Family Compounds

August 4, 2009 § 4 Comments

multi family

After having family from both our sides around us helping with the kids and keeping me engaged in adult conversation, I’m having a bit of culture shock now that we’re back home. Baby brother is having some more teething discomfort and there’s very little I can do besides carry him around and nursing on and off all day. When we had family around all day even if I were holding him all day I could talk to other adults about whatever came to mind.

Some cultures, like the Balinese, have family compounds. Each smaller unit lives in a separate “house” but all of these homes have a central open area in common. I was walking around trying to get the kids to nap a couple of months ago and saw this sign that said, “multi-family” and thought of the Balinese. Life seems simpler within the compound. There are multiple generations within reach and nobody has to make anybody else feel guilty for living far away (ahem!). Children grow up assuming they will do the work their mothers and fathers do and eagerly apprentice from a young age.

I can only assume it would be difficult to adjust to living with several generations having never experienced it; both sets of grandparents had passed away by the time I was 7 years old. Now that my dad has retired from teaching I wish I could be around him all day and my future visits to California will get to be longer since he won’t be going to his old job.

Gotta run. The kale chips are done.



§ 4 Responses to Family Compounds

  • Janelle says:

    It would be wonderful to have a support group like that so close. Sometimes when I stop and think about our culture compared to others, I get really confused at how we have come to do things. But I live far away from any family too, and it’s not always a bad thing, lol!

  • megan says:

    yes i wish for this some times but my parents and in-laws drive me nuts…i love them but they are a bit much sometimes.
    we hope that in the future we will be able to do this for our children.

  • Nicole says:

    My childhood best friend’s family lived with her father’s parents. He was an only child, so they converted their basement into a three bedroom home for his family. It was actually quite nice because her grandparents were always around and babysat for her and her brother when school was out. Her grandmother was always cooking and baking-she even made her own pasta! I loved it there, but I know our family could not have done that due to personality conflicts. 😉 Paul’s parents now have his maternal grandmother living with them, as well as his two siblings, and that is not always easy because his Nan is used to living on her own. It really is nice when you can make it work though!

  • QueenHoneyB says:

    In some places in India they have big family compounds as well. It certainly would be nice for the kids, with all their cousins around! And so easy to find babysitters!

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