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Sharing a house with in-laws

How to make living with in-laws work

Following a long-lasting and world-wide recession, more and more people are finding it impossible to set up home on their own either when they get married, or when they start work when their education has finished.  The only option may be to share a house or flat with either parents or in-laws, for at least a few months or longer.  This can be fraught with difficulties and there is a real danger of damaging a previously good relationship.

Recognising this risk is the first step to avoiding it.  Realising that everyone needs their own space is also a vital factor.  This is not always easy in a small house, with one bathroom and one kitchen  - having two women sharing a kitchen is asking for trouble!

There are possible ways to alleviate the potential problems.  Consideration should be given to the following:

  • If at all possible, have separate sitting areas, to avoid arguments about which television programme to watch or which music to play!
  • If there is only one kitchen, it may be possible to have different times for cooking, especially if your tastes in food are different.  It can also be pleasant, however, to have a shared meal, perhaps taking it in turns to prepare it, say once a week.
  • If you don’t have a separate kitchen, it may be possible to have a small fridge in a bedroom or living room, plus a kettle and perhaps a microwave or toaster, so that snacks and drinks can be prepared freely, without disturbing your parents/in-laws.
  • Agree times for using the washing machine and stick to them.
  • If any of the parties has a preference for having long, hot baths, think about when the best time would be to do so – especially if there is only one loo!
  • Be sensible about shopping for basics that are shared.  The last thing you want is to fall out over who bought the last box of teabags or jar of coffee.

House for sale in Whitsome, DunsThe perfect solution, but one that isn’t often available, is to have a house that is custom-built for this purpose.  One example is this house for sale in Whitsome, near Duns on the Scottish Borders.  The house has a shared space for each family, plus a communal area.

The house in Whitsome, a beautiful village in the Scottish Borders is pictured on the right.