Chances are, you flew the coop a while ago. Whether it’s been 15 years or 15 months, that time of living with your parents is gone. You grow up, freedom becomes yours, and you’re either eager to leave or you’re pushed out the door. You never really think a time will come again when you’re knocking on that all too familiar door, suitcase in hand, butterflies in your stomach, ready to tell the ‘rents that you’re back. No matter what the reason for your return, if you’re planning on living with your parents again, either on a short term or long term basis, there are ways to help make the transition and the long days of living there more bearable, if not a tad bit enjoyable. Here’s how…
Real Life Moments:
“We had been planning on upgrading our family’s home in the near future, so when we randomly discovered a gem of a custom home starting to be built in our dream location, we jumped on the opportunity. We signed the papers, shook the hands, and went home to the house we needed to all-of-a-sudden sell. In this housing market, you never know what to expect, so in fear of carrying two mortgages, we instantly put our house on the market. Little did we expect to have a showing the next day, and an offer that night, which we had to accept as it was a damn good offer. We celebrated and patted ourselves on the back for having such a sell-able house, then realized that in 30 days, we would be homeless. Our new home wasn’t scheduled to be completed until at least a few months from then. We researched short-term housing in our area only to be blown away by the ridiculously high prices, on top of already bleeding money for PODs, home inspection repairs, new home upgrades, etc. It was time to see who would take us in, a family of four — including a 2 and 3 year old — with a dog and a cat. It was decided that moving in with my parents who lived 1 hour away was the most logical choice. They hesitantly agreed, and even though they refused the cat (he went with the other parents), we all packed up and moved into a 1,900 square foot ranch home with my parents, sister, and two other dogs.” – Dani
1. Bring the Basics
As you’re packing up either yourself or your family to make the move back to mom and dad’s, only pack basic items; essentials that you can’t live without. Chances are, you’ll be banished to one or two rooms with limited closet space, depending on the size of your family, so do everyone a favor, and scale back on your belongings during this transitional time.
Do a deep de-clutter of your things before packing, try to limit toiletries to one small bin per person, clothing to one large Rubbermaid bin per person, and shoes to a large bin. Pack seasonal clothing and shoes that are neutral in color and design, and pieces that can mix and match well, allowing you to create lots of outfits from a small selection of clothing.
Obviously, your circumstances regarding why you’re moving back in with the ‘rents will dictate your packing needs, but bottom line is… don’t bring your whole life (and your clutter) with you.
2. Have a “Define the Relationship” Talk
In order for things to run smoothly in a household where there are all adults present, the relationships and family dynamics need to be discussed. You and your parents need to realize that you are no longer a “child” living under your parent’s roof again, and therefore it is not your parent’s responsibility to take care of you or for your parent’s to dictate your choices.
The “vertical” relationship that children and parents have before the children are independent adults is one of parent’s guiding, directing, and standing atop the family hierarchy. Now your relationship with your parents should be a “horizontal” one, where you both interact with each other as fellow adults, with mutual understanding and respect for each other. Be sure the “horizontal” relationship is maintained in these new living arrangements. This can be accomplished by sharing each other’s expectations of living with each other again, taking an active role in the household, not expecting your parent’s to pick up after you or do things for you, and being respectful of house rules and each other’s lifestyles.
3. Keep Your Routine
Even though things will be out of whack while living with your parent’s again and a new normal will begin, try to maintain your old routine as much as you can, especially if you have kids. Still get up at the same time in the morning, keep any standing play dates or normal time spent with friends, keep naptime and bedtime routines the same, drink your green tea at 1pm every afternoon, and work on your blog each evening after the kids are nestled in bed.
Not only will this help maintain your sanity by knowing what to expect each day and being able to leave your parent’s house often, but when you do move out again, it will be easier to slide right back into your normal life.
4. Respect the House Rules
Every household is run differently, and just because they are your parents, doesn’t mean that you can come trampling in and do everything you normally do at your home. Sit down with your parent’s beforehand and go over any important rules, and then realize as you get moved in that more rules will start to come out of the woodwork. Take a deep breath, and just go with the flow, realizing that you are in your parent’s territory now, and if they don’t want the blinds open during the day because it costs them a pretty penny on their air conditioning bill, then just leave the blinds shut and think of the darkness as mood lighting.
5. Maintain Boundaries
Just as you need to respect the house rules, you need to maintain proper boundaries with your parents, and encourage them to do the same with you.
- If you have your door closed, or vice versa, no longer are these the days where it’s appropriate to just walk right in.
- If you and your husband are having an argument, you need to be sure you keep it between you and your husband and not run to your mom to give her every detail, even though she is three steps away.
- If your family is planning a trip to the mountains for a weekend, don’t feel as though you must invite your mom and dad along even though you live with them, and don’t allow your mom and dad to invite themselves along. Respect each other’s space and maintain healthy boundaries.
6. Be Responsible and Contribute
In order to maintain a “horizontal” relationship with your parents as already discussed above, you must contribute towards the household, and simply act like the responsible adult you are when you’re not living with your parents. Whether you are contributing in a monetary way, such as paying rent or a portion of the grocery bill, or in a non-monetary way, such as folding laundry, cleaning the bathrooms each week, or taking the dogs out for a daily walk, be sure to pull your weight. Help make the fuller house a cleaner, happier, and better place to live.
7. Schedule Get Away Times
Space is sometimes all you need for peace in a household where there are an abnormal amount of adults and children living. Along with keeping your routine, which hopefully allows for you to leave the premises at regular intervals, schedule some fun get away times. This will give you much needed space away from your parents and give your parents much needed space away from you!
Plan a girls or guys weekend away to spend some quality time with friends, schedule a massage at a local day spa, pack up the kids for a night and take them to a nearby Great Wolf Lodge for indoor waterpark fun, or just take a long walk or run every night to clear your head, get some exercise, and revitalize your spirit.
8. Use this Time for Self-growth
Chances are, even if you’re being diligent in helping around the house, you’ll still probably have some extra time on your hands because let’s face it, parent’s will always pick up our slack. Use those extra minutes to focus on you. If you’re back with your parents because of job difficulties, use this time to amp up your resume, scout for new job opportunities, and volunteer in the meantime. Use this time to start exercising, eat better, pick up a new hobby, learn something new, or start journaling.
Nothing else will make you take a good, hard look at yourself than living back with your parents. Don’t spend your idle moments snoozing on the couch or mooching on your dad’s secret snack food stash. Get up, get out there, and become a better you!
9. Be Grateful
Above all else, be thankful that you have a place to turn to in difficult times. Many people don’t have loving parents or family that would take them in with open arms, so find ways every day to thank your parents for loving you enough to welcome you back home.
10. Have an Exit Plan
Even though you have great parents that are allowing you to live with them yet again, don’t take advantage of their good nature and don’t wear out your welcome. As soon as you move in (if not before), start developing an exit plan. Be sure to keep your parents updated on when you think you’ll be leaving again. Strategize, form plans, and make goals on how that can happen.
Living with your parents again can be an exciting and enjoyable time or a depressing and stressful time. You can choose which way you want it to be simply by your attitude, your expectations, and your approach!
Sources: Art of Manliness