How To: Survive Your Summer at Home
Posted by Katie Ostoich on June 26, 2012 at 1:18 PM
So you’ve been home from school for about a month now. Let me guess? Your parents are already driving you crazy, right? (And probably vice-versa…) Or, you walked across that stage in May, got your diploma…and are still waiting for that job offer. So you’re stuck at home for the time being and again, everyone is butting heads. We’ve already told you that it’s what everyone else is doing. That’s right, almost 1 in 4 adults ages 18 to 34 have moved back home, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Institute.
Realistically, it’s a smart move. I know it helped me and my now-husband when we were engaged and trying to save for a house. But, it can’t last forever. We gotta grow up and spread our wings and fly and all of that sometime. Because the real problem starts when you’re sleeping in your childhood bedroom, and mommy’s still doing your laundry. Here’s how to make the best of your time home with the ‘rents—and plan an escape.
Treat Them Like Roommates
Don’t treat your parents like parents—view them as roommates. You’re an adult—you just happen to be living in your parents’ home temporarily. Read: Mom isn’t there to wash your dirty dishes anymore. So instead of constantly reminding your parents you’re their equal, show them. Buy the groceries, clean the bathroom, and do your laundry. Hell, even mow the lawn for them once in awhile (it’s great exercise). Take the initiative as if it were your own place.
Pony Up Some Cash
Talk to your parents about the financial impact you’re going to have on them, then alleviate the pressure. It may hurt a little, but I suggest paying rent, even at a reduced rate, because you should still feel it a little bit. (It’s motivation to get a job and get out!) And if you’re not paying rent, take responsibility for other costs that’ll lighten your wallet, like your phone bill or car payment.
Find the Nearest Exit
Think about it: When you sign a lease, you’re out at the end of it. Parents can become frustrated if they don’t see action toward an end point. Remember: They want you to succeed, not because you’d be leaving them, but because they love you and want to see you do well. Make them understand your reasoning for moving home: to save money or find an apartment. Take it one step further by presenting a plan—in eight months you’ll send out 50 resumes, network, and hope to be out in a year, for example. A rule of thumb (unless you’re home to take care of grandma): A year to 18 months is plenty. (I was ready in a year, trust me, it’s long enough.)
Keep in Touch
Reverting back into your high school life is an easy trap to fall into when you’re stuck in suburbia and your girls are in the city. But don’t just rely on technology to stay connected – it’s not enough. If you have a job, see your friends after work. If you don’t, venture downtown and meet them for lunch—they’re not just your social network, but potential job leads, too.
Break Out the Boundaries
Oh, this one is so important. If your parents don’t bring it up, you definitely should. Make an agreement on privacy and personal spaces in the house—assuming you’re not stealing from your ‘rents, they should agree. Establish expectations about going out (i.e., you can go out and your parents won’t question it like they did in high school). Open your own mail. Don’t use dad’s laptop. And agree that each other’s bedrooms are absolutely off limits. Your sanity – and your parents’ – will thank you.
Are you living at home for the summer (or longer)? How are you staying sane? Share your tips for surviving the ‘rents in the comments!