Multigenerational Living


If you had asked me before I had children, whether I would ever have pictured myself living with my parents or my in-laws I would have laughed and said no. But life is a funny thing.

Now I really understand the expression “Never say never.”

For the last 3 and a half years I have been living on a property directly next to my in-laws. My own mother lives in an apartment on our property too. That means all three living grandparents are within a one minute or less walk from my door, and I couldn’t be happier. We share meals on occasion, collect each others mail and take care of each others’ pets when we go away for the weekend, and of course there’s the free babysitting, or a backup person to pick up my son from preschool if his sister just fell asleep and I don’t want to disturb her. My kids have different toys at each house so it’s great if we need a quick change in scenery to get through a cranky afternoon. Most importantly, my kids know their grandparents.

We are totally spoiled, and I know it. Of course we have to set boundaries so that no one feels taken advantage of or imposed upon, but so far I think we have succeeded.

Recently, a few families that we know have had to move out of state due to the job market. It has me and my husband playing the “What if” game. What if we had to move? Where would we try to go? Would we even have a choice? Truth be told, we have an amazing situation right now. Anything else would be a downgrade.

Having a young family is a physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging endeavor. To belong to the little people you created rather than yourself can be overwhelming. It really does help if you have a village to help out. It pays to have family nearby, or friends or neighbors who feel like family. It makes this parenting gig just a bit easier.


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Sandra O'Flaherty
I am stay at home mom to two wonderful kids. I grew up in Vermont, but it wasn't until I left this great state for a few years that I truly appreciated what a wonderful place it is. My husband is also a Vermonter, so we are happy to be able to raise our kids here surrounded by a large extended family. In fact, we like it so much that we bought the house next door to his parents, and my mom lives in an apartment on our property. We enjoy playing outdoors and poking around our little "gentleman's farm" that we started in 2010. We have chickens, goats, a work-in-progress vegetable garden, fruit trees, and we tap our own maple trees for syrup. I have a BA in environmental studies and an MA in urban planning. I try to keep a toe in the professional world that I left when my oldest was born by serving on our local Planning Commission. You can learn more about me and my passion for this planet we call home on my blog: Mama of Ma'at


  1. Being a grandma who lives with 3 miles of all my grand joys, I often dream of having a “family cul-de-sac! For now I am thankful for the blessings I have! Thanks for your story!


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