I Live Next Door to My Parents: How (and Why) It Works

I live next door to my parents.

row of connected townhomes

This statement is always polarizing: most often, I either hear a heart-felt “Oh, I’m so jealous!” or “Ugh, why?” when I tell someone this for the first time.

I’ll admit, I realize it’s unconventional and decidedly not for everyone. Here’s why it works for us.

Village Mentality

In other cultures around the world, it’s not uncommon for grandparents to move in once grandchildren are born; some people live in multi-family households. We just have two different homes for our multi-family. And this affords us so much more privacy. It also ensures that my husband and I get the final say in parenting decisions, without having to compromise within a single household.

If one of us needs an egg, a random dry spice for a recipe, or any kitchen item, we share. If I’m running out to the store and I see my dad in the driveway as I’m leaving, I always ask if there’s anything they need. And they do the same for me.

grandmother and granddaughter look out window

If I need a backup person to get my kids from school, they’re right there. And my kids feel just as comfortable at their house as at home; they have each claimed a “bedroom” and know their way around my parents house better than I do!


In every healthy relationship, there must be boundaries. This is true in parent/child relationships too! And I think this is ESPECIALLY true in instances where you live in close proximity to your parents as an adult. And I feel grateful that my parents agree and respect boundaries.

My mom said, please call before coming over and we’ll do the same. And in almost 8 years of living next door to my parents, I can count on one hand the amount of times we broke that boundary. {My kids knocking on their door without calling first is another story…}

We commit to having a family dinner together every Sunday, whenever possible. Otherwise, we don’t share often mealtimes. We swim in my parents’ pool almost daily during “summer” {In Houston we realize summer is more of a feeling than a season!} and though they travel a lot, if they are in town my children are spending their Friday nights with their grandparents. And it’s date night for my husband and me!

grandfather holding hand of granddaughter

But, there are also days we don’t see each other at all, or the only contact I have with my mom or dad is via phone call or text. Sometimes, I just see them briefly standing in our driveways before we respectively head off to our busy lives.

I don’t take advantage of them for childcare; they don’t demand time with my children beyond what my husband and I are comfortable with. The few times we’ve veered off course, we had a conversation and resolved it. The relationship between adult children and their parents is a relationship that needs nurturing and resetting just like any other.


For us, there have been very few downsides to living next door to my parents. If there was ever something I didn’t want to share with them, I think it would probably be harder to keep it private due to our closeness and proximity.

My husband sometimes feels like he needs to keep up with my dad, a retiree whose main hobby is maintaining a perfect lawn and home exterior, so I guess this could be a downside? And I dread the day my children get in trouble with us at home and then ‘run away’ to be with their grandparents– but so far, that day has never come and I know my parents would immediately be on my side if it ever did.

More To Love

I firmly believe a village is necessary to raise my kids. I need it. I have it because 1) I’m fortunate enough to have a great relationship with my parents who want to be involved with my children’s daily lives and 2) it was financially feasible for us to relocate and build homes next door to each other. We knew it was a risk but the rewards felt worth it if it could work out.

I have a “the more the merrier” philosophy when it comes to who is allowed to love my kids. Every child benefits from more love, and more adults who think they are absolutely amazing. And I started thinking this way about living next door to my parents, too.

family takes picture in front of pool
My parents/next door neighbors with my family

Our time here is finite; no one gets out alive. Seeing our parents age is difficult, but watching them be loving, hands-on grandparents is a source of infinite joy. It keeps them younger. I will never take these days for granted with them, or with my children. I am profoundly lucky, but it’s not without work or intention.

Tell me- could you ever see yourself living next door to your parents or in-laws? Or do you have a similar relationship already?

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Mary B
Mary B. is a lifelong creative, dreamer, and joy seeker. Born and raised in northern Illinois, Mary attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, receiving her B.F.A. in acting, then worked as a sometimes actress/model, sometimes waitress. Mary and her husband got married in Sept 2012, welcomed a son in 2014, moved to Texas from Chicago in 2016, and welcomed a daughter in 2017, completing their family. She self-publishes her musings on marriage, motherhood, and life on her blog, Accidentally Texan,. In her free time {free time--ha!} Mary loves to read, cook {and eat ;)}, work out, swim, travel, and spend time with her family. Mary believes emotional connection is the root of humanity and our collective purpose in life.


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