By Marli Naidoo
The Covid-19 lockdown as well as South Africa’s general financial situation has put many people under tremendous financial pressure. A solution that is becoming more popular is for families to share homes. Many families, for instance, move in with grandparents and in so doing relieve the pressure on everybody’s budgets.
Living with family could, however, become unbearable if it is not done the right way.
Long-term planning is essential. Decide beforehand when you want to go on your own again. Be realistic and allow all parties enough time to get on their feet.
Make sure that you and your spouse both are up to the challenge. If one of you feels that he or she is being bullied into the idea, it will only drive a wedge between you and cause resentment. It will take team work to make it work.
Before the great trek everything must be discussed in the finest detail. Who pays for what, do you eat together or apart, who will buy the food, who does the dishes? Everyone must to their bit. Who is responsible for what and who will make the final decision regarding a specific area?
House rules can make or break this time together. Respect each other’s limitations and preferences. Teach your children to ask permission before entering the other family members’ space. Talk about guests, shoes in the house, times that everybody must be quiet. Make sure that everybody’s privacy is respected.
Do not be afraid to communicate openly and honestly. When a question or concern arises, don’t sweep it under the caret or leave it till later. Address it immediately. However, do not make a mountain out of every molehill. First ask yourself whether it really matters and if it is important, discuss it quietly and with respect. Do not be touchy and jump on the high horse when somebody does not agree with you. Be forgiving, humble and friendly in all communication.
Relationships come first. Do not insist on your way of doing things at the expense of others. Use this time to build relationships and to get closer to each other.
Be responsible with your money. Now is the time to save as much as possible and to plan for your future.
Be grateful and make sure that you thank everybody in the house. Do something special to make your appreciation tangible. Bake your mother-in-law’s favourite cookies for her.
Don’t just take things for granted. You can’t simply leave your children with Grandma and Granddad whenever you feel like it and accept that it will suit them just because they did not have other plans. Never abuse their kindness.
Everybody needs quiet time, even the children. You needn’t feel obliged to do everything together. Do not neglect your marriage.
Set a routine that suits everyone. Attach this routine together with joint planners to the fridge or somewhere in your shared space.
Respect each other at all times and decide to be positive and loving. Do not discuss or gossip about each other because it will only create an unpleasant atmosphere.
Sharing a house with family is not easy and full of challenges. It is, however, quite feasible and with the necessary cooperation and a good sense of humour everybody can benefit.
Six Figures Under: https://www.sixfiguresunder.com/tips-for-living-with-family-to-save-money/
Money Crashers: https://www.moneycrashers.com/tips-multigenerational-families-living-parents-kids/
Thrive Global: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-stressless-guide-to-living-with-your-in-laws/