Living in a 4-generation Household is So Hard That I Want to Give up on Everything

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 20s. I live in a house owned by my husband’s family. Four generations live in the house: my husband’s grandparents, his parents, his brother’s family, and our own.

I’m fed up with living in the same house as his relatives, whose lifestyles and personalities are different from mine.

I got married when I realized I was pregnant. Currently, I have a 1-year-old child.

Before I became pregnant, I spent time job-hunting. However, I gave that up, and I’m now unemployed because I can’t even work part-time.

Because my marriage happened quickly, my husband and I began living in his parents’ home.

Since giving birth, I have spent almost 24 hours a day with my child, and have gradually grown resentful of child-rearing. My child’s screaming and running around is just noise to me.

I don’t know what I should do, as living in a four-generation home along with raising my child is making my life unbearable. Sometimes, I want to give up on all of them.

Y, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. Y:

Four generations living together in a single house must be very hard. It is natural that keeping up human relationships makes you feel fatigued.

I want you to do several things to support yourself. First, set a goal for yourself and figure out what you need to do every day to achieve it.

For example, one goal can be to move out of your in-laws’ house in a few years by trying to find an affordable place nearby. You can also look for a childcare facility or another support center so you can go to work. Think about how you can start working and create a list of what needs to be done.

You will feel frustrated less frequently if you focus on considering how to realize your future desires.

Next, get along with those who live with you and build good relationships with them. Find common points with them instead of differences. It is better to build as good a relationship as possible so that they will help you even after you move into your new house.

In addition, you need to spare some time for yourself every day, even if it’s short. This means you will have time outside of just being a wife or mother.

When you go out shopping, you can go alone by leaving your child in the care of your in-laws, and do other things such as enjoying a cup of tea or taking a walk.

If you write down how you feel in a diary, it will give you opportunities to face your own feelings.

Junko Umihara, psychiatrist