Living at home after uni… ways to deal
You know how it can be. You graduate uni or college then move back in with your parents and live at home while you create a springboard for the next step. You could be working full-time at this point, or you could be job hunting… whatever your working circumstances, though, you see living back at home as a temporary measure. You say to yourself, “this is short-term.”
Then you face the realisation that you might be living at home for another six months, another year – maybe more, if it works out well for everyone involved. It’s just really tough for young people to make ends meet financially right now. It’s not the end of the world, is it? Living at home after uni lets you save money, and maybe you get on pretty well with your parents, and you can both always discuss the next steps…
But, even if things are pretty good emotionally, there are niggling doubts. There’s that feeling of life being a throwback to when you were a kid in school. Your room might feel like a weird, shambling mix of grown-up you stuff and kid stuff. Not easy to keep neat, maybe – and nothing makes a person regress like being told to tidy their room. And for many graduates living at home there’s that definite disconnect between wanting to be independent and the potential convenience of having your clothes laundered for you, or not paying bills…
Having true privacy’s an issue, too. Dating and having people stay over for the night might feel like choppy waters to navigate to everyone’s satisfaction. Privacy and a sense of independence can come in many forms, though. What about letting people at home know where you’re going, who you’re meeting, how long you’re out for? In college and uni, sharing this kind of information feels more like communication between your peers. With parents, it can be more like feeling obliged to tear out and share round pages from your personal diary in order to reassure the rents.
So… yes, you’re living back at home with the rents, and you’ll be doing it for a bit longer, too. How can you go about shifting the balance in favour of feeling independent and making the best of the situation? How can you retain space, privacy and respect? How can you be an adult while living at home?
It’s a question that many mooks have silently pondered, or asked. These kind and clever tips from the mooky community at large may help you in your pickle…
- Try to spot if you’re slipping back into habits formed when you were younger – these will often revolve around cleaning and being cared for. Knowing where habits might be forming is a good place to start improving the situation!
- Your room at home needs to be an environment you can feel safe and positive in. It’s worth spending time to take charge of the situation – and the environment where you’ll get your privacy. That might mean tidying it, or arranging things in a workable way. You might want to round up the majority of the kiddy stuff and put it in storage or even eBay/charity shop it if you have a strong aversion to seeing it around. It’s okay to clear out the signs of your old life to make room for your current life. If you do take down the photos and posters and toys that you had in your school days, be sure to take a photo first, for the memories! Then you can put up some new art prints or similar to update the space and refresh the atmosphere. If you’ll be there for a while, giving the room a lick of paint might help make it feel like a fresh start. The only thing to remember is that it is still your parent’s house, so discuss any big changes with them first.
- If appropriate, having a job can be hugely empowering. It gives you disposable income, savings towards a financially independent future, and money to contribute towards household expenses. Speaking of which…
- TOP TIP: TREAT LIVNG BACK AT HOME LIKE A FLATSHARE. One great way for you and your parents to respect each other’s boundaries is for you to think of them less as parents and more as people you’re sharing a flat with. Would you ask your friends to pay all the bills, to buy all the food, to wash all the clothes and cook all the things? Of course not. Even if your parents are perfectly happy to support you, being so supported in a parent-child way may begin to drain your self-esteem. It’s totally understandable if you can’t contribute financially the way you’d like to, but there are always other ways to contribute to the household….
- Assert your independence by taking the initiative with chores. Don’t wait to be asked. Perhaps you can do the cleaning on a regular basis, or contribute a nominal but regular amount towards food or bills, or cook dinner for everyone a few times a week.
- Money is something that’s always worth discussing with your parents. That way, you get to know what they’d appreciate and/or expect and they get to know what you can afford. Some parents might not expect you to contribute to rent or bills in any way, but perhaps you could look at paying your own phone charges, or contributing to petrol if borrowing their car, or buying your own food aside from shared house items. If you talk it through (and offer suggestions!) you’ll feel much better than if you worry silently or ignore things.
- What are your travel arrangements like? Part of independence relates to your movements, and going and coming as you need to. Depending on your arrangements, consider if you’d benefit from a car (or perhaps a bike). If the answer’s yes, you’d definitely benefit from having your own car, then start working towards one.
- If there’s friction you need to deal with, you’re a grown-up now. If voices get raised, it’s not always easy but there are ways to argue like an adult.
Living back at home after further education can have so many benefits. If you do find it a struggle, or if it’s turning into something more long-term than you first imagined, remember there are usually ways to tweak the situation to something that works both for you and your parents.
Photo credit: SimmySimSam