After years of plotting your escape from your own personal Guantanamo Bay (i.e. your parents’ house), you finally got accepted at the furthest college you could get into, left behind anything that didn’t fit into your Smart Car, and started your higher education a free woman or man. For four blissful years you came and went as you pleased, ruined your appetite by eating dessert before dinner, and didn’t make your bed once. Oh yeah, and got a degree.
And then your bubble burst. You graduated with a good GPA (despite your constant sugar high) but the job offers you were expecting are as non-existent as your laundry hamper. The only solution? Move back in with your parents. Before you pack your belongings back into that tiny car, check out this article that shows you how to move in with your parents without going insane. (As for their sanity, hey, that’s not your responsibility.)
Have The Talk.
You’re not a kid anymore, so the ol’ plugging your ears and shouting “La la la la!” maneuver is not going to work here. You and the parental units are going to have to sit down and look this situation in the eye. This is where you—and they—get to voice your questions, concerns, and fears. For example: “I’m afraid my sex life will be negatively affected.” Your mom has a point. Which leads us to….
Establish Ground Rules.
Once you’ve brought up all possible scenarios, you’ll need to set some rules so that there are no nasty surprises. Though it’s your parents’ house and you’ll have to respect this, you are no longer a legal dependent and they’ll have to respect that. The ground rules should cover household tasks, like who does your laundry (you) and who washes your dishes (you), social aspects such as inviting friends over and when they need to leave, and financial arrangements, including what portion of the rent, grocery, and family therapist bills you will be paying.
Set a Deadline.
It’s been said that human beings can withstand incredible levels of pain—so long as they know when the end date is. Be upfront with your parents about how long you expect to stay with them. A few weeks until your apartment can be fumigated? A few months as you diligently apply for work in your field (and, let’s face it, at the local multiplex)? A few years because you’ve decided to go to graduate school to avoid getting a job?
Give and Take.
No matter how down on your luck you may be, remember: it’s not all about what you can take. It’s also about what you can contribute. Even if you’re flat broke you can still give back by mowing the lawn, clearing out their Smithsonian-worthy attic relics, or stepping in as their personal IT expert. Not only will they appreciate it, but you’ll get a nice shot of self-esteem.
Act Like An Adult.
You’re not the teenager you were when you left home all those years ago, but your parents may have some difficulty remembering that. Especially if their last memory was of you peeling out of the driveway, seatbelt undone, having left them with an empty fridge, and yelling, “Suckas!!” Remember when they used to say to you, “If you want to be treated like an adult, then act like one?” Now’s the time to put that into practice. Be mindful that you’re not the only one who is inconvenienced here. You’ve probably put a damper on their weekly strip-Bingo games.
There are some things you just can’t learn at college. So if you can survive moving back in with your parents without going insane, and maybe even gaining a few new skills like omelet-making or talking your dad off the ledge, you will be well-prepared for this thing called Life.
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