Moving back in with your parents has got to be the antithesis of growing up. It’s been ingrained in us since infancy to go to school, graduate, start a career, get married, get your white picket fence (that is noticeably bigger and nicer than your parents’) and finally live happily ever after. At no time do we even consider a detour back to momma’s house. But in this day and age about a third of millennials actually are taking that pit stop. According to the latest census, 30.3 percent of millennials (18-34-year-olds) in the U.S. are living with a parent.
Although there’s nothing sexy about living with your mommy and daddy in your adulthood, it doesn’t have to be a walk of shame either. Whether you’re considering moving back home because you’ve found yourself in-between jobs, you’re needed to help with ailing or younger family members, or you’re saving money while going back to school, the transition can be rocky. But don’t sweat it. Here’s what’s to be expected when you’re moving back home.
DON’T EXPECT A WARM WELCOME
Although your parents will undoubtedly be ecstatic to see you, trust they are as apprehensive about this transition as you are. I was on my own for six plus years before moving back. If your situation is anything like mine, your parents have grown accustomed to not having you there. You might actually be messing up their flow. Maybe they now have weekly date nights or your old room is now the gym. Whatever the case, make sure you have an honest conversation with your parents about the reason you are moving home, how long you plan on being there, and what would be most comfortable for everyone as far as living arrangements are concerned. Trust me, both parties will benefit from the transparency.
DO EXPECT EXTRA POCKET CHANGE
One of the many reasons millennials are moving back home is to save money. Whether you are pursuing an artistic career, traveling or going back to school, the convenience of having some place to call home without the financial burden can be quite rewarding. I personally moved back home after college to save money for a film project I was producing which required the extra cash. You might be avoiding the cost of rent, but don’t neglect the costs you are incurring on your parents, such as groceries, electricity, etc. If you can help out, do.
DON’T EXPECT ALL YOUR FRIENDS TO UNDERSTAND
Having the ability to move back home is a luxury some of your peers might not be afforded. So they might be shunning you for your choice to move back home instead of toughing it out like them in the real world, but they’re probably just jealous. Others might just be too attached to their own ideals to really get it. To them I say, get some culture. In many countries around the world, it is absolutely normal for children to stay with parents into their adulthood. It’s the “American Dream” that has use convinced that it’s not natural. And to those who shun you for simply being practical, well I guess they weren’t your friends anyway.
DO EXPECT TO GET TO KNOW YOUR PARENTS ALL OVER AGAIN
As youths, we are taught to abide by and respect our elders in an almost holier-than-thou sense. Moving back home as an adult can sometimes level the playing field. For me, it was an eye-opening experience as I got to see my parents in a different light. They were flawed human beings with many of the same goals I held. I was fortunate enough to develop a wonderful friendship with both of my parents, something I could never have expected, but now deeply cherish. Some parents aren’t so willing to let go of the reigns, especially when you are, in essence, asking for their help by moving home. But it’s important that you present yourself as the adult you’ve come to be, rather than the child you once were. This new relationship is something you will honor and hone for the rest of your lives.
DON’T EXPECT PRIVACY
Moving back home means forfeiting the privacy you had when living on your own. Suddenly, you have to share a bathroom with your younger sibling, someone can hear all your conversations, and is netflix and chill even a possibility? Respecting boundaries is a learned skill for you and your entire family. Trust me, it can take a little bit to get into the swing of things.
DO EXPECT CHORES
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself having to do your usual chores and more when you move back. It’s the least we can do, right? As an adult who has lived on my own, I might still not get why I have to make my bed everyday, but I understand the purpose of keeping a tidy home. Treat your parent’s home like it’s your own because, for the time being, it is. And don’t revert back to old habits! Even if your mom is still willing to do your laundry, do you really want her to? I take pride in the role I play in my family’s home and appreciate the greater responsibility, such as picking my dad up from the bar so he doesn’t have to drive home drunk. Chores are the little things you can do to show your appreciation to your family.
DON’T EXPECT TO EVER FEEL REALLY COMFORTABLE
It’s the curse of being a millennial. While we are back home, there’s the inkling in us that we need to get back out. I don’t know if it’s the lingering teenage angst or just instinctive, but it’s hard to ever feel comfortable in a home that’s still “technically” not yours. For me, it was a shot to the ego when I moved home even though it was my own decision. I had been ready to live on my own since adolescence, but I knew what my dreams required of me at that time. Moving back home can be another stepping stone to achieving your dreams if you allow it to be. Don’t let yourself get too comfortable.
BUT DO EXPECT NEW LEVELS TO YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Your family and those who love you want nothing but the best for you. It’s a daily reminder when you live at home, and there are many different ways your family might show it. I know I can reach higher because I have my family behind me, literally. For me specifically, my goals have evolved since being at home. I don’t just want my own independent success, I want the success of my family. It’s a “we” thing now, not a “me” thing.
Although moving back home might feel like you’re taking two steps back, it doesn’t mean you have to take two steps back in your career or ambitions. Sure, it wasn’t in your plan, but now that you’re here it’s okay to do some modifying. And you’re not alone. Many of your peers around the world have made the exact same decision. Moving home was one of the best decisions I made for my life, and I absolutely don’t regret it. Remember, it’s not a step back. It’s an alternative step forward.