“I love coming to your apartment!” said Charlotte, grinning ear to ear as she accesses the code to open the front door to our rented apartment.
For years, every time we have visited our son and his family at their home in Washington state, we stayed in a spare bedroom in their basement. That worked out fine and the family “hosted” us well!
- Maximum time with the kids.
- No cost.
- No need to rent a car.
- Hard to find enough time to rest … and when we do rest, we feel guilty.
- We have a tendency to overdo helping with meals, laundry, etc. and living under their roof encourages this.
But things change …
Our son started working from home about a year ago and the spare bedroom became a home office. Each of us could maybe sleep in one of the grandkids’ rooms and they would be on the floor in a sleeping bag. But we knew that would be a strain on everyone involved.
A hotel might have been an option but since our visits are usually a few weeks, we searched on websites such as VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owners) and Airbnb. We looked for an apartment to rent for the length of our stay. We selected a place close to their house so going back and forth would not be a big deal. Our son and his wife said we could use one of their cars.
The result? A great idea!
After staying in an apartment on trips for the last year, we can positively say this has turned out to be a terrific change.
Time to rest — without guilt. We used to take rest breaks in our basement guest room but felt guilty hearing the activity of the house upstairs. Driving away is hard, but it’s like taking off a band-aid. We do it … go back to our apartment and put up our feet. One glass of wine, please! And oh, the quiet cup of morning coffee. When we arrive at their home, we are energized!
We get precious one-on-one time. With their growing family, we never were able to create one-on-one time except in very small chunks. But with our apartment, we have overnight stays for the children one at a time. What a joy! We pamper the visitor, fuss over everything, cook their favorite items, focus on him or her alone — all those advantages of being an only grandchild. “I just love it here!” Fiona will say every fifteen minutes. Sebastian is too little for an overnight stay, but we host him alone often, so the Big Kids can do an activity or outing with their parents.
Our son and his wife have a getaway place. While we are at their house with the grands, our son and our daughter-in-law sometimes come over to our apartment for a peaceful getaway place, even for an afternoon.
We feel more like “in-town” grandparents! We do things like baking brownies in the evening at our apartment to surprise the kids the next day … having our daughter-in-law drop the kids at our apartment, at our request, so she can have tea with a girlfriend.
The only disadvantage of having our own place? The cost. Ouch. Nothing about the Pacific Northwest is cheap.
My article on Following the House Rules offers suggestions for visiting grandparents. Check it out!
Have you ever rented a place instead of staying with your kids? How did it work out? Please share in the Comments section below.