Monday, March 26, 2012

Your Kistch is My Command(ment)


Dear Helen Hartman,
Recently my grown child had to move home and now it seems that everyone I talk to is in a variation of this situation. I know multi-generational living was the norm in the past and still is in many cultures, but it’s a big adjustment. How do we do this and not end up hating each other?

Dear Loves Your Loved Ones But Maybe Not So Close One,

Helen read recently that more American adults are living with their parents than any time since the 1950s so that’s where Helen will go for advice. No, I don’t have a time machine. I have the next best 
thing…  

What have you got? A Genie? A group of friends who solve mysteries? A robot that makes stuff and senses danger? What?
 

My vast resources… IOW the stuff I have found in flea markets, estate sales and antique malls that is close to the top of the stack so I don’t have to bend or stretch to get to it.


Because you're old, right?

I can certainly see why having the younger generation around would get on your very last nerve. Let’s see what the experts from the Science Research Associates Inc. have to say about it. 

These young people were able to live among Parents by disguising themselves as 30 year olds, behaving like and blending in with the Parents in their familiar environment, the suburban kitchen.


In reading over the booklet it seems "Science" is on the side of the parents.

Because your friends are idiots. (Harsh? LOOK at these people. They don't even know you take your tie off when you hang from  chandelier!)

One solution they offer is forming a family counsel to help deal with things, such as the family budget.

"Dad, I've gone over the numbers and there's no doubt about it. We are going to have to make some cuts in the family. You're fired."

The problem is that is that you run the risk of everybody thinking their opinion matters!


Helen doesn’t see how that would work in her house. The rule around here is: Mama is the queen and if the queen ain’t happy… 

Go Shopping?

I was gonna say HIDE but shopping is also good. If my kids moved in with gifts, especially if it was some awesome kitsch, it might make things so more smoothly.

Of course, every family is different.

"Gee, Louise, you said your family was old fashioned but I don't know if I could put up with THIS!"

In other words, not all of you can be bribed - or maybe your kids aren't in a position to spend $ on you. Not to worry, there's always blackmail.

"But Mom, I don't want to do our old "Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting" routine for the church Mother Daughter talent show." "Less complaining, more kicking, Shiree. You wanted to move back home and I saw my chance to FINALLY win this thing."
Maybe the best way to deal with adults sharing a house is to come up with some rules. Writing down rules is a long standing way of helping people navigate life.

Helen's very own, actual, childhood Ten Commandments charm bracelet. The images shift from an image to a written commandment. You didn't know they had that technology back when Helen was a kid, did you? You expected carved stones and hieroglyphics, didn't you? You're a real card, you know it?

But if you do go the written rule route, make sure they are clear.

This is the image for Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. I asked my Mom what that meant. She was evasive. For years I thought it meant Thou Shalt Not Offer Thyself to Go Up In a Beam From A Space Ship.

I came across this bracelet full of "Teen" commandments this weekend. Of course I snapped it up because, well, who can resist judgmental jewelry?

A cop out if I ever saw one. It's really only nine commandments like "Think before you Drink. Then Don't." And "Choose a Date who Would Be a Good Mate"  "Be an Engine -- Not a Caboose" "Don't Show Off Driving. If You Want to Race Go to Indianapolis (I hear that's how all the greats started, smartalecs who didn't honor the teen commandments). Then concludes that you should just stick with the Original ten.
Not so helpful, huh? Who’d have thought that something so cute wouldn’t have all the answers? Don’t despair, Helen is both cute and filled with answers, often to questions you haven’t even asked yet!

"Honey, I am looking you over and honestly, I don't even know WHERE to begin!"

The best way to live with your kids, or your parents, is the best way to live with anyone. Give them rules. Give them room. Give them respect.
And last but not least, give them heck with they don’t do the same for you.

27 comments:

  1. My favorite since having the 26 year old move back in with us: Honor Your Father and more importantly, Your Mother! Gift certificates for pedicures trump my anger that you don't know what a vacuum cleaner is for!

    Tammy

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    1. Amen! Mine cleans but he can't keep his mouth shut when I drag junk home.

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  2. Great advice! I used to have one of those Ten Commandments bracelets as a kid. It had charms shaped like the tablets.

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    1. I LOVE that bracelet. If I had a diamond one, I'd have lost it. That cheapo thing I've kept forever.

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  3. I just tell my sons... "no room at the Inn". It's worked so far:@)

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    1. But do you lock your doors? Because those kids can be sneaky!

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  4. I have put a lot of energy and pain in making them do a ton of chores for two reasons. 1. They'll know how to take care of themselves. 2. They won't want to move home, because they'll picture all of the chores I'll come up with. So far it's working, and number one is still out on his own...barely.

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    1. Hope he stays on his own. Chores do have a way of making moving away look like a good idea.

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  5. That ten commandment bracelet rocks, who'd have thought a religion could be so funky? x

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    1. I know. There are those of us who call it Jesus Junk - I don't dare start collecting it because the problem with it is, once you've got it you can't get rid of it. I mean you'd feel guilty throwing it out and it's not something people seem to want as gifts!

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  6. Hello Helen:
    Whilst we understand that children could be one's best friends, the light of one's life, the apple of one's eye, omega and alpha even......we are grateful that we do not have any!!! So, no problem about them moving in or out......now all we have to sort out is who is going to push our bath chairs....!!!!

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    1. Perhaps you can train service dogs for that. I wouldn't trust mine to do it, anyway. They are always threatening me with old age stories. My son has particular plans to dress me up in wigs and hats when I am aged. Joke is on him, I will enjoy that.

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  7. lol... I can't pick out a line that was funniest. With four monkeys living in this house... all who will be teenagers at the same time for a brief period of time... I may need that bracelet.

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    1. Life is full of consequences. You thought a houseful of kids would be joyous, then they begin to hit the teen years....bwahahahaha.

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  8. Ah, I needed this, this morning - thanks for a fabulous day starter! I actually own that little Woody in your first photo - it rides in my car console - I would SO drive a real one! And the family meeting illustration reminds me of "The Airing of Grievances" from the Festivus episode of Seinfeld - right before the "Feats of Strength"!

    Have a wonderful day, Helen...you've certainly made mine (AGAIN!)

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    1. Thanks - love that you have that woody wagon on your dash! I have a little yellow Taxi but it drove itself off the edge the other day and can't find it. When the kids were young we had an "Emergency Space Pig" - Porky Pig in a space suit that they were fighting over so I stuck it in the garage door opener compartment.

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  9. Interesting post i think having respect for one another and ground rules is a huge basis for anyone living together. dee x

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    1. Here in the US we didn't expect kids to live at home after they finished school so it's sort of become a big thing people are trying to figure out.

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  10. So dang funny!! I loved I Dream of Jeanie, McHale's Navy, Hogan's Heroes, (can you tell I had brothers), Gilligan's Island, THE BRADY BUNCH!
    You know the saying, don't you...If mama ain't happy then nobody's happy. If daddy ain't happy, then nobody cares....lol lol lol

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    1. LOL, HOlly. You're so right. If Daddy ain't happy, well, he knew what he was gettin' into when you married Mama!

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  11. I love you. You make me laugh so hard.
    Thou Shalt Not Offer Thyself to Go Up In a Beam From A Space Ship.

    I shant.

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  12. This is a great posting I have read. I like your article.

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  13. Your posts are always such a thoroughly bright, smile-inducingly fun spot in my feedreader's day. Thanks for another terrific, wonderfully vintage image filled post, sweet Helen.


    Oodles of hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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