After college, like many recent graduates, I moved back home with my parents. After four years of the dorm life, I had to mentally and physically prepare myself for moving back home with the ‘rents. It was a huge adjustment because while attending NYU I had the great privilege of living in Manhattan neighborhoods I’d never, ever be able to afford to live in during my lifetime.
I couldn’t find work right after graduation, like most recent grads, and was working a paid internship while I looked. I had no choice but to live with my parents who quite happily (thank jebus) welcomed their “little girl” home. My parents love me unconditionally, I don’t know very many people who feel that way. Who really feel that way. Still, living with parents when you’re trying to be an “adult” can be a very frustrating process.
Often times I feel as though, despite all the progress I’ve made as a person, when I am around my parents I regress into my middle school self: angsty, annoyed, dismissive and closed off. It didn’t help that at 22 years old my parents wanted to know where I was at every moment, wanted to see me as virginal and childlike and I’d have to bare witness to my parents’, often disrespectful, way of communicating with one another that has become the norm of their marriage. What I realized is that in order to keep myself sane I had to reestablish new rules that both my parents and I were satisfied with so that I didn’t lose my shit, get treated like I was a kid but still respected the fact that my parents were providing me with shelter and love and all that jazz.
Here are the new rules of being a woman-child while living with the ‘rents (written like I am in junior high).
Stop Asking Where I am, God! So like, why do you need to know where I am all the time, Dad? I am at work, like, all day long and you keep calling me @ work, I’M AT WORK! It’s 15 minutes later, I AM STILL AT WORK! Dad, you need to get off my D already.
Translation: Here is my schedule, father. I work from 9:30 to 6:00PM, if you need to contact me my lunchbreak is around 2:00PM. Yes, I’ll call or text if I am staying out late or not coming home tonight. KTHXBYE
OMG, I am Not Even Hungry! Stop asking if I’m hungry. I don’t even, like, eat the same foods as you anymore, so you need to stop trying to force feed me all of these carbs, Mom. Asking me if I want something every 15 minutes is like telling me that I am not competent enough to a) know when I am hungry b) know how to cook a damn meal. Not to mention, with the exception of summers, I lived on my own for four years now!
Translation: Mother, Father, while I appreciate that you are offering me food that you’ve paid for and are interested in my overall health, from now on I think I can purchase my own groceries and prepare my own meals. Love ya, bbs!
Mommy And Daddy Are Fighting, Waaah! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! I CAN’T TAKE IT!
Translation: My parents have a very “traditional” marriage because well, they are just old people. Mom raised the children, cooks and cleans. Dad went to work. There’s nothing wrong with this set up, every relationship requires each person taking on roles. However, my mom isn’t exactly suited to be a housewife type. My dad made her quit her job early on in their relationship and my mom has always felt like she didn’t live up to her potential. My parents have known each other since they were 13 and have dated since they were 17. Their squabbles and arguments are a common practice at this point and it’s not because they don’t want to be together or because they don’t love each other, it’s just that they know each other so well that they will call each other on their bullshit. Unfortunately, baby Emerald cannot handle all this yelling :(. The rule is: Don’t let me see you argue. I don’t need the stress. I don’t need the panic. I don’t need to take sides. This is your marriage and your business, my relationship to you guys is a parent-child one, not a mediator or a therapist.
Stay Out Of My Room! IT’S MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!
Translation: Respect my privacy. I don’t go through your things. Don’t go through mine. I am not a kid anymore and you don’t have to worry about me making bad decisions. Any bad decisions I make, I can, for the most part, handle on my own since I am a cognizant being now. Brief anecdote: My mom went through my jacket pockets because she needed spare change and found my little one-hitter weed pipe. My mom thinks SO highly of me (P.S. my parents are pot heads, it helps with the arthritis, you guys!) that she said, “I found a pipe in your jacket pocket but I am guessing it’s your friend M’s because I know you don’t do that kind of thing.” LOL.
I Have To Pay To Live In My Childhood Home, Que-What?! But I am your baby girl, whaatt?
Translation: You are insulted that your parents would charge you money. My parents didn’t do this but some will. Unfortunately, your parents are entitled to charging you rent, they should be considerate of your financial state but, let’s be honest, most parents can’t afford to support their children for the rest of their lives and if you expect to be taken back in after you leave it’s only natural to expect to have to chip in. If they don’t charge you then be kind enough to not expect your mom or dad to be doing your laundry, dishes and cooking you dinner. Helping out around the house will show them you aren’t a kid anymore and that you understand responsibility. They will be impressed and maybe lay off your back about other things.
Moving back home and living with parents sucks but, you know, it doesn’t have to suck.
[Image via Shutter Stock/CREATISTA]