How to Stay Sane While Living With Your Parents
Remember how excited you were to leave home after high school graduation? Nobody really explains that it’s usually a temporary situation. Many colleges require you to leave campus during the winter break and summer semester. Of course, getting a place off-campus can remedy this situation, but that’s not always feasible. If you’re a freshman, chances are you were required to stay in the dormitory and now have to find someplace to live until the fall semester rolls around. After months of living on your own, you now face life back under your parent’s roof and must abide by their rules. You may think that you’ll be able to simply unpack and do what you want, but don’t be surprised if mom and dad still think of you as that high school kid who left last summer. You may have changed quite a bit since then, but your parents are probably still the same. To ensure you don’t spend the next few months in purgatory, follow these simple rules for staying sane while living with your parents this summer.
1. Set Ground Rules
I’m sure your parents will have some rules they expect you abide by while living with them, but it should go both ways. You’ll want some privacy, so ask them to knock before entering your room and to not go in it when you’re not at home. You don’t want your mother gathering up laundry and tidying up your room, especially if there are photos or other items you’d prefer her not to see. Curfew is sure to be a topic of conversation, as well. It’s important to understand that you are not at a hotel and other people will hear you come in at all hours of the night. Be respectful and set a reasonable hour that you both can live with, such as 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. If you are running late or decide to spend the night out, be sure to call your parents and let them know when to expect you.
2. Earn Your Keep
Don’t come home and expect your parents to wait on you hand and foot. This may be your vacation, but they still have work and other obligations. Instead, consider helping out around the house by doing laundry, some light housekeeping or yard work. If you have a large appetite, you may want to pick up the grocery bill every so often. You can also surprise your parents with a night out or bring home something to eat. Trust me, even the little things will mean a lot to your parents. If you don’t pull your weight around the house, don’t be surprised if they bring up the subject of paying rent, especially if you have a job. Personally, I’d rather contribute a little sweat equity than hand over my hard earned cash.
3. Stay Busy
Nothing frustrates a parent more than watching someone sit around the house all day doing nothing. If you want to avoid listening to your parents nag you about sleeping too much or having no initiative, plan some activities for the summer. Look into getting a part-time (or full-time) job, make plans with your friends, consider taking an internship or participating in a volunteer project; just find something that will get you out of the house on a regular basis. Not only will the time go by much faster, but you’ll also give your parents fewer reasons to give you grief.
Your parents may still look at you as that naïve kid from high school, so give them some time to adjust to the new you. Spend a little time talking to them about your college experience and your plans for the coming year. Hopefully, they will see that you have grown and give you the space you deserve. If not, just remember that it’s a temporary situation and try to make the best of it. In a few weeks, you’ll be back on campus and enjoying your freedom again.