Living at home with your parents is no longer a thing to be ashamed of; many young adults are finding themselves in this position or at least know someone who is. In fact, a recent PEW report says that 2012 saw a record 21.6 million millennials (aged 18-31) living at home with their parents. The rough economy means more young adults are more likely to need a little help from their folks, and parents are less likely to be able to write a check so it appears they open their homes instead!
But what if you just got back from your honeymoon? As if being a married millennial doesn’t make you feel like enough of an endangered species, throw in living with the 'rents too. Needless to say, the idea of sharing an abode with your parents or in-laws may be a little less than appealing.
Whether it's just a few months in between leases, a year of saving for a house, or even your own parents needing a place to crash, intergenerational households are an increasingly prevalent economical solution during hard times. Today, Verily readers who have been there weigh in on best practices to make the most of close quarters.
01. Establish ground rules.
It’s easy for confusion and hurt feelings to set in when both parties are left guessing. Your parents worry about having to foot the bill for all the groceries, and you may start wondering when you will ever have some alone time. Elizabeth Gerleit of Maryland says that when she and her husband were living with their parents it helped to set ground rules around chores, bills, and groceries from the get-go. “It’s important to remember that you are not a kid anymore,” Elizabeth explains. “Establishing clear expectation from the beginning will help to mitigate any ill will that can result from feeling imposed upon or miscommunication.”
Sit down with your parents, ask them about their expectations, and clearly communicate your own. Create a list of your responsibilities and share it with your parents. It may seem a little too formal for family, but we all know how our parents can forget!
02. Remember that you are a guest.
There are few places we feel more at home than at our parents' home. But as an adult, it’s helpful to take on the attitude of a guest. Lisa Fiegenschue of Texas says that she and her husband made a point to look for ways to help out so her mother did not end up feeling burdened. “Keep in mind that you are now guests as well as family, which helps keep common courtesies in play,” Lisa says.
Little ways you can be helpful might be as simple as taking out the trash, bringing in groceries, or doing dishes without anyone having to ask. These unexpected gestures go a long way to tell your family you appreciate their generosity.
03. Secure your privacy.
Privacy, or lack thereof, is probably one of the most daunting aspects of shacking up with your parents. But it’s not impossible to attain a sense of privacy while sharing living quarters with family. The key to maintaining a sense of privacy is setting boundaries from the start. Your parents will understand that you and your husband need a place to retreat alone, in fact, they are probably hoping to get some alone time as well!
Anne Holzman of Virginia explained that her and her husband advocating for themselves was an important aspect of maintaining a sense of autonomy as a couple. "This meant anything from speaking up when we needed time alone to communicating boundaries that were important for me and my husband," explains Anne. Anne said that she really appreciated it when her parents would make efforts to have their own alone time. "My parents would often watch TV in their room during the evening," says Anne, "giving my husband and I the chance to spend some time alone—without having to ask for the privacy."
Equipped with these tips in hand, both couples in the home are more likely to make it out alive.