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Daughter talking about a granny flat for us - any experiences ?(Sorry - long !)

(27 Posts)
stella1949 Fri 28-Jun-19 21:15:34

I'm 70 and DH is 81. We live in a large city in our own place. We're both completely independent, and I do a lot for my son's children since he is a single father and lives near us for that reason.

Last December my DD and family moved 600 miles away because of her husband's work. I thought I would die of a broken heart, I miss them and especially the children who are so precious to us.

Anyway, last week my daughter told me that they are looking to buy a house there, since it is all working out really well. Any idea that they'd come back here is not going to happen, since they both got really good jobs and the children are doing well.

She said they both want to look at a house with a detached granny flat, the idea being that DH and I could go and live with them. We could then rent out our home here for extra income.

In many ways I want to do it. It hurts my heart to be away from them, and that hasn't changed in six months. Life is zooming along and I feel as if I've lost them despite everyone's efforts to keep in touch.

I might add that where she lives is my and DH's old home town. We both have all our families there, brothers, sisters, old friends, and DH's three sons from his 1st marriage. Where we are now, we really don't have any connections except for my son and his children, DD 14 and DS 10.

I do a lot for the children - school runs, teacher talks, doctors appointments, that sort of thing. Things that mothers do I guess !

I think that if we went to live with DD next year, my son could come and live at our place and pay rent . The children could easily walk to school as it's around the corner and they'd both be together at high school. The children would be 12 and 15 which to me is old enough to be a bit more independent .

I just worry that I don't know anyone who lives in this sort of arrangement. I know we have to talk about things like the financial aspect, and all the "what ifs" like what if they got divorced or one of them died, or if one of us needed care . We all get along so well now, but living so near could be problematic !

It's expensive where they are - we could never afford to buy our own place there so this would be the one way we could do it, living near them and our other family.

But I do feel like I'd be abandoning my son who moved near us for the one reason that we'd be supportive of the children. I'd hate to feel guilty about just upping stakes and leaving them to it.

So I'm, on the horns of a dilemma - do we go or do we stay ? Anyone had any experiences with this sort of situation ? I'd be grateful for any input.

Sara65 Fri 28-Jun-19 21:39:37

Oh gosh, that really is a tricky one!

What does your son feel about it? Does he think he can manage now? Even if he gives you his blessing to go, you will be leaving a big void in his children’s lives

Regarding living so close to your daughter, personally, I’d give it a lot of thought, you aren’t old by any means, do you really want to be stuck in a granny annex

I suppose nothing is stopping you going back to your own house, so you aren’t burning your bridges completely, just don’t rush in to anything

Urmstongran Fri 28-Jun-19 21:39:38

I think deep down you already know what you’d like to do here.


It sounds wonderful.

And either (a) let your son pay a peppercorn rent or (b) rent your property if he doesn’t fancy the upheaval of a move and perhaps give him a third of the rent to help him with extra expenditures as you won’t be ‘on hand’, a third to your daughter which will help with costs incurred and a third to build up your own little nest egg.

If, for some reason further down the line you regret your move, you can move back!

crazyH Fri 28-Jun-19 22:00:14

What a dilemma. I would say, talk to your son ....he and the children are really going to miss you especially, all the help you give them. Having said that, Your son's children are older now and they won't need you as much.
I wish you all the best. Since you say that you will be going back home, so to speak, I don't think I would give it a second. Your son and his family will manage , I'm sure.
Are you in the USA? 600 miles is almost the length of the UK 😂, so you are probably in America. I notice we have a lot GNs across the pond. 👍

stella1949 Fri 28-Jun-19 22:15:42

CrazyH Yes I need to talk to my son - I'm dreading it though ! We've had this arrangement for 5 years and I'm very close to the children. Their own mother is a distant figure and totally uncaring, so I've really been the female influence in their lives for all these years.

I know that my son will just say " whatever you want to do is fine, we'll be OK" but deep down he'll be shattered to think that I'd just go .

I'm not in the US , but Australia where distances are just as great !

stella1949 Fri 28-Jun-19 22:19:50

do you really want to be stuck in a granny annex

yes Sarah65 this is something I have to consider. At the moment we live in a large flat with balconies, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, all very convenient to everything. I just watched some videos of granny flats on You Tube - they really are quite small ! Oh dear, the more I think of it, the more pros and cons appear .

J52 Fri 28-Jun-19 23:10:09

In situations like this we write a pros and cons list. It focuses the mind and highlights long term situations.
On the face of it the move seems a good idea, but only you know the reality.
Your son and his children are moving into an independent age, so maybe you won’t be needed for child care.
Your decision, hope it goes well.

Feelingmyage55 Fri 28-Jun-19 23:18:49

Could you do both? Let your son live in your current home and you stay there for most of the school terms. Go to the granny flat for the rest of the time. In three or four years I doubt your son will need your help. He may meet another partner even. As you become ‘redundant’ to your son’s family, you could become permanent residents in the granny annex. Good luck.

Grammaretto Fri 28-Jun-19 23:36:03

We tried multi-generational living back in the 80s with my DM, We lasted 3 years. It wasn't good.
But we are we; you are you; that was then etc etc. Others have successful arrangements.
Once she had moved away, our very nice relationship resumed but I learned more about myself in those 3 years than I have before or since or ever wanted to!

stella1949 Sat 29-Jun-19 01:08:26

Grammaretto Thanks for that memory ! Yes I do wonder about this. I wouldn't agree to any kind of shared living arrangement - it was hard enough living with my bossy DD when she was growing up ! DH and I think that if we do agree to this, it would be better if we suggested that they purchase a house with a large garden, and we'd build a separate little house in the garden, our own entrance etc. And we'd set some ground rules about knocking before walking in ( not to apply to the grandchildren of course ! ) . There does seem to be a lot to consider. At least I'm very glad that I've got the choice.

midgey Sat 29-Jun-19 07:44:41

If you took out the personalities involved which area is better for you? It may be that you would be ‘better off’ in one area. What are choice to have to make. [ flowers]

Sara65 Sat 29-Jun-19 07:58:33

I can only speak for myself, your situation may be totally different, but one of our daughters has a tendency to be bossy, if we were living on top of each other, our lives wouldn’t be our own, she’d be controlling everything and there would be no getting away from it! Love her to bits, but wouldn’t want to live so close!

glammanana Sat 29-Jun-19 08:09:39

Sara65 My thoughts exactly it goes back to the saying "absense makes the heart grow fonder".

stella1949 Sat 29-Jun-19 08:10:02

midgey The "better" area to live would be where my daughter is. I left there years ago with my former husband because of his work, and we ended up staying here in Brisbane . When I got divorced I stayed because this is where my adult children were living - that's the only reason. I'd have moved back to Sydney in a minute if I could have afforded it . Now my daughter is there , and this offer is on the table ! But of course life has happened and now I'm doing the mothering of my son's children .

In a couple of years I think my son's children won't need me much at all - and they may well move, since my son often talks about his dream of moving to the Gold Coast since he is a surfer. I'd then be left with just me and DH , both getting older . The offer from DD is getting more appealing as I think of it .

Sara65 Sat 29-Jun-19 08:45:52


Do you have to decide now? Couldn’t you delay it for a year or so?

janeainsworth Sat 29-Jun-19 08:46:11

I think Feelingmyage’s suggestion of splitting your time between Brisbane and Sydney is a very good one.
In your position Stella I’m not sure I could leave DS and his children at this stage of their lives. Maybe in a few years’ time when the grandchildren have left home.
Also much depends on the actual property - make a list of your must-haves and stick to it. Separate entrance? A spare bedroom? A study? Some garden of your own? A decent kitchen/utility?
Good luck with whatever you decide.
I can’t help wondering how your DS feels towards his sister, having made this suggestion. It sounds as though you’re his lifeline.

sodapop Sat 29-Jun-19 08:55:40

It is a dilemma midgey I can see a lot of positives in the move to live with your daughter.
There are cons though, if it doesn't work out where will that leave your son if he is renting your house. If your daughter and husband were to split up what would happen. This in fact almost happened to me. My daughter asked if I would consider an annexe with her and her partner. I declined as I like my independence subsequently my daughter and partner split up and she moved quite a way away.
Think carefully about this but in the end you know what is best for you and your husband. Good luck.

Nanabilly Sat 29-Jun-19 09:45:37

I would stay put.
Too many things could go wrong. Keep your independence for as long as you can.

stella1949 Sat 29-Jun-19 10:02:07

Sara65 Yes I think that might be a good option. If DD and her husband want to buy a house with a granny flat, they can do that anyway and either use it for a rental income . Or perhaps offer it as student accommodation ( a very popular choice where they are, as there is a big Uni nearby and overseas students are always looking for short-term digs, subsidised by the Gov't). Once her brother's children are more independent ( I'm guessing a year or two) DH and I could revisit the suggestion. Thanks for your input !

Flossieturner Sat 29-Jun-19 14:18:09

I definitely would not do it. What if they wanted to sell up in the future. What would you do? Would you perhaps move back to your own home and evict your son? What happens if one of you need to go into a home. The LA would expect you to fund that yourself.

I would suggest that your daughter goes ahead with her plans and you use the granny annexe for long holidays.

PamelaJ1 Sat 29-Jun-19 17:56:59

You could house sit occasionally for people on holiday.
My daughter and her husband are off on a sail up the coast to Queensland. Her long service leave.
They would have loved to find someone responsible to move into their house.
Too late now but there are agencies that sort out that kind of arrangement.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 29-Jun-19 18:15:30

We have a "largish" house, our daughter's relationship broke down she returned home pregnant. So that meant us, our DD and GC.

My mother then became terminally ill, when she could no longer live independently she moved in with us. We were 4 generations all with different needs, difficult at times, but none of us would in hindsight change a thing. So many memories were made, we laughed, cried and yes there were a few arguments, but so much love.

Give it a go.

sazz1 Sat 29-Jun-19 18:35:02

Think carefully as a friend did this and sold her house to move into a self contained basement flat with DD and SIL living above. She put a lot of her money into purchasing the 3 story house. 2 years down the line they are getting divorced and the house sale won't finance 3 properties so she's looking at having to rent. Also she saw many awful things and heard all the rows between them. She thought they were happily married it was a real eye opener.

Katyj Sat 29-Jun-19 18:53:29

I think you should stay for now.Your sons children still need you, and him too although he probably wouldn't admit it.They could buy their house, with enough room for you to build, exactly what you want, and need.Good luck to you both.

stella1949 Sun 30-Jun-19 02:48:18

Thanks everyone for your comments - it's certainly given me plenty of thoughts !