Embracing Multigenerational Living: Why It's Our Secret to Happiness!
Hi, friends! If you follow us regularly, you may know that we have a unique lifestyle, or at least we thought we did. Turns out, we were wrong. Multigenerational living, like we do, with three generations living in super close proximity, is more common than we would have guessed. More on the dramatic growth of multigenerational living later.
First though, here's the scoop about our multigenerational set-up on five acres. We have separate homes but share the land. We have ten animals (and one more on the way), a communal garden, and lots of work that basically boils down to killing weeds and cleaning poop.
There are eight of us: Brie, her husband, and their four kids, and my husband and me (Dee). Multigenerational living started for us over a decade ago. If you'd like to hear how it all got started, listen to the podcast Episode 223: You Live HOW Close? . It's a story many find hard to believe.
We figure since we've been living happily this way for 10+ years, we must be doing a few things right, so we put our heads together and thought we'd share our top three tips for making multigenerational living work. Here we go!
Tip #1 - Shared Values
It's super important for everybody to be on the same page on the big stuff. For us, that starts with our love of God and His word, the Bible. That is our shared guiding light and solves a lot of problems from the get-go. A few other shared values in our clan include hard work, being flexible, being honest but not hurtful, and laughing as much as possible.
Tip #2 - Shared Space and Responsibilities
Healthy boundaries and a good rhythm between privacy and togetherness are very important, in our opinion. While we live in close proximity, we don't just barge into each other's homes unannounced (well, maybe the grandkids do), and we don't share every waking minute together. People are sometimes surprised to learn that while we do life together, which includes getting kids to lessons and appointments, maybe a meal together here and there, the farm chores, etc., we aren't in each other's business all the time. We have separate lives too, and we think that's essential. Plus, it gives us something to talk about when we do get the rare chance to just hang out.
Tip #3 - Shared Goals
We have shared goals on several fronts. For example, we have a shared alpaca business that is growing. The excitement that brings to our lives, and even the challenges, force us to put our heads together to find solutions. We find that's great for creating memories and building on each other's strengths. Another big shared goal is giving our kids a home that heals. For us, that means minimizing the things we know work against kids growing up into spiritually mature, mentally strong, well-rounded, and active young adults.
As you can imagine, this is not a comprehensive list, so expect more blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channel videos on this subject soon. And remember I said we had a big surprise when we realized our unique lifestyle isn't really unique? In doing research for our podcast, I discovered some eye-opening statistics.
We have a lot of company! A recent Pew Research Center report reveals that 59.7 million U.S. residents live with multiple generations under one roof. The share of the U.S. population living in multigenerational households in 2021 was 18%, and it has been growing dramatically in recent years. We'll keep sharing about our experiences and want to hear yours! So, if you're one of the millions of families sharing life together this way, please tell us your stories and share your tips!