Chrissy Teigen is often spotted out on the town with her husband John Legend — and, if you look closely, her mom, Vilailuck Teigen, is usually in the background. She accompanies the couple wherever they go and often plays the nanny role to baby Luna. In fact, she lives and travels with the couple, too. And the surprising thing is, both Chrissy and John seem to love it.
Not all of us would like our moms hanging around the house, going to sleep with her there, waking up to her there. No offense to moms everywhere, but oh my God mom, when are you leaving?
But, for Chrissy, it’s proving to be the best way to handle one kid and one on the way. The duo cooks together almost daily, and the public gets glimpses of her momma on the model’s Instagram. She seems unobtrusive and like she knows when to back off. Many moms, well, do not. Again sorry moms, we know you only mean well.
And while Chrissy’s mom lives bi-coastal with the couple between Beverly Hills and TriBeCa, her father Ron Teigen also remains close, staying just around the corner from the family and visiting daily.
Care reports that multi-generational households are actually on the rise, and that “expensive housing costs, a struggling economy and an aging population are pushing them to join forces across generations.” And an AARP study shows the number of multi-generational households has risen from 6.2 million to 7.1 million in the last two years, faster than the previous eight years combined.
They report that while the move brings obvious rewards (like being close to loved ones and having full-time help from someone you trust), it can cause major stress as well. “Besides saving money and keeping an aging loved one safe, many families say a blended household forges closer bonds between the generations. Children will always remember Grandma baking cookies for them and attending school plays,” says the report. “But joining a younger household can be an emotionally-laden role reversal for the senior…Even in the midst of a loving family, an aging parent may feel a real sense of loss of independence and autonomy. That sense of loss may crop up in odd ways, such as resistance or controlling behavior around food or housekeeping routines.”
You have to communicate your expectations or things can quickly go south. “Moving a parent in with you changes the family dynamic and requires planning ahead and honest communication about ground rules and boundaries, says David Horgan, co-author of When Your Parent Moves In. "You can't treat an elder like a house guest, always putting on 'company manners.' At the same time, you've got to preserve the core family's unity while not making your parent feel useless or invisible. It's a delicate balancing act, but have those hard conversations as soon as problems arise.”
Many adult children just expect that grandma will play full-time nanny, not seeing the reality that she may want to relax or have her own health care needs to attend to. Grandparents may also want to explore their own hobbies or independent time in order to not feel like a burden.
No matter how you handle it, we all can’t be BFF’s like Chrissy and her mom. Personality clashes and reverting to childhood fights will occur for many of us, and the family structure definitely changes.
“Changing the basic family structure always has an impact on everyone's relationships, no matter how simple or easy it may look before it happens; and no matter what the reason, when a couple moves in with one partner's parents, or when a parent moves in with a couple, it is a change in family structure,” psychotherapist Diane Barth tells the Chicago Tribune.
A major downside? Often, adults will begin acting childlike and fall back into patterns they had when they were trying to assert their own independence from their parents.
Baby Center has an entire thread dedicated to the topic of parents moving in with couples, with one new mom asking: “We are going to be moving my mom in with us at the end of January. There are a lot of reasons why, but mostly it's going to help her save money and pay down on some bills. The only way we can help her, is by letting her move in with us. We are clearing out our office for her bedroom. Anyway, does anyone have any tips about this? My mom and I have a great relationship now, I just hope that continues once she is living with us. Any tips on what works and what doesn't work when you are in this situation?”
One woman replied that she gave her mom her own suite in the house in order to offer everyone some privacy.
“My mom lives with us. She bought the house with us. It was so that we could all save money, and have her closer. She doesn't see well, and no longer drives. I love having her here. She gets to spend lots of time with my kids. (It's great if I need to run to the store.) That being said, she has her own self-contained two-bedroom suite. It's the only way we could do it. She needs her space. Some days we see her and some days we don’t.”
Another says to set clear boundaries before anyone moves in.
“My mother-in-law lived with us for a year and it was wonderful in some ways and tough in others. My biggest tip would be to make it clear to your mom that your rules are really important to you. When she lived with us she didn't want to reprimand our daughter at all — she wanted to spoil her which is completely normal for a grandparent but not one that lives with you. It was very frustrating to me that she would sneak her treats and let her get away with things that I wouldn't — I felt like it always made me look like the bad guy.”
One woman just advises…no. Just no.
“I know people whose mother lives with them and I have seen it work well. I know having non-shared space is a must. I, however, could never live with my mother or my mother-in-law for that matter. Lol. I think it depends in the relationship and the living arrangements.”
In some cultures, it’s very common for mom to come live with a couple who have had a new baby. But as one mom advises, determine how long the situation will last before mom moves in.
“My husband was raised by his parents and maternal grandmother. He refers to both of them as his mom. Will it be a permanent arrangement or just until she gets back on her feet? I've had family members live with us before. My cousin lived with us and we charged her for the room with all bills included...it's just easier instead of trying to divide up the bills. She just paid for her own food, but if I made dinner she was always invited. Same rule with her, if she made dinner, we were welcome to try. To not make her feel awkward, my husband and I would discuss personal issues privately...or any arguments. You may also want to discuss damage issues. My cousin clogged the toilet and flooded part of the apartment. It caused a lot of damage. Luckily, we had maintenance clean up the mess and dry the apartment...but she didn't pay us for anything she damaged. We just had to suck it up, because we never discussed those circumstances.”
According to experts, planning couple time away from mom is very helpful. Couples should take a romantic trip, mom-free, just for themselves.
Other celebrities who have moved their moms in?
Bradley Cooper's mom Gloria moved in to his Los Angeles manse after her husband (and Bradley's father) Charles, passed away in 2011.
Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, lived in the White House with Michelle, Barack, Sasha and Malia.
Before Joan Rivers passed away, her daughter, Melissa and grandson Cooper lived with her part time in L.A. while they filmed their reality show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best.
Kathy Griffin's mom, Maggie, lives with her full time.
Some, like Kris Jenner, choose to buy their mom a house nearby instead.
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