In January, just a few weeks after the birth of our second daughter, my husband was unexpectedly offered a new job in my small Indiana hometown. After some discussion between the two of us and a minor emotional breakdown on my part, we decided to jump. Meaning, he took the job, I quit mine, and we packed up our entire lives in a mere two weeks – trading the hustle and bustle of I-465 for the winding curves of tree-lined backroads.
Rather than having us go through the hassle of finding a place to rent in small town Indiana, my parents very graciously suggested that we stay with them until we could find a place we wanted to buy. Luckily, our old house sold in a matter of days and we found a great new place to purchase right away. However, as everyone knows, home purchases take some time. So, here we are, quickly approaching the 2-month mark of my family of 4 (+ a dog and a cat and a fish) staying in my old childhood bedroom and sharing one bathroom with my parents. And oh, what an adventure it’s been.
I certainly never saw myself back at home with my parents at age 30 with my husband and our two kids. It’s a temporary stay and it doesn’t come out of any type of hardship for which I’m thankful. Living with my parents has had its blessings – my husband and I are both very close to my family and they both have an incredible bond with our girls which has made our living arrangement so much easier – but it’s also come with its share of what can best be described as oddities.
We are literally stuffed to the gills in this house. The basement can hold no more. I have no idea where most of our belongings are right now. We have a pack-n-play in the living room, clothes and a diaper genie in the office, and a chest of drawers with baby clothes in the upstairs landing. Stuff has pretty much landed wherever there’s space. We made sure our necessities were easily accessible and called it done until we can move again. (I’ll see you again someday, sewing machine.) When my siblings come over for a visit with their families? Forget. About. It. There is no breathing room, let alone sitting room. And the house has one bathroom. Which brings me to my next point.
One. Bathroom. One. How my parents raised three kids (two of them girls) without someone committing homicide over the bathroom situation is amazing. Showers have to be timed and if the four-year-old needs to pee, whoever is in there had better just hurry it on along.
There’s only one TV in this house, too. Which has been a little interesting. My dad has a thing about watching and rewatching the same westerns at the same time every evening. And my four-year-old has a thing about watching and rewatching the same episodes of My Little Pony every day. So they’ve had a bit of a battle. We did manage to get Wi-Fi installed out here in the boondocks, so my mom figured out how to use the iPad and has happily been on an American Horror Story binge for a while now. All of this Netflixin’ though has significantly slowed down the internet for me and put a big dent in the amount of online shopping I can do. But: no rent. You learn to choose your battles.
Speaking of battle-choosing, the everyday marital tiffs that every couple has can be awkward. We hear theirs, they hear ours. And when we put Kate in time-out, she’s quickly learned how to garner Gramma’s sympathy with a pitiful little wail, earning herself a time-out visitor and essentially negating the purpose of the time-out — much to our frustration. It is what it is.
Merging cooking styles has had its challenges, as well. Especially for my poor husband who’s been trying to lose a few pounds and has instead managed to gain 5 pounds in the last two weeks thanks to my mom’s mouth-watering country cooking. I’m pretty sure my arteries are lined in Country Crock and biscuits right now. And speaking of food – let’s talk about grocery shopping. Or rather, let’s talk about the 72 eggs that we somehow managed to accrue from overlapping shopping trips without taking stock of the fridge or talking to each other. Whoops.
So far, it’s been a little bit of madness and a whole lot of laughter. We always have an extra set of hands to help with the girls. Kate, the four-year-old, has learned so much from both my parents, and Isla, the infant, has yet to spend a day away from my mom since her birth. This stay-at-home/work-at-home-mom business has been a new challenge for me, but having extra people around every day has made the adjustment so much easier.
We close on our new house this Friday and plan on moving in about a month and a half after we take possession and do some minor renovations. While I’m so excited to have a new space of my own (and only 3.5 miles away!), I’m going to miss this time with my parents. It’s drawn us all closer to each other, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to feel a little lonely without the extra chatter and another episode of Rifleman on in the background.
After we closed on our old house in the city, my husband joked that we were ‘homeless’. With a small smile, my dad replied that we had a home right there with him and mom for as long as we need it.
And it’s so good to be home.