Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ask Cardine: Part VIII - Living With Parents

Horker P. Slappy asked me if I would blog with suggestions or advice for living with parents. She will shortly be moving back home with her parents and is approximately my age. I'm also hoping that this could be useful for others to read who may shortly be in this situation again or who have recently found themselves in this situation. Here is a list of suggestions that I just made up because I pretty much think about it rarely.

#1. Don't become dependent and lazy. What this means to me is that I will not take advantage of my parents' willingness to care for me. For example, if I let him, my dad would cook me breakfast every morning. When my parents moved back in with me, I told him that he didn't need to worry about me ever for breakfast. I would get my own if I wanted it. This may not be a way in which you would maintain your independence. Find a way that works for you. Maybe you cook dinner every once in a while. Maybe you mow the lawn. Anyway, just don't get lazy because it's hard to break out of it once you are. Trust me, I know. But, also make room to allow them to serve you. Don't be so independent that you are unable to accept kindness.

#2. Laundry. Make sure your laundry habits don't clash with theirs. I know that you still have siblings at home, and I don't know what the laundry situation is for that, but be sure that you're finding a time to do your laundry that's not inconvenient for anyone.

#3. Get out of your house. Be sure that you are socializing plenty with the outside world. The last thing you want is to become weird and enclosed from only having socialized with about six people in any given week. There are added benefits to this. You could meet people that share a lot of your same interests and make good friends. Eating away from home as much as possible is a great idea, too. Just make sure that they know you won't be eating at home BEFORE your parents start cooking the meal, if you eat dinner typically with them. Of course, this depends upon your food situation in the first place.

#4. Make room for family. While I'm telling you to get out of there, I would also advise you to make some time that is specifically meant for you to spend with your family. If you have a habitual time set aside, such as Sunday dinner where they can always count on you being there, that's fantastic! I have a weekly game time with my mom. This is why I am so good at Scrabble. Hee hee.

#5. Your room is your apartment. I spend a lot of time in my own space. I like to have time by myself, and I believe that it is necessary to maintain sanity.

#6. Don't become a mom. With younger siblings in the house, it'll probably be easy to share your opinion on what works and what doesn't with regard to your parents' raising of the siblings. I suggest that you mostly keep your opinions to yourself. Also, don't become your parents' mom. You don't always have to share your opinion about everything. Let them figure stuff out for themselves, even if you disagree with it. Sure, there are some times when it's probably good to share an opinion, but I believe that it is good to let people choose for themselves, even if they're choosing poorly.

#7. Don't be the prodigal son's brother. When your siblings who have also moved out come home, your parents are probably going to spoil them or kill the fatted calf for dinner or perhaps get all excited about it. You will notice that they do not do these things for you. It's okay. They do appreciate you, and be sure that you're not jealous of your siblings and what is given to them. Remember that you are a separate person from them. Perhaps your siblings are 'given' more than you are or ever were as a child. It doesn't matter. You are you. A separate being. Allow your parents the liberty of treating you as a separate being. Be grateful for it, even if it means that you are getting the short end of the deal, or so it seems.

#8. Make use of the time you have with them to get to know them. Listen to their 'boring' stories. You may even want to write them down. Find out what sort of fantastic things they did as teenagers or in their single lives. Listen to stories about you when you were younger. These stories are priceless, I promise. They may be boring now, but you will appreciate them later. You may have to ask them specific questions. Trust me, it's some great material.

#9. Don't get annoyed by their inquisitiveness over your dating life or lack thereof. One of their parental roles is to worry about how you turn out. They want you to be happy. They think that they know how you can be happy. They are stressing over it. When they are freaking out over a date or whatnot, just remind them that you ARE happy in your life. Don't be afraid to bear your testimony of your own singlehood. They are probably also worried about you because you're living with them. I think that the best thing to do is to stay calm and reassure them that it is okay to be your age and single.

#10. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

#11. Say please and thank you. And when appropriate, tell your family that you love them and give them hugs. Okay, so I suck at it, but you should do it.

I think that's it. For now. Does anybody else have any suggestions?


booklogged said...

Good advise, Cardine. As the mother of kids who have moved back home and then back out again,I think you've hit all the key points.

Cardine said...

Oh, I was actually hoping that it WAS good advice. I mean, I don't know what the parents would say about it. Also, I wish I could say that I followed my own advice all of the time.

Cash said...

I've been with Horker P. Slappy to her house for a visit, and I can tell you that she loves doing laundry and one day did six loads of laundry for her family. So I don't think that laundry thing will be a problem.

HPS said...

Muchas gracias, Cardine! Perhaps I'll embroider the highlights of your insightful advice on a pillow so I can be constantly reminded how to manage a delicate situation.

tearese said...

Do I know Horker?
Yeah, when I moved home for a year after college, it was really depressing because I felt I'd taken a step backwards. I did make the mistake of becoming lazy, andit was very hard to get out of that rut and feel like I could be independent almost felt like a dream that I'd ever lived away.
Also, I found I clashed with my family a lot more when I was there.

julie said...

I loved having my own apartment; I miss it, but my mom and I have things worked out pretty well so I don't feel like I've "moved back in with my mom" even though I have. I stay quite independent; I buy and prepare my own food, I do my share of the housework (more often than not), and pretty much come and go as I please. Of course, I try to be considerate of my mom and am very grateful that she let me move back in to save money.

Cardine said...

Tearese: No, you don't know Horker. Thanks for the comments, guys!

booklogged said...

As I contemplate this idea I've decided I want to move home AND become lazy!