My parents handled it well, the day ALL three of their twenty-something children registered to vote at our little town hall with the same address: theirs. We had all left home, gone to college, had careers, and now returned for various reasons.
“The thing is,” I explained to the clerk, “It’s not like any of us were evicted or unemployed, it was our choice.” I hoped that made her feel better about my parents seeming plight.
The truth is, it’s not uncommon for us kids to move back home after college or a stint on our own, so here’s a few ways to make it productive (andmaybe even fun!):
1) MAKE A CONTRACT (no, seriously, do this!)
At first everything will be great — you’ll be so grateful not to be wasting all that money on rent and they’ll be glad to have a little noise in the house again. But then, inevitably, after a few too many late nights out and one too many loads of laundry forgotten in the dryer, things will change. Be proactive! Have a rental agreement from the beginning. Are you paying rent? Or are you earning your keep by cutting the grass, cleaning the dishes or buying groceries? Or are you really free to simply live there and eat their food? Decide this going in and your stay will be considerably more peaceful.
2) DEFINE THEIR VOICE
Parents are parents. They literally can’t help it. It’s who they are and it’s what they do. And they want so much for you. And when you’re back under their roof, they’re going to feel tremendous responsibility for you. This can go one of two ways: resumes on your pillow, text “reminders”, or outright lectures on how you should be conducting yourself. The other option is to define this dynamic from the start. Discuss the areas where you would like (and need) their help. Maintaining your car, purchasing your first home or getting into grad school. And, if your dating life is off limits, find a nice way to say that too. Take control before they feel like they need to.
3) BE CONSIDERATE
You’re used to doing your own thing, coming and going with no accountability. In college, no one cares if you come in at 2am and they understand if you go three weeks without actually cooking a meal. Unfortunately, it’s no longer ALL about you. You live with other people now who have different values and you need to be aware of that. Take out the trash, find a night of the week that you can be home for dinner and participate in your family a little. This will help you maintain a real relationship (not just landlord/renter) and enjoy the time as much as possible.
And, then when you all go to vote together, your parents can be proud to have you trailing behind and you can feel good about it too!
Have you moved back home successfully (or not so successfully?)…share your advice below!