“You’re not the only one,” my mother once said. And though I always hate to admit it, she was right. In a recent study by Twentysomething Inc., 85% of recent graduates move back home with their parents. That is an outstanding number of people I can relate to.
Like several of my peers, I too have moved back in with my parents. However, I have done it three times. I think this would qualify me as an expert, if there were such a thing.
I have had certain situations in my college career that have forced me to change locations. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the town where I attended college, which meant living with my parents was an option. I lived in a dorm my freshman year with three of my best girlfriends and when summer arrived, we were all forced back to our nests. Several of my friends signed leases for apartments as sophomore years approached, but I was hesitant. Extra expenses (like apartment living) were my financial responsibility and I was unsure if I could handle the expenses as a part-time lifeguard and full-time student. I found a deal I felt I could afford but soon learned I would be happier living at home. It quickly got old. I then moved into a new and spacious “college cottage” type house with my best friends the next year, but soon those expenses started to take their toll. And so, I was once again under my parents roof living in my canopy bed I’ve had since I was three.
Times have been tough for everyone and college students are learning early that living independently is expensive. A higher number of our nation’s post grads are moving back home because it is by far the cheapest solution. Unless your parents make you pay rent for your basement apartment, recent graduates do not have to worry about making rent payments monthly. They also do not have to stress about power bills, Internet disconnections, dangerous and cheap neighborhoods, or unkempt roommates. But my reason for moving back home wasn’t purely because I could afford it–it was because it was home.
To make things easier on our talented and successful Love Twenty readers, I have compiled a list of advice for moving back home with the “rents” a successful discussion, based on my own personal experiences:
1. Do your dishes! This task can escalate into the most heated argument and the results are never in your favor. Help Mom out and clean out the sink–after all, she did cook you a meal you probably never got in college.
2. Figure out the guidelines. My biggest fear of moving back home was whether or not my parents would reinstate my curfew from high school–something I absolutely did not want to deal with, as many of you I assume will agree. Talk it over with them. Explain you are no longer 15 years old. The key is not to promise you will be home early and then stay out all night. If you live up to your word, they will soon trust your word and eventually stop keeping up with where you are. Honesty is the best policy here.
3. Call them. I know you don’t believe you should be checking in at age 23, but if you take a minute out of your day and call or text, they will appreciate your efforts. They will also respect you more, which leads to them showing less interest in your whereabouts later.
4. Upgrade your space. If your room has not changed in the past 10 years and you still have Barbie bed sheets, it’s time for a makeover. I made an agreement with my mother when I moved back home for my senior year that we would redecorate my room. This helped me feel less like I was still the little girl living next to my brother and more like a college student. My room now fits my 20-something taste, and I appreciate the love and care my mother and I put into creating my new living space.
5. Finally, do some chores. This makes any home life easier. You helped out with cleaning when you lived with your roommates, didn’t you? Cleaning and helping with household duties is the best way to keep harmony in what could be a stressful situation.
The key is making sure you are fair. Parents have their quirks and unreasonable demands, but keeping harmony within the home will make life easier. Sometimes you just have to say “yes Ma’am” and suck it up. Remind yourself that when things get tough (say your dad won’t let you listen to your music on full volume), you will not be there forever. You’re a college graduate–you have places to go! And when you’re down and think your life sucks because you share a bathroom with your little brother, remember there are 85% of us in the same boat. You’re not the only one.
Have you experienced moving back home?