As graduation approaches, I’m sure many of you seniors are facing the same predicament as me: after four years living in dorms and apartments, I’m moving back in with my parents. We’re not alone. In the past few years, newspapers like “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” have published articles on the large amount of students moving back home after graduating. Sam Roberts’s story “Facing a Financial Pinch, and Moving In With Mom and Dad” from “The New York Times” last month says, “According to the census, 56 percent of men age 18 to 24 and 48 percent of women in the same age group live under the same roof as their parents.” While I’m excited about the free laundry and stocked pantry, it’ll be hard to transition from complete independence to mom and dad’s house. Here are some tips for making it work.
– Take care of yourself. You moved back home, but it’s not high school anymore. Pick up after yourself. Stack your plates in the dishwasher. Having free laundry in unit is convenient, but do your own laundry. It’s really awesome that your parents will let you come back home, so do your part to remind them you’re an adult and capable of taking responsibility for yourself.
– Talk about money. Ask the important questions: Do they want you to pay any rent? Do they want money for groceries? What bills are you expected to pay (car, cell phone, insurance)? It can be awkward, but it’ll be way more awkward if you don’t talk about it.
– Plan the future. Being an adult means you can’t just board and mom and dad’s house for free forever. You most likely moved home either as a transitional place to live or because you can’t quite afford your own apartment yet. Come up with a plan. Parents are really good at helping with those kinds of big, real life, scary things.
– Figure out how to deal with a significant other. Remember, moving home means you live with your parents, not roommates or peers. If you want your significant other to stay the night, check in with mom and dad first. Try and make your case (you’re a college graduate, you’ve lived alone before), but if they say no way then it’s time to start brainstorming how to make things work (hopefully your significant other has a place you can crash). Also, mom and dad shouldn’t have to see your public displays of affection under their roof (hand holding is likely approved). Save it for behind closed doors.
– Make dinner for your mom and dad. Your parents will probably love having you around to pamper again (at least for the first week). They’ll want to cook you all your favorite meals. It would be such a nice surprise if one night they came home to find dinner already on the table and the dishes done. It’s a great way to say “thanks for letting me move back home.”
– Keep your parents in the loop. Just because you’re in your twenties doesn’t mean mom and dad will stop worrying. You don’t have to call your parents and keep them posted on your location and schedule minute to minute, but it’s courteous to tell them about your plans. If you’re going to be out late or if you’re not coming home at all, let them know otherwise you know they’ll stay up waiting and worrying.
– Don’t feel restricted. Living at home doesn’t have to destroy your social life. Make plans to go out for dinner or drinks with friends. Feel free to have them over too. Parents love seeing you have a good time at home. Just because you live at home doesn’t mean you have to revert back to your high school social schedule (the curfew is probably gone now). You can still hit the town and (but make sure you’re quiet when you get home late, don’t wake up the ‘rents).
– Have fun! Parents are super cool and make great company. Hang out together and make dinner, play a board game, watch a movie or hit happy hour. Your parents will feel ecstatic that you want to spend your time with them and you might discover it’s a lot more fun than you imagined.