I get questions about our life, and country life in general, and one that comes up from time to time is what is it like living so close to you in-laws?
We live on the same property as Country Boy’s parents. Their house is on the opposite side of the dam to ours – about 300 meters away, and although there are a few trees blocking the view, we can see what they are up to, and they can do the same for us. We also share the same letter box, and driveway.
Country Boy helps his father around the farm and so sees him nearly every day. I work off the farm, so I sometimes I can go a week without seeing either my mother or father in law. Country Boy always lets his father know what we are up to as a courtesy, so that both he and his father know what the other is up to when planning farm work.
I have fallen on my feet with my parents in law. They are supportive and respectful of us always. They understand that Country Boy’s primary loyalty is to me and our family, and never put him in a position where he has to choose. We don’t always agree on everything, but we steer away from topics that are likely to cause a disagreement. I try to make the effort to pop in to see them from time to time, particularly if I haven’t seen my mother in law for a while.
I think it helps that Country Boy’s grandparents used to live in our house, so his parents understand the potential issues that come with having several generations of the same family living on the same property – they were once in our shoes. Country Boy is the fourth generation here, so it is an issue the family has had to face before.
Our kids really benefit from having grandparents close by. They can ride their bikes up to see them for an hour after school (fantastic when you need a short break!). If my father in law is doing something he thinks the kids will like, he stops by and offers to take them with him.
I would be lying if I were to say that it is all butterflies and sunshine. Like all relationships, it takes effort. There are little things that can be frustrating at times, and I am sure we do things that annoy them too. Being a city girl, there are some things about country life I just don’t get; our political beliefs are as opposite as you might imagine a farmer and a teachers’ to be. Over all though, the benefits out weigh the down sides.
So far I think the secret (if there is one) to living peacefully near your parents in law is to always be respectful of each other, and to give each other space as much as possible…. and to marry someone whose parents you can get along with in the first place.
Want to know something about country living, or our tree change, or me for that matter? Could you live next to your parents in law?