If You're Moving Back in With Your Parents, Here's How to Deal

Shannon Barbour
·5 mins read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

From Cosmopolitan

Raise your hand if you never expected this but are fully about to sleep in your twin bed for the foreseeable future. Hi, welcome. It’s probably been a minute since someone told you exactly what time dinner will be on the table, so you’ll definitely want to brush up on how to live the teenage dream as a grown-ass person. To guide you on this ~journey~, here’s exactly what you need to do to keep your mind, money, and relationships right. And maybe even love this old new life?

BEFORE YOU PACK UP TO MOVE IN

Pour one out for your independence, then move on

For most of us, being back at home is very much not ideal. So it’s really important that you grieve the loss of what you thought your life would look like right now, says Heather Lofton, PhD, an integrative therapist at Northwestern University’s Family Institute. Once you fully accept that the economy is garbage and the pandemic is an unfortunate reality, embracing the move will be much easier. Plus, PSA, just because you need financial assistance right now doesn’t mean you’re a failure, says financial educator Tiffany Aliche, aka @TheBudgetnista. Try to see the silver lining: You could save a fuck ton of money living at home. Aliche, a former preschool teacher, moved in with her parents during the last recession after her school lost funding. But by letting go of her mortgage, sacrificing some of her independence, and saving up, she was able to start her own financial education business.

Set crystal-clear boundaries

At the end of the day, your parents are paying for the roof over your head and you have to respect that, says psychiatrist Dion Metzger, MD. But that doesn’t mean your adult needs should be ignored. Pre-move, talk to your family about how much space you need (no interruptions during business hours or FaceTime dates, pls!), how much cash support you’re hoping for (food? gas? bills?), what your pet peeves are (unsolicited Schitt’s Creek commentary), and what they’ll expect from you as a “guest.” Once you agree to terms, dust off your PowerPoint skills and create a mini contract for everyone to sign. If you’ve already moved in, it’s not too late: Take note of the things that bug you and propose solutions. It’s okay to be blunt if, say, your mom watching political ads on Facebook sans headphones is your deal breaker. Be honest, then help her find that MIA AirPod.

Photo credit: Album / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo credit: Album / Alamy Stock Photo

ONCE YOU’RE SETTLED

Live your life

Since going to boozy brunch is still a no-go, stay entertained by picking up—and
I know how this sounds—a hobby. Nab those TikTok-famous Rollerblades and enlist your parents as your camera crew while you challenge your friends to see who can be the first to nail the choreography. Or take time to learn your fam’s signature baked mac and cheese. No and no? You could always go through stacks of baby pics for a massive upload to your IGS.

Chip in

If you start regressing to your Mom-will-fix-it ways, it’ll be hard for you to transition back to normal life later, says Dr. Metzger. The easiest way to feel like you’re a contributing member of the household is to, uh, contribute. Even if you can only handle the cheapest bill (hint: try gas or Netflix), your parents will appreciate it. If your bank account is on E, do chores or run errands. And remember that we’re all just trying to make it through COVID-19 life, so go easy on the post–“can you help with this?” eye rolls.

Create a work space

If you genuinely love hanging with your fam, it makes sense that you’d want to chill with them instead of going to class, working, or job hunting. But since your goal is to make this staycation a temporary thing, you’ve gotta stay motivated. That means setting up a designated place to get stuff done, says Dr. Metzger. Grab your headphones, section off a table in your house with file folders, make a “do not disturb” sign, and start up that concentration playlist.

Start saving now

If you’re lucky enough to have a job, keep those car, student loan, and phone payments going. Then, Aliche suggests setting up separate accounts for short-term savings goals (like modernizing this early-aughts decor) and longer-term ones (like a deposit for your future living situation). Think of these as old-school allowances that you can tap into later.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Hide in the bathroom

Seriously. If you need a damn break from the constant “Whatcha doin?” then shut the door and free yourself, says Lofton. You could also go for a walk or visit a responsible friend in your germ circle to get the change of scenery you need.

Don’t “cancel” your parents

Navigating certain conversations can be tricky. If you can live with their *very* opinionated opinions (on everything from politics to your dating life) for the time being, try defaulting to “agreeing to disagree,” says Lofton. If, however, your parents’ views affect your physical or mental health (like they refuse to wear masks or say stuff like, “Marriage is between...”), it may be time to consider different living situations. You gotta do you.

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