Married & Living with My Mom: We’ll Keep Doing This!

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If you follow Romania Experience, you know that one of the biggest issues right now for me is related to our house. My wife, my newborn and I are living together with my mother and grandmother, we share the kitchen and small front yard. And since houses in Romania are cheap and nice, we did consider buying a small one right away, but after days of debates and discussions, my wife came with the shocking deal: let’s continue living here!

So, for most people taking a peek, we’re in a pretty “oh, poor them” situation: married and living with my mom. Not the way most people plan things for their lives, right?

The truth is that I am almost 30 and I feel the need to be independent, to have my own place, to be able to do what I want with it. In our current situation, even though the house is divided in two pieces and we only share a small hallway before getting our privacy, my mom still has a big word to say when it comes to what we do in our “part of the house”. She loves her old furniture and doesn’t want to see it go. She loves her yellow paint in the hallway (which is horrible) and doesn’t want to change it. On paper, it’s still her house and she’s difficult to deal with. This was probably the main reason why I wanted to buy something – anything – for us to move.

But things changed a little. Upon hearing that we want to leave, she immediately changed strategy: although she supported the idea of us getting our own place, when she saw that we’re having a difficult time finding it for the right money, she came with a counter-offer: she agreed to give us complete freedom with our half of the house where we can do whatever we want with… anything.

We are not in a perfect situation, but we had already invested a pretty big sum of money turning our living room into the nursery. The blue starry walls, the new furniture, new doors… plus some renovations to our bedroom (because sadly it’s just a one bedroom space that we are living in) they all got us pretty attached to our home. And apparently my wife too, who I considered had the hardest time living with my mom.

But now with her counter offer in place, we might just make it work: as soon as we were given clearance, we’ve decided to do some changes: firs of all, we’ll turn a small area that used to be a hallway slash dressing into a living room. A VERY tiny one (about 70 sq feet), but at least it’s better than nothing. We’ll only have room for a couch, a table and some chairs and nothing else… but at least there will be a place. Also, there was some unused space near the bathroom where we will build a kitchen/dining area. That will be bigger (about 190 sq. feet) but it has a really strange layout – it’s long and tight. But we will have our own kitchen which would be a huge win for us, because cooking with my mom around was at times a real nightmare – she’s on a gluten free diet so we usually prepare our own food while she was working on hers, which used to get very tight and nerve wrecking, because apparently nothing that we did was done as it had to be done and she kept giving advice and driving us crazy.

So yeah, we were not living in the best conditions (it could’ve been a lot worse too), but things have finally turned around a little bit: I’m still married and still living with my mom and apparently that’s what we’re going to do for a while now until we manage to save enough money for a real house. And with the new changes (I’ll share the results as soon as everything’s ready, probably in a few weeks) I am actually excited about our new situation.

And one of the biggest wins here is financial: if we were to buy a house, not only that we would’ve bought one that wouldn’t have been in a good condition, it would’ve been far away from the city center and small AND we would’ve spent all our money. Now we’ll only spend a fraction on to add the new rooms and for the furniture (which will probably cost more) and we’ll still have most of the money making more for us (hopefully, ha!). Plus, it’s always good to know that you have some put away if an emergency hits because if we were to buy we would’ve really spent EVERYTHING we had, as we are not even considering getting a loan.

So… that’s the situation here. Not as anticipated a couple of months ago, but still better than it was a few months ago!

Do you think that, under these circumstances, you would be able to basically live with your mom in a pretty small space?

[Photo by: Joe Dyndale]

20 COMMENTS

  1. Why don’t you rent a place or buy a cheap 2 room communist apartment? After all, your goal is to move out from the current place, not necessarily to buy something. Especially considering that a house is usually more expensive than an apartment, considering the same surface, condition and location.

    On the other hand, staying with your mom would be good thing because your mother could take care of the child.

    • We really hope that with this new situation things will be better. Renting would make little sense for us because we’d have the feeling that we’re spending money for no long term benefit (we wouldn’t own the place in the end). We have intensely debated the option to get a 2 room apartment but we decided that again it would make little sense: we’d move in a much smaller place and wouldn’t be in the heart of the city as we are now. Reselling would also be difficult as we live in a relatively small city with a ton of apartments available at very competitive prices.

      Now, with a bit of investment, we’d have 2 and a half rooms (3 in theory, but the new one is really small), on bath and a pretty large kitchen, and we’d only share the front yard with my mon, which we don’t use anyway. Right now I am confident that this is the best option.

      • “Right now I am confident that this is the best option”
        Do you have any siblings or will your mother donate you that land and the initial building?

        I would personally not call that investment my own unless I would have the full ownership rights for it. Even between siblings, there’s usually a rivalry over the real estate inherited from the common parents.

  2. I was never able to live by the rules my parents had, so I moved out of the house real quick! I was living on my own by the time I was 18, moved in my apartment when I was about 20 and now live with my not-yet-husband, far away from my parents 😀

    My point is that everyone is different, you can’t compare your situation to anyone else’s, my best friend and her husband live with his mom, and that works for them, so if you are comfortable with your new situation right now, you shouldn’t compare yourself to others.

    To answer your question, no, I would definitely go nuts if I had to live with my mom, but you seem quite happy with the arrangement so, good for you 🙂

    • It’s not an ideal situation and my mother isn’t the easiest person to live with. But since we’re as separated as we can be and each has half of the house – and now with us getting our own kitchen (we already had our own bathroom), the separation will be even more obvious and it would be kind of like living in a duplex 🙂

  3. Hey, if everyone’s happy with the arrangement, then who cares? I think that’s great that you’re sharing some space. When you’re ready to move out, you can. Hopefully you can save more money in the meantime.

    • That’s my plan. My wife would probably be completely fine if we don’t move at all, but I still feel the need to move on – but on somewhere we’ll call home and not somewhere we’ll move to just to move away. It’s not that bad yet 🙂

  4. We’re also living with my MIL and it sometimes gets ‘hairy’. Even so, there are still many benefits: she’s doing most of the housework (she’s never pleased with how we do stuff and knows best, so we let her deal with the stuff), she’s cooking (and is an excellent cook by the way) and we do save money, since we don’t pay rent or mortgage. We live in a 4 room apartment, which is pretty big by our standards here, so we do have our privacy. Weighing in the pros and cons, I do think we’re getting a sweet deal anyway

    • Yes, that’s true. 4 rooms is what we’re basically sharing here, but it’s a house. Unfortunately my mom’s a pretty terrible cook and for more than one year we’re doing most of our cooking. 🙂

  5. We lived with my parents the first year we were married. We did pay rent but it was a lot cheaper than the rent we pay now (but where we live now is more convenient and a better neighborhood). I think it was a great way to save some money, but yes…living with the parents when married always comes with some conflicts. I hear this from many people who have been in a similar situation. It does make sense in the short term, especially since your mom can watch Baby Romanian and you can save for the house you want to buy. But at some point, it’s probably good to be independent.

    • Certainly, at some point. Unfortunately, it won’t be as soon as I’d like it to be. For me an my wife, this is the third (or maybe fourth) year of living with my mom, so most of the conflicts have gone and both ladies learned that it’s best to see eye to eye as rarely as possible :))

  6. It’s funny that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship seems very universal in all cultures where there will be some conflict. In my culture (though we are Americanized now), the daughter-in-law often lives with the husbands family. But I’m sure there has always been that conflict. If you have access to old episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” this dynamic is seem in many of the episodes and it’s hilarious. In anycase, good luck with everything. It can be tough to be stuck in the middle.

  7. Nothing better than family! I think that Seinfeld said this about wives but it applies to parents as well.

    “Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.”

  8. because you enjoy to live like this, I can suggest you another idea.
    Just because now you don’t pay any rent, you can invest your economies and buy an apartment using a loan at the bank. This apartment you can rent it, and the rent will cover completely the bank rate.
    In several years, you can pay in advance and close the bank account (this is what I did these days, after 8 years).

    This will be a nice gift for my child, or, why not, a backup financial solution if I will loose my job, or when I will be old, too old to find easily a new job.

    • Well, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we’re enjoying this – to better put it, we’re learning to accept and like it 🙂

      I am really afraid of getting a loan and I live in a smaller city in Romania where the renter market is not that active, so it would be really difficult to find people who would rent a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment. However, this does sound like a good idea and I will surely give it a thought.

        • Oh, you were talking about an investment, I skipped that part and thought that you were suggesting that we do this until we pay the mortgage then move there. But yes, we’ve always considered getting a studio and renting it out. In Romania, it’s probably the easiest way to invest since our stock market is lethargic at most 🙂

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