Full House: A Guide to Surviving Multigenerational Living

Three generations under one roof brings more of everything: bodies, stress—but also love

By Robyn Griggs Lawrence • Next Avenue
3 generations image
Photograph: iStock

After a tough day at the church where she works as pastor, Amy Yoder McGloughlin comes home and confides in her mother-in-law, Judy, who has lived with her family in a five-bedroom home in Philadelphia for nine years. Amy turns to Judy regularly for advice, support and child care for her son, Will, 11, and daughter, Reba, 8. Judy cooks dinner for the family every Thursday and pushes Amy and her husband, Charlie, out the door for a date night every now and then. Amy can’t imagine how the family would function without her.
 
“Between my husband and me, we have a mortgage-size student loan debt every month, so Judy’s financial contribution really helps,” Amy says. “But there’s so much more than just financial benefit. We’re doing the ‘village’ thing—my kids are getting a better sense of what it means to be a family.”
 
The McGloughlins gave up some privacy when Judy moved in—“Charlie can’t sit around the living room in his boxers,” McGloughlin says—but they’re more than happy to share their home and everything in it. “Our house gets so much use that I have a hard time keeping the living room floor from having crud on it—and that’s okay,” Amy says. “This is something so much bigger than that. It’s practicing our values.”

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Next: Is Extending Our Parents' Lives Heroic or Cruel?

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