3 Good Things (And 3 Awful Things) About Living With Your In-Laws

Barack Obama isn't the only one doing it.

Pros And Cons Of Living With Your In-Laws iStock

Barack Obama has something in common with 5 percent of Americans over the age of 18: He lives with his mother-in-law. And while the leader of the free world isn't one to badmouth his mother-in-law (who assisted with childcare duties during the presidential campaign), he's obviously absent from an article in The New York Times about Marian Robinson's life in the White House.

The piece, which opens with a quote from the first mother-in-law's son, Craig Robinson, about how she had to be dragged "kicking and screaming" away from her home in Chicago, goes on to explain (in the words of Michelle Obama and Robinson herself), how quickly she took a liking to life in the Executive Mansion.


"She has a very full social life," the First Lady said. "So much so that sometimes we have to plan our schedule around her."

We can't help but wonder: Does Obama face the same mother-in-law-related frustrations that the rest of us do? So, inspired by Barack Obama and his particular situation, we've come up with a list of the pros and cons of living with one's mother-in-law.

The Pros

1. They can help with the kids. Marian Robinson looks over Sasha and Malia as they do everything from their homework to Easter egg hunts. If your in-laws are trustworthy and willing, they may be able to serve as home-based babysitters as well.


2. There's a chance to keep an eye on the elders. Some in-laws, like Robinson, run 50-yard dashes and take yoga classes in their spare time. Others suffer from slip-and-fall accidents and forget to take their heart medicine. Co-habitating with the in-laws means you can help keep them safe, if that's what they need.

3. You can spend more time with people you like. Some people really like their in-laws. Really.

The Cons

1. They offer criticism about cooking and cleaning. Unlike the Obamas, most of us don't have a full staff of cooks and housekeepers. This means that any criticisms our in-laws voice about baking and dusting land squarely on our heads.


2. They may disagree about how to raise the kids. Though Robinson seems to approve of how the Obamas raise the kids, saying "My children are good parents," not everyone has such an easy time. In fact, some in-laws can be downright cruel in this arena.

3. They don't like noise. Whether it's making whoopie or arguing about the bills, couples are going to make noise. And when we live with our in-laws, that noise can come back to haunt us. Even the Obamas know this, as Marian Robinson's bedroom is located directly above the Executive Residence.