Thursday, June 18, 2009

Moving Back Home

Dear Mom:

I'm 25 years old and I've just had to move back with my parents. How do I balance my own life and own sense of individuality and still live with my parents and respect them and their rules?



Dear Frazzled:

Take a deep breath. Let the air out. Take another deep breath. Let it out. Okay. What you are doing is probably one of the most difficult things there is to do on this planet-second only to divorce. I should know, the first I have done; the second I have been close to doing because of the first.

When I lived in California and it became paramount that we return to Utah-I will spare you the grueling details-it also became necessary to live with my parents for a time. Neither my husband nor I had a job; we had just enough money to get here, and couldn't even think of renting a place without the well-needed cash. Without the help of my parents, I have no idea how our family would have been able to get back on our feet. With that said let me suggest something for which you are probably already well aware of: coming back home sucks. It's not that you don't love your parents; you do. It's not that you don't appreciate their willingness to help. It's just that you have some trouble coming back home and being treated like a kid again.

When I came back home with a husband and three children safely in tow, I met up with some surprises. My parents sat us down. They'd made a list of rules which we were expected to follow. This was fair; after all, we were living in their house. The problem? I had my own way of doing things; and my own ways didn't always coincide with what my parents wanted.

A case in point: I had to keep the basement clean. This was a fair rule, but a rule not easily kept with 3 children. I had to dust. I had to make sure the kids toys were picked up after use. I had to make my bed. I had to cook three times a week-they would cook four. I had my share of the household chores not including what I had to do in the basement. Clean the bathroom. Vacuum the floor. Take out the trash. All was written down in perfect black and white.

Now, before you think me a slob, let me just say that I wasn't used to the high standards of cleanliness my mother was keeping. My ship had been 'tight' just not this tight, and so I struggled to keep to the rules at the same time trying to manage my own and my children's (and yes, husband's) sanity. In the end, we were out in 3 months. My sanity was kept because my visit was short. I also spent some time looking for work (while my mother was kind enough to tend the children) and reflecting at night alone or with my husband what I was going to do with my life when I got out. Whatever moments I had to reflect and be my own person, I took. And in the end I was grateful that my husband was able to get a job and we were able to move out.

Living with your parents will not be easy. It's not supposed to me. But if I could recommend anything to you; something I did not do myself, I would suggest focusing on the positive side of the time spent with your parents. Love them, spend time with them. Make some good memories so that when you're back on your own two feet the time you will have spent will mean something in your life, something more than endless headaches and an unlucky bunch of blisters.



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