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For the past thirteen months my wife and I, along with our two boys, have lived with her parents. This cam about when I had lost steady employment and we could not continue meeting our financial obligations. It was not our choice to seek shelter in the home of my in-laws; they were not even our first choice. No matter the context of our situation, it still happened. Now after exercising a great deal of patients and a fair amount of hard work we are on the verge of moving out. This has caused me to take a hard look at the past year and think about what could be improved in the years to come.

I am not going to complain about living in my in-laws home but I will share what I have learned this last year, some of the pros and cons of co-habitation and some of the things I have learned to appreciate more in life. I will also share some of my plans for my life my family and the future of this blog. It has been a difficult journey and in the last thirteen months many things have happened both good and bad. Either way I think it has caused me to grow as a husband, a father, a student and a professional.

Let me start with the fact that in these difficult time co-habitation has become more common. It is nothing to be ashamed of and so long as you work hard and stay focused it can be very progressive. On the other side of the coin it is not for everyone and it is often difficult. My wife (Joyce) and I are friends with other couples and families that have recently lived or currently live with other families. This may be just two families or they may have moved back in with their parents. They all share at least one thing in common, they all have children. Many of them also moved out before they were ready or did not stay as long as they planned.

If you have never been a co-habitant before you may start wondering why this is. People have asked why we want to move so badly or why others we know left before they planned. I like to give the same response each time, “Have you ever lived with your in-laws?” Once I have there attention I explain myself in more detail. I also tell people; “Before I say anything else I do appreciate what my in-laws have done for us.” after all they did let us live rent free so we can get our lives in order. In short co-habitation can benefits low income families, but it is difficult and it can take a long time.

This takes me to my next thought, over the time we spent living with Joyce’s parents I have learned to appreciate some of the things in life that can be taken for granted. One of the biggest would be personal quality time with my wife and kids. Another one is due to the limited space, our two year old stay in our room, this has taught me to appreciate quality alone time with my wife. I truly miss personal space and privacy which completely flew out the window the day we moved in. I also have learned to appreciate a clean home more than ever. Items I never knew I would under appreciate are; clean dry towels, refrigerator space, leaving the bathroom door open when I pee, sex in the living room, singing aloud about what I am doing when I am doing it and walking around in my underwear. Not necessarily all at once but when we move I could.

Since we started this part of our life we have had set backs and great advances. I try not to focus on the negative so I will summarize that by stating our marriage nearly ended. It takes tow to make it work and it is often two that cause it to fail. In this case I made a mistake that nearly undid everything we had. I regret it and I have tried my best to work on my marriage and myself and things have been much better. We have come a long way and that goes for everyone in the family. My two boys, Raeden (3) and Harry (2 in March) have grown a year older and have accomplished all the milestones that come with that plus more. My wife has grown socially and even has set up extra income after we move. Since we have lived there I have gone from jobless with a low GPA high school diploma to having my first college degree with a very high GPA and now have a career that has benefits, job security and pays well. Truly this has been a time of growth for me and my family.

Looking forward I see things a little more clearly than before. I have been lucky to gain back some of my confidence and I plan on using that to fuel my motivation. We have rented a town home and I want to spend the next three to five years living there. I would also like to spend at least that time with my current employer. They have been good to me so far and I am happy here so long as that remains the truth and there continues to be room for advancement. Moving up in my career is crucial to many of my plans for me and my family as well as some of the goals my wife has set. I want to make regular traditions with my family and that will include outings, eating healthier and becoming more physically active. AS for this blog I will become more active, I have set the bar too high and I need to condense as to not scare myself out of doing any posts. I will post one time a week for now. I will also be performing a redesign. There will be fewer categories, pages and will start to feature my original art. I will finally start the web comic this year even if it kills me.

That is all I have for today so until next time be safe and feel free to share your own stories. This week I am looking for experiences that other families had as co-habitants or people who completed school or made a career change. I want to have an open and safe environment so share freely but be kind and courteous or your post will not last long.

Thanks for reading,