Oh college, how I miss your small dorm rooms with white concrete walls and communal bathrooms. But I’m a grown up now. I’ve graduated, I’m working, and I’m living at home. With my parents. In the same bedroom I have lived in since I was twelve. How do we, as grown adults who lived away from home for four years, go back to living in the same environment that we lived in during our high school/middle school/elementary school days??
Let’s look at the positives first (yes, there are definitely some positives to moving back home after graduating). There is a possibility your parents aren’t going to make you pay rent. If this happens to you, be as grateful as possible! It might not seem like much but after your parents helped pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for your education over the past four years, it is pretty generous of them to let you move back in for free.
Under the same topic of free is food. You will basically have free unlimited access to all the food in the house 24/7. And if you’re really lucky you’re parents will buy the specific food you ask for (yes, for FREE). Since we are talking about food, you may have the option of sitting in on homemade dinners. Those yummy homemade dinners you missed so much while eating at the dining hall for four years…yeah those will be waiting for you when you get home from work.
Next is laundry and cleanliness. Some of us may have stay-at-home moms who will do everyone’s laundry and clean everyone’s room/bathroom. If that’s not the case, that’s okay because there’s still an upside here. You’re parents will most likely not care if you use the family supply of laundry detergent and cleaning products which is going to save you a little bit of money here and there.
Living at home might be good and well the first few months but then summer comes to an end and you find yourself still living at home. It’s now time to adjust because who knows how long you’ll be living with your new roommates – aka mom and dad. One way to make living with mom and dad a little easier is to be more independent. Cook your own dinner for yourself once in a while or a few nights a week. You’ll get to cook the food you want to eat instead of just eating whatever is set in front of you. The next step to being independent is picking a hobby that you have to leave your house for. Google new activities to try around town or look into what you know you already like – painting class, yoga, or a book club. There may be times you want to simply watch a movie by yourself with no one else around. If you don’t have a Netflix account, borrow a friend’s username and password for your laptop. Watching a movie with no one else around doesn’t seem like a big deal, but we all have those days when we want to “veg out” on our own and Netflix is perfect for that.
As your sense of independence strengthens at home, it’s time to set up boundaries because let’s not forget – you’re a college graduate and as much as you need to respect your parents, they need to respect you too. Little things such as knocking on your door before walking into your room and not going through your mail are essential. If the roommates have a problem with these essentials, remind them they would probably want you to knock on their door if it was closed and that opening someone else’s mail is technically illegal…soooo, yeah.
Living away at college meant we didn’t have to answer to anyone. After coming and going as we pleased for four years it is difficult to go back to answering the “mom and dad questions” of who, what, where, when, and why every time we leave the house. If you’re going out there’s no need to tell your parents every detail like who you are going with, where you are going, and for how long. However, we must remember that in their eyes we are still their children and no matter how old we are they’re going to worry about us. Help ease their worry by letting them know if you’re planning on coming home really late (like in the wee hours of the morning) or if you’re planning on sleeping somewhere else.
Moving back home is an adjustment for everyone. Being appreciative and grateful (however difficult it may be at times) will help maintain good vibes between you and your roommates. Speaking of roomies, having siblings who have also recently graduated and moved back home is the best because they will be going through the same adjustments as you. Please, please, please have a mutual respect for your parents and stay civil with them. There’s nothing like a bad roommate (we’ve all had them at one point or another in college) and we definitely don’t want be to on bad roommate terms with our parents considering they pay for you…and gave you life and all.