10 Tips on how to live with a group of people & stay sane

I’m sure that by now most of you know that Matt, Nolan & I live with Matt’s step-mom. Unless you’re very new to my blog, in which case: hello, welcome to my space…I should probably direct you to a million other posts I’ve written about the move and the reason for the move, right? Or I could just give you the gist of it {which is easier on the both of us…me because I won’t have to look back & find links, you because you won’t have to click back and catch up on reading}. Here’s the gist of it: We moved up North to live with my step MIL {and at the time, FIL, but they have since then gotten a divorce and he’s moved out…} so Matt could go to school this September and we could dig our way out of the financial hole we fell into.

It’s been a hell of a struggle, but we’ve managed to pay off the majority of our debts. There are only “small” ones left {and one that I can’t find for the life of me…sigh}. We are also getting married this summer, because we had the money to do so. Had being the operative word, money is now a stress again thanks to a stupid truck that kept breaking down and sucked my wedding fund dry. BUT THAT’S OKAY, if we have to go without a few wedding related things {like decorations, for example} we will do so. The important thing {to us, anyway} is getting married.

Anywho, so we live with my step-MIL, JDC, and another girl who JDC took in basically off the streets. More often than not JDC’s niece {who is a friend of the girl JDC took in} is over too, so she basically ‘lives’ here as well {which I find frustrating on a good day…sigh}. Merging two households is difficult. There is actually a ‘honeymoon stage’, more or less, where everything is good because everyone is on their best behaviors. We’ve actually had two ‘honeymoon stages’, believe it or not. The first one occurred when we first moved in, back in January. The second one occurred {or, re-occurred?} when JDC and my FIL separated and he moved out.

Honeymoon stages end though, and people ‘relax’. I’ve composed a list of tips that I hope others in my situation {two families living together, etc etc} will find helpful! I’ve also composed this list of tips that I will also hopefully remember on the not-so-good days when my head is going to explode 🙂

  1. Have boundaries. Be clear about the things you don’t like, the things you won’t stand for, and the things that drive you nuts. {i.e someone clipping their toenails/fingernails in the living room is something that irritates me, it should be done in the bathroom}.
  2. It’s important to have your own space, and to keep shared space clean and clutter free. I have difficulties with this one on the daily. I’m naturally chaotic with clutter, and I have a 1 year old…needless to say, the clutter sometimes over rides the neat around here.
  3. Ensure that everyone is doing ‘equal’ amounts of contributing, or at the very least cleaning up after themselves. There’s nothing I hate more than picking up someone’s dirty dishes from the living room or dinning room when the kitchen is right there, a few steps away. If you constantly pick up after yourself, there is never any need for major cleaning efforts.
  4. Be clear about laundry days. Very clear.
  5. Be respectful of other people’s property. Just because it’s there in the same house as you, it doesn’t mean that you have a right to it. Always ask before you touch something that isn’t yours, and if your housemate happens to say no, accept that and move on. Don’t take it personally and don’t try to argue with them. You would {probably} feel deeply annoyed if the roles were reversed!
  6. Alert other’s when you aren’t in the greatest of moods. Nobody likes feeling as if they have to walk on eggshells around someone, but I know I dislike it even more when I feel like that person is mad at me. So, give a heads up. Keep your distance, because bad moods rub off on other people and then everyone is cranky and grumpy.
  7. Make sure you double check with other housemates when you want to have company over, even if it’s just to give a heads up. I know I personally hate it when people walk in and out of the house when I’m not expecting them.
  8. Offer to do more than ‘what’s required’ of you. Let’s face it, every household has that one person who tends to do ‘the majority’ of household work/cooking. Offer to help out and give that person a break every once and a while; it’s good karma.
  9. Respect your housemates needs for privacy and space.
  10. Don’t hold grudges; if you are still feeling frustrated and pissed off about a situation but have already talked to the person in question about it, let it go. It only stresses you out in the long run. Save your frustration and irritation for a later date, should whatever happened to piss you off in the first place happen again!

I hope those tips were helpful! Some of these things we need to get down pat {like all of them} but happiness is a journey. It takes effort on the daily to make sure everyone within a household is happy and comfortable!

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “10 Tips on how to live with a group of people & stay sane

  1. Oh Jess, How I wish you were in India living in a joint family situation. TIt’s a criminally insane scene because you cannot say anything – they’re family! You cannot have rules/boundaries – they’re family! You cannot have space – they’re family!
    You get the gist of things don’t you?

    Anyway, my response to your post as such is – I love the set of tips. I only wish they were applicable to family. We don’t all technically live together, seperate apartments on seperate floors, but with family that stuff doesn’t matter…

    Le sigh.

  2. Great tips. Mike recently asked me to move in with his mom and brothers, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m leaning on the no side, because I just don’t think it’s a good move for me financially, but haven’t talked to him about it in a while. Still, these are good tips — even when you’re living with your parents!

  3. Tea sounds great! 🙂 Tea is a good solution on most days… actually, the people we didn’t want around have moved out so things are not so bad… it used to be at one point in time… but having everyone at the same place is a little troublesome… you just somehow feel like you can’t put your feet up and watch an hour of TV without someone judging you for it… and then there are the issues of cleanliness and habits and so on… ugh! anyway it’s over now… I’m glad

  4. I am horrible at living with people. These are great tips! I especially like #6. Everybody needs to be honest when they are feeling cranky!

  5. Although it’s just my boyfriend, my son, and me in our apartment, I can totally relate to this post. I grew up in a very crowded household with multiple families living there. Offering to do more than what’s required of you is a VERY good point. Thanks!

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