If you’re thinking of moving back in with your parents, you’re not alone. In fact, for the first time ever, it’s the most common living situation for the under-35s.
But, for all of the benefits – saving money, Mum’s home cooked meals every night, a fully stocked fridge, not having to worry about bills – it’s not without its trouble and pitfalls.
Once you’ve moved out and into the big bad world on your own, you’ve discovered more about yourself and have become an independent person. Moving back in with your parents does mean sacrificing a bit of this independence, and can often lead to a bit of regression back to a teenage state.
On the other hand, since you left, your parents may have fully embraced the empty nest syndrome and indulged some of their weirder habits. They might now invite friends over for a game of lawn darts, have taken up an unusual hobby or have started having conversations with the dog.
We don’t know the specifics; all we know is that having an empty nest can make your parents weirder than when you left home. A lot weirder indeed. They no longer have to be the sensible adults they were when they brought you up. They can release their inner-weirdo. And it can take a while to adjust to.
This clash of two sets of new-found independence and self-awareness can often lead to arguments and tension – something which can make both parties rather unhappy.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy survival guide to get by, as best you can, while you’re living with your parents.
Before moving back in with your parents, establish some mutual ground rules
We don’t mean go in with a long list of demands:
‘I want steak and chips every Friday, a fridge constantly stocked with beer and wine and breakfast brought to me in bed’.
That’s not going to win you any friends. Plus, you have to remember that your parents are doing you a massive favour. They may love having you home, but they’re giving up their freedom and independence too. Plus, they’re probably going to – at least in some way – become financially responsible for you again.
It’s important not to forget this and to express your gratitude. However, it’s never going to work if your Mum comes into your room unannounced at every hour or expects you to stick to the 10:30 curfew you had as a teenager. You need to come to some kind of compromise that works for you both.
That’s why it’s best to have a frank conversation about what you would like from the situation, and to listen to what your parents would like too. Perhaps they’d like help around the house, and you’d like to come and go as you please. That seems like a fair trade that would leave both sides happy.
And set an end date too
As well as helping you both to know where you stand, having an end date makes the whole situation a lot more manageable, psychologically speaking. Without an end date, your mother’s habit of hoovering at 8:30am might drive you crazy. With an end date, you’re more likely to think ‘only six more months, and then I’m moving out.’ It’s also a great way to not lose your temper with your parents, because you know you’re moving out soon, issues that seem big when they are going to continue indefinitely become significantly less so with a clear end date.
Pull your weight around the house
Regardless of whether you’re working or looking for a job, pulling your weight around the house is a must. You’re not a child any more, it’s not going to kill you to load the dishwasher, clean the bathroom or cut the grass. If you were renting, you wouldn’t leave it all to your housemates, would you? The situation is no different here. Plus, it’s a great way of showing your parents that you’re grateful for everything they’re doing for you.
Remember you’re not a kid anymore
When you go back home, it’s easy to fall back into the parent/child dynamic. While it’s great to lay on the sofa and call for a cup of tea – it’s a bit of a rabbit hole. If you fall back into your teenage habits, it’s very easy to blur the line between a group of adults living together and a kid living with their parents. Although being waited on and calling you Mum to do your washing is all too tempting, you might find that your parents start to treat you like a child again – which can be frustrating, and is one of the leading causes of arguments when adults live with their parents.
It’s best to avoid this from the beginning – act like an adult, and you’ll be treated like one.
Get out once in a while
When you’re living at home – especially if your friends have all moved away – it’s easy to slip back into the habits of socialising only with your parents. While this is great (it’s always easier when you get on) it’s important to get out once in a while to see old friends or make new ones. No matter the situation, having a drink and a chat with friends can make the world of difference to how relaxed and comfortable you feel at home. Like the end date, knowing you can go for a beer or to a friend’s makes the whole situation a lot easier to handle psychologically.
But most importantly, make the most of it!
Moving back in with your parents is not without its problems, but if you’re upfront and honest from the beginning – and pull your weight around the house – lots of people get by without many problems at all (except for really trivial things, like who forgot to replace the toilet roll when it was finished!).
Plus, it’s a great way to save up for a deposit to start renting, co-buying or buying a place of your own.