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Living With The In-Laws: The House Of Expectations

In Melbourne, I live with my in-laws. Yes rare (crazy?) unicorn here. It’s not easy (and still isn’t) but I’m determined to try and thrive. They are important people to my husband and therefore mine. 

living with the in-laws

Always A Bad Idea But We Did It Anyway.

On paper, moving in with Peter’s parents helped soften the financial burden of this big, exciting life stage we were entering. It was a no-brainer. It’s a new country to us and we desperately needed on ground family support. Needless to say, this wasn’t the hard part of the living arrangement.

They Are Really Nice People

The first few weeks of living with the in-laws coasted along without incident. They went to great lengths to make sure we were comfortable—putting us up in a large room with ample closets, vacating one of the bathrooms so we had more space to ourselves, and we even got a TV in our room.

My mother-in-law did all the grocery-shopping and cooking. My kids were always well-fed and well-loved by all in the house. Dinner was always ready when I came home from work and it was always delicious.

The Down Side

I can’t lie, most of the “living with the in-laws” arrangement was skewing well in our favor, but it started to feel like I had no control. 

And I didn’t feel fully free to be myself, either. The first few weeks I was definitely on my best behavior—it was only natural. But after a while, it got a little exhausting.

Suddenly, things that I never had to think about—like not being able to drink Coke Zero in the house—drove me nuts. My own mother never did control me like that. 

My kids are still young and the little buggers keep finding ways to get me in trouble. I literally have to follow them around and make sure they don’t get up to some mischief that will inconvenience others or dirty the house in any way. They are kids, and they will do just that. 

The walls are thin. We are expected to never argue as husband and wife. I am not supposed to lose my temper at my husband because, again, the walls are thin and what would that make me? A bad wife, a bad daughter-in-law and a bad mother? There is no emotional privacy. Even when we discipline the kids. 

I never want to seem ungrateful or like I was taking their generosity for granted. I know we won’t be able to thrive in Melbourne without their support. 

The House Of Expectations

However, there really is no better way to term how living with the in-laws feels like. It is the house of expectations. A place where I feel like I am expected to live, breathe and act in a certain way. A place where I am expected to not just take care of myself, but also of my kids, my husband and help out on household chores where possible.

All of these are on top of my job, and my own emotional, physical and mental well being. That feels like a lot. :(

Well, let’s hope I survive this and come back with tips on how to survive living with the in-laws! Meanwhile, if you’re a fellow soldier on this, check out these tips on how to live with your in-laws :)

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