Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sandwich Living

The upper crust of the sandwich!
But first...

Before I get to the point I want to explain the pics.  I recently posted the Worst Photo Shoot Ever! entry.  I ended that post with a nudie pic of Piper.  Once we determined that the dress wasn't working, we opted for some naked shots.  I will be posting some of these intermittently in this post.  They're too cute not to share and I needed some sort of pics for this entry, so enjoy!  Now on to the point...

Where the last entry left off!
Just yesterday I was reading an article about the rising costs in mortgage and rent rates.  This got me to thinking about my choice in living arrangements once I decided to get pregnant.  As you may know from former posts, once I decided to have a baby I chose to give up some of my autonomy and move back home with my parents.  This was a choice not made in haste, but one that I pondered for months.  It is not easy for one who has lived independently since 18 to give up living on their own, especially when that means moving back in with the parental units.  There is also quite a bit of stigma nowadays regarding living back at home. If you look at history, however, living in a multi-generational household  is not exactly something new.

Love that face!
There are many reasons I decided to move back home besides financial issues, although that one was a biggie!  Living with my parents provides many other benefits such as mental support in dealing with being a new parent, and physical support by helping out with everyday tasks such holding and comforting Piper when my hands are full or I need a break, changing diapers (although this is mainly a job left for me and who can blame them?), helping out with bath time or feedings for her solid food meals, and anything else that may come along.  Every so often I am trying to multitask but just don't have enough arms or energy to get everything done.  During these times, my parents can step in and lend a much needed helping hand, and they enjoy doing it...bonus!

Lip in...

Lip out!
Besides them helping me, my living back at home also benefits them.  I help with the cooking and cleaning, and I certainly helped out when my mom broke her leg and was pretty much bedridden.  She also had to use a walker during her recovery which left her without the use of her arms for simple tasks such as cleaning, making her own meals, bathing, even simply carrying her diet coke from one room to another.  As my parents get older, my usefulness in helping out with tasks that are difficult for them, or pulling extra weight when one is out of commission due to an illness or injury, is going to be of even more beneficial.  As a matter of fact, my dad is getting ready for knee surgery soon.  While my mom would certainly make do taking care of him during his recovery on her own, having me there will lighten her load by an astronomical amount.  No matter how you look at it, us living together is very much a symbiotic relationship.

She has such large, beautiful eyes!
Although my helping out is of great service to them, having their last grandchild in the household is the greater gift to them.  They are thrilled to be such an important and everyday part of Piper's life.  They get to watch her grow and develop, help teach and raise her, and it keeps them young having to keep up with a baby/soon-to-be toddler.  It benefits their psyche while keeping them physically fit, and that is worth its weight in gold!

Our household is what has been dubbed sandwich living.  This term refers to a multi-generational household where a parent(s) with their own child lives with and helps care for their aging parents as well.  In other words, an adult who is sandwiched between their own children and their aging parents.  I should note here that living in the same household of the aging parents is not necessarily always the case, however it is the case in my situation.  Now don't get me wrong, my parents are perfectly capable of caring for themselves at this point.  However, I am on the path to maintaining our household as they get older and have a declining ability to care for themselves.  Hopefully this will be many more years to come, but they are in their mid 60s, so it's not like I'm living with Spring chickens!  I have chosen to be the child who takes on the responsibility of parent care.  It makes sense since I am the single daughter, and it is typically a daughter who takes on this role.  I guess my brothers and I could just throw them into a home when and if they get to be a burden, but we're much to nice for that, lol.

Great smile!

Her surprised look!
It's not so bad, this choice of mine.  My parents are my best friends, we get along terrifically, we have enough space, and I enjoy having the extra change in my pocket to afford caring for Piper.  I also enjoy the extra help in taking care of Piper.  I feel for those women and men out there doing it solely on their own, it is an insurmountable task to take on alone.  Had I decided to keep my rent house and have a child, I would be in a serious world of hurt.  I was already living paycheck to paycheck.  Even making a very decent salary doesn't allow much extra spending money after paying bills. The cost of living is ridiculous these days, with high food and gas prices plus all the extras, it's almost impossible to live on ones own anymore.  I have lived alone since my divorce back when I was 21, except for very short stints with roommates that always turned out badly, to say the least.  I dislike roommates cramping my style or flaking on their bills, so living alone was just how I liked it.  But this choice seriously allowed very little extra cash for food, savings, or extraneous expenses.  After bills, which always came first, I had some left over for groceries, medications if I needed them (think birth control and insomnia meds), and maybe a couple of outings with friends a month.  Besides that, well there wasn't anything besides that!

This one was just too damn funny!

Starting to drool!
In other words, I could not have afforded to have Piper on my own unless I decided it was okay to get on the government bill and let the taxpayers pay our way, and that is not acceptable in my eyes.  If I couldn't afford to support a child on my own, I was just simply not going to have one.  But I oh so wanted one! Moving back in with my parents allowed me to cut expenses, such as $725 month rent plus utility and TV/Internet bills.  That extra money I now use to pay for Piper expenses, and there have been a lot.  I had a nursery to decorate, hospital and doctor's bills, food and clothing, toys, everything needed to turn my office at work into a partial nursery, etc.  I could not have afforded any of this without moving back home. Luckily, after all of Piper's expenses, I still have some money left over for savings and to put towards unexpected expenses.  I am no longer struggling trying to live without going over my budget, and that has so decreased my everyday stress it's unbelievable.

Seriously drooling!
So back to this article I read about the rising costs of living...

Still drooling!
As I see it, we as a society will most likely see more and more households like the one Piper, my parents, and I have created for ourselves.  I think we will see a change back to the times when families remained close to each other and helped share expenses and the responsibilities of taking care of one another.  People all over the world live in family complexes and/or multi-generational households.  While it is not a significant part of our culture anymore, it is still seen in many other societies.  As living becomes more expensive, I see our culture changing to accommodate those expenses.  Now I am not speaking of those children who decide to never leave home because they'd rather play video games than get a job, and I know those irresponsible people are out there.  I'm speaking of responsible adults choosing to share expenses and joining forces to help each other out.  It is coming to a point where such a change will almost be necessary in a lot of cases. Now that the divorce rate is so high and women are beginning to have children on their own by choice, and now that the baby boomer generation is getting older, all of these things combined are going to cause a shift in the way we all live our daily lives.  Someone has to be there to take care of the aging population.  Single parents are going to have to come up with creative ways to meet the expense of raising children solo.  What better way to kill two birds with one stone than the single adult with kids moving home with their aging parents, like I have?

Almost done drooling!

The more she stops the drool, the bigger her eyes get!
Of course, all of this is just me rambling predictions that may never come to fruition.  I can no more see the future than I can ride a bike (story I'll save for another day).  I do think, however, that since we are already seeing more and more of these types of households arise, that the trend will continue to grow, especially once the stigma of moving back home is erased and more people see that not every adult who lives at home with their parents is just simply a child who never grew up and made it in the real world, for I am most definitely a woman who has made it in the real world and have chosen my current path and living arrangements!

So me and my buddy walk into a bar... lol!
Well that's about all I had to say about my sandwich living.  It's worked at well for all of us here in this new, modern day household we share.  I never thought I'd be as happy as I am with my current living situation, but remarkably it has been of the best ones I've ever had, and I have had many.  I will definitely be here for awhile, as I have no plans of changing anything in the foreseeable future.  Unless I happen to fall into a pile of money or meet Mr. Right and decide marriage is route I'd like to pursue again, I think I'll stick to this albeit different yet happy and loving home Piper and I are a part of right now.  Here's to discovering what works and trying new things in order to get what one wants!  Here's to love, laughter, and family!

This pic was to throw you all off!  This is my brother as a baby.
Can you see the resemblance?

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