Extended families are back in the news--specifically, extended families sharing the same home. Liz Pulliam Weston addresses it in her MSN Money column, Should We Live Like the Waltons? Parade Magazine, in today's Sunday supplement also takes on multigenerational families. (Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a link to the specific Parade article on their website.)
Grace is part of this comeback. My household currently consists of myself, an adult daughter, an adult son-in-law (separated from another of my daughters), and two grandchildren.
What surprises me about the articles so far is that while they acknowledge that the economic crisis has forced our families into one home, they tend to focus on the social issues, not the continuing financial ones.
There is the sense that extended families are practicing economies of scale. Would that it were true, but I suspect that what I'm personally experiencing is not unlike that of many other newly-extended families.
I'm the only consistent wage-earner in my household. The newcomers are contributing, but not nearly enough to cover my increased expenses. Not only are my utility bills like electricity and water increasing, but so are minor expenses like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and deordorant.
Moving in with me is financially advantageous for my daughter. It works for my son-in-law and his children.
For me? Not so much.
Let's face it--when families move in together, it is NOT going to be an economic boon to both sides. Either it's middle aged adults assuming care of their parents or continuing the care of their children into adulthood. One half of the equation needs the financial help and the other half is providing it.
I do see the provision of housing for members of my extended family as currently necessary. I also see it as temporary.
Trust me on this one--Grace's family ain't the Waltons!