In case anyone is taking notes for when they will be letting their own parents move in, here are some things I would pass along:
- New rules: As I mentioned before, we had to make some new rules to keep the peace. The ones that she needed reminding of most frequently: Do not send my children to fetch; also respect their privacy if they don't want to show you their homework or report cards.
- Chores: More loads of laundry, more dishes, need to sweep sooner, mop sooner, vacuum sooner, take out the trash sooner
- Errands: doctor's visits, trips to the pharmacy, little things needed from the store, different favorite foods to have in stock
- The old home: Even though nobody is living there, there is still the matter of mail, bills, newspapers, and general upkeep, unless you're ready to sell the place. Mail forwarding orders were slower to implement, worked far less reliably than I expected, and didn't cover junk mail still delivered to the old mailbox. Mail carrier suggested a stop order might have been more effective; filed away for future reference.
- Money: More groceries, more detergents, more gasoline for the additional errands, more water use, more electricity use
- Household: Needed more plates, more silverware, more drinking cups, more sheets, more towels (unique colors to be sure there's no cross-contamination)
- Air freshener!
- Schedules: One more person's favorite TV shows to work into the routine; respect for children's bedtimes and when the TV has to be off
- Take back the living room! Early on, Mom hadn't thoroughly learned to live with others and we found ourselves avoiding her. But she stayed all waking hours right in the middle of the living room, and everyone else was gravitating towards the bedrooms. So we staged a "take back the living room" campaign in which I insisted that we resume our normal habits and not be displaced, and work out whatever compromises needed to be worked out to make that happen.
- Living space: if this had gone on any longer, we would have been glad for one more comfortable chair in the living room
- Eating: special diets, and one more set of food likes and dislikes to figure into meal plans; a section of the refrigerator and counter space and pantry space for new foods; and at one point when my son and my mother both liked the same type of drink, I was putting colored inventory sticker dots on the cans so they could each have their own and be sure the other wasn't really drinking more than their share (red dots are Stephen's, yellow dots are Grandma's).
- Like having another kid: Just like each of my children, my mother wanted and needed a little bit of my time to call her own each day, just someone to talk to and listen to how her day was
- Unexpected extra help: Just when I would think it was all extra work, she'd turn around and do the dishes for me.
So as Mom gets ready to move out, I'm glad my daughter gets her room back. For all that, I'll be glad to have my own room back, and my old workload was enough already thanks. But -- oddly enough -- I'm going to miss my mom. We've never been exactly what you'd call close, but this is the closest we've been.