How To Move Back Home After College With Your Parents & Still Have A Relationship After
Confession time: I moved back in with my parents for seven months after I graduated from college. While I had certain expectations for how things were supposed to be once I moved in — y'know, like being able to stay out as long as I wanted or sleeping peacefully 'till noon (no judgment) — they turned out to be the complete opposite. So, now that I've lived through it and have a refined insight on how to move back home after college with your parents, here's everything you need to know.
Post-graduation, I knew that I wanted to save money and start paying off my school debt as quickly as I could, and after communicating this to my folks, they allowed me to move in rent-free for as long as I needed to.
Going into it, I knew that though I have a good relationship with my parents, we hadn't always seen eye-to-eye when we lived under the same roof. In high school, sometimes I felt like they should adhere to "quiet hours" even though it was their house (the audacity, right?). Or other times, they'd feel like they had total access to my room because it technically wasn't my room. But all of our differences had occurred back when I was a teenager, so I figured that things would be drastically different if I moved in as an adult. It didn't take long before I realized that wasn't exactly the case.
But before I scare you away, Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a clinical psychotherapist and founder of lovevictory.com, tells Elite Daily in an interview to keep in mind that "everyone has a different story." She also admits that moving back home can be "really hard, especially if your parents have different sets of expectations or rules ... or don't want you there," but says it's still manageable, nonetheless.
And that couldn't be more true. Ultimately, my experience was much more eye-opening than I'd anticipated. I learned a lot — and my effort is your gain. With these seven tips, moving in with your parents should be a breeze, too.
Discuss Expectations And Long-Term Plans Before You Move In
Before you start hauling your boxes over to your parents' place, you should definitely have a sit-down to discuss logistics, like how long you plan to be there, what might be expected of you during your stay, and if there are any house rules you'll need to abide by. According to Dr. Wish, it's important for your parents to know that there's a purpose to you moving back home, and that it's (hopefully) a stepping stone to a healthy living arrangement. "You've got to be able to tell the people who are providing a roof over your head why you're being there," she tells Elite Daily. "That will color the whole emotional environment."
[Your parents] want to know that you have a plan. That you're not just coming home and living in the basement. They also want to know that it's a reasonable plan .... run it by your parents so they know that you are acting like an adult.
Set Your Boundaries
Super important: You'll also want to discuss boundaries. Tell your parents if they'll need to knock first before entering your room, or if you're not OK with them opening your mail. And allow your them to share their own demands: Do you need to get permission before inviting someone over? Do you have a curfew? Are you responsible for your own expenses? Will you need to take up laundry duties?
"Remember it's your home, but not your home," Dr. Wish adds.
These things might seem a little basic, but take it from someone who's been there: you'll want to be as transparent as possible during this process. But don't be afraid to take control of the conversation, either. As long as you express your appreciation of your folks opening their door to you, there should be little to no tension during your chat. (Fingers crossed.)
Talk About How You'll Handle Conflict Beforehand
Will your parents leave you a note on the refrigerator every time they have a problem with your behavior? Will they sit you down and have a meeting every few months to address their concerns? These are things you'll want to ask your parents before you settle in.
For starters, Dr. Wish recommends telling your folks, "I know you haven't seen me at home in a while and I'm intruding in your life, and it's going to be an adjustment for everyone ... [but] let's all work as a team to play [conflicts] forward toward a shared solution."
However, if after a while you find you've experienced so much conflict that it's clear the living arrangement isn't working out, she says you should have a plan before bringing it up with your parents.
"Make sure you've got another place to go, and not just for the night," she says, "Otherwise you're going to end up having a terrible dilemma."
AKA couch surfing — or worse. And you definitely don't want any of that to happen.
Once You're Back, Pitch In
Though you might be living with your parents for little to no cost, take into consideration that you also use the electricity, the water, and most importantly, the food! So, if you have the means, hit the grocery store every once in a while to refill the fridge. And if you're feeling really kind, it's always a nice gesture to chef up something in the kitchen after they've had a long day at work.
Set Aside Time For Them
I get it: You're an adult. You have your own friends and your own life that you want to be wrapped up in. But it's natural for your parents to want to spend time with you. After all, you've been busy away at college, completely dedicated to your new friends, adventures and experiences (which they probably helped finance). Plus, it's the least you can do so you don't seem like a total mooch — just saying. It won't kill you to do breakfast every Sunday or any other family tradition every couple of weeks.
The key, according to Dr. Wish, is to do some kind of activity that'll "let your parents know that they're not long gone and forgotten." She adds, "it could be anything to show that you're not there as a selfish child."
There's no greater satisfaction for a parent — or anyone, for that matter! — than coming home to a clean house. So even if you're only living at home temporarily, take some time out of your day to tidy up. It's a great way to express your appreciation to your folks for opening up their door to you.
But let's be clear: whenever you share living quarters with others, you should make it a habit to do your share of the cleaning. Parents are not excluded from this rule just because they've picked up after you your entire life. Okurrr!?
Respect The House Rules
You might be an adult, but at the end of the day, your parents will always see you as their kid. So, even though you might think that it's OK for you to waltz in and out of their place whenever you want as long as you're quiet, they might still see it as disrespectful.
The key is to be mindful of the things you discussed with your parents during the initial sit-down you had before you moved in, and respectful if you find there's anything you need to bring up and address again (and yes, that includes discussions about partying). "Imagine that your parents are not your parents, but they're your roommates in a bigger living situation," Dr. Wish advises. "It's very similar to how you deal with a roommate." Remember that rooming experiences are supposed to make you closer, not draw you apart.
But if you follow these seven steps closely, I'm sure that everything will be just fine. Good luck, and happy rooming!