to other posts.
    Thank you for balancing our insight into your situation.

  23. Great post, Katie! Kudos to you for writing it and giving it a high priority in publishing! My favorite though was #20… 😉

    And, congratulations on your newborn! Best wishes to all five of you!!!

  24. Holly Murphy

    So glad its going well for y’all. Praying you continue to enjoy your stay. Though we have never had the opportunity, I can really see the benefits of multi-generational living…

  25. This is a beautiful post. We’ve lived with my husband’s parents for two years and that will likely continue to be the case for the next 5 years, as far as we can see it. It has its rough times, but you are right that all the extra hands, the ability to take a shower, the ability to ask, “The baby is napping, can I run to the store for 20 minutes?” are golden. As is the marriage building for my husband and I as we watch his folk’s marriage with all of its 30+ years of idiosyncrasies. I was cringing to hear all of the comments telling you never, ever to live with your in-laws so I am happy to see your evidence of love and a happy life with them. We (as Christians) don’t have to live in obedience to the world’s ideas of “in-laws=monsters”.

  26. I’m so glad you wrote this. You’ve written a beautiful “defense” for your in-laws. (I was a silent critic, admittedly, of “that post”.)

    I’m so glad to be able to see the other side. 😉
    From the sounds of it, if they weren’t eco-conscious before, it was really for lack of knowledge than for not caring. It’s a learning experience for everyone — and what a blessing to be able to have it!

    1. Phew! Glad to redeem myself in FishMama’s eyes. 😉 We surely don’t have to think the same to live together, just respect and live out of love for one another.
      🙂 Katie

  27. Katie,

    It warms my heart and brings a smile to my face to read this post. Even though I knew you were very grateful for their generosity, some of your comments about your in-laws (esp your mother-in-law) in your previous posts left me very sad and really put a damper on my enjoyment in your site. It seemed beneath you to speak about them in a way that would negatively color our opinion of them (especially when most of us don’t know them.) I’m so glad that you’ve addressed this here and clarified how truly grateful you are for them.

    1. I am just wondering what your in-laws are thinking about you. We have heard your side of the story but they have to put up with all of your quirks. I believe that everyone is different and deserves to live their lives as they want, not how others think that they should live it.

      1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

        Oh, my goodness, I say that to my husband about once a week. “What do they say about us when they talk about life now?” I know they think some of what I do is totally nutso! I don’t think they’ll be doing a guest post anytime soon though. 😉 Luckily for me they’re pretty laid-back about a lot of things.

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