Our contributor, Kaleigh Glaza, discusses what she’s learned by moving back in with her mom at 30 years old, and offers tips for those in the same situation.
I am a living stereotype. Everything that’s “wrong” with millennials. I am a 30-year-old who’s living, once again, with her mother. I know, I know. I am living up to every bad trope about lazy millennials not being able to hack it in the real world and having to come home and live in the basement. In my case, it’s actually a normal bedroom, but it was still a tough moment for me to have to acknowledge when, earlier this year, I asked my mom if I could move back home for a few months. I felt the need to justify my decision then, and I still do now, but to a much lesser degree. That’s because over these last few months, I’ve learned a lot about who I am, who I want to be and the family I will always a be a part of.
Is my mom my favorite roommate I’ve ever had? Probably not (sorry mom!). But she sure has taught me a lot, even now…
You can shape your own narrative
I moved back home while I looked for and closed on a condo. My apartment’s lease was up before I had found a place I loved, and since I was traveling two to three weeks out of every month for work anyway, it seemed like a good way to save money while I waited until I found my new home.
But even though I was a gainfully employed adult, making what I considered to be a strategic financial decision, I still hesitated to tell people about it. I knew it was a millennial trope, and that some people would think it was crazy to do this instead of finding a short-term lease to live on my own. I thought about sugar coating it, or trying to avoid telling people, but in the end, I owned my story. I stated the facts and didn’t try to make it sound like anything other than the reasoned decision it was. And you know what? Most people totally supported it! Love it even! My worry was not a universal one, and my friends and coworkers have all supported me in their own ways while I live the suburban life with mom for a while.
It’s important to pay rent
I don’t care if you’re paying $50 a month or are paying by doing chores around the house. Knowing, and your parents knowing, that this isn’t a free ride will be key for your own self-worth. Plus, it will keep them from being able to bring up the fact that you’re living rent-free if you forget to take out the trash one Sunday night.
Before you even move in, set a rent scale that works for your budget and makes your parents (aka landlords) comfortable. Set timelines and stick to them. Even though this is family, this is also your living arrangement and needs to be treated with respect.
New roommates are always an adjustment
You would think that after knowing someone for 30 years, you would know how they like the dishwasher loaded. Well, you would be wrong. There will be an adjustment period with any new living situation, and that includes your parents. Give it time, be as patient as possible and try to remember that the left side of the upper dishwasher tray is for coffee cups ONLY.
Make the most of this move
AKA – SAVE THAT MONEY HONEY.
Even if you are paying rent, I bet it’s a lot less than what you would be paying for your own place. Set up a plan to make the most of this cash-saving time in any way you can. Whether that’s setting aside money for a big trip you want to take or using your minimal rent status to save for furniture in the new place you’re already dreaming of, now is the time to plan and save.
Set boundaries, even if it’s harsh
This is something my sister and I have had to do with our dear ole’ mom on more than one occasion, even when we didn’t live with her. As we grow, we become our own people, and our relationship with our parents should evolve with that. You will always be their child, but you are also now an adult. Your relationship can shift toward becoming more like peers without still losing out on the benefit of their advice and help when you need it.
If you need to tell your parents that no, you can not talk on the phone every day. Or that no, you may not enter my room (in your own house) without knocking. Or that you would very much appreciate if they did not scream at Siri while you’re on a conference call…that is your right. Just approach any and all of these requests with respect. It’s tough to walk that line between child and friend, or roommate and family, but open and calm communication is the best way to start.
You’ll never have enough time
One of the reasons my mom and I have become so close, and why the idea of living together felt like a good one, is that she is my only living parent. My dad passed away a few years ago, and losing him brought my mom, sister and I even closer together than before. But, because my sister doesn’t live in the same state as my mom and I, I have tried to come home as often as possible to be with her.
I know my situation is unique, but the possibility of losing a parent is certainly real, especially as we grow older. Whether you live with your parents, near your parents or can only connect with them virtually right now…please treasure them. They can be crazy and overbearing, but they’re all yours. You will seriously miss them when they’re gone, so if you’re lucky (that’s right I said LUCKY) enough to live with them right now…soak it all in.
There really is no place like home
Yes, my mom drives me crazy. No, I probably won’t let her read this article in case she gets mad and refuses to cook delicious meals for me as punishment for complaining about her speakerphone habits. But, when I wake up stressed over my to-do list, and she offers to proofread a blog post for me, I remember what a gift it is to have my mom in my corner.
She’s the ultimate roommate in that she (a) pays the vast majority of the bills and (b) is a constant source of support, excitement, love and wisdom. Plus, even after 30 years of getting them, she still gives great hugs. I’ve loved every living experience I’ve had since leaving for college for its own reason, but I know I will look back on these few months with her as being some of my favorite times.
A lifelong Chicagoan, Kaleigh currently works in the Windy City’s food social media and marketing world, which is perfect for her cheese and chocolate-obsessed self. She is your go-to girl for recommendations on travel, champagne, the best Beyoncé songs to sing in the shower and the latest in thriller fiction reads. In addition to Glitter Guide, her work has also appeared in Refinery29, The EveryGirl, Lux and Concord, DiningOut Chicago Magazine, and others. Follow her on Instagram at @kaleighglaza and work with her on food, blogging, and social media at https://www.kaleighglaza.com/.
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